ANDY FISH

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hammer Films Vs Universal-- NO Contest


Hammer Films made a name for itself starting in the late 50s with a series of remakes of classic Universal Horror Films made in the previous two decades starting with THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957 and followed closely by THE HORROR OF DRACULA (1958) with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in both films.

With all due respect to my good friend the right honorable Bret M. Herholz, he the keeper of The Further Adventures of blog, Hammer Films can't hold a candle to the Gothic Masterpieces of Universal Pictures.

Hammer has great color-- and they weren't afraid to show either blood or cleavage in their updated films, but they are just too stagey and costume-ish for me.  The clothes and sets don't looked lived in and the movies lack the heavy shadows and cinematography of masters like Karl Freund who got his inspiration from German expressionistic classics like CABINET OF DR CALIGARI (1919).

They also lack classic scores from composers like Franz Waxman who made music that lives on to this day.

Of all the Hammers-- I like HORROR OF DRACULA, it's sequel DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS and THE MUMMY--but after that they just don't do it for me.

As for Universal-- any of the ones prior to 1936 could be considered masterpieces and I'd argue that THE WOLFMAN (1941) is a very solid B.

DRACULA (1931)
FRANKENSTEIN (1931)
MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932)
THE MUMMY (1932)
THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933)
THE BLACK CAT (1934)
BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)
THE INVISIBLE RAY (1936)

And from other studios of the same time period who were really hitting it out of the park;
MARK OF THE VAMPIRE (1935)
MASK OF FU MANCHU (1932)
RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE (1943)
DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE (1932)
MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM (1933)

Classic horror is black and white-- like the stuff of nightmares.