BBC - Mark Kermode's film blog

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Major Project: Idea Development

It will shock you out of your seat...

Above, an effective use of low lighting and shadows for the Count's startling first appearance in Dracula.

Jack Asher


As cinematographer for several of Hammer's most memorable productions, he shrouded the studio's gothic horrors in all kinds of fantastical colours, filling the screen with lush purples, reds and greens.

His credits for the studio included The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula (1958), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1958) and The Mummy (1958). His final Hammer horror was The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll in 1960.

Below, a typical Asher green lighting gives a non-realistic, almost fairy-tale-like quality to a scene from The Hound of the Baskervilles. Below that, a similarly fantastic effect is created with a purple spot in The Brides of Dracula (1960).

Terance Fisher


Without doubt the single most influential and talented of Hammer's directors, Fisher was responsible for a slew of the studio's finest gothic horrors, beginning with the Frankenstein-inspired 'Four-Sided Triangle' in 1953 and ending with 'Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell' in 1974.

Fisher was, In his own words, a maker of 'fairy tales for adults', and his best films are notable for their fantastic, fairy-tale-like qualities. One thinks of the hauntingly magical appearance of Count Dracula amid swirling autumn leaves in 'Horror of Dracula' (1958); the Egyptian dream-sequences and vivid hues of 'The Mummy' (1959); the once-upon-a-time quality of the opening scenes of 'The Curse of the Werewolf' (1960), that might easily have been lifted straight from a child's storybook; or the mesmerizing and enchantingly surreal fantasy-world of 'The Gorgon' (1964).

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