Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hammer's House of Horror

If you are a fan of horror and grew up in the 1970s, you remember Hammer.  It was a film studio in England that made legendary horror films starring the likes of Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and others.  The films were imaginative.  The posters moreso.

The Art of Hammer showcases some of the studios best posters, many of them from foreign countries, all in wonderful color.  Yeah, it is expensive, but it is worth every cent of it.

I received the book as a Secret Santa gift, which blew my mind.  My Amazon wish list was accessed, much to the person's horror I'm sure, and this seemed like the safest bet for the workplace.  (Can't blame my SS elf for that.)  I devoured the thing, savoring every film title and all the wonderful pieces.

Horror films aren't the only movies covered, either.  Some of Hammer's epics and comedies are also featured, though it is the horror posters that show the most imagination and are the most interesting to examine.  Books like this make me pity the reader who would download this for a Kindle.  You just don't get the scope of art in such a small space.  (This is an incredibly oversized hardcover.)  It needs to be seen in the flesh to understand the posters' hypnotic power.

I actually place this on my shelf with the art books instead of my film books, as it is less about the movies and more about the artistic side of film promotion.  It is a valuable resource when it comes to film, but make no mistake -- the draw here is the art and rarely-seen pieces.

Save for it if you must, but get this as soon as humanly possible.  There have been plenty of books written about the studio, but this gives you the perspective of the audience who saw these posters and made a decision whether or not to see the film being advertised.  These works were cutting edge for the time and make you long for the day when artistic choices meant more than demographics when it came to promoting a film.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this book as a gift, but not for review.  Clicking on a link may earn me a small commission.  Avoiding the horrors of Hammer is a danger to one's health.

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