Hammer Films’ Psychological Thrillers, 1950–1972

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About the Book

Hammer Film’s is justly famous for Gothic horror but the company also excelled in the psychological thriller. Influenced by Henri-Georges Clouzot and Alfred Hitchcock, Hammer created its own approach to this genre in some of the company’s very best films. This book takes a chronological, film-by-film approach to all of Hammer’s thrillers. Well-known classics such as Seth Holt’s The Nanny (1965) and Taste of Fear (1961) are discussed, together with less well known but equally brilliant films such as The Full Treatment (dir. Val Guest, 1960) and Michael Carreras’ Maniac (1963). The films’ literary ancestry, reflection of British society and relation to psychological theories of Freud and Jung, architectural metaphor, sexuality, religion, and even Nazi atrocities are all fully explored.

About the Author(s)

David Huckvale has worked as a researcher, writer and presenter for BBC Radio and as a lecturer for various universities in England. He lives in rural Bedfordshire.

Bibliographic Details

David Huckvale
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 204
Bibliographic Info: 26 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7471-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0421-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1  The Uncanny in Les Diaboliques (dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955) 11
2  Echoes and Inspirations in Four Hitchcock Classics 22
3  Houses in The Man in Black (dir. Francis Searle, 1950) 41
4  Misogyny in Stolen Face (dir. Terence Fisher, 1952) 48
5  Narcissism in The Snorkel (dir. Guy Green, 1958) 55
6  Psychiatry in The Full Treatment (dir. Val Guest, 1961) 67
7  The Gothic in Taste of Fear (dir. Seth Holt, 1961) 73
8  Love and Landscape in Maniac (dir. Michael Carreras, 1963) 87
9  Sex and the Dead in Paranoiac (dir. Freddie Francis, 1963) 96
10  Loss and Deception in The Kiss of the Vampire (dir. Don Sharp, 1964) 106
11  Dreams and Visions in Nightmare (dir. Freddie Francis, 1964) 113
12  The Oedipus Complex in Fanatic (dir. Silvio Narizzano, 1965) 122
13  Architecture in Hysteria (dir. Freddie Francis, 1965) 128
14  Domesticity and The Nanny (dir. Seth Holt, 1965) 137
15  Homophobia in The Witches (dir. Cyril Frankel, 1966) 147
16  Doppelgängers in Crescendo (dir. Alan Gibson, 1970) 152
17  The Past in Fear in the Night (dir. Jimmy Sangster, 1972) 160
18  Insanity, Incest and Christianity in Demons of the Mind (dir. Peter Sykes, 1972) 167
19  Peter Pan in Straight on Till Morning (dir. Peter Collinson, 1972) 175
Notes 183
Bibliography 188
Index 191

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “The book is well-written and does an excellent job of not only analyzing the movies as self-contained artifacts but also how they relate to one another…highly recommended”—ARBA
  • “from start to finish, the author delivers smart, insightful readings”—Bookgasm
  • “just when you thought that every aspect of Hammer Film’s prolific output had been covered, along comes this fine book…. [Huckvale’s] writing is first class and he explores his subject matter in great detail”—Destructive Music
  • “a highly useful contribution to the film buff’s bookshelf”—Crime Time