Hammer Films for Dummies

Hammer | September 29, 2014

Have you ever posed the question 'What is a Hammer film'? Maybe you're a Hammer fan yourself and have been asked this in the past only to digress in to a long and complicated explanation about the origin of horror cinema. Well newbie and veteran sigh no more, we've condensed eighty years of film history into one short list of numbers, pictures and videos - yay!

1. Hammer is 80 years old this November

Hammer Films Archive

Making it one of the oldest film production companies still in existence. Older in fact than Hollywood major 20th Century Fox.

2. The company is best known for its monster movies

Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Werewolf, Zombies, Witches, The Occult and so much more. The success of Hammer’s first colour monster movie The Curse of Frankenstein quickly saw Hammer’s output change from crime thrillers to horror.

3. Only 1/3rd of Hammer’s films are horror

Despite the company’s success in horror films it continued to tackle other genres, including psychological thrillers

  • Sci-Fi
  • Noir
  • Black Comedy
  • and Historical Epic

4. Hammer House wasn’t just a TV show

Hammer Films Archive

The company once owned an entire office block in London’s Soho with its own underground screening room. Hammer House, as it was called, still stands at 117 Wardour Street. Additionally, Bray Studios, just outside of London was Hammer’s film production base for much of the 50’s and 60’s.

5. A lot of famous faces have graced Hammer films


From Academy award winners (Bette Davis – The Nanny), to glamour icons (Raquel Welch – One Million Years B.C.); Bill Sykes (Oliver Reed – The Curse of the Werewolf) to James Bond (Pierce Brosnan – Hammer House of Horror); horror icons (Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing) and the original Dracula (Bela Lugosi – Phantom Ship), the sheer diversity of talent that have worked on Hammer’s releases is staggering.

Here are twenty more faces you might not know appeared in Hammer features.

Hammer Films Archive

6. And we have a lot of famous fans


If these guys like it then so should you!

7. The company has had a lasting impact on popular culture

From Jurassic Park, Frankenweenie, The Shawshank Redemption and more.


8. And we’re still making bloody scary films

We implore you to check out Let Me In, The Woman in Black and The Quiet Ones.

You can find out more about Hammer’s origins in The Hammer Story by Marcus Hearn, available in our online store.

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