Here in the states we have been lucky enough to have some awesome horror anthology shows. Of course we all loved The Twilight Zone, but we’ve also had other popular shows as Tales from the Darkside and Tales from the Crypt. And of course us hardcore fans will also recall such shows as Monsters, The Hitchhiker, and The Outter Limits. But over in the UK they had their own little horror anthology series, Hammer House of Horror.
Hammer House of Horror was obviously a product of Hammer Films, the same company that gave us such gems as Twins of Evil, Vampire Circus, Lust for a Vampire and many many more. Their always seemed to be a bit of a higher standard and classy feeling when it came to Hammer films and I believe that transferred well over into the TV show which really we a buffet of horror for fans of the genre. Not two episodes of the series were the same as the subject matter went from werewolves, witches, and ghost to none supernatural episodes involving serial killers, psychos, and more. You knew going into each show that it would be different than the last and that meant at times things could be hit and miss. But unlike the norm with most American based anthology series the shows never seemed to just go for the big twist at the end. The stories as a whole seemed more complete and with their just under an hour running time each episode felt more like a short films rather just an episode.
The lifespan of Hammer House of Horror sadly wasn’t that long. The show gave us 13 episodes from September through December in 1980. While the UK would get a DVD set for the show from ITV Studios in 2002, it wasn’t until last year when Synapse released a five disc set with the complete series that many here in the states even knew about the classic horror show. Each episode came in the set with an introduction from film historian Shane M. Dallmann. If you’ve never gotten the chance to see the series before that really is the best place to start. And if you’re like me, you enjoy all the anthology series you can find.
For those interested in the DVD set here are the features…
– Episode Introductions with Film Historian Shane M. Dallmann
– GRAVE RECOLLECTIONS: A VISIT WITH KATHRYN LEIGH SCOTT – Featurette
– HAMMER HOUSEKEEPING: A VISIT WITH MIA NADASI – Featurette
– Animated Still Gallery