**** 'This 50th anniversary celebration will have fang fans revelling in its chatty, perceptive prose.' Metro Hammer Films was in business producing its unique brand of camp Gothic horror films from 1934 until 1979, and struck gold in 1957 with The Curse of Frankenstein. If the "Carry On" films established a thoroughly British brand of lewd innuendo and slapstick comedy, Hammer established an equally British brand of lashings of fake gore, heaving decolletage and plots as creaky as the sets (the Transylvanian mansion was actually a country house in Berkshire) and. Hammer made stars out of regulars like Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, and it gave early screen roles to an unlikely crop of thespians from Denis Waterman to Kate O'Mara. In 2007 the Hammer oeuvre was reissued on DVD - but, as he author makes clear, the true medium for these trashy gorefests is late night TV after you've got back from the pub.
Sinclair McKay has written an often hilarious history of Hammer entirely in the spirit of the films - unafraid to award Dracula Has Risen from the Grave the ultimate accolade of "the drunk person's Citizen Kane", or to compare the worst sets of Dracula's castle to a branch of the Aberdeen Steak House. Sinclair McKay was formerly Deputy Features Editor of the Daily Telegraph. He is now writing a history of the Bond films for Aurum.