We Dare To See The Woman in Black & Hear Hammer Films' Future Plans

Last Thursday I had the honour of attending a special celebration of Hammer Horror at what some might refer to as the Home of Hammer Horror – The Prince Charles Cinema, which regularly screens double bills of some of the greats from the classic British institution.

we are giving away copies of the Blu-ray HERE). When Hammer stopped producing movies in the late 70€™s it left a huge gulf in the British film industry. While their product had undoubtedly gone stale by the end of the decade and their main players Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee grown a little too long in the tooth to undertake the kind of roles that had made them great, the downfall of the great company meant jobs were in shorter supply. But thanks to Oakes and his business partners, the Hammer banner was re-hoisted in 2007 and thanks to the success of 2010€™s exceptional Let Me In and this year€™s Woman in Black, the banner is flying high again. When I saw Woman in Black earlier this year I found it to be a thrilling cinematic ride; it€™s a horror of the finest standard, made by James Watkins, who I believe is the best director making horror films today. The script, penned by Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class writer Jane Goldman, is taut and despite my previous misgivings about the star of the piece, Daniel Radcliffe, on second viewing, he€™s actually quite adept in the role. It€™s a film of many layers, and one that doesn€™t rely on gore to shock, a novelty in contemporary horror. It maintains the classic, hallmark Hammer Gothic overtones but also skilfully weaves a chilling story around characters that you genuinely care about. Perhaps its greatest success is the jump-out-of-your-skin moments, of which there are half a dozen. On first view it evoked an eardrum-shattering scream from one fellow viewer. This time, it got two€ The screening was filled with about fifty percent of first time viewers; I had the privilege of sitting next to one of these first-timers, a lovely lady who was undertaking an experiment. She was wearing a heart rate monitor to gauge the effectiveness of the film in comparison to the stage play, which she had seen recently. For the play her heart rate had actually fallen over the course to a mere 60. Watching the movie, her heart rate rose to a whopping 160! She also €“ on two occasions €“ let out a screech that the greatest scream queens of Hammer horror would be proud of. This is when you know you€™re having a great horror-movie going experience. Prior to the screening, Simon Oakes spoke about his love of Hammer and his plans for the company€™s future. He was adamant that Hammer would not be €œremaking€ any of their old catalogue of classics. He€™s a great admirer of the old films, even the cheesier ones. However, rebooting them is another matter. Oakes is a huge fan of The Devil Rides Out and Quatermass, and is in the process of developing a TV show for the latter. He also said, with definite intent that Hammer will be making a Dracula. But while Oakes said it would be very different from the classic Lee/ Cushing version, I can€™t help but wonder what could possibly be done with Dracula and vampires at the moment that hasn€™t already been done. And this isn€™t the last of we€™ll be hearing about The Woman in Black, as a sequel is also in the works. The cast or crew is yet to be confirmed, but we have a title: The Woman in Black: Angels of Death. The Woman in Black is available on DVD and Blu-Ray now.

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Frustratingly argumentative writer, eater, reader and fanatical about film ‘n’ food and all things fundamentally flawed. I have been a member of the WhatCulture family since it was known as Obsessed with Film way back in the bygone year of 2010. I review films, festivals, launch events, award ceremonies and conduct interviews with members of the ‘biz’. Follow me @FilmnFoodFan In 2011 I launched the restaurant and food criticism section. I now review restaurants alongside film and the greatest rarity – the food ‘n’ film crossover. Let your imaginations run wild as you mull on what that might look like!