The Man From Hammer [Part One]

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'A pattern had emerged in my writings somehow...

In A2817263, I wrote about 'Spider-Man India' but also mentioned an episode of 'The Night Stalker'.

In A2836686, I wrote about 'The Night Stalker' but also mentioned Jimmy Sangster.

Guess whom I was going to write about in the next article?

Yep, you guessed right... But, erm, it seemed that there would be more than just one article about the 'man from Hammer'...'

Extract from Loup d'Argent's (unpublished) Memoirs.

The Hammer Years...

Though Jimmy Sangster has done other things since his involvement in the British horror movies making business, he is still continually remembered as one of the men (if not the man) behind the best horror movies made by the famous Hammer Studios. Even so he left for the USA in the 1970s...

His 'Hammer years' as a scriptwriter, assistant director, production manager, producer and director gave us a string of 'classic' horror films that definitely helped put Hammer on the horror films making map.

Among them are:

  • X The Unknown (1956): Script by Jimmy Sangster, directed by Leslie Norman and starring Dean Jagger, Edward Chapman, Leo McKern and William Lucas.
  • The Curse of Frankenstein (1957): Script by Jimmy Sangster [from the novel by Mary Shelley], directed by Terence Fisher and starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Hazel Court and Robert Urquhart.
  • Dracula (1958): Script by Jimmy Sangster [from the novel by Bram Stoker], directed by Terence Fisher and starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling and Carol Marsh.
  • The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958): Script by Jimmy Sangster [additional dialogue by H Hurford Janes], directed by Terence Fisher and starring Peter Cushing, Francis Matthews and Eunice Gayson.
  • The Mummy (1959): Script by Jimmy Sangster [from the original screenplay by John L Balderston], directed by Terence Fisher and starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Yvonne Furneaux.
  • The Brides of Dracula (1960): Script by Jimmy Sangster, Peter Bryan and Edward Percy, directed by Terence Fisher and starring Peter Cushing, David Peel, Marita Hunt, Yvonne Monlaur and Freda Jackson.
  • Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966): Script by John Sansom1 [From an idea by Anthony Hinds], directed by Terence Fisher and starring Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Andrew Keir, Francis Matthews, Suzan Farmer, Charles Tingwell, Thorley Walters and Philip Latham.
  • The Horror of Frankenstein (1970): Script by Jimmy Sangster and Jeremy Burnham, directed by Jimmy Sangster and starring Ralph Bates, Kate O'Mara, Veronica Carlson and Dennis Price.
  • Lust for a Vampire (1971): Script by Tudor Gates [from the story Carmilla by J Sheridan Le Fanu], directed by Jimmy Sangster and starring Barbara Jefford, Ralph Bates, Suzannah Leigh, Yutte Stensgaard and Michael Johnson.

Not bad at all for someone who began his film career at the studios as third assistant director...

It's Just A Craft...

Jimmy Sangster still keeps dismissing the 'Master of Horror' title given to him by many fans though.

According to him, if he had been asked to write scripts for the Carry On films instead, that what he would have done...

Fine, but, like for the comedy ones, writing by numbers is not enough for horror movies to be successful and Jimmy Sangster has definitely, by adding his own style (even if it was in small dose at times), contributed greatly to the success of the horror films he worked on.

The Movies That Didn't Make It2...

Sadly, and through no fault of his own, four of the movies penned by Jimmy Sangster for Hammer had to be eventually shelved:

  • The Revenge Of Dracula (1959):
    No Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) in this one, as the emphasis was going to be on Dracula, but the refusal from Christopher Lee to play the Prince of Darkness again halted the production and The Brides of Dracula was made instead...
  • The Secret Of Frankenstein (1960):
    Unfortunately shelved due to a certain American pharmaceutical company having threatened to sue and it resulted in a highly potential 'no-no' from the American distributors. A shame really, as it was a very promising horror movie with an innovative twist and Peter Cushing was in it...
  • Scourge Of The Vampires (1961):
    Written after The Brides Of Dracula, it was going to have Christopher Lee back as Dracula. It didn't work out as planned though as Jimmy Sangster's attempt to give Lee and Peel both equal time didn't pleased either of them...
  • The Edge Of Midnight (1969):
    An interesting plot where Dr Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) and his creature fight Dracula (Christopher Lee) and the Werewolf (Oliver Reed).
    Unfortunately, it seems that Cushing, Lee and Reed didn't take it seriously enough...

Further Readings...

Information on the legendary Hammer Studios is available in the h2g2's Edited Guide.

Click on the following links and find out what all the (justified) fuss was all about:

Coming Soon...

More on Jimmy Sangster as well as a look into his American years, in the forthcoming: 'The Man From Hammer [Part Two]3'.

Watch this space...

Loups Archive


22.07.04 Front Page

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1Jimmy Sangster's pseudonym for this movie, Traitor's Gate (1964) and Face of a Stranger (1964). 2Source: 'Horror-Wood Webzine'.3The Man From Hammer [Part Two] is now available for viewing... ed

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