Diabolique launches campaign to restore classic Hammer horror films


Diabolique Magazine is spearheading a signature campaign to request that Warner Bros. restore and release their classic Hammer Horror titles on the Blu-ray HD format. According to a Warner Bros. executive, though unlikely, the possibility does exist for these historic horror films to be fully restored and released on Blu-ray in the near future. So Diabolique has taken the initiative to collect thousands of signatures in order to convince Warner Bros. of just how important this project would be to movie fans.

Diabolique Magazine, has launched a signature campaign to ask Warner Bros to restore and release their classic Hammer Horror titles on blu-ray. Still active as a production company today, Hammer Film Productions was singlehandedly responsible for launching the worldwide horror craze in 1957 with their groundbreaking films, The Curse of Frankenstein and Horror of Dracula. Hammer’s classic horror films from the 1950s – 1970s represent the very fabric of British film history, and Warner Bros holds the rights to Hammer’s most important titles.

According to a Warner Bros executive, though unlikely, the possibility does exist for these historic horror films to be fully restored and release in the new HD medium in the near future. So Diabolique has taken the initiative to collect thousands of signatures to convince Warner Bros that there is great demand for these films among cinefiles. Warner Bros is watching the campaign, thus every signature is important, to ensure that classic horror and other classic titles get restored and released in the HD video format.

In 1957, Hammer Film Productions, a tiny film studio on the banks of the Thames River in England changed the horror genre forever. The Curse of Frankenstein, Hammer’s first Gothic horror film featuring their classic team—stars Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, director Terence Fisher, composer James Bernard and art director Bernard Robinson—was released in the United States by Warner Bros to spectacular box office results. It was the first Frankenstein film in color, and the first to feature Hammer’s signature style: lavish period detail, a bold sexual element and far more gore than audiences were accustomed to at the time. Hammer quickly became a household name around the world and the company still thrives today; their 2012 theatrical release The Woman In Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, became the most successful British horror film in more than twenty years.

Classic Hammer Horror films are a vital part of the horror entertainment genre and of Britain’s cinematic legacy. Currently, Warner Bros owns the rights to 7 of the best and most important titles in Hammer’s significant output. Like the recent restoration of The Godfather by Paramount Pictures, Diabolique Magazine feels these 7 Hammer titles should be scanned, restored in HD, and released on blu-ray without delay, since the film elements continue to degrade.

The 7 titles that Warner Bros. owns rights to include:

  • Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)
  • Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968)
  • Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)
  • Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)
  • Horror of Dracula (1958)
  • The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
  • The Mummy (1959)

“As you will most probably know, I starred in 4 Hammer Movies. I get hundreds of requests from people who are craving blu ray editions. I’m not saying this for my personal gain as I don’t earn a penny from the new blu rays but I know there’s a huge market out there,” stated actor Shane Briant on Diabolique’s campaign page.

“All seven films cry out to be restored on blu-ray so that a new generation of fans (as well as the older generation!) can appreciate the thrills, color and style of Hammer horror at its best. They are not only a huge part of the history of Hammer Film Productions, they are an important part of the history of Warner Bros as well,” stated Bruce G. Hallenbeck, a Rondo Award-winning author.

With this signature campaign, Diabolique also seeks to draw attention to the fact that big studios are reluctant to release more than 80% of their catalog titles on BD due to the expense of scanning and restoration, as well as limited shelf space in stores. Instead, they release a limited group of films that they consider big moneymakers, over and over again. Diabolique wants to demonstrate to the studios that there is demand for culture out there that goes beyond blockbusters, and thus help create a greater diversity in the home video marketplace.

Celebrities like Guillermo del Toro, Bob Burns, Douglas McKeown, Mark Verheiden, Exene Cervenka, Shane Briant, Svengoolie and Chad Crawford Kinkle have all signed the campaign. Diabolique’s goal is to reach 10,000 signatures by April 30th, 2014.

Diabolique is an illustrated, bimonthly print and digital magazine exploring every aspect of horror in film, literature and art. The magazine brings fresh analyses to subjects old and new, foreign and domestic – from ancient folklore and Gothic classics to contemporary film releases and modern literary gems. Each issue is filled with insightful commentary, criticism and engrossing information complemented by photos, illustrations and handsome, full-color design. Past issues have included contributions from such horror luminaries as Jonathan Rigby, David Del Valle, David Huckvale, Paul Murray and Elizabeth Miller.

Click Here to sign Diabolique’s classic Hammer Horror campaign.