A unified push to get the Hammer Films library restored is currently underway with over 30 titles making their way to HD, thanks to Studiocanal and the various U.S. studios that own the rights to the movies made by the UK’s house of horror. Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures are all involved in this endeavor.
Dracula Prince of Darkness is the first title scheduled for release in the global restoration project and will be released in the UK in conjunction with Studiocanal in March 2012.
The partnership continues throughout the spring for the releases of The Reptile and The Plague of the Zombies, and will also include The Devil Rides Out, Rasputin the Mad Monk and The Mummy’s Shroud during the course of the year.
Hammer will also release definitive versions of its three hugely-influential original Gothic classics in the UK: The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy.
As well as featuring a fully-restored HD picture and restored sound, the remastered films will boast 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.
Pinewood Studios carried out the restoration of the first three Studiocanal titles after housing the original negatives for the films, restoring the original UK title sequence to The Plague of the Zombies as well as the UK title cards to Dracula Prince of Darkness.
Recently-discovered footage that was originally cut from the British version of Dracula has been restored by Molinare to the BFI’s 2007 restoration 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.
Following the discovery and restoration of the Japanese footage to Dracula, Hammer is keen to unearth further “lost” scenes and on-set footage from The Curse of Frankenstein, The Mummy and other titles in their library, and hope that any private collectors with viable unseen elements will contact the company.
In addition, Hammer will regularly be posting to a “Restoration Blog”, which will give a unique insider’s view on the entire process, from material selection right the way through to release. The blog can be followed at HammerFilms.com.
Other companies involved in the restoration project include Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging and Thought Equity Motion in the US and Cineimage and Deluxe 142 in the UK.
Simon Oakes, President and CEO of Hammer commented, “Our decision to restore some of Hammer’s most famous titles not only allows existing fans to experience the films again in high definition, but also encourages a new global audience to discover Hammer for the first time – especially as we get ready to release our next exciting new Hammer project The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe. We have a busy year ahead but are confident that our Blu-ray plans will ensure that Hammer’s legacy will live on for generations to come.”
Source: Hammer Films