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Blu-ray Restoration Project for Hammer Titles

Posted January 19, 2012 01:21 PM by Josh Katz

Studio CanalIn a recent announcement, Hammer Films revealed that 2012 will see the first results of a significant effort to restore popular titles in the Hammer library. Spearheaded by Studio Canal, the restoration initiative includes Anolis Entertainment, Pinewood Studios, illuminate Hollywood fka HTV, Warner Brothers, and Cineimage; over the next few years, more than thirty movies will receive newly remastered and restored Blu-ray editions.

Currently, the United Kingdom will benefit most significantly from this news - Studio Canal has already planned the first wave of Hammer Blu-rays in the UK. On March 5th, the distributor will release Blu-rays of Dracula: Prince of Darkness, The Reptile, and The Plague of the Zombies.

In addition, Hammer's press release also indicated upcoming Blu-rays for the following titles:
  • The Devil Rides Out
  • Rasputin the Mad Monk
  • The Mummy's Shroud
  • The Curse of Frankenstein
  • Dracula (AKA Horror of Dracula)
  • The Mummy
Concerning the aforementioned six titles, no further details - including technical and supplementary specifications as well as release dates - are known. The press release does claim that all Hammer films in this initiative will boast "fully-restored HD picture and restored sound...[and] a host of newly-filmed extras, including interviews with cast members. These documentary extras are being produced by Hammer expert and historian, Marcus Hearn author of the recent The Hammer Vault."

Of particular note are the plans regarding the Dracula (AKA Horror of Dracula) restoration. The press release claims that "recently-discovered footage...originally cut from the British version...has been restored...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 [1958]."

Hammer hopes that similarly themed cut material will surface for other pictures and is calling on private collectors in possession of rare Hammer film footage to contact any company involved with this project.

For greater reference, Hammer has started a "Restoration Blog" to chart the ongoing work done in service of their catalog; this link leads directly to the blog.

Again, as of now, the more specific Blu-ray release plans only apply in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, the press release suggests that the restoration involvement of US companies Warner Brothers Motion Picture Imaging and Thought Equity Motion bodes well for North American Hammer aficionados in the near future.









Source: Blu-ray.com | Permalink | United Kingdom United States [Country settings]

News comments (25 comments)



EricJ
  Jan 19, 2012
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Darn...If this was for the US, "Quatermass & the Pit" would be on the short list.

CaptainKronos
  Jan 19, 2012
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I am so giddy ! Hopefully we will get more region A or (better yet) region free releases!

Gosszilla
  Jan 19, 2012
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Rockin' good news! I have been re-visiting Hammer on dvd again, and many of those mentioned (and others that I am hopeful will also come to light--like "One Million Years B.C. from Fox) get me amped! I just picked up the "Quatermass and the Pit" restoration on Blu Ray, which really gives you a glimpse of what to hope for!

NeoMaximuz
  Jan 19, 2012
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YES! First Universal with its Classic Monsters and now this! I'm sure there's still a wait, but it sure is good to hear something's going on!
batlash
  Jan 19, 2012
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This is really good news. Looking forward to their eventual arrival in the US.
buck135
  Jan 19, 2012
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Please god let these be region free.

Bradster
  Jan 19, 2012
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Hi Def Shlock rulz!

AKORIS
  Jan 19, 2012
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awesome!!!! awesome!!!! FANTASTIC!!!! GREAT!!!! WONDERFUL!!! YES!!!! ......yep, I'm a little excited!!! This is THE year for me it seems. The rest of the Bond films, Universal horror films finally getting announced, JAWS, and now these.... cannot wait!!

mjcavinder
  Jan 19, 2012
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restoring older films are from the real working class heros

Mobe1969
  Jan 19, 2012
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Woo yes a Frankenstein title. The Peter Cushing Frankenstein films rock

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PowellPressburger
  Jan 19, 2012
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Owning a Region Free Blu Ray player is sometimes the best thing ever.

Robert Siegel
  Jan 19, 2012
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Wow Josh, Thanks! This is absolutely fantastic news. The Hammer library is full of great horror titles: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, all of the Frankensteins and Draculas and others. I have seen several of these recently on Dish Network and I have to say I was surprised at just how incredible these transfers are. The Blu-rays should be fantastic!
MARKUK
  Jan 19, 2012
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Hope they do the three one the buses movies as well

Arkadin
  Jan 19, 2012
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OMG!
OMG!
OMG!

startrekkin58
  Jan 19, 2012
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I can't wait! I'm a huge Hammer Horror fan! I had most of them on VHS followed by DVD and now hopefully bluray here in the States. I hope they do a real great job with the video and especially the sound, as some of the, shall we say, cheaper films have less than stellar sound quality. I'm especially looking forward to the Dracula and Frankenstein films! Sit Sir Christopher Lee down and interview him for these releases while you still have the chance!

EManT2200
  Jan 19, 2012
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This is absolutely incredible, first an announcement from Universal about their classic horror films, and now an announcement concerning Hammer's classic horror films. The only offset, now it is going to be twice as hard to sit around and wait ! ! ! I hope Universal delves into their 50's horror and sci-fi movies for HD as well, Creature from the Black Lagoon, This Island Earth, Tarantula, It came from Outer Space, Monster on the Campus .............., if we are lucky other companies will soon follow with their great 50's films, War of the Worlds, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Thing, Them, The Blob .................. and on and on, hmmmmmm, am I asking for too much here ?

Alex DeLarge
  Jan 19, 2012
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Though these first three titles aren't my favorite Hammers, still enjoyable and day one purchases for Uncle Alex. But wow, THE DEVIL RIDES OUT on blu, just exciting news:) Hopefully on par with the a/v quality of the QUATERMASS bd.
tom_k35
  Jan 19, 2012
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love the Hammer films, grew up watching them Saturday afternoons.

Looking forward to them especially all the Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing titles!

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Gardenofstone10
  Jan 20, 2012
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Hammer Horror....the best horror

MartinL
  Jan 20, 2012
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Unless this has some implication for future Region A discs (and including Quatermass and the Pit), I'm afraid I can't too excited. I'm not buying a multi-region, expensive blu ray player in order to play a handful of Region B dics. I learned that lesson with a multi-region DVD player.

rockinrick
  Jan 20, 2012
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Hammer Horror film festival look out !

ClasikRok
  Jan 20, 2012
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VERY Exciting indeed! Hopefully we won't have to wait too long to get these in the States!
markjdye
  Jan 20, 2012
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Unless this has some implication for future Region A discs (and including Quatermass and the Pit), I'm afraid I can't too excited. I'm not buying a multi-region, expensive blu ray player in order to play a handful of Region B dics. I learned that lesson with a multi-region DVD player.


LG makes a couple of region-free models for under $200.00.
zombivish
  Jan 20, 2012
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@MartinL - i got my multi-region bluray player for (Canadian) $88 at WalMart - as a secondary player (and to play my off region dvds) it's fine and there's so much great non Region A stuff (like these!) that it was worth it.
mharrison56
  Jan 20, 2012
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can't wait for these HAMMER releases! discovered hammer films in the late 60's - I started collecting them on silent 8mm - then video tape - then laserdisc - then dvd - and now blu-ray!!! I remember paying $60.00 for a vhs tape of HORROR OF DRACULA back in the mid 80's! I'm happy that the blu-rays are less expensive!


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