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Art Of Hammer, The (2010)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger

Art Of Hammer, The (2010) This is a very cool oversized hardcover book which features the posters from the archive of Hammer films. The introduction, only several pages of text, provides background of how Hammer Studios went about creating their artwork and how oftentimes the artwork came first and helped to sell the movie. The posters are divided up by decade. The 1950-59 features such movies as X-THE UNKNOWN, THE SNORKEL, THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN and HORROR OF DRACULA. The brief notes about the posters are interesting, such as that infamous one of THE MUMMY, which shows a beam of light shining through a hole in the creature. "Concerned that it misrepresented the film, Cushing asked director Terence Fisher if he could add a scene where his character drove a harpoon through the mummy's body. "And that's what I did," he remembered, "thus giving some sort of logic to the illuminated gap depicted in the posters"." The 1960's has such movies as ONE MILLION YEARS B.C., the Bette Davis movie THE NANNY and the Dennis Wheately adaptations, TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER and THE DEVIL RIDES OUT. This is also when there's both serious and comedic posters for the same movies. For example, with ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. there's that classic poster with Raquel Welch in the fur bikini--but there's also a Polish poster that shows a dinosaur eating a cartoony caveman. And DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE has Christopher Lee baring fangs on the horrific poster-- and then a woman with two band aids on her neck, under which says "DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE" (OBVIOUSLY).

The book is by no means a complete history or compendium of the Hammer posters but it provides a wide variety of styles and obscure information on much of the artwork. Highly recommended.

author: Marcus Hearn

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