HAMMER HOUSE OF HORROR (1980) TV series

 


Hammer House of Horror is a British television series, made in 1980. An anthology series created by Hammer Films in association with Cinema Arts International and ITC Entertainment, it consisted of thirteen 50-minute episodes, which were broadcast on ITV. It was Hammer’s first production after the business passed from Michael Carreras to Roy Skeggs and Brian Lawrence.

Each self-contained episode featured a different kind of horror, and these varied from witches, werewolves, ghosts, devil worship and voodoo, but also included non-supernatural horror themes such as cannibalism, confinement and serial killers. Unlike most Hammer films, the stories all had a contemporary setting.

Early episodes of the series featured gore and some nudity, most notably the opening episode ‘Witching Time’. but as the series began to be broadcast, Hammer head Roy Skeggs realised that the show – broadcast at 9pm on a Saturday evening – was being watched by a lot of younger viewers so pulled back on the more adult elements for later episodes.

On 13 October 2017, Network is releasing the whole series on Blu-ray, newly restored in high-definition.

Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.co.uk

Several episodes were directed by and starred familiar Hammer names, including Alan Gibson, Peter Sasdy, Don Sharp and Peter Cushing. Rosalyn Landor, who stars in Guardian of the Abyss, had previously appeared (as a child) in The Devil Rides Out. Hammer veteran Terence Fisher was scheduled to direct the Peter Cushing episode The Silent Scream, but died before production could commence.

Hammer House of Horror was a ratings success in the UK, but the demise of ITC meant that the planned second series would not be made.

Hammer eventually returned to TV in 1983 with Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense, an American co-production that most fans agreed was a pale imitation.

Reviews:

“Though it uses original scripts rather than adaptations of published stories, the series feels like an update of Hammer’s earlier Journey to the Unknown, with a mix of contemporary settings, predictable twist endings, mock-gruesome horror, mild sex, familiar TV faces and sly camp that puts it on the shelf somewhere between Nigel Kneale’s Beasts and Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected.” Kim Newman

Episode Guide:

TitleDirected byWritten byCastUK Transmission Date
Witching TimeTom CleggDavis LloydJon Finch, Patricia Quinn, Prunella Gee, Ian McCulloch, Lennard Pearce, Margaret AndersonSeptember 13, 1980 (1980-09-13)
A lovely young witch from the past brings spine-chilling terror into the twentieth century and to the present occupants of the farmhouse in which she was born in the 17th century. She is a ghost, but flesh and blood, and passionate. She puts her mark on the young man now living in the farmhouse and can his wife fight such impelling opposition?
The Thirteenth ReunionDon LeaverAnthony ReadMichael Latimer, Julia Foster, Dinah Sheridan, Richard Pearson, Norman Bird, Warren Clarke, Kevin Stoney, George InnesSeptember 20, 1980 (1980-09-20)
A reporter stumbles upon the bizarre truth behind the secret society and must now fear for her life.
Rude AwakeningPeter SasdyGerald SavroyDenholm Elliott, Lucy Gutteridge, James Laurenson, Pat Heywood, Gareth Armstrong, Eleanor Summerfield, Patricia MortSeptember 27, 1980 (1980-09-27)
Denholm Elliott plays a lecherous estate agent who has recurrent dreams about his seductive secretary, a mysterious house and even more mysterious encouragement to murder his wife.
Growing PainsFrancis MegahyNicholas PalmerGary Bond, Barbara Kellerman, Norman Beaton, Tariq Yunus, Geoffrey BeeversOctober 4, 1980 (1980-10-04)
When they adopt a new son, it coincides with a series of odd events ans disasters for the father’s research.
The House that Bled to DeathTom CleggDavis LloydNicholas Ball, Rachel Davies, Brian Croucher, Patricia Maynard, Milton Johns, George ToveyOctober 11, 1980 (1980-10-11)
An old house is in a run-down state, unoccupied since it was the scene of a macabre murder, until new occupants move in. It is a house of horror, the shadow of the past bringing new terrors to the couple and a young child, with an unexpected twist at the end bringing even more horror.
Charlie BoyRobert YoungBernie Cooper & Francis MegahyLeigh Lawson, Marius Goring, Angela Bruce, Frances Cuka, Michael Culver, Jeff Rawle, David Healy, Janet Fielding, Charles PembertonOctober 18, 1980 (1980-10-18)
An ancient African idol possessed by the spirit of an evil sorcerer seems to take on a life of its own.
The Silent ScreamAlan GibsonFrancis EssexPeter Cushing, Brian Cox, Elaine Donnelly, Antony Carrick, Terry Kinsella, Robin BrowneOctober 25, 1980 (1980-10-25)
Peter Cushing plays a mad scientist who needs human victims to experiment with. His plan is to create a prison that contains no bars. There is no escape because something far worse awaits his victims when they run.
Children of the Full MoonTom CleggMurray SmithDiana Dors, Christopher Cazenove, Celia Gregory, Victoria Wood, Robert UrquhartNovember 1, 1980 (1980-11-01)
A wealthy couple head off on holiday to the West County but get stranded. They find sanctuary in the woods where a woman played by Diana Dors cares for a number of mysterious children. The husband wakes in a hospital to be told the werewolf children were all a dream. However his now pregnant wife has changed, developing a taste for raw steak among other things.
The Carpathian EagleFrancis MegahyBernie Cooper & Francis MegahySuzanne Danielle, Anthony Valentine, Siân Phillips, Barry Stanton, Jeffrey Wickham, W. Morgan Sheppard, Pierce Brosnan, Richard WrenNovember 8, 1980 (1980-11-08)
A young woman convinced she possesses the reincarnated spirit of a murderess walks the night seeking out new victims to fill an ancient prophecy for death. Features Pierce Brosnan in one of his early screen roles.
Guardian of the AbyssDon SharpDavid FisherRay Lonnen, Barbara Ewing, John Carson, Rosalyn Landor, Paul DarrowNovember 15, 1980 (1980-11-15)
Human sacrifice as part of an ancient rite is the unexpected consequence when an attractive antiques dealer unwittingly buys a mirror with mysterious evil power.
Visitor from the GravePeter SasdyJohn ElderKathryn Leigh Scott, Gareth Thomas, Simon MacCorkindaleNovember 22, 1980 (1980-11-22)
A seance is held for a girl whose fiancée has been killed in a car crash. She not only hears his voice but comes face to face with his mutilated blackened body. Worse is to follow as she becomes the victim of a macabre heartless plot.
The Two Faces Of EvilAlan GibsonRanald GrahamGary Raymond, Anna Calder-Marshall, Philip Latham, Jenny Laird, Brenda CowlingNovember 29, 1980 (1980-11-29)
Setting off on their holidays, a family unwisely give a lift to a sinister hitch-hiker. After the car crashes, one man is dead and one man is injured. But which one?
The Mark of SatanDon LeaverDon ShawPeter McEnery, Emrys James, Georgina Hale, Peter Birrel, Conrad PhillipsDecember 6, 1980 (1980-12-06)
A worker in a hospital mortuary becomes convinced that a conspiracy of evil has chosen him for the devil’s disciple. Are his the rantings of insanity or a desperate cry for help from an innocent soul marked for Satan?

The series was released on DVD in the UK (Region 2) in October 2002 by ITV Studios. It was released as a four-disc set featuring all thirteen episodes, and includes stills galleries and cast biographies as extras.


Buy: Amazon.co.uk

The series was released in the US (Region 1) on 11 September 2012 by Synapse Films. It was a five-disc set and features an animated stills gallery, episode introductions from film historian Shane M. Dallman, plus featurettes including “Grave Recollections: A Visit With Kathryn Leigh Scott” and “Hammer Housekeeping: A Visit With Mia Nadasi”

Buy Synapse DVD: Amazon.com

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Buy: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

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