Episode 58: Superposition Yeti

, with special guest:

0058 Hammer FilmsDear listeners, we have a great episode for you this week, because we nerd out about Hammer Films with our erudite friend and author, Pat Harrigan! We traipse through the history of the famed British studio, mentioning favorite films and actors along the way.

And, as you can probably tell by our diction in this episode, we have had plenty of Cocobon Red Blend wine. You should, too!

Show notes behind the cut!

Movies mentioned:
Hammer House of Horror (TV)
Journey into the Unknown (TV)
Four Sided Triangle
Quatermass Xperiment
Quatermass 2
Quatermass and the Pit
X the Unknown
The Abominable Snowman
Halloween 3: Season of the Witch
Curse of Frankenstein
Horror of Dracula
The Mummy
Curse of the Werewolf
Dracula: Prince of Darkness
Brides of Dracula
Dracula 1972 AD
The Reptile
The Devil Rides Out
Ride with the Devil
One Million Years BC
Creatures the World Forgot
Moon Zero Two
The Vampire Lovers
Twins of Evil
Vampire Circus
Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter
Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires
To the Devil a Daughter
The Woman in Black
The Frozen Dead

Stage shows mentioned:
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Books mentioned:
Anno Dracula by Kim Newman (and the rest of the series)

Albums mentioned:
Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross
Devils, Rogues & Other Villains

People mentioned:
Christopher Lee
Peter Cushing
Rod Steiger
Leo McKern
Nigel Kneale
Oliver Reed
Oliver Platt
Raquel Welch
Catherine Schell
Ingrid Pitt
Mary and Madeleine Collinson
Lalla Ward
Caroline Munro
Daniel Radcliffe
Dana Andrews


We talked about Let Me In during episode 31, our Remakes episode:

We talked about Woman in Black during episode 37, our Ghosts episode:

Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross (Christopher Lee’s metal album)

Christopher Lee singing Mack the Knife:

The Frozen Dead:

A Reel Education: Noir, which is Windy and Melissa’s new podcast about films noir:

Our fine guest Pat Harrigan is on a new Dr. Who podcast!

…and he also writes books!


    • Pam on March 19, 2015 at 10:18 PM
    • Reply

    Off topic, but I wouldn’t say Rupert Grint has done “nothing” since HP. He doesn’t have the same level of recognition and star power that Dan Radcliffe does, and he also strikes me as less of a workaholic than Radcliffe is. But he’s done several films, mostly independents. I highly recommend Wild Target, which he’s in with Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt. He was also on Broadway last year, in Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play, holding his own with Nathan Lane, Stockard Channing, Matthew Broderick, Megan Mullally and F. Murray Abraham (I saw it and he was fantastic).

  1. Oh, wow, you can lose hours just reading about the things Christopher Lee has done. He’s lived one heck of a life, truly.

  2. Some interesting backstory on Curse of the Werewolf. Back in the early 30s, Universal hit big with Dracula and Frankenstein, but they were struggling a bit to find worthy successors to that line. They had a few creaky thrillers in Murders in the Rue Morgue and Old Dark House, The Invisible Man, and The Mummy (largely a redress of their Dracula script), but none of these were reaching the iconic heights of those first two, and Bride of Frankenstein was still a few years away. They’d been reliant on public domain titles, but when someone had the notion of doing a werewolf story, there weren’t really any yet in the public domain to tap. In 1933, Guy Endore’s The Werewolf of Paris was published, and was a quick hit with readers and critics quick to brand it the werewolf equivalent of Dracula. I’ve read it, it’s amazing, one of my favorite novels of all time. Endore had also been making in-roads into screenwriting at the time, so Universal hired him in the hopes that throwing some work his way would result in him selling the novel rights to them cheap.

    That didn’t happen, he was canned, and 1935 saw two releases from Universal: The Raven, which Endore had written the original story outline for, though his name was conspicuously missing from the credits, and The Wolfman of London, a very similarly titled story which is actually largely just a redressing of their Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde script. However, 1935 also saw the equally flipped bird release of Mark of the Vampire, which Endore wrote for MGM as a biting sendup of Universal’s Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi right after he’d also parted ways (at least for the time) with Universal.

    Universal would finally get their Wolfman when Curt Siodmak built them a mythos from scratch in 1941, but Endore went on to have great success in his own right, penning a handful of successful thrillers and politically charged historical novels, as well as films like Mad Love, The Devil-Doll, Carefree, Lady from Louisiana, The Vicious Circle, and Story of G.I. Joe. Sadly, Endore was an open socialist and vocal political activist, and thus fell victim to the blacklist, though he saw a resurgence in the 60s, penning some new books and scripts, and seeing Werewolf of Paris reprinted as a rediscovered classic, which carried into the 70s before it again sadly slipped into obscurity. With Curse of the Werewolf, it was a bit of a coup for Hammer to get the book after Universal had a stranglehold on werewolf movies for the prior couple of decades, and it being a novel Universal lost out on and this coming at the tail of a time where Hammer and Universal were at odds, I’m sure that was an extra gleeful twist of a knife somewhere.

    Hammer and Universal did ultimately settle things, with Hammer’s Mummy films being officially licensed remakes, and elements of the Universal incarnations being allowed to gradually slip into the Hammer Dracula and Frankenstein sequels.

    I’m not really a fan of Curse of the Werewolf, nor the later Legend of the Werewolf which also lifted elements of Endore’s novel. Not bad movies, but they have the blandness and stock aspects which have always made the Hammer horror films feel thin and repetitive, even when classily shot and edgy in their button pushing. That said, I do enjoy their crazy 70s stuff and scifi films, and really look forward to the future Quatermass episode!

    I do again highly recommend Werewolf of Paris, though. Endore is a fantastic writer most people have unfortunately forgotten about, and the novel is a surprisingly sprawling epic setting a man’s struggle with lycanthropy against the backdrop of the brutal French Civil War.

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