Hammer Horror Double Bill: Horror of Dracula & Curse of the Werewolf

Christopher Lee as Dracula
Christopher Lee as Dracula

Date: October 26 at 7:30pm
Location: The Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Avenue Santa Monica, CA 90403-1710
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Description: As part of their Halloween horror season screenings, the American Cinematheque presents this double bill of horror classic produced by England's Hammer Fillms. Hammer re-established horror as a profitable genre after a decade of sci-fi flicks; unlike the Universal classics of the 1940s, however, Hammer presented their horrors in vivid color, to make the red blood all the more noticeable. Seen today, the gore seems tame, but the craftsmanship remains impressive, and the films retain their aura of excitement.

1958, Warner Bros., 82 min. Director Terence Fisher and screenwriter Jimmy Sangster's stripped-to-the-basics, expertly paced take on Bram Stoker's popular bloodsucker remains one of the most satisfying, just plain exciting Gothic horror films ever made. From Christopher Lee's revelatory, broodingly romantic performance as Dracula (introducing a sexual frisson to the proceedings) to Fisher's masterful direction, from Peter Cushing's Professor Van Helsing to Jack Asher's atmosphere-drenched cinematography and James Bernard's superb score, this is perfection. One of Hammer's most enduring masterpieces! [35mm]

1961, Universal, 93 min. Director Terence Fisher's atmospheric thriller not only has the distinction of being not only Oliver Reed's first leading role but also Hammer Studios' only werewolf film. And a chillingly fine werewolf film it is, with cursed Reed the offspring born on Christmas Day to a mute servant girl (Yvonne Romain) raped by a bestial beggar (Richard Wordsworth) in the dungeons of the sadistic Marques Siniestro (deliciously depraved Anthony Dawson). Kindly Don Alfredo (Clifford Evans) raises Reed in a good home, but when the sensitive young man reaches puberty and his desires are thwarted, the result is a frenzy of bloody carnage. [35mm]

Discussion between films with Bela Lugosi Jr., publisher and artist Kerry Gammill, editor and screenwriter Sam F. Park, writer Robert Tinnell and special effects artist and filmmaker Mike Hill, who will display Hammer Horror-inspired sculptures. Comic book signing of the Monsterverse graphic novel Flesh And Blood: Book One and Bela Lugosi's Tales From The Grave in the Aero lobby at 6:30 PM!

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