This was the start of the great Hammer Horror films, considered to be their first great Gothic Horror film. England was starting to come into it’s own with fantastic movies at this time, also it’s important to note, that a lot of the truly great stunt performers and second unit directors were coming out of England about this time as well. In 1957, the highlight was on the Curse of Frankenstein where Jock Easton did a lot of the stunts. There were some particularly hairy moments on this film that really helps to put the tension and fear into the horror film.
In the biography, Hammer Horror by Tom Johnson and Deborah Del Vecchio, cameraman Len Harris recalled that the filming posed numerous risks: “We had some near-misses. When Peter Cushing pushed the professor off the balcony, we had part of the floor padded – the part where the stunt man’s head (Jock Easton) should have hit. Well…he missed! Easton also doubled for (Christopher) Lee in the climactic fire. “This was an extremely dangerous stunt,” said Harris. “We had more men with fire extinguishers on the set than you could count! They don’t pay these chaps enough!”
Peter Cushing who played Victor Frankenstein and Christopher Lee who played the Monster, were great friends and went on to do several fantastic movies together with each playing iconic roles opposite each other including; Horror of Dracula (Cushing playing Van Helsing and Lee playing Dracula), The Hound of the Baskervilles (Cushing playing Holmes and Lee playing Sir Henry) andThe Mummy (Cushing playing John Banning and Lee playing the Mummy). The Curse of Frankenstein was directed by Terence Fisher for Hammer Film Productions.
|Stunt man JOCK EASTON takes a flaming plunge, whilst smashing through the skylight window and into the acid bath for Christopher Lee’s creature in THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (Hammer Films 1957) Starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.|
Things to look up (click on item to go to IMDB page or Website):
- Jock Easton
- The Curse of Frankenstein
- Len Harris
- Terence Fisher
- Hammer Film Productions
- Peter Cushing
- Christopher Lee
History of film companies as defined by Wikipedia: Hammer Films is a film production company based in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1934, the company is best known for a series of Gothic “Hammer Horror” films made from the mid-1950s until the 1970s. Hammer also produced science fiction, thrillers, film noir and comedies – and in later years, television series. During its most successful years, Hammer dominated the horror film market, enjoying worldwide distribution and considerable financial success. This success was due, in part, to distribution partnerships with major United States studios, such as Warner Bros.
During the late 1960s and 1970s the saturation of the horror film market by competitors and the loss of American funding forced changes to the previously lucrative Hammer-formula, with varying degrees of success. The company eventually ceased production in the mid-1980s and has since then been, in effect, in hibernation. In 2000, the studio was bought by a consortium including advertising executive and art collector Charles Saatchi. The company announced plans to begin making films again after this, but none were produced. In May 2007, the company behind the movies was sold again, this time to a group headed by Big Brother backers, the Dutch consortium Cyrte Investments, who have announced plans to spend some $50m (£25m) on new horror films. The new owners have also acquired the Hammer group’s film library.