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Studying Hammer Horror$
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Victoria Walden

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781906733322

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906733322.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 18 October 2021

Hammer and British Cinema

Hammer and British Cinema

(p.23) Chapter Two: Hammer and British Cinema
Studying Hammer Horror

Victoria Grace Walden

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the relationship between Hammer Films and British cinema. The history of British cinema has been characterised by a strong dedication to realism, in its many forms. From the documentaries of the 1930s with a focus on social responsibility to the gritty kitchen sink dramas of the 1960s, and even the naturalistic aesthetic of television police dramas, the British moving-image industries have a strong heritage of realism. If this is the case, Hammer horror, despite its international fame as a specifically British brand of filmmaking, does not seem characteristic of British national cinema at all. On one hand, Hammer's horrors are clearly fantastical; on the other hand, they amalgamate infrequent and abrupt moments of gore with a 'neat unpretentious realism'. Moreover, the films were lambasted in the press for not exhibiting 'good taste' or restraint. The chapter then assesses to what extent Hammer horror can be understood as British.

Keywords:   Hammer Films, British cinema, realism, British moving-image industries, Hammer horror, British filmmaking, British national cinema

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