The Hammer Vault

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“This book does not aim to provide a complete history of Hammer, but to share the best with its archive on a film-by-film basis. The classics are presented alongside a judicious selection of other titles, each dated to the year production began. The journey begins in 1954 with the experiment that transformed both Hammer and of course British cinema.”

We don’t often review books here at Nerdy Nothings, but The Hammer Vault is the perfect kind of book to be featured on the site. A collection of behind-the-scenes footage, the book plays very much like a great DVD special feature for one of the most wonderful and notorious film production companies during its 50+ year run. Personally, I have been a fan of Hammer films ever since I first saw The Wicker Man, and though I haven’t seen many of their films, The Hammer Vault gets me excited to seek out more.

The Hammer Vault won’t work as well for non-fans of Hammer films, as the book doesn’t do a lot to educate or offer any film criticism. By going film-by-film, it reads much more like an overview — giving casual readers a good opportunity to take their time. But most of what is great about the book has nothing to do with the small write-ups on each Hammer film, as it is loaded with production stills, screenplay excerpts, rare behind-the-scenes footage and many more great tidbits that give a horror fan a treasure trove.

The design of the book is really amazing — loading so much on the page without feeling over-cluttered. If there is a major problem with the book, it is the awkward size and shape of it. The intention of the publisher must have been for a coffee table style of book (which it would be suited well for), because there is no easy way to take this one on the road. Of course, the large pages offer more room for material, so it’s hard to complain about that too much.

The Hammer Vault won’t teach you much about the production company itself, but this is a must-own book for any horror fanatic. Spending an equal amount of space on most every film in the company’s history with an impressive amount of archival footage really gives as complete an overview as I’ve seen of any motion picture production studio.

tags: hammer films, the wicker man

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