The executive producer of the first Hammer horror film in more than 30 years has urged fans to move with the times.
Hammer Films chief executive Simon Oakes, who bought the company in May last year, promised to protect its cinematic legacy but insisted that the ‘nostalgic folklore’ of 1950s horror films had to give way to modern trends.
Accordingly, instead of playing on big screens, new movie Beyond The Rave will air from April 17 in five-minute instalments on MySpace – as a joint venture with the social networking site – before being released as a feature film on DVD.
It is expected to reach some 100 million people in 19 countries and in nine different languages, and while the Hammer horrors of the 1950s and 1960s made household names of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in classics like Dracula, the new film – shot as a full-length film but released twice weekly on the internet – features Sadie Frost and sets vampires against a backdrop of a drug-fuelled rave.
Oakes defended the modern production, saying: ‘We have an opportunity to recalibrate the DNA of Hammer Films for the MySpace generation.
‘Hammer will make theatrical motion pictures but an important part of our strategy is what we are doing with MySpace.’
In the new film, there is a contribution from 1960s Hammer Films star Ingrid Pitt, who embraced the renaissance of Hammer Films, saying competition from American horror movies had ‘killed’ the British company in the 1970s.
The 70-year-old said: ‘Hammer to me was my life and to see it in a completely different mode is a great idea.’
Oakes added that the new-look ventures will retain the humour and same ‘tongue-in-cheek’ British humour that made the brand so successful in the 1950s.
Hammer on TV
Hammer Films was first bought back in February 2000 by a consortium including advertising guru Charles Saatchi in a bid to reinvigorate the brand but it was then left untouched.
It has produced more than 150 movies from its first production, The Public Life of Henry The Ninth, in 1935, to its last title for the cinema, The Lady Vanishes, in 1978, a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s comedy thriller.
Hammer was also successful on TV, bringing three horror anthology series to the small screen – Journey to the Unknown in the late Sixties, Hammer House of Horror in 1980, and finally Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense in the early Eighties.
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