Hammer Horror Collection Curse of Frankenstein / Horror of Dracula / The Mummy  2002 Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
This collection released by Warner Brothers brings together the three films that established Hammer as the leading purveyors of gothic horror. It is perhaps difficult to appreciate now, but the major innovation that Hammer brought to these tired gothic tales was filming them in colour. In just the same way that Universal used the innovative German expressionist techniques of lighting and set design, Hammer chose the opposite route and celebrated the excesses and transgressions of the gothic strain. They brought to the horror genre a physical and sensual style of filmmaking which covered up the very regressive attitudes to gender and class that bubbled beneath the surface.
This collection works very well because of the continuity of personnel that became a trademark of Hammer. These three films are connected by cast, director, art designer, composer, producer and cinematographer - which gives these three films the feel of a trilogy. Of the three films “Dracula” stands up to modern scrutiny the best, its energy and dynamism remain undiminished. But to fully appreciate the aesthetic merits of “Dracula” one must acknowledge “Curse of Frankenstein” which preceded it. This was Hammer’s most daring production up to that point, and much of Hammer’s conventions of style and theme were established here. However to modern audiences the film does seem somewhat overly talky, and the makeup for the creature, whilst impressive, lacks the impact of Universals. “The Mummy” falls in the middle ground between the two, but possesses an epic rich grandeur of sets the other two lack, “The Mummy” is a gorgeous looking film. But like “Curse of Frankenstein” suffers from some pacing problems.
Warner’s have chosen well here and must be commended for their selection, other Hammer box sets have a disappointing randomness. But little seems to have been done in terms of picture and sound restoration, and aside from trailers for all films, there are no further special features. All in all quite disappointing treatment for such important horror films. But the box itself is well designed, and the price (at least when it was first released) represented good value for money.