At last, three of my favourite quintessential late Hammer Horror films from the early Seventies on DVD! Countess Dracula, Twins of Evil and Vampire Circus all in one great collection!!!
I grew up watching re-run after re-run of these movies through the late 70's and early 80's as an adolescent with an active imagination. Hammer films always satisfied my need for a uniquely "original" and "stylish" aproach to the Horror genre. A "Hammer movie" is always recognisable as a "Hammer movie", but what makes them so unique? For me, Hammer movies represent the sum total of several key elements....
From the low-budget familiarity of the Bray Studio sets (economically and inventively re-designed for each new production) to the forest locations of Black Park, to the outlandish blood red colour of the Eastman film stock, to the immaculate gothic-style production values, to the great casting of Cushing and Lee and a staple of other well known Brits, to the evocative and stylish scores of James Bernard, Harry Robinson, David Whitaker and other great composers, to the "Hammer Glamour" and buxom delights of a bevvy of beautiful vampire women who could snarl with conviction, to the purely justified and in no way exploitative nudity of the latter, to the perplexing phenomenon of Cockney people popping up in the heart of Transylvania, to the continual emergence of regular Michael Ripper amongst those said cockneys and finally to the wonderful "atmosphere" and "style" conjured up by this talented ensemble of what is essentially, a National Treasure...as well as a phenomenon.
Sure, these films probably seem dated to a jaded modern audience, sure the dialogue may at times seem corny and the horror element pretty tame by todays grisly standards, but for those of us who caught these movies the first time round who keep returning to them for repeated viewings, we know what an indelible effect Hammer Horror films have had on us over the years. For me, they have been a great source of imagination and inspiration toward the world of the fantastical and supernatural.
In a modern film world preoccupied with the grisly and gory horrors of the "real-life" Serial Killer genre etc, the fantastic world of Hammer Horror with its supernatural characters of Vampires, Mummies and Werewolves is a welcome change!!