FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Sep 14, 2009

i can read: Hammer Glamour

Titan Books, the folks behind the superior Crystal Lake Memories, have once again mined surprising ground to bring horror fans a beautiful, exhaustive coffee table tome to savor.

Hammer films were known as much for their beautiful leading ladies as they were for their monsters, and writer Marcus Hearn dives in to give readers a glimpse into the lives of these leading (and supporting) ladies. 50 women get biographical write-ups, exploring their lives before, during, and after their Hammer Studios tenure. What's most fascinating, perhaps, is piecing together a glimpse into the rise and fall of the production company through the stories of their actresses.

Early on, Hammer established themselves as purveyors of sex appeal and horror; the intended victims of Dracula and other assorted monsters were sensual and voluptuous, in stark contrast to their bland, milquetoast Hollywood counterparts. The women of Hammer could be pin-up models, and often they were just that- hired for their curves, not necessarily their talent. Images of these scantily-clad actresses were used to sell films that had yet to be written, and also the focus of promotional materials afterward. In the 1960s, an shot of Raquel Welch on a poster was all audiences needed to get them into the theaters for One Million B.C..

Soon enough, however, audiences grew weary of gothic sex appeal, and Hammer tried to compensate by releasing more explicit material, such as the 1971 sapphic bloodsucking flick Lust for a Vampire. Fickle crowds balked as Hammer's romance gave way to exploitation, with the studios and their actresses paying the price. Some of these women, such as Joanna Lumley (The Satanic Rites of Dracula), would go on to long, notable careers while others had but a brief moment in the spotlight, appearing in one film before retiring to a "civilian" life, as did Lust's Yutte Stensgaard. It's amazing- and wonderful- that Hammer Glamour exists, to give each actress her due.

The text would be interesting enough on its own, but as noted, this is a coffee table book- and what a beauty it is. Hundreds of photographs, from film posters to promo shots to everything in between, adorn the pages in eye-popping color and lush black and white; it's easy to see why the victims were as famous as the monsters.

Hammer Glamour simply belongs on the shelves of anyone who's a horror fan; it goes without saying that Hammer aficionados and anyone with an eye for beautiful women should grab it, too. It's a welcome look at a bygone era- one you'll be desperate to revisit the moment you crack open the cover.

OWN HAMMER GLAMOUR FOR YOUR VERY SELF! Yes, you can...because I've got three copies of this amazing book to giveaway to three amazing readers. All you have to do is send me an email to enter the Positively Glamourous Sweepstakes. How easy is that? Wicked easy, that's how easy.

Send an email with "HAMMER GLAMOUR" in the subject line to stacieponder at by 11:59pm PST on Sunday, September 20th. The following day, I'll choose three names at random to receive their own copies of this hardcover beauty for bosom-clutching.

Yes, I love you.


Verdant Earl said...

You "say" you love me, but you can prove it by PICKING ME!!!

Ahem...sorry about that.

Kmork said...

Excitement, She Wrote!

FatalPierce said...

I assume the usual rule of "flattery couldn't hurt" still applies?

GroovyDoom said...

Thanks for the heads up about this must-have library addition. I went to the Hammer vampire night at the Super Drive-In Monster-rama last weekend, where I saw "The Vampire Lovers" for the first time...Ingrid Pitt was the shiz-nit.

rob! said...

That book's cover is about one thing...candles!

Anonymous said...

I don't know, Rob... I mean just look at the texture of that wall!

Stacie Ponder said...

Pfft...boys, I swear. The cover is clearly about her HAIR!

Getting an overwhelming response for this contest...keep 'em coming, y'all!

Pokemon Postmon said...

How d'ya get three copies? Have you been shoplifting...again?! :p
Expect a begging e-mail from myself before the week is out.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, a book! I love Hammer history, in fact it would make agood post subject, wouldn't it? Once I get the book, I can do reserach and make an informed post, for a chnage.

So, you see? I'd put it to good use!

Just saying....


Anonymous said...

..that is, I can do a post on it as soon as I learn to spell. :(