Many of the horror movies produced by the Hammer studio are to be re-mastered, compiled with extra features, and released on Blu-Ray discs for retail.
The BBC reports that dozens of Hammer films (known affectionately as ‘Hammer Horrors’) are to be re-mastered in preparation for release on Blu-Rays. In total more than 30 films will be restored and released for the home consumer market.
Hammer began making films in 1934, although the studio is most famous for a selection of horror films made in the 1950s and 1960s. Many of the films stared actors Christopher Lee and the late Peter Cushing. Some of the movies mooted for release are: “The Plague of The Zombies”, “Dracula: Prince of Darkness” (which will be the first release); and, “Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter”, “The Mummy”, “Frankenstein Created Woman”, “The Lost Continent”, “The Reptile Slave Girls” and “The Vengeance of She.” The first release will be in 2012.
Blu-ray.com says that restorations are being undertaken by Studio Canal who will ensure that each release “has fully-restored HD picture and restored sound”. Digital Spy notes that other big studios are working with Hammer on the anticipated releases. This includes Anolis Entertainment, Pinewood Studios, HTV, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros and Paramount Pictures.
For those wishing to track the progress of the releases, Hammer have launched a special blog giving regular updates on the DVD release schedule.
As well as being re-mastered, the Hammer films are being packaged up with extra features, such as deleted and alternative scenes along with interviews with surviving cast members. One such scene is from a 1958 version of “Dracula” which will have death scene restored. The scene was cut by censors at the time because it was considered to be too horrific for the cinema going public. The scene was considered lost for years until it was recently unearthed in Japan’s National Film Center at The Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. A clip of the original "Dracula" is shown in the video clip below.
Ahead of the releases, Hammer are asking members of the public for any lost footage of the suitable features to be incorporated into the releases.
Deadline (aptly named in this case) has a quote from Simon Oakes, President and CEO of Hammer, who says: “Our decision to restore some of Hammer’s most famous titles not only allows existing fans to experience the films again in high definition, but also encourages a new global audience to discover Hammer for the first time...We have a busy year ahead but are confident that our Blu-ray plans will ensure that Hammer’s legacy will live on for generations to come.”
Due to economic issues Hammer ceased operating in the 1980s (its last feature was 1976’s “To the Devil a Daughter”, featuring Christopher Lee). After years of abeyance the Hammer studio was sold in 2007 (along with its back catalogue) and a new series of Hammer films have been made, including recent vampire themed “Let Me In”, based on John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel, and the forthcoming post-Harry Potter ghost movie for Daniel Radcliffe “The Woman In Black”, which is based on the novel by Susan Hill and the long-running play in London’s West-End.
Hammer’s return with regard to the new films and with the digital releases is ‘fang-tastic’ news, excuse the pun, for horror aficionados.