?It doesn’t come up a lot on TR, but one of my many fandoms is Hammer Horror. I absolutely love all those British horror flicks, chock full of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, from the more stately, atmospheric films of the ’60s to the blood-drenched, boob-filled movies of the ’70s. So when Titan Books offered me the chance to review The Hammer Vault, by Marcus Hearn, I jumped at the chance, knowing that Hearn would probably have to kill my parents for me to give the book a bad review.
As it turns out, Hearn probably could’ve killed my parents and I’d still have to tell you how awesome this book is. I own several Hearn Hammer books, and this one is by far the best — it’s chock full of rare stills, promotional material, script pages, pre-production art, behind-the-scenes photos, props, letters from Cushing and Lee, publicity material for both England and the U.S…. it’s positively packed with cool stuff. Hearn’s laid out the book movie by movie, so every Hammer film — even the non-horror ones — get their due; each movie gets a two-page spread, complete with a brief history of the film, and then full to bursting with whatever cool materials he could dig up from the “vault.” Honestly, that’s the book’s only flaw — you’ll wish it was twice as long, so it could see twice as much stuff
I’m not going to say this book is a must for Hammer fans, because it is, without question. I’d venture to say it’d be a great present for any cinema nerd in your life, and would make a hell of a holiday gift for fans of horror, too (assuming they enjoy the classics and not just modern torture-porn). The normal hardcover comes out next week on December 20th for $23 (which is a steal), but there’s a special deluxe edition, limited to 1,000, which comes with various reproductions of some of the items pictured in the book, including the original ticker to The Curse of Frankenstein, a U.S. Dracula brochure, photos, lobby cards and more, that’s out now (although you’ll have to hunt online to buy it).