The Women of Hammer Horror: A Biographical Dictionary and Filmography Hardcover – 30 Jun 2013
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About the Author
<strong>Robert Michael “Bobb” Cotter</strong>, a graphic designer, lives in Pittsburgh, USA. In addition to having written several books about comics and film, he writes a monthly column for <em>Creepy Classics</em>.
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The book also comes with a very nice, but short bibliography; interestingly, the bibliography does not list 2010's THE ART OF HAMMER. The index is somewhat superfluous in listing actresses by name since the alphabetical arrangement of the book serves the same purpose. Indexing film titles is, however, most useful. A separate section listing all distributed Hammer films to date is also included.
All illustrations (save the cover photo) are grainy black and white reproductions. They are definitely interesting, campy, and fun, but they're not designed as eye candy. Definitely recommended for aficionados of all things Hammer, and probably a good purchase for education institutions with either film departments or women's studies programs.
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.
The book is arranged as biographical entries in alphabetical order, and Cotter went as deep as he could, including nearly every female who ever appeared on screen for Hammer, whether as the star or just some bit part that no one except her mother would remember. Obviously for the smaller roles there wasn't much to say, but for the more familiar and famous actresses, Cotter does a nice job with their entries, often revealing what they are doing now and what affect they had on the studio and its films.
Scattered throughout are plenty of pictures, and it is packaged in a nice hardback with a shiny cover of a publicity still of Valerie Leon from the movie Blood from the Mummy's Tomb. If you have an interest in Hammer films and feel a bit nostalgic for those late night horror films from your childhood, this is the trip down memory lane you've probably been looking for.
Addendum- It's the morning after and I'm past the initial euphoria of this Hammer "high-school yearbook", and must say that I love it even more! I see now that this is much more than a dry little textbook of mini-bios and filmographies. Who needs that?? Even computer-idiot me realizes that anyone can look on the internet and find out such things and that, yes, Andree Melly is indeed married and living in Ibiza. I googled that after writing the first part of this review yesterday and it's right there on Wikipedia. But the difference between the internet and this book is the artistry of Robert Michael "Bobb" Cotter. He is an outstanding writer with a very wry sense of humor which is extremely appropriate for the subject matter. And not only has he has obviously seen the movies he's talking about, but he's a fan and collector himself. One small example of the delightful humor that pervades this book is his comment on "The Mummy's Shroud" in the Elizabeth Sellars section: "She's the top-billed female lead in the last Hammer-Bray, 'The Mummy's Shroud', and she not only survives in it, but is arguably much better off after the Mummy disposes of her overbearing bastard of a husband." The book is filled with funny little insights into character like this. I'd say this is an essential book for the fan of the cinema-macabre.