Hammer Films, the iconic UK Label that produced classics like The Quatermass Experiment & Twins of Evil, recent hits like The Woman in Black & The Lodge, and their own long-running Frankenstein, Dracula, and Mummy franchises, is gearing up for a major comeback. A new report by way of Variety reveals that Hammer Films is teaming up with Network Distributing, a UK company whose mandate is in archival, restoration, and preservation of decades-old media, to form Hammer Studios Ltd. Under the new agreement the iconic library of Hammer Film Productions movies from the 1930s up through the 1970s will be restored and new initiative to produce all-new content based on their already owned IP along with "newly created" ones.
In a statement, Network's managing director Tim Beddows said: "This partnership is a really exciting opportunity to merge Hammer's amazing library with Network's infrastructure. Whilst we work our way through restoring its entire back catalogue for future generations' enjoyment, we're equally excited about the development of new productions from the Hammer canon." Hammer CEO Simon Oakes added: "This new partnership will, for the first time, professionalize the restoration and creation of elements that are essential for distribution of the Hammer library across all media. At the same time we will, with Network, be able to build on the legacy of Britain's most iconic film brand, one that started in 1934 and is alive and kicking in 2021."
According to the report, Hammer Studios will "invest substantially both in restoration and new production development," signaling the new company's intent to capitalize on the treasure trove of films that were made by the Hammer brand.
In the history of film, and particularly the horror subgenre, Hammer signaled a major shift in the tastes of audiencs as well as what studios were willing to put on screen. Developed and released decades after the Universal Classic Monster movies, Hammer blazed a trail with their own franchises that was loosely based on the same novels and character archetypes that Universal had found success with in the 1930s and 40s but with the beginnings of some boundary pushing. Hammer's films routinely featured more graphic violence and even nudity/sexual references.
After the success of their versions of these movies, The Mummy, Dracula, and The Curse of Frankenstein, full franchises for each took off. Hammer's Mummy series would spawn four feature films, while their Frankenstein series would run for seven total movies, and their Dracula series running for nine total movies. Legendary actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee appeared in countless Hammer films over the years, becoming staples of their productions over the course of their careers.