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Cool Ass Cinema Book Reviews: Hammer Revisited Edition!
THE HAMMER VAULT
By Marcus Hearn
176 pages; Hardcover; Color & B/W 2011
"Of the numerous volumes written about Britain's famed horror film company, this book is the Count of coffee table books and a lavishly, lovingly compiled edition that is essential for all the hounds of Hammer."
The subject of Hammer Films is one that will seemingly never die. Much like Count Dracula, so long as there are fans to resurrect them time and time again, the topic will continue to fascinate and entertain fans old and new for many more years to come. One would think that with so much having been written, and continuing to be written about Britain's most famous horror export, that the market for the written word on Hammer would be over-saturated. The key is giving the fans something they haven't seen before and do so as creatively as possible. The authoritatively dedicated journal that is the Little Shoppe of Horrors notwithstanding, the two terror titans of the hardcover/softcover Hammer medium are undoubtedly Marcus Hearn and Wayne Kinsey. Both authors have went above and beyond the call of duty to give fans of these films not only fresh veins with which to sink their fangs into, but also varied and sumptuously mounted tomes with which to fill their book shelves.
Hammer historian Hearn has done it yet again with his fourth hardback book on the subject. Having written THE HAMMER STORY in 2007, HAMMER GLAMOUR in 2009 and THE ART OF HAMMER in 2010, this fourth endeavor is just as diverse as his previous three volumes. Whereas Hearn's other books covered Hammer's history, the gorgeous ladies who starred in the films and the artwork and design that went into promoting Hammer's pictures, this new volume delves into the Vaults That Dripped Blood covering the menagerie of minutiae in between. Everything from behind the scenes materials to annotations to props to brochures and numerous other promotional ads including newspaper clippings and rare magazine photographs. There's also a healthy dose of rare Cushing and Lee photos on display. It's all here on 176 glossy pages with hundreds of blood red color and B/W images. Those looking for plot synopsis' and critical assessments won't find them here, so new disciples will have to look elsewhere for those, but the attractiveness of the package and its contents should easily remedy that. Each of the 80+ movie titles (all of the horror, suspense and action variety including both of the Hammer television series') gets two pages with varying coverage of the films behind the scenes trials and troubles. This trivia packed approach is a novel one and also adopted in Kinsey's books as well.
Hearn's books--including this one--aren't as jam packed with information as some may like (it's just enough to wet your palette for more), but the overall presentation is astounding and a no-brainer when contemplating a purchase. For many who don't like to read too much, the plethora of photos and numerous other items splashed across the pages will satiate their thirst for new material. It's books like this that the experience of owning a Kindle could never duplicate. If ever there was a volume to show off on your living room table, it's this one and its somewhat awkward dimensions are perfect for such a decorative ensemble. On your shelf, it will literally "stand out" from the pack! Aside from the brevity of the enormous amount of materials displayed and discussed from Hammer's Archives, there's really not a single negative to be levied at this purchase. Of the numerous volumes written about Britain's famed horror film company, this book is the Count of coffee table books and a lavishly, lovingly compiled edition that is essential for all the hounds of Hammer.
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I've been a huge movie buff since childhood catching old horror and monster flicks on Shock Theater and kung fu movies at the drive-in during the late 70's and early 80's. I've had a long time fascination with, and appreciate all genres of fantastic cinema, good and bad. One fans cheese is another fans juicy steak. I like both equally and seldom find a film I truly dislike as I will find something of interest in just about anything. The bulk of the films or tv series' seen here are mostly from my childhood, or films I own in what has become an Amazing Colossal DVD collection.