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Unmade Hammer Film Posters

Extract from Headpress 2.4
Glen Davies and the incomplete story of Hammer Films

By David Kerekes

Image poster kali devil bride of dracula
Set in 1870s India and throwing the Bengal Lancers into the pot, Kali Devil Bride of Dracula rose and fell on the back of a frozen bank account.

Throughout the 1970s the London based book publisher Lorrimer was specialising in books relating to cinema. In the early seventies this was the rather sober Classic Film Scripts series, a nicely printed, digest sized celebration of such films as Bicycle Thieves, The Battleship Potemkin and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. Each book would follow a specific modern or classic film. But Lorrimer are perhaps better remembered for the series that followed in the mid seventies. Unlike Classic Film Scripts, these later books were devoted to themes in exploitation cinema, such as freaks, apes, catastrophe, vampires, and so forth. They had comparatively lower production values, and conveyed the impression of being knocked together quickly and cheaply for what was likely considered a less discerning, juvenile readership. These were picture books in effect, not Classic Film Scripts, and they didn’t even merit a general series title. Nonetheless, as a boy, I was rather enamoured by them. The first I bought were Zombie: The Living Dead by the unlikely Rose London, and Savage Cinema by the equally improbable Rick Trader Witcombe. These particular titles were published in 1975, although I didn’t obtain them until 1978, through ‘bargain basement’ ad in the House of Hammer magazine (a lot less staid than Films and Filming, where Lorrimer once advertised).

As much as I liked them, even as a teenager I was under no illusion that Zombie and Savage Cinema were anything but fluff. They contain lots of images, several per page in fact,but the text is singularly sparse and unappealing throughout. They are useless as reference, with no index or sources quoted, and I only mention them so that we might arrive at another Lorrimer title. The House of Horror: The Complete Story of Hammer Films was also featured in the House of Hammer magazine ads. It has the distinction of being one of the first books devoted to the legendary film studio and, again, like the other Lorrimer titles, is profusely illustrated. But of the eight colour posters reproduced in it, five of them are for Hammer films that remain unmade. The posters are beautifully rendered pieces of art, and those relating to unrealised films are no less worthy than the ‘legitimate’ posters that accompany them. The posters were a promotional tool to try and secure financial backing on new projects, but in some cases it didn’t work and the film as a result was dead in the water... Full text in Headpress 2.4

Image poster mistress of the seas Image poster chaka zulu
There are some relatively well known unmade Hammer titles, thanks to posters by exemplary Hammer artist, Tom Chantrell, including Mistress of the Seas.
The true life story of a bloody Zulu warrior, Chaka Zulu was a project that Christopher Lee particularly wanted to get off the ground.
Image poster payment in fear Image poster when the earth cracked open
Payment in Fear was intended as a remodel of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear . One of several pre-production posters for When the Earth Cracked Open, a film Hammer couldn’t decide would be a prehistoric, futuristic, or contemporary tale. 
Image poster vampirella
Vampirella is announced.
Image poster haunting of toby jugg Image poster victim of his imagination
Richard Matheson was sent a copy of the Dennis Wheatley novel, The Haunting of Toby Jugg, and asked by Hammer to take a look at it in preparation of adapting it for the screen. Victim Of His Imagination was to be a film about the life of Dracula novelist Bram Stoker, combining elements of fact, fiction, fantasy and theory.
Image poster moulin rouge Image poster haunted house of hammer
There was much for TV that failed to materialise from Hammer: the thirteen part series Moulin Rouge, for instance.  The Haunted House of Hammer was a TV series based on classic ghost stories.
Image poster nessie

GLEN DAVIES: "There is said to be some footage to Nessie shot by Toho. And there was some test footage David Allen did of King Kong, which he wanted to use to impress Hammer, despite the fact that Hammer wanted Ray Harryhausen for the project. But that particular material was shot without Hammer involvement. I'm not aware of any others. I don't think Hammer was the kind of operation to waste money on footage that wasn't going to be used. I mean they would sell a film just with a poster in the old days; just an idea was enough."

Image poster zeppelin v pterodactyls Image poster rape of sabena

Left: Tired of the laborious stop-motion process, Hammer dump the prehistoric creature adventure, Zeppelin v Pterodactyls.

Above: Hammer's unmade The Rape of Sabena gets the Glen Davies fan art treatment.

[Images courtesy Dick Klemensen and Glen Davies; Hammer poster images © Tom Chantrell and Simon Greetham]

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