20 famous faces you didn’t know were in Hammer films

David Girvan | May 19, 2014

Hammer is and always will be linked with the dynamic duo that was Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee due to their lead roles in so many of its films - from The Curse of Frankenstein to The Hound of the Baskervilles. But how many of these famous faces did you know starred in its features?

1. Joan Fontaine

The Academy Award winner passed away in 2013. Did you know Hammer’s The Witches was her last feature film?

2. Bette Davis

Starrer of not one but two Hammer classics, The Nanny and The Anniversary, Davis’ Hammer Hall of Fame status has truly been cemented .

Did you know? When The Nanny director Seth Holt told Bette Davis that she might be overacting in a scene, she replied “I act larger than life. That’s what my audience paid me for all these years. If they wanted ordinary reality, they’d go out and talk with their grocer”.

3. Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe earned his Hammer stripes in 2012 with The Woman in Black. Rumour has it the shoot was so terrifying that Radcliffe had to cast a patronus between takes for the cast and crew’s safety.

4. Donald Sutherland

Hammer’s 1965 thriller Fanatic was only Sutherland’s third film appearance; he must have gotten the Hammer bite during his first two film outings, where he starred alongside company stalwarts Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing!

5. Bela Lugosi

Ironically for a man who made his name playing Count Dracula in the 1931 original, Bela Lugosi’s time with Hammer was marked by a more down to earth performance as a murderous sailor in the 1934 thriller Phantom Ship.

6. Tallulah Bankhead

During the filming of Fanatic- Tallulah Bankhead’s sole Hammer credit- the producers almost had to replace the actress when she became too ill to work. However, Bankhead put up her salary for the film as a guarantee she’d complete filming, so long as she wasn’t replaced.

7. Peter Sellers

The inimitable Sellers’ dalliance with Hammer was brief, with his role as a naval officer in the 1968 comedy Up the Creek remaining his sole contribution to the Hammer canon.

8. Stefanie Powers

In addition to starring alongside fellow famous faces Donald Sutherland and Tallulah Bankhead in Fanatic, Stefanie Powers also appeared in Hammer’s 1970 thriller Crescendo as a music student plunged into a complex family conspiracy.

9. Stephanie Beacham

Having experienced a revival in the noughties as a regular in Coronation Street and Bad Girls, it’s easy to forget Beacham’s not-so-humble beginnings as the young Jessica van Helsing in Hammer’s Dracula A.D. 1972.

10. Chlöe Moretz

 

Dropping the C-bomb in Kick Ass may have turned a few heads and covered a few ears, but it was Moretz’s portrayal of a teenage vampire in the 2010 Hammer hit Let Me In which left audiences truly shocked.

11. Oliver Reed

Screen legend Oliver Reed was a Hammer regular in the early 1960s. His most notable performance came in The Curse of the Werewolf, which, coincidentally, was the only werewolf movie Hammer has ever made.

12. David Carradine

In an illustrious film career which perhaps peaked with a Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique to the chest in Kill Bill, Carradine still managed to find time to star as a photographer in Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense episode A Distant Scream back in 1984.

13. Angela Lansbury

Murder she may have written, but prior to her weekly Jessica Fletcher mysteries, Angela Lansbury gained Hammer kudos for her disappearing act in the 1979 remake of The Lady Vanishes.

14. Joanna Lumley

Securing the role of Jessica van Helsing from fellow listee Stephanie Beacham, Joanna Lumley starred in The Satanic Rites of Dracula alongside Peter Cushing and Sir Christopher Lee in the pair’s final screen performance together.

15. Raquel Welch

 

One of the most iconic stars of Hammer, Raquel Welch was immortalised onscreen in her performance as Loana in One Million Years B.C. Ironic, considering Welch took the role skeptically, saying “I’ll go to London, I’ll do this turkey, and then everybody will forget about it”. Sure they will Raquel!

16. Elliott Gould

Years before famously appearing as Ross and Monica’s blundering dad in Friends, Gould starred as a wise-cracking photographer alongside fellow Famous Face list-er Angela Lansbury in The Lady Vanishes.

17. Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan had a License to Die during his bit-part as an unnamed victim in 1980’s Hammer House of Horror episode Carpathian Eagle.

18. Hilary Swank

Oscar-winning Swank shook off competition from Jessica Alba and Maggie Gyllenhaal to win the honour of being stalked, spied on and hurled round her apartment by Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Hammer’s 2010 thriller The Resident.

19. Peter Sallis

Perhaps known best for his voice work for the Wensleydale-loving hero in Wallace and Gromit, Sallis also has two lesser known Hammer credits under his belt; a bit-part in The Curse of the Werewolf, and a morally questionable brothel-frequenter in Taste the Blood of Dracula.

“Cracking fangs, Dracula”, was a line Sallis was famously never quoted saying.

20. Jeremy Irvine

After a busy few years working with such industry legends as Steven Spielberg, Robert Duvall and Nicole Kidman, Irvine’s next blockbuster outing will be in Hammer’s The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, due out in 2015.

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