Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Peterloo is, in essence, what happens when Mike Leigh makes a Ken Loach film, and it’s also a costume drama. If you are anything like me, you have already perhaps decided that it is clearly the best movie of the 2010. In which case, I am sorry to have to splash some cold water on […]

I take it as self-evident that to love cinema is to love Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, the comedy duo paired under the guidance of producer Hal Roach in the silent era and who made several wonderful short films before transitioning to sound and making several even more wonderful shorts and features in the 1930s. […]

Want another opinion? Check out Conrado’s thoughts on the film! A movie about the love life of a British monarch, released during the last six weeks of the calendar year, directed by an Oscar-nominated screenwriter who also has a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee to his credit, starring in the three roles a trio […]

We must now ask ourselves: at what point does a studio become merely a brand name? Let’s not even make it a hypothetical: if we have something called Hammer Film Productions, and it’s all legal and aboveboard and there’s a clear line of ownership justifying that name, but also James and Michael Carreras are both […]

To the Devil… a Daughter was one of the biggest hits Hammer Film Productions had enjoyed in years at the time of its 1976 release. Paradoxically, it’s also more or less the film that finally killed Hammer off. The studio hung around in a tattered way for a few years before disappearing: it managed to […]

Hammer Film Productions made its reputation on a series of violent (by the standards of the time) horror movies set in the latter half of the 19th Century. And while only a handful of them took place anywhere in the British Isles, they were all suffused with a certain distinctive Englishness. That would all make […]

The film itself isn’t nearly important enough to earn this, but you could do a lot worse than holding up 1970’s The Horror of Frankenstein as a summary of all the things going terribly wrong with Hammer Film Productions at the dawn of the ’70s. The studio’s reign across the anglosphere as the premiere home […]

The Plague of the Zombies certainly isn’t the best horror film made by Hammer Film Productions: the climax features some really dodgy effects work, the sound mix needed another pass, there’s a hellaciously bad day-for-“night” sequence, and frankly only a very young person would have a terribly hard time getting out in front of the […]

As the late 1950s faded into the early 1960s, perhaps the two most interesting things happening anywhere in horror cinema (change “perhaps” to “absolutely” if we limit the conversation to the English-speaking world) were the heavy shift over to Gothic horror pictures made by Britain’s Hammer Film Productions, and the brief but intense and unbelievably […]

Over the course of its horror-film heyday (1957-1974), Hammer Film Productions made four mummy films, seven Frankenstein films, two Jekyll & Hyde adaptations, three movies about evil cults, and a whopping 17 vampire pictures, nine of them involving Count Dracula. That covers most of the classic movie monsters, except for one: the werewolf. And as […]

Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde presents a unique challenge to the filmmaking team that wants to adapt it for the big screen. It’s hugely well-known by the standards of 19th Century (i.e., public domain) genre fiction, so clearly not adapting it is no kind of option; […]