Houses of Horror
Horror aficionado and film buff Matthew Sweet explores the creative rivalry between the two great British horror studios of the '60s and '70s - Amicus taking on the might of Hammer.
It's almost a given that the story of British horror movies belongs to Hammer films. The studio, with its lurid combination of sex and death, lashings of blood and gore, has given it a special stake in British hearts. It made over 200 films such as Dracula and Curse of Frankenstein with a recurring, legendary cast, including Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and its 2007 revival drew heavily on past mystique.
Hammer was the most successful British film company of all time but, throughout its heyday in the 60s and 70s, it did battle with a much smaller, poorer, creative, upstart rival - Amicus films. Amicus was a small British horror studio that pioneered the much loved 'portmanteau' picture, such as Tales of the Crypt and Vault of Horror - each movie a composite of four or five short stories, whose connection is revealed at the end.
Horror aficionado and film buff Matthew Sweet explores the productive rivalry between the two contenders for the heart and soul of British horror, in a blood-curdling tale of low budget, gore spattered one-upmanship that's full of chilling atmosphere and fun.
Producer: Simon Hollis
A Brook Lapping production for BBC Radio 4.