Top 10 Hammer Horror Films

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…You may be wondering what are the best of the many horror films

 produced by the infamous Hammer Studios?

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to go ahead and make a list of the top 10 Hammer Horror films…

 

 

 

 

Hammer Studio’s effectively continued the legacy of horror films created by studio’s like Universal in the 1920’s, 30′ and 40’s. Their modern color remakes of such classics as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and The Wolf Man were unique, original tributes which have their own distinctive style and atmosphere.

 

The following is a list of what I feel, are the greatest offerings of Horror by the infamous studio.

 

 

 

Click on the title to view the movie’s trailer

 

 

10. Scars of Dracula – An underrated entry in Hammer’s Dracula series. The studio produced a total of 9 films based on the legendary Count. This film came in 1970 and was the 6th in the series. Christopher Lee as Dracula has a good amount of time on screen in this movie, so too does the sinister castle full of gothic architecture, fiendish servants and blood red interior design!

 

9. The Plague of Zombies – Hammer’s only venture into the world of Zombies, is a well constructed piece for the time. Solid acting and a good deal of suspense makes this film one to check out. Directed by John Gilling who also made the excellent, The Flesh and the Fiends (1960). Although not quite as groundbreaking as Romero’s, Night of the Living Dead (1968), The Plague of Zombies has an original story, unmistakable Hammer Horror atmosphere and predates the former classic by two years. 

 

8. Curse of the Werewolf – With Oliver Reed in his first starring role, Curse of the werewolf was Hammer’s interpretation of the Wolf Man story created by Universal. As with most other Hammer productions, the color film, settings and set pieces are a pleasure to watch. Credit must go to the studio for not directly re-making the horror classics but for creating their own storylines and atmosphere. While it takes the majority of the movie for Oliver Reed to finally transform, the werewolf makeup and style are brilliant!

 

7. The Devil Rides Out – Is Hammer’s take on satanic worship based on the controversial novel of the same name by Dennis Wheatley. Directed by Terrance Fisher, who was the studio’s greatest horror director. Fisher was responsible for the majority of Hammer’s horror hits including, Horror of Dracula, Curse of Frankenstein, Revenge of Frankenstein, The Mummy, Brides of Dracula, Prince of Darkness, Hound of the Baskervilles among others…This devilish classic stars Christopher Lee (on the side of good for a change!) and gives quite an authentic, serious treatment of the subject, again with a limited budget.

 

 

6. The Mummy – Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee star in this very cool update of the Universal classic from 1932. Again, the exquisite color and ‘look’ of the film is superb. Hammer really had a special quality to it’s films. At first they seem to have an appearance of looking ‘cheap’, but I think this was due in large part to the abundant use of bright, sometimes garish colour as part of the studio’s style and intent. The flashback sequences to ancient Egypt here are really well done and it’s great to have Lee as the marauding Mummy all the way through the film compared to the brief appearance of  ‘Imhotep’ (Boris Karloff) in the original.

 

5. Revenge of Frankenstein – The immediate follow up to Hammer’s groundbreaking hit, ‘Curse of Frankenstein’. This movie is thought by some to actually be superior to the first film. Peter Cushing is back as Victor ‘Stein’, determined to go ahead with his unnatural experiments while also giving aid to the poor. His charitable doctor’s surgery is also a perfect source of valuable body parts! Another hit by Terrance Fisher.

 

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4. Curse of Frankenstein – The film that proclaimed Hammer as the king of horror. Curse of Frankenstein introduced us to Hammer’s vision of the classic horror tales with it’s gothic setting and atmosphere, rich, vibrant colors, themes of sexuality and grisly display of blood! The pairing of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing also occurred here for the first time. As with Curse of the Werewolf, and to some degree, Horror of Dracula, Curse of Frankenstein is a relatively slow paced film which has though, some terrific climactic scenes and story throughout.

 

3. Brides of Dracula – While not featuring Dracula as such, ‘Brides of…’ has as it’s central antagonist, a ‘Baron Meinster’ who’s a disciple of Dracula’s. It’s a pity The ol’ Count’s not in this film but his vampire disciple does play a convincing part. As do the gorgeous and evocative vampire brides! The gothic-type look and feel of this film, which Hammer became famous for, is lavishly employed here and makes this movie an absolute must see. This film was the 2nd in the Dracula series.

 

2. Dracula: Prince of Darkness – The 3rd film in the series, although following on from ‘Horror of Dracula’, it can be considered the first film’s actual sequel. An intensely dark and powerful take on Drac! This film has a high sense of quality to it. Christopher Lee once again is The Count, and gives a very primal and elemental performance as he refused to speak the lines which written for him. Not having much faith in the script, he hisses, grins and stares at his prey and comes across as more of a supernatural ‘animal’ compared to his role in other films. Sets and cinematography (especially within the castle) have a very eerie feel to them and the butler ‘Clove’ has got to be one of the all time sinister servants!

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  1. Horror of Dracula – The classic update of the original Dracula from 1931. Lee and Cushing go head to head in a skillfully filmed, richly colored masterpiece. This movie is a total reinterpretation though! The familiar story is there including Harker, Lucy, Van Helsing etc. Though, almost everything, especially Dracula and his ancient cobwebbed filled castle have been re-imagined and given a more modern, conventional type feel. Hammer’s own interpretation of gothic horror!

 


 

Well, it’s been pretty difficult trying to choose only ten of what I think are the greatest of the many classic horror movies from Hammer…Let alone place them in a particular order! However I hope this provides some clarity and gives people an idea of what movies are regarded as classic all-time favorites by a devotee of horror and obvious Hammer enthusiast!

 

 

Runner-up’s to the list would include;

Hound of the Baskervilles, Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde, Twins of Evil, Hands of the Ripper, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, Taste the Blood of Dracula, The Gorgon.

 

 

…Thanks for visiting! Please let me know your thoughts and if you agree or disagree in the comments space below…

 

Jamie.

 

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18 Comments

  • Brandon says:

    These are definitely some old school classics. I haven’t seen all of them. I believe I seen The Curse of the Werewolf. I know a lot of people would argue the fact these movies arnt scary just because of the production back then compared to now but sometimes you have to live in the time and just enjoy a classic every now and then.

    • admin says:

      I like your comment Brandon, thanks heaps. Yes, that’s the idea, to put yourself in the time period in which they came out and appreciate them for their originality and influence.

  • Norm says:

    Great research and presentation Jamie. Excellent job. It really opens up the understanding of the presentations. Well done.

  • Maryam says:

    I really like it! So professional! You must be a huge fan of horror movies!
    Although as someone who has come to your website to seek information about why they should watch a certain movie I think there could have been more relative information. I mean it is good to know that Lee had a considerable amount playing a role in some movie but that’s not quite in the category of the movie’s scary features.
    Best of luck!

  • HipStar says:

    Oh wow!!
    I had no idea most of these even existed, or that there was a zombie movie in colour before even ‘night of the living dead!’
    I’m totally into horror classics, and Christopher Lee is always a draw card, so thank you for putting this list together.
    As well as the runners up, are there others from similar studios that you would recommend, in the same vein as the Hammer productions?

    • admin says:

      Some of these are pretty obscure HipStar sure. Have only recently checked out Plague of the Zombies myself! Yep, it came out before Night of the Living Dead and is in color. Good one for pointing that out.

      As far as similar films which are classics also, I’d include Witchfinder General (1968, Tigon British Film Productions/AIP) with Vincent Price. It has a similar feel to Hammer Horror and is fantastic. Also with Vincent Price; The Pit and the Pendulum, House of Usher and Tomb of Ligeia. These films, directed by Roger Corman (Alta Vista Productions), are based on stories by Edgar Allen Poe and are very stylish.

      Hope these might be what you’re looking for.

      Thanks for dropping by. Jamie.

  • Benedetto says:

    Oh wow I think I am too young to have watched any of these, but my mother used to tell me how scary the old movies were. Eventhough the technology was not that developed it was new back in the days.

    Do you like horror movies they play these days too? or do you watch the older movies only?

    • admin says:

      Hey there Benedetto. Thanks for dropping in. Yeah these films do go back a little way…People watching them when they were “new” must have really been shocked, like your poor mother. I’ve heard of older folks talk about never being able to forget their impact when they first saw them!

      Yes I definitely do like modern horror but have a fascination for the ones that started it all, i.e. those from the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. Classics from the 50’s and 60’s are also big favorites!

  • Hannah says:

    I get a channel on my TV called the Horror Channel and I’ve seen all of these films on there. I’ve been a big fan of Hammer House recently. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee are brilliant actors. Classics!

    They were brilliant for their time and I feel that they influenced many films since then. If it was for Hammer House I don’t think horror would be as big as it is today.

    Awesome article. This lifted my mood, which I really needed!

    Hannah.

    • admin says:

      Great to meet you Hannah! I’m glad to hear these films were one’s that you’d seen, and that your such a big fan!

      I’m also glad that it lifted your mood…funny how horror can do that hehehe. No really, thanks a lot for dropping in and I hope you remain feeling better. Jamie.

  • CrewMonkey says:

    Well coming from someone that absolutely LOVES horror movies, this site is awesome. I completely agree with your top 10. I have seen all of those movies (and many more) and those are definitely some of the greatest.
    Awesome research you have done here as well! Your imaging is great and I love the way you laid everything out

    • admin says:

      Wow! Fantastic comments CrewMonkey! Thanks a million! For someone who’s seen all of these classics and is a big horror fan, I’m real happy you agree and I appreciate that great feedback!! Thanks HEAPS!!

  • Roopesh says:

    Hi Jamie

    An awesome selection you have here.

    I will not lie to you.Out of your entire selection, I have only watched The Mummy.

    I know it sucks sorry.

    Though, I must admit your choices have certainly whet my appetite.

    I think this Valentines weekend, I am gonna try to get hold of the ‘Curse of the Werewolf,’

    Or would you recommend something else from your list?

    Thanks

    Roopesh

    • admin says:

      Hey there Roopesh. Thanks for dropping by! Hey, be proud that you’ve seen The Mummy! What a classic film! And a lot of folks havn’t seen any of these older classics.

      My friend, I like the way you think hehehe…Valentine’s Day would be a perfect time for watching these brilliant films. Horror movies have a way of bringing couples closer together don’t you think? (Mostly through sheer terror though lolol).

      Curse of the Werewolf would be great! But don’t expect to see any werewolfery action until nearly the end of the film. The story, acting, sets and filming are really good throughout though. I’d also recommend one of the Dracula or Frankenstein features from the list. Horror of Dracula (Hammer’s first color remake of the old 1931 original), Dracula Prince of Darkness or Brides of Dracula would all be just right for Valentine’s hehehe.

      Brides of Dracula has an element of “sexiness” to it as it stars Yvonne Monlaur, “France’s latest sex kitten”, which is how they describe her in the films trailer. They also describe the “Dracula” character as “blindingly handsome” and the girls who end up as vampire disciples are striking!

      Hope you have a really nice Valentine’s day and night my friend and thanks again for visiting. Jamie.

  • Makki says:

    I absolutely LOVE Hammer horror! I know it’s a standard pick, but my favorite has to be the ’58 Dracula. Chris Lee was just a great actor. Hard to believe he’s gone.

    My second would have to be Hound of the Baskervilles. I know that was an honorable mention on your list, but the movie is such a joy for me. I love Sherlock Holmes and the movie does the story justice. Awesome list!

    • admin says:

      Great to have you drop in Makki. You’ve got brilliant taste there my friend. The 1958 Dracula is a big favorite of mine too. …I would have to say the second film in the series; “Dracula: Prince of Darkness” just scrapes through as being my favorite. What an iconic horror legend Christopher Lee was!

      Hound of the Baskervilles is one I’ve only seen once! I was really impressed by it’s atmosphere and quality though. I know I need to watch it again especially as you rate it so highly! …Thanks very much for the comments Makki.

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