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FrightmaresA History of British Horror Cinema$
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Ian Cooper

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780993071737

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780993071737.001.0001

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Hammer – Studio as Auteur

Hammer – Studio as Auteur

(p.51) Chapter 2: Hammer – Studio as Auteur

Ian Cooper

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses how Hammer became the most important and influential makers of genre cinema, and how their rise to fame was accompanied by violent criticism. It points out that Terence Fisher's films portray the struggle between good and evil, and how they are essentially Christian. The chapter discusses several of his films. It talks about how The Mummy reveals Fisher's strengths as a director, and how Fisher, more than anyone else, is responsible for turning horror into an action genre. It discusses how the enormous success of The Curse of Frankenstein encouraged a number of imitations. The chapter also talks about the sensationalism that become a staple of the British genre film in the wake of Hammer's success, and how it is foregrounded with true crime, surgery, pornography and the circus. It moves on to discuss how Hammer was slow to catch onto the social upheavals of the 1960s and the revivifying effect this gave to the horror film. The chapter then talks about the reinvention of Frankenstein and Dracula Hammer and how this exemplifies the notion of the studio as auteur.

Keywords:   Hammer, Terence Fisher, British genre cinema, The Mummy, The Curse of Frankenstein, horror film, Dracula

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