->''Hammer Horror, Hammer Horror - won't leave it alone\\
The first time in my life I keep the lights on to ease my soul...''
-->-- '''Music/KateBush''', [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itX7uyZ4Ocw&feature=related Hammer Horror]]

The Hammer Horror films were a series of GothicHorror movies made by the British company Hammer Film Productions between the 1950s and the early '70s. The name is sometimes applied to similar films from the same era made by other small (often British) companies.

Most were distributed by {{Universal}} Pictures. The films mostly re-invented the 'classic' horror movie characters previously given form by [[UniversalHorror Universal themselves]] in the 1930s and '40s (Film/{{Dracula|1931}}, FrankensteinsMonster, [[WolfMan The Werewolf]], [[Film/TheMummysHand The Mummy]], JekyllAndHyde), putting them into colour (often very lurid colour) and adding some new twists. The reinventions were so popular that the public image of many of these characters has some Hammer elements. For example, [[ClassicalMovieVampire the popular conception]] of {{Dracula}}, as seen in so many cartoons, wears full evening dress and talks with a Hungarian accent, like Creator/BelaLugosi's portrayal for Universal, but he is also over six feet tall and lean with {{red eyes|TakeWarning}}, long fangs and a [[VillainousWidowsPeak widow's peak]], which more closely resembles Creator/ChristopherLee's Hammer Dracula.

The Hammer films included a "stable" of regular actors, one or two of whom (at least) would appear in each major performance. The most famous of the stable were Creator/ChristopherLee, Creator/PeterCushing and Creator/OliverReed. The style was well plotted but still reassuringly predictable. As Creator/TerryPratchett put it, "You knew just what you were going to get." Just to add to the confusion, other Brithorror studios-- notably Creator/AmicusProductions and Creator/TigonBritishFilmProductions-- borrowed actors from Hammer (as well as other staff such as cinematographer/director Freddie Francis).

A common assumption was that VincentPrice did Hammer Horror as well. In fact his films were for other studios (such as his popular EdgarAllanPoe adaptations, made for Creator/RogerCorman and Creator/AmericanInternationalPictures), though he did star alongside Lee and Cushing in many other films, and was good friends with them.[[note]]He was also born on the same day as Lee, and a day after Cushing. Eerie.[[/note]] Price did do a few British horror films, notably ''The Witchfinder General'' for Creator/{{Tigon|BritishFilmProductions}}, and ''Scream and Scream Again'' (a Tigon/AIP co-production).

Creator/TerryPratchett's love of Hammer films was a source of much inspiration for the Literature/{{Discworld}} country of {{Uberwald}}, where every count is a vampire, every baron a werewolf, and every doctor is a MadScientist, and each of them is served by a specimen of TheIgor clan. You can also see many of the old clichés lovingly spoofed in Aardman's animated ''[[WesternAnimation/TheCurseOfTheWereRabbit Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit]]''. One of the most fondly regarded periods of ''Series/DoctorWho'' is the "[[GothicHorror gothic]]" period of Season 12-14 (with Tom Baker), which swiped Hammer Horror tropes and monsters and Doctorised them. Guillermo del Toro, who is planning on directing his own version of ''Franchise/{{Frankenstein}}'', has cited Creator/ChristopherLee's as his favourite interpretation of the Monster. His version will star Creator/DougJones. Creator/SteveCoogan, a horror nerd, created the ''Series/DrTerriblesHouseOfHorrible'' to {{Pastiche}} Hammer films, as well as similar ones by their rival Creator/AmicusProductions.

Early films in the series were basic, Universal-type horror stories done in colour, but as time went on the studio found themselves in greater competition with American studios who had bigger budgets and better special effects. Hammer retaliated by increasing the sex content of their films so that starting in the late '60s and continuing into the mid '70s Hammer films had more nudity than most horror films even today. The contrast can be seen in their two adaptations of Creator/DennisWheatley black magic tales. In ''TheDevilRidesOut'' (written 1963, released 1968, based on Creator/DennisWheatley's 1934 horror thriller) the satanic orgy features characters robed from neck to ankle dancing in a manner no wilder than teenagers at a modern nightclub, ''To the Devil, a Daughter'' (1976) features full-frontal nudity, sex scenes and a gory birth scene, all in an attempt to win back an audience who had seen ''Rosemary's Baby'', ''The Exorcist'' and ''The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'' and wouldn't be impressed by counts in coffins any more. It didn't really work. Hammer stopped making movies after that and went on to their two '80s TV series'. ''Hammer House of Horror'' and ''Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense''.

Another cute feature of the series was that they never just [[NumberedSequel numbered the sequels]], instead they thought of an [[ElectricBoogaloo ever more lurid title]]: ''Film/HorrorOfDracula'' was followed by ''Film/TheBridesOfDracula'', ''Film/DraculaPrinceOfDarkness'', ''Film/DraculaHasRisenFromTheGrave'', ''Film/TasteTheBloodOfDracula'', ''Film/TheSatanicRitesOfDracula '', etc.

'''Hammer Horror Has Risen from The Grave'''

Like its most famous character, you can't keep a movie studio dead. [[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7629245.stm A new Hammer horror has been produced]], to briefly see the light of day in 2011. They also produced ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_Me_In_(film) Let Me In]]'', a remake of ''LetTheRightOneIn''.

As of 2012, their latest project is a new adaptation of the infamously chilling novel ''Literature/TheWomanInBlack'', starring none other than DanielRadcliffe. Other projects from the new Hammer include ''TheResident'' (which features Hammer alumnus Creator/ChristopherLee in a supporting role) and ''Film/WakeWood''. In 2014, they produced ''Film/TheQuietOnes.''

For horror with actual hammers, see DropTheHammer.

[[folder:List of Hammer horror films with pages on this wiki:]]
* ''[[Franchise/{{Quatermass}} The Quatermass Xperiment]]'' (1955)
* ''Film/TheCurseOfFrankenstein'' (1957)
* ''Film/HorrorOfDracula'' (1958)
* ''[[Film/TheMummy1959 The Mummy]]'' (1959)
* ''Film/TheBridesOfDracula'' (1960)
* ''Film/TheCurseOfTheWerewolf'' (1961)
* ''[[Film/ThePhantomOfTheOpera1962 The Phantom of the Opera]]'' (1962)
* ''Film/{{Paranoiac}}'' (1963)
* ''Film/TheCurseOfTheMummysTomb'' (1964)
* ''Film/TheGorgon'' (1964)
* ''Film/DraculaPrinceOfDarkness'' (1966)
* ''Film/ThePlagueOfTheZombies'' (1966)
* ''Film/OneMillionYearsBC'' (1966)
* ''Film/TheMummysShroud'' (1967)
* ''Film/DraculaHasRisenFromTheGrave'' (1968)
* ''Film/TheVampireLovers'' (1970)
* ''Film/TasteTheBloodOfDracula'' (1970)
* ''Film/ScarsOfDracula'' (1970)
* ''Film/CountessDracula'' (1971)
* ''Film/DraculaAD1972'' (1972)
* ''Film/TheSatanicRitesOfDracula'' (1973)
* ''Film/CaptainKronosVampireHunter'' (1974)
* ''Film/TheLegendOfThe7GoldenVampires'' (1974)
* ''[[LetTheRightOneIn Let Me In]]'' (2010)
* ''Film/TheWomanInBlack'' (2012)
* ''Film/TheQuietOnes'' (2014)

!!The films contained examples of such tropes as:
* AbsoluteCleavage: Shows up frequently, as in ''Film/DraculaAD1972''. Cleavage in general is a Hammer staple.
** When Steve Coogan set out to lovingly parody the Hammer style for ''Series/DrTerriblesHouseOfHorrible'', in the beautifully titled episode "Lesbian Vampire Lovers Of Lust", said title appears over a shot of generous cleavage generously spattered with drops of blood. It was probably that, or show a shot of an actual hammer.
* AffablyEvil: Baron Frankenstein can be quite charming when necessary.
* ArtisticLicensePaleontology: Dinosaurs and man alongside each other in ''{{Film/One Million Years BC}}'' and ''When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth''. ''Creatures the World Forgot'' shows why the trope is [[EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs necessary]] -- if you think being slightly more realistic makes it better than the others, seek medication.
* BadassNormal: Creator/PeterCushing is the reason that Dr. Van Helsing is now thought of as TheHunter, instead of the weird old Dutch physician he was in the book.
* BackFromTheDead: Again and again and again...
* BehindTheBlack: In ''The Kiss of the Vampire'', Marianne is running along a deserted road in the countryside in broad daylight. As the camera follows her, she suddenly screams as she runs into a man standing there, even though she could not possibly have failed to see him before.
* BlackMagic: ''The Devil Rides Out,'' ''Film/TasteTheBloodOfDracula'', ''Film/TheSatanicRitesOfDracula'' and several other films.
* BloodBath: ''Countess Dracula'' was about the TropeMaker, Elizabeth Bathory, bathing in blood.
* BloodierAndGorier: Compared to the {{Universal Horror}}s, at any rate. Tame though they look now, contemporary critics were taken aback.
* BreakTheCutie: Anna in ''Film/FrankensteinMustBeDestroyed.''
* BreakingAndBloodsucking: A staple of the vampire films and perhaps a major contribution to the trope becoming cliche. Also a great opportunity for a LingerieScene.
** ''Dracula'' (1958) / ''Horror of Dracula'', as usual, Dracula attacks Lucy. She is awake in bed, watching as Dracula appears on the balcony and waits for him to come to her.
** ''Dracula Has Risen from the Grave'', Maria is standing at her balcony door when Dracula comes for her and she slowly retreats to her bed
** ''Satanic Rites of Dracula'', Jane was kidnapped by the cult and locked in a bedroom at their hideout. She was terrified by his ominous, unseen approach, but when the door flies open and he enters the room she welcomes him to her bed.
* BrieferThanTheyThink: The classic image from Hammer horror was Peter Cushing’s Professor Van Helsing battling Christopher Lee’s Dracula in Victorian-era Europe, but that particular combination occurred only twice (out of sixteen vampire movies the studio produced), in ''Film/HorrorOfDracula'' and briefly at the beginning of ''Film/DraculaAD1972''. For the rest of the latter movie, and its sequel, ''Film/TheSatanicRitesOfDracula'', Cushing plays Van Helsing’s 70s-era IdenticalGrandson, Lorrimer. Other films had one or the other character, or sometimes neither. (''Film/TheLegendOfThe7GoldenVampires'' was the only movie to have one of the two characters ''not'' played by those actors; Cushing’s Van Helsing fought a Dracula played by John Forbes-Robertson.)
* BroadStrokes: ''The Evil of Frankenstein'' follows the basic idea of ''The Curse of Frankenstein'' and ''The Revenge of Frankenstein,'' that the baron has created monsters and is now on the run, but alters many of the details. The rest of the movies seem to continue on from ''Evil'' normally. ''Film/DraculaAD1972'' uses the premise that Van Helsing and Dracula fought in the 1800s like in ''Horror of Dracula'' but changes the date and place and ignores the numerous sequels to ''Horror.''
* BrotherSisterIncest: ''Demons of the Mind''. We only actually see kissing, but Emil and Elizabeth are obsessed with each other, and their father is willing to do anything to keep them apart [[spoiler:(up to and including killing them)]].
* BurnTheWitch: ''Twins of Evil.''
* ChekhovsGun: When listing the ways vampires can be defeated in ''Film/TheSatanicRitesOfDracula '', [[IdenticalGrandson Lorrimer]] Van Helsing mentions [[spoiler:that they are vulnerable to hawthorne, from which Christ's crown of thorns was made]]. Later on he uses this particular thing, unmentioned in any movie before this, to get the better of Dracula.
* ChristianityIsCatholic: The Dracula films.
* CircusOfFear: ''Vampire Circus.''
* CobwebJungle: Many of the sets.
* DarkerAndEdgier:
** Compare The sophisticated Count of Creator/BelaLugosi with the barely controlled feral madness of Lee's.
** Cushing's Baron Frankenstein is far more arrogant and murderous than his counterpart in the UniversalHorror films.
* TheDulcineaEffect: Gender-flipped in ''Lust for a Vampire'', in which Richard is in love with Mircalla, but Janet has noticed that everyone who gets close to Mircalla ends up dead. Janet tries to get Richard to stay away from Mircalla. When he asks why she cares, she says she's in love with him -- even though they've barely spoken in the movie before then, and most of their conversations seem to consist of him blowing off her concerns.
* EvilIsPetty: Baron Frankenstein, who goes out of his way to demean and order around those he considers his inferiors, especially in ''Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed.''
* EvilSoundsDeep: Count Dracula and other villains played by ChristopherLee.
* {{Fictionary}}: A primitive language was designed for ''When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth''.
* ForeignRemake: Many of their more famous films are remakes of American horror films.
* TheFundamentalist: Mrs. Trefoile, of ''Die! Die! My Darling!'', is a fanatically extreme example. In fact, the film's original UK title is ''Fanatic''.
* GenreShift: Occasionally, they did non-supernatural psych thrillers like ''Film/{{Paranoiac}}'' and ''Nightmare''. Despite the title, ''[[Film/CaptainClegg Night Creatures]]'' was more of a 1790s crime thriller than a horror movie.
** One of the most bizarre examples was ''Film/TheLegendOfThe7GoldenVampires'' (also called ''The 7 Brothers meet Dracula''), a film that attempted to combine Hammer's standard Gothic horror with the {{Wuxia}} genre. This resulted in a plot where Dracula joins forces with a tribe of Chinese vampires who all know martial arts, and Van Helsing must team up with a family of Chinese martial artists to stop him.
** They also made several science fiction films, including "space western" ''Film/MoonZeroTwo'' and the Quatermass series.
* GoodShepherd: Most of the priests in the Dracula films.
* GorgeousPeriodDress
* HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: The caveman epics often differentiate between tribes by hair color, and the blondes will generally be nicer and smarter than the brutish brunettes.
** Generally speaking, the more virtuous a Hammer heroine, the more likely she will be blonde.
* HandicappedBadass: Harry in ''The Devil-Ship Pirates''.
* HeroAntagonist: Professor Van Helsing in most of ''Dracula'' films, and Father Sandor in ''Dracula: Prince of Darkness''.
* HollywoodAcid: Often on hand to dispose of inconvenient corpses and body parts, as in TheCurseOfFrankenstein and ScarsOfDracula.
* HollywoodDarkness: You never saw such night-time visibility!
* HollywoodVoodoo: ''Plague of the Zombies''.
* HotterAndSexier: The sexual attraction between Dracula and his female victims is clearer than it was in earlier films.
** ''The Horror of Frankenstein'' remade ''Film/TheCurseOfFrankenstein'' with a greater emphasis on the Baron's love life.
*** Also the whole series of movies were HotterAndSexier than most of the Gothic Horror films that came before them.
* KensingtonGore
* TheKindnapper: ''Die! Die! My Darling!''
* KillEmAll: Almost nobody makes it to the end of ''The Viking Queen'' or ''Vampire Circus'' alive.
** Ditto for ''Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed''.
* LargeHam: Oliver Reed could get pretty over-the-top at times, especially in ''Curse of the Werewolf''.
* LesbianVampire: This trope was employed a number of times in the TheSeventies, most famously in ''TheVampireLovers.''
* LockedRoomMystery: ''The Snorkel'', though it has the slight variance in that the audience is shown in the opening sequence exactly how the murder is executed and disguised as a suicide (and who does it). Only one character, the victim's daughter, Candy, suspects what really happened, and the suspense comes from whether or not she'll be able to figure out the method before the killer targets her.
* MadwomanInTheAttic: Count Meinster in ''The Brides of Dracula'' fits this trope pretty well, even though he's not outwardly deformed (and is male).
* MadScientist: Usually played straight, but deconstructed in ''The Evil of Frankenstein'', along with the idea that ScienceIsBad.
* MoodLighting: Why else would there be bright green electric light inside an ancient Egyptian tomb?
* MsFanservice: Yvonne Romain, who made Jessica Alba look like Wayne Knight.
** The [[http://horrorstars.net/hammer-hotties Hammer Hotties]] list at horrorstars.net names a full 79 candidates.
** Special mention must go to Raquel Welch; the image of her in a FurBikini from ''One Million Years B.C.'' is arguably more famous than Hammer Studios itself.
* {{Mummy}}: ''Film/TheMummy1959,'' ''CurseOfTheMummysTomb,'' ''TheMummysShroud.''
* NeverTrustATitle: Guess who doesn't appear in ''Film/TheBridesOfDracula''.
* NubileSavage: Found frequently in ''She,'' ''Vengeance of She,'' ''One Million Years B.C.'' ''Prehistoric Women,'' ''When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth,'' ''The Viking Queen,'' and ''Creatures the World Forgot.''
* OneMillionBC: Hammer made a trilogy of films that may be the TropeCodifier, ''{{Film/One Million Years BC}}'' (a remake of a 1940 film), ''When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth,'' and ''Creatures the World Forgot.''
* OneSteveLimit: ''Film/DraculaHasRisenFromTheGrave'', ''Film/TasteTheBloodOfDracula'', and ''Film/ScarsOfDracula'' all had major characters named Paul; supposedly, writer Anthony Hinds found this name easy to type.
* OnlySaneMan: Karl in ''Demons of the Mind'', quite possibly Hammer's strangest movie. Pretty much everyone else in the story is ''completely nuts''.
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: The rules seemed to change in each film, even ones with the same character!
* OurWerewolvesAreDifferent: In ''Curse of the Werewolf'', the moon doesn't always trigger a transformation, feelings like rage, hatred, or stress can trigger it. Inversely, emotions like happiness, kindness, and most importantly, [[ThePowerOfLove love]] can stop a transformation and possibly even cure a werewolf.
* PluckyGirl: Candy in ''The Snorkel'', who resolves to prove the guilt of her mother's murderer.
** The Hammer heroines in general are as plucky as they are beautiful.
* ThePowerOfBlood: Blood revives Dracula in several of the sequels.
* PyrrhicVictory: ''To the Devil... A Daughter'', the last film in Hammer's original period, actually did very well at the box office, but because all the profits went to the movie's German backers, Hammer was forced to close its doors shortly thereafter.
* RapeAsDrama: Leon's mother in ''Film/TheCurseOfTheWerewolf'' by the Marques, Anna by the Baron in ''Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed''.
** In the latter example, the scene was added after shooting was nearly complete and at the last minute by studio head Sir James Carreras, who thought the film was lacking in "sex". Peter Cushing deplored the inclusion of the scene and even apologized to Anna's actress Veronica Carlson.[[note]]Hardly surprising, given that Cushing's longtime friend and ''Film/TheSatanicRitesOfDracula '' co-star Joanna Lumley described him at his funeral as "the most gentle man I ever knew."[[/note]] The director, Terence Fisher, filmed the sequence under protest. Ironically, the scene comes across as horrific instead of titillating and ends up contributing strongly to theme of the Baron's moral descent in this film as well as the deterioration of Anna's mental state.
* RedEyesTakeWarning: When Dracula was really in bloodlust mode his eyes would get ''extremely'' bloodshot.
* ReligionOfEvil: ''The Devil Rides Out'', ''To the Devil a Daughter'' and ''Film/TheSatanicRitesOfDracula ''.
* SameContentDifferentRating: The explicitly gory ''Dracula Has Risen From the Grave'' was given a G rating in the U.S., and this was around the same time the MPAA rating system was established and before the G rating was truly codified as "kids stuff".
%% * ScreamingWoman
* SequelEscalation: The Frankenstein and Dracula films became more gory and sexually explicit over time.
* SexEqualsDeath: The more promiscuous a character is, the less likely he or she is to survive until the end credits.
* SexySoakedShirt: ''The Viking Queen'', made just before real nudity started to show up, has a scene where the title character, wearing a white top, falls in a lake.
* SmugSnake: Baron Frankenstein.
* ToplessFromTheBack: Common in earlier Hammer films, such as ''Rasputin the Mad Monk,'' along with DressHitsFloor.
* {{Uberwald}} / {{Ruritania}}: Even when it was stated to be Transylvania, the setting was just Generic Central Europe.
* VillainProtagonist: The Baron in the ''Frankenstein'' series, though sometimes he crosses into AntiHero. Also Count Dracula.
* WantingIsBetterThanHaving: No matter what hot ass vampire chick Dracula already has under his thrall, there's always some other maiden he wants more.
* WolfMan: ''Curse of the Werewolf''.
* WrongfulAccusationInsurance: In ''Maniac'', [[spoiler: the main character helps his new girlfriend spring her husband from an insane asylum, and another man is killed in the process. Once he realizes his girlfriend is playing him, he helps the police get the goods on her. This apparently exonerates him for his earlier crimes, even though he was most decidedly ''not'' innocent of them.]]