Contrary to what some reviewers of this book say, I’m going to crawl onto the limb of a creepy old tree and say that the author, Sinclair McKay does actually like Hammer Horror films
I find it hard to imagine that anyone would go to the time and effort to write a book about Hammer films while disliking them, so I think he likes them fine. Besides, he’s clearly invested enough time and energy in them to know what he’s talking about,
There’s a flippancy to the book’s tone though, a need to constant make jokes and point out flaws, rather than necessarily extol the virtues. Being a Hammer fan is like being a classic era DOCTOR WHO fan, one loves the flaws almost as much as one loves the good bits. So, we can acknowledge those parts that now look cheesy and crap (and maybe always did look cheesy and crap), even laugh at them, but we don’t necessarily want the rubbish to be the main focus.
All that is to say I enjoyed the book more that some readers, but I just wished it had a clearer view on what was actually good about the films, as well as – and this is the more important point – that it had greater depth. I can’t imagine anyone reading this book who wasn’t already invested in the world of Hammer Horror. But it’s too superficial and skirts over too much to really please those of us who are already invested in Hammer and, since no one else is going to pick up, it made me wonder quite what the intended audience was. I for one would have liked to read more about MANIAC and PARANOIC, the supernatural thrillers of the early 60s – the entire set of which here gets one paragraph.
The whole is breezily written by a man who clearly knows a great deal about his subject and (despite what some online might say) manages a few good jokes. However, Hammer fans – and I can’t see anyone else ever pick this up – will probably be left wanting more.
My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free. A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here!