Today, the UK’s Hammer Films is still best known for its string of gothic horror films from the 1950s through 1970s (thanks in large part to their frequent appearance on television), but there was so much more to Hammer Films than just genre films and quota quickies. Hammer Films had its origins in 1913 when Enrique Carreras, a Spanish immigrant to the UK, opened a two-screen cinema in London’s Hammersmith neighborhood. He soon expanded from there to create the Blue Halls theater chain. Then, in the late 1920s, Carreras established Exclusive Films as a theatrical distributor. Meanwhile, Will Hinds was performing in vaudeville as the Hammer portion of the “Hammer and Smith” act. In 1932, Hammer (née Hinds) joined Carreras’ distribution business. Then together, in 1934, they established Hammer Films to produce low-budget features to feed Exclusive Films as their primary distributor.
Hammer’s first film, The Public Life of Henry the Ninth (1935) was a comedy followed by the melodrama The Mystery of the Mary Celeste (1936). Hammer produced five films before a production hiatus from 1937-1946. The company was re-formed and production began again in 1947. Over the years, Hammer produced a wide variety of films including action/adventure, comedy, detective, drama, film noir, mystery, period pieces (from dinosaurs to pirates), science fiction, war films, etc. The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), a science fiction drama, was the company’s first film with a horror element and first international success. To capitalize on that success, the studio produced its first gothic horror film The Curse of Frankenstein, in 1956 (released in 1957). The film starred Peter Cushing (a Hammer regular) as the good doctor with Christopher Lee (predating Lee’s more famous role as Dracula) as the Creature. The Curse of Frankenstein grossed nearly 30 times its production cost, ensuring a long string of horror films to follow.
The Hammer treatment, which included full color and lurid detail, was eventually given to all the classic black-and-white gothic horror staples, including Dracula (plus numerous off-brand vampires), the Fantom of the Opera, Frankenstein (and his monsters), Jack the Ripper, Jekyll and Hyde, the Mummy, Twins, Voodoo, and Werewolves. The most famous of these was the series of nine Dracula films starring Christopher Lee as the Count and Peter Cushing as Dr. Van Helsing, beginning with the eponymous Dracula in 1958 and continuing through The Satanic Rites of Dracula in 1974. Along the way, Hammer seemed to run out of ways to revive – and then kill off – the Count. In Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972), they brought the Count to modern times. That may have reduced the costume budgets, but it didn’t help the story telling, and Lee refused to make any further Dracula films after Satanic Rites. Still, the series did give us my all-time-favorite TV plot synopsis: “The vampire count bites a tavern waitress and a monsignor’s niece, then falls on something sharp.
Hammer focused most of its efforts on theatrical feature films. Their only television series was the anthology program Journey to the Unknown (1968). In the early 1970s, as their theatrical business began to wane, they attempted to break into American television. They produced several failed pilots (released theatrically in Brittan), but none were picked up as series. Hammer released its last horror film, To the Devil … A Daughter in 1976 and its last film of all, The Lady Vanishes, in 1979 (produced in 1978).
Hammer was revived in the 1980s and produced two television anthology series, Hammer House of Horror (1980) and Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense (1984) with a total of 26 episodes before going quite once again. Much like its famous Dracula series, Hammer has once again risen from the grave, this time in 2007, releasing eight feature films between 2008 and 2019.
Assembling a Hammer filmography is complicated by its close association with Exclusive Films (nominally a distributor, but credited as the producer of a number of films during the classic Hammer era), its many co-production and co-financing deals, and the American fondness for re-cutting Hammer films to make them fit into a double-bill, with the American distributor claiming a production credit along the way. Many Hammer filmographies leave out The Bank Messenger Mystery (1937), an early Hammer film now lost, and include Chase Me, Charlie (1951), a film that we cannot verify was ever produced. We have done our best to assemble a compressive list of every feature film, theatrical short, serial, and television program that could be reasonably credited to Hammer Films, each referencing its associated EIDR ID.
 Following a similar pattern taking place in the United States at the time, where many of the early motion picture empresarios were immigrants.
 Hinds later changed his name to Hammer.
 Again, following a pattern common to the major US studios that progressed from exhibition to distribution to production.
 Hammer also released seven Frankenstein films between 1957 and 1974.
 Despite what that may do to the plot.
The Hammer Films Filmography
Hammer Feature Films
Hammer Short Films