I’ve been aware of and have seen some Hammer films throughout my life, but was never too familiar with the production company. Little did I know that this goes back to the 1930s, but is mostly known for releases during the 1950s-1970s. The atmosphere has a gothic feel, often involving classic monsters like Dracula and the Mummy in British environments. While under new ownership, Hammer continues to make popular releases like 2012’s The Woman in Black and the divisive remake of Let Me In in 2010. Recently, Mill Creek put together a release of several Hammer classics for their HAMMER FILMS: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION, a shelf friendly bundle for genre fans.
The films included are:
- THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (commentary with filmmaker/film historian Constantine Nasr and author/film historian Steve Haberman)
- THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB
- THESE ARE THE DAMNED
- THE TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL
- THE OLD DARK HOUSE (commentary with The Monster Party Podcast featuring James Gonis, Shawn Sheridan, Larry Strothe, and Matt Weingold)
- THE GORGON (commentary with writer/director Joshua Kennedy)
- CASH ON DEMAND
- THE SNORKEL (commentary with writer/producer Phoef Sutton, writer/film historian Mark Jordan Legan, and screenwriter/film historian C. Courtney Joyner)
- DIE! DIE! DARLING!
- STOP ME BEFORE I KILL!
- NEVER TAKE CANDY FROM A STRANGER (commentary with Constantine Nasr)
- SCREAM OF FEAR (commentary with Steve Haberman)
- THE STRANGLERS OF BOMBAY
- THE TERROR OF THE TONGS
- THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER
- SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST
- THE CAMP ON BLOOD ISLAND
- YESTERDAY’S ENEMY
- CREATURES THE WORLD FORGOT
The twenty films are spread across ten discs. THE OLD DARK HOUSE, THE GORGON, and CASH ON DEMAND share one disc. CREATURES THE WORLD FORGOT shares a disc with the bonus features, while the other films are paired on the remaining Blu-rays. There’s no audio options aside from the commentaries (which are listed in the Bonus Features option), but English subtitles are selected on each disc’s main menu. While some of the films have a digital look to them, one of the better standouts visually is MANIAC. The black and white film shines as a clean image, impressive for a 1963 release in the age of 4K television.
The Blu-ray case is housed in a thin slipcover that sports all the titles on the back and vibrant artwork on the front. The slipcover lists a 12 page movie and feature guide booklet but no such booklet was inside. I’m not sure if this was just due to receiving a review copy or if there was an error in packaging.
In addition to the twenty movies, there’s a handful of bonus features included. “The Actors of Hammer” has author David De Valle giving a brief eight minute look at some of the onscreen parties known for their Hammer, all while sporting a Camp Crystal Lake shirt. ”Hammer At Columbia Pictures” is an eleven minute overview at the business venture for the company. Both retrospectives for THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB and THE TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL run less than 10 minutes each, featuring footage from both movies with audio interviews with Hammer historian Richard Klemensen.
Mill Creek’s HAMMER FILMS: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION will fair well for Hammer fans, collecting several releases in a space saving set. While there’s not too much to add in terms of documentaries, this is perfect for a Hammer introduction or if you have yet to own many of the films in high definition. HAMMER FILMS: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION is now available to purchase here.