Watch Flesh And Blood: The Hammer Heritage Of Horror
- 2 hr 26 min
Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror is a 1994 documentary film that delves into the history and legacy of Hammer Film Productions, which was a British company that specialised in horror films during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. The film is a must-see for fans of the genre and offers a fascinating insight into the world of Hammer and the people behind its success. Directed by Ted Newsom, the film features interviews with several key players from Hammer, including actors Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Roy Ward Baker, as well as producers, directors, and other members of the crew.
The documentary opens with a brief introduction to Hammer and the impact it had on the horror genre. From there, the film takes us on a chronological journey through Hammer's films, starting with The Quatermass Xperiment in 1955 and ending with To the Devil...a Daughter in 1976. Each film is discussed in detail, with clips from the movies intercut with interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.
One of the themes that emerges early on in the documentary is the innovative use of colour by Hammer. Prior to Hammer's emergence, horror films were mostly shot in black and white, but Hammer recognised the potential of using vivid, lurid colours to create a more unsettling atmosphere. As director Terence Fisher explains in an interview, "Horror should be colourful. It should be shocking. It should be bright, because that's how the mind works. When you're frightened, your mind goes into overdrive, and everything becomes much more intense."
The film also explores the various sub-genres that Hammer tackled throughout its history, including Gothic horror, science fiction, and psychological thrillers. Hammer was famous for its reimaginings of classic monster stories such as Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy, but the studio also produced films that were more experimental and edgy, such as the aforementioned To the Devil...a Daughter.
Another aspect of the documentary that is particularly interesting is the behind-the-scenes footage that is included. We see clips of actors rehearsing their lines, setting up special effects shots, and even relaxing in between takes. This gives viewers a sense of what it was like to work on a Hammer set and the camaraderie that existed between cast and crew.
The interviews with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee are also a highlight of the film. Though both men have since passed away, their passion for the horror genre and their affection for Hammer comes across strongly in their interviews. Cushing in particular is a joy to watch; his enthusiasm for acting and his ability to convey so much with just a simple facial expression is truly remarkable.
Towards the end of the documentary, the film explores Hammer's decline in the late 70s and 80s. The studio had struggled to keep up with changes in the horror genre and had often been accused of making formulaic, predictable films. But as Christopher Lee points out, "It's easy to talk negatively about Hammer, but at the same time, it's a company that has survived for over 20 years. They made some great films, and people still watch them today." Indeed, Hammer's influence on horror cinema can still be felt today, with many modern horror films taking inspiration from the studio's classic movies.
In conclusion, Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror is an excellent documentary that provides a comprehensive and engaging look at the history of Hammer Film Productions. It is entertaining, informative, and full of fascinating insights from some of the key figures in the industry. Highly recommended for horror fans and anyone with an interest in the history of British cinema.
Flesh And Blood: The Hammer Heritage Of Horror is a 2018 documentary with a runtime of 2 hours and 26 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.6.