Welcome!

We’re on LA time and it’s almost midnight, but here’s the very first post on the Hammer restoration blog!

We’re coming to the end of a highly productive two weeks in Los Angeles, in which we’ve been meeting with some of our US restoration partners: Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, illuminate Hollywood (fka HTV) and Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging (MPI). In the US, we are also working closely with Twentieth Century Fox (Hammer’s original studio production partner on a raft of titles in the mid-to-late 1960s) and Thought Equity Motion, but there’s only so many hours in the day!

There’s plenty of exciting news from this trip and we’ll be posting a full report next week when we’re back in London.

Meanwhile, a few things to mention immediately:

Firstly, we have to thank StudioCanal for the exquisite job they did restoring QUATERMASS AND THE PIT. This benchmark title trailblazed the current Hammer restoration project in superb fashion. If you don’t have a copy, you should remedy that right now by clicking here.

Secondly, StudioCanal have recently announced their second restored Hammer title coming to Region B Blu-ray (on March 5th). This is the chilling DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS, restored at Pinewood from 2-perf cut negative, scanned and restored in 2k. DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS will be presented in all its Techniscope glory, in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. And if that isn’t enough, Pinewood have restored the original UK title cards to the film! On top of all that, official Hammer historian Marcus Hearn has produced an all-new half-hour documentary specially for this edition, featuring Barbara Shelley, Francis Matthews, Mark Gatiss, Jonathan Rigby and others. Click here to pre-order.

Thirdly, Hammer and StudioCanal are in the final stages of completing restoration on THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES and THE REPTILE at Pinewood. We’ll post a full report on this soon, with a fascinating in-depth look at the thorny subject of original aspect ratios (for those who care about that kind of thing!).

Finally, and for long-time Hammer fans maybe most importantly, we can exclusively announce that Hammer’s forthcoming “definitive” version of Terence Fisher’s 1958 Gothic masterpiece DRACULA will receive a World Premiere Screening on Saturday 18th February at 3pm at the flicker club as part of the VAULT festival in London. Tickets will be available online here and will go on sale soon.

Recently-discovered footage that was originally cut from the British version has been restored by Molinare to the BFI’s wonderful 2007 restoration courtesy of The National Film Center at The Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. The Japanese footage features an extended and particularly gruesome death scene for Dracula, as well as a moment considered too erotic by the censors of the day.

In total, we will be restoring over 30 titles, and we plan to keep you up-to-date every step of the way, from material selection right the way through to release!

More soon…

88 thoughts on “Welcome!

    • dear stephen, I am very exited about bluray DRACULA but my fear is that it will be region encoded, meaning I won’t be able to see it here in the U.S. Please tell me it will be region A!!!!

        • dear hammer.. I’m very happy the world premiere of DRACULA went well this weekend, but I was disturbed by a comment made by a fan who was there and questioned a hammer associate about the region code for for eventual bluray release. This film is just as popular here in the states as in its native England, and a region B lock would not only disapoint but anger its fans. I think you need to be a bit more open about what the hangup would be for aregion free bluray release as “doing everything we can to ensure” is not very reassuring. Who owns the rights?, is there no distributor to be found (I’d find that difficult to believe).. In short.. what would be the holdup? I’m sorry for being a bit strong here, but I and thousands of Americans LOVE this film.. and have been waiting a long time… Thanks Bill Lettang

          • Hi Bill, Hammer only own UK rights for the 1958 DRACULA (along with THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and THE MUMMY). Warner Bros. own the rest of the world. Warner Bros. have been exceptionally helpful to us in terms of their expertise, materials sourcing & scanning for our overall restoration project, but any eventual US release of either the BFI 2007, or our own 2012, restorations of DRACULA could only come from Warner Bros.

          • dear HAMMER, thank you for responding to my question regarding the rights to l958 DRACULA.. now its up to us US fans to sit back a little and be patient…Bill Lettang

  1. Absolutely fantastic news, absolutely beyond the wildest dreams of any Hammer fan!
    Thanks and congratulations to all concerned.

  2. I hope that the first, original version of ‘The Mummy’ is the one to be restored, for its brilliant musical score, composed by my great teacher, Franz Reizenstein, with such success that star Christopher Lee gave a special television tribute to Reizenstein’s contribution.
    DW.

  3. Im gonna re-ask this: will these blurays be released in region 1 format so as we can enjoy these.over here? You keep saying “international fans” but only have set.uk release.dates…dont tease us.

    • Hi Adrian and everyone else who is asking about US releases of restored Hammer films on Blu-ray, our US distribution partner for these titles will hopefully be announced soon!

      • Don’t get me wrong if I’m correct on this, but I may have an idea who the right US distributor for some of the restored films would be. The answer, Warner! Why?

        If you’ve seen some of the proposed titles on TCM like Rasputin or Plague of the Zombies, many of them do carry the Warner logo maybe when they were aired on MonsterVision on TNT. (TCM and TNT are owned by Turner if you want to get technical).

        Who knows, but I think not only that they will be released on Blu-Ray in the US, but Warner would also have TCM air them Halloween 2012. Just a theory.

        • Hi Lucas, Warner Bros. do indeed own worldwide rights to DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE, TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA, DRACULA A.D. 1972 and FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED along with US rights to DRACULA aka HORROR OF DRACULA, THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and THE MUMMY, however for many of the Hammer restoration titles the US distributor is still unconfirmed (but hopefully will be very soon).

  4. I am interested in finding out if the cuts with the restored footage will be presented alongside the theatrical cuts, which would be my preferred option or on their own.

    All power to your arm with these restorations.

    • Hi Brian, for some titles where there are versions which are substantially different (e.g. THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES) we are definitely considering this!

      • TLOT7GVs in it’s various incarnations would be wonderful. Hope you can get the rights to the Peter Cushing narrated soundtrack album as a nice extra. (While you’re at it the Christopher Lee narrated Dracula one would be wonderful too!)

  5. This is superb news, and starting off with a couple of the best films too (Dracula Prince of Darkness, and Plague of the Zombies) – finally it’s looking like a bright time to be a UK Blu-ray fan! Let’s hope the rights issue doesn’t get in the way in future, with a multitude of studios seemingly owning various titles in the vast library of Hammer films.

    • Hi Paul, you’re quite right about the rights! Some Hammer titles are owned outright by other companies/studios. So far, Eureka have released Hammer/Universal PARANOIAC on Blu-ray (lovely edition) while the Hammer/ITV titles are being restored & gradually released (Synapse Films released VAMPIRE CIRCUS on Region A Blu-ray last year).

  6. Really amazing news! This feels like the Blu-Ray highlight of 2012-2013 for me. I’ll be buying every title that gets released,

    For titles like DRAC PRINCE OF DARKNESS, and others that have already come out on DVD, I hope there’s a way to gather up all the various commentary tracks that were on the earlier (USA and UK) DVD releases. I admit I’ll be buying the
    Blu-Rays, but the presence of the old tracks will make the new discs feel super definitive, as opposed to just super.

    AWESOME news regardless!

    • Hi Anthony, along with STUDIOCANAL, we are endeavouring to source as many original commentaries as possible. We have licensed the Anchor bay DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS commentary featuring Christopher Lee, Suzan Farmer, Francis Matthews & Barbara Shelley and this will be on both STUDIOCANAL’s UK Region B Blu-ray and the eventual US Region A Blu-ray release.

      • “Eventual US region A blu-ray release”, YESSSS, thank you, thank you, thank you, ……….. thank you, thank you, thank you………. ! ! !

  7. What ever happend to the original Dracula (from 1956)?
    This movie is nowhere to be found in the netherlands Or Europe

      • dear hammer, Ive got a packaging idea for the eventual bluray DRACULA. Warner Bros has released some of their titles in digibook and I thought DRACULAwould look great in a Johnathan Harker diary type box with all the pertinet info printed on the removable plastic covering.. more expensive, true, but I think this film is worth it considering the shabby packaging its gotten in the past. Need some cash, E-mail me if you think this could fly.. thanks..
        Bill Lettang

  8. Such incredible news! Having become a fan at the age of 12 (when I caught The Curse Of Frankenstein on channel 4), my appetite for all things Hammer seems to have grown year on year and this is the most brilliant news. I am ridiculously excited to see the new Dracula footage. I hope The Mummy is restored too (with the full legendary tongue cutting scene and topless hand maidens!). Waiting with bated breath for more details. Thanks to all involved!

    • Hi Sam, the restored DRACULA footage (many thanks to Simon Rowson and Molinare, and courtesy of The National Film Center at The Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo) will receive its world premiere screening in London at the VAULT festival presented by the flicker club on Saturday February 18th at 3pm. Details here: http://bit.ly/zmQEnV

      We are currently searching for viable materials for THE MUMMY’s “lost” scenes. If anyone knows of their whereabouts, please get in touch! Thanks.

  9. Great news!
    I will be following your blog, and patiently awaiting news of the Region A (U.S.) release dates.
    I also hope the releases with the extra/restored footage include an option to watch the original theatrical cut also.

  10. These releases will be the closest I can get to seeing these wonderful films at the cinema, first time around. Dracula and DPOD are such beautiful pieces visually – vastly underatted – wear is my cloak?!

  11. This is just fantastic news! I’m so excited! By any chance will you be getting together with Universal or Colombia Pictures? They have the rights to quite a few Hammer titles as well such as Brides of Dracula (Universal) and The Revenge of Frankenstein (Columbia). I’d love to see those restored. If not, that’s fine. I’m happy with what you’re already doing. 30 films over the next few years? That’s amazing!

  12. im so excited!!

    will dracula has risen from the grave be remastered to include the love scenes that Freddie Francis was so upset to have lost from the final print?

    is there a comprehensive list of deleted material that is to included for each tim?

  13. This is absolutely FANTASTIC news. With this Hammer announcement, and the Universal announcement, 2012 is shaping up to be a great year for classic horror and classic sci-fi fans ! ! ! I can’t tell you how great it is that you have also decided to keep a running blog concerning the events with the restoration projects. I must also add, please, please, let those of us across the pond (USA) know asap of any news concerning a USA distributor for the blu-ray renditions of these great classic Hammer horror films, many many thanks, Leon.

    • Hi Leon, glad you like the blog! We will of course let you know soon as we have news regarding US Blu-ray releases (both our own Hammer titles, and those from our partner studios)!

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  15. I wet myself when I heard about this. Any plans to release a blu-ray version of the 21 disc box set? I was just finally gonna purchase it but wonder if I should hang on now?

    • Hi John, the films in the 21-disc Hammer boxset are the Hammer/STUDIOCANAL titles. At least six of these (starting with DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS) will be released 2012 by STUDIOCANAL in the UK on single edition double-play Blu-ray/DVD. The US distributor for these titles will hopefully be confirmed very soon.

  16. Great news! I can’t wait to see more restored Hammer films on blu-ray. I hope they are all released in America as well as Europe. Thank you very much!

  17. So pleased about this great news regarding the Blu Rays its taken time but finaly things are happening. As many of us we have them on Dvd but BD allows us to see the pure quality of these films and how they must have looked when first printed.After recently seeing Studio Canal’s Quatermass BD which is stunning by the way,Im sure these next releases will be mind blowing. Happy Hammer days for 2012..

  18. Great news.Can’t wait to get them.I also hope that other titles getting a restoration like: The Abominable Snowman/Brides Of Dracula/The Curse Of The Werewolf/Dracula Has Risen From The Grave/The Evil Of Frankenstein/The Gorgon/The Hound Of The Baskervilles/Kiss Of The Vampire/The Phantom Of The Opera/The Quatermass Xperiment/Scars Of Dracula/Taste Of Fear/X-The Unknown.Just to name of few.

  19. I can’t tell you how much I would like to be involved in the restoration of some of these films. I do digital restoration work from my home using the Diamant Film Restoration suite.

  20. Webmaster, I am the admin at SEOPlugins.org. We profile SEO Plugins for WordPress blogs for on-site and off-site SEO. I’d like to invite you to check out our recent profile for a pretty amazing plugin which can double or triple traffic for a Worpdress blog and we just posted a video showing the plugin in action. You can delete this comment, I didn’t want to comment on your blog, just wanted to drop you a personal message. Thanks, Rich

  21. great time to be a hammer fan! LITTLE SHOPPPE OF HORRORS is going strong – new HAMMER books every year – new classic HAMMER blu-rays on the way – and THE WOMAN IN BLACK opens next week! I became a fan in the 60′s – never imagined that there would be all this great stuff happening all these years later. looking forward to future blogs from this site!

  22. Hi,
    I was looking forward to Dracula Prince Of Darkness on Blu-ray, but after seeing some images from the new transfer posted on a DVD/Bluray news website has left me very concerned.
    Take a look at the web link below for the images. I really hope those images are not from the blu-ray.
    Looks like excessive noise reduction has taken place and removed all the detail, leaving a blurry mess.

    http://homecinema.thedigitalfix.com/content/id/75038/dracula-prince-of-darkness-uk-in-march.html

    • I’d agree that there appears to be more DNR on this release than on the previous (wonderful) QUATERMASS release. A little less would have been better.

      On the plus side, this is the best that DPOD has looked on any home video format.

  23. I would rather no DNR at all. At the moment, judging by those screen caps it looks like all the money time and effort that was put into this new 4k/2k restoration will all be wasted due to someone’s careless use of the DNR process that has been applied, and doesn’t bode well for future releases.
    Looks like Quatermass And The Pit escaped unscathed though, so I will be picking that one up.
    I am hoping that those awful screen-caps from Dracula Prince Of Darkness are not from the final product that get’s released, but I will be eagerly awaiting for a review of this title.

  24. Apologies if this has already been commented on, and I’m sure we all agree just how amazing all this news is regarding the updates and release of such ‘classics’, but is there even the vaguest possibility that all of this new and exciting interest could convince Mr.Lee to record commentaries for those updated releases? Well, for Dracula, at least???
    Here’s keeping everything crossed!!!

  25. It is great to see Hammer restoring and releasing the back catalogue of classic films on BluRay.

    Are you able to say if there are generally good quality 35mm prints still in existence in the UK? I assume these still reside with Hammer ? Would camera negatives still exist in good condition and be used as source material for Blu Ray release?

    I suspect you can’t comment yet on future releases; but is there good source material for Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb? I know of the existence of a 35mm Technicolor dye transfer print (UK Version) of this film with a private collector if that would help.

  26. As I have seen “7 Golden Vampires” listed as one on the restoration list are Hammer aware:-
    1) Of a rumoured longer cut that Chang Cheh supposedly involved in (extra fight scenes perhaps?)
    2)Fists of Fire documentary from the BBC that I believe can be seen on youtube with behind the scenes of the aforementioned?
    May be worth tracking down for a definitive release as well as the old US dvd’s contents..

  27. Dear Hammer, I’m sorry the blu ray release of DPOD was marred by an audio problem but I must commend you on your quick steps to rectify it. I’ve read some of the fans comments and of course understand their disappoinment but I would hope they would refrain from cruel critisicsms, and work with the studio to get its restorations off the ground, after all, human error is with us forever, but its those who endeaver to correct these errors that seperate the pros from the amateurs… Bill Lettang
    After all, human error will be with us forever

  28. Dear Hammer, Is a Dracula box set on Blu-ray out of the question? Obviously The Brides Of Dracula may be a problem being Universal, but the rest being Warner/Sudio Canal should’nt be. How about it?

  29. Hammer Fans: This may not be the proper place to review DPOD but I’ll give it a whirl. DPOD was a HUGE disappointment to us 58 DRACULA fans. Hammer really missed the boat on this one.. Lets look at why.. First, the Count himself has changed… The wig is wrong and the red lined cape makes him look more like a magician…He’s wooden… gone is what one reviewer called the spidery terror..In 58′s DRACULA Christopher Lee made great use of his hands and thats gone too. The sets are appaling, looks like they brought in Home Depot to do a makeover.. The dank mossy feel is nowhere to be seen and the stained glass windows have crosses in them.. WHEW!!.. AS for rehash, I count several.. Draculas hissing at the top of the stairs and clumsily runing down them to grab Susan Farmers’ arm.. Nowhere near as cool as DRACULA 58.. Leaving the castle (in near daylight) over the bridge.. The sun going down behind the window.. another chase scene with the same score.. on and on.. Here’s a better scenario, DRACULA is revived be Clove from a village virgin.. Van Helsing has gone back to his home town somewhat worn down by all this vampire business.. His now grown daughter to become a bride and Dracula now prepares his revenge.. LEE and CUSHING… thats what is was all about.. I’d like to hear some more comparisons of these two films.. thanks ..Bill Lettang

  30. Okay’ so six titles from the STUDIOCANAL Hammer 21 boxset are to be released this year’ you stated. One already done. Next two titles being The Reptile, The Plague of the Zombies. So far’ all clear. So what will be the further three titles? I’m supposing Rasputin; The Mad Monk, The Devil Rides Out & Frankenstein Created Woman? Can we at least be informed of how the release schedule will pan-out? I would had loved the notion of a title per month, or even 2 every second month. Beyond May’ we have absolutely no idea of when we can expect releases?
    Can’t help thinking you missed a trick. DPOF should had been released beside TPOTZ, whilst RTMM could had been paired with TR as the original double features they were. Please give us’ The Mummy’s Shroud with FCW.
    By the way’ love the packaging and presentation. As these are the definite versions, please endeavour to get as much extras on as possible. There is some fantastic “behind the scenes” footage from FCW, FMBD & HOF. These would sit brilliantly on the eventual release of “Frankenstein Created Woman” maybe as a feature on the overall Hammer’ Frankenstein series. It’s a shame’ a small booklet can’t be produced for each release.
    Would love to know how sales are performing? Hope they’ll be healthy.

    Bye for now’ and Long live Hammer. :-)

  31. I can see from the fans comments on here that they all want information. I too would be eternally grateful if you could let me know of the approximate bluray release of Dracula. Since I heard of the censored material being found in Hong Kong back in October I was hoping for a release. Don’t understand why Hammer have released the sequal DPOD first. But never mind. Have read that the reels of un-restored footage is also going to be put on as an extra. Feel the way to keep everyone happy is to make the releases region free. Don’t know if that is possible, but it would solve some of the headaches. There must be some news of Dracula’s release soon. Please put us all out of our misery.

  32. Let’s not forget Hammer’s committment to these great films. At last a company who cares about it’s archive. Well done Hammer in restoring these great films. I so far have Paranoiac, The Man Who Could Cheat Death and Quatermass and the Pitt in glorious HD, can’t wait for Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula. Your new films are great also. Went to see Woman in Black at cinema and really enjoyed it and I have all of your recent films on DVD or bluray. Long may you continue.

  33. hi hammer just to say i am very happy with the blu ray films you have released thus far. i am also looking forward to buying the future releases. i was wondering if THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA, CHRISTOPHER LEES last outing as this great character which he made his own, is on your restoration and blu ray to do list? i personally like this film ( though it is apparemmently not everyones cup of tea including LEE himself ). i ask as i have the anchor bay dvd release but ( although i believe it was a warner release originally ) i understand the film has fallen into the public domain ( i may be totally wrong here and i am sure if i am someone will rightly correct me! ) hence some rather dubious quality dvds floating around! i for one would be very happy with a properly restored blu ray release.

    • Hammer owns home entertainment rights to DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS in the US. As soon as we’ve confirmed a US distributor the restoration will be released in the US also, hopefully sometime next year.

      • CONCERNING DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS ON BLUE RAY IS IT GOING TO BE EXTRA CUTS IN THE MOVIE OR THE SAME COPYRIGHT BEFORE? BECAUSE THE FILM HAS BEEN SHOWN ON CINEMAX AND IT WAS PRESENTED BY BOTH WARNER AND TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX AND IT SHOWN EXTRA CUTS THAN THE DVD HAS?UNLESS CINEMAX OWNS THE RIGHT,I WAS JUST WANDERING?

        • Hi Brian, DPOD has already been released on Blu-ray in the UK by StudioCanal. The film is jointly owned by Fox, Hammer and WB in the US, so it makes sense that a TV presentation has both Fox and WB idents, WB being the owner of US TV rights. We have no knowledge of additional footage in the US cut. The Hammer/StudioCanal restoration used the original cut neg as source, which was both stored and scanned at Pinewood.

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