When people think of Hammer films, they think dignity, respect, atmospheric horror films, elegance, and class. When people think of Hammer films, they think of great actors like Peter Cushing, and Christopher Lee, performers of the highest degree and some of cinemas finest. When some people think of Hammer films, well, they just cannot help but think how bangin' those women were in those movies! I would be a little bit of "all of the above," but my whole reason for being here this fine and frigid evening is to talk about the incredible ladies of Hammer studios, the beautiful women that graced the silver screen and the hearts of many a young man and woman.
I recently got my hands on Marcus Hearn's Hammer Glamour (Titan Books), the 160 sticky page tribute to the beauties of Hammer Horror over its reign of cinema terror. Filled to the tippity top with rare and unpublished full color photographs from Hammer's archives and private collections, Hammer Glamour is a lavish celebration of cinemas most amazing women. There are plenty of interviews, some of them new and each actress gets a nice insightful retrospect talking about their careers inside and out of the Hammer studio system.
If there is one thing I love, beside busty women, it is documentaries, books and behind the scenes of film, film history and how things have come to be where they are today. Hammer has one hell of a history and to learn the female aspect of it is quite fascinating. The stories of how films were sold based off a good looking, new starlet on some fake poster for a film not yet written is incredibly interesting. Hammer Glamour and the women behind it were a major part of Hammer's success and they could almost be looked at as the unsung heroines that pushed the company and their films popularity just that one-step further than they did with just the characters of Dracula, or Frankenstein. Hammer intrigued many young people with the threat of monsters and horror, but in a different way, these films also intrigued many a youth with the beauties that were to be found within each and every film.
Some of the interviews are very candid and honest, with some very likable women, others are a little tougher to enjoy, as some of them were not really into doing "horror" movies, which is as always, a let down. What really stands out though, are the photos and there are an abundance of amazing pictures of each and every lady in this book with some very nice candid behind the scenes shots to be viewed. One of my favorites is a behind the scenes shot of Christopher Lee and Stephanie Beacham from 1972's Dracula A.D. where it's clear that Beacham must have said some sort of corny joke and is dying from laughter about it, while Lee has a look on his face as if he cannot believe what she just said. Very candid and kinda cute, it's the type of photo that makes a book like Hammer Glamour work beyond the just photos of good looking girls.
As for the ladies themselves, well, most all of the important ones are here and it just does not get any better than having them go in alphabetical order. Why? Because you start off with the almighty Ursula Andress at A and the book finishes with W and that W can only stand for one woman...Raquel Welch. Talk about perfect 10 bookends! Those being two of my favorites and probably two of the best-known women to come through the Hammer ranks, it's very interesting hearing their thoughts on their Hammer past. My personal favorite of all these women? Well, that comes from the last of the Hammer movies and that's Nastassja Kinski from the film, To The Devil...A Daughter. Cat People indeed.
The presentation is top notch all around, as are the women, so if you're a fan of Hammer films, horror history, and mad hot babes, or even just one of the three, Hammer Glamour is a must.