Posted by: John Gholson
It’s a bittersweet day to review THE ART OF HAMMER. Right now, as I write this, Hammer’s COUNTESS DRACULA plays in the background, a reminder of the actress Ingrid Pitt, who passed away this November 23 at age 73. It’s one of my favorite Hammers, starring Pitt as an elderly Elizabeth Bathory-inspired murderess who keeps herself young by bathing in the blood of virgins. COUNTESS DRACULA features gorgeous period Hungarian costumes, a brisk pace, and a good amount of Pitt nudity when the German actress was in her prime.
I’m thankful for movies like this (and actresses like Pitt). As a horror fan, they feel like comfort food — fog-ridden tales of evil with exploitative bursts of sex and violence that satisfy the time in which they were made. Hammer horror manages to feel both old-fashioned and shocking at the same time. They deserve to be celebrated, especially in the last days of Hammer’s old guard. The studio lot has been sold off for redevelopment and the truth is that Hammer’s main players are, sadly, not going to be with us much longer. Rest in peace, Ingrid Pitt.