Sunday, October 4, 2015

Hammer time.

In 1978, as Britain's Hammer Films was winding down production of their classic line of gothic horror films, British singer Kate Bush paid tribute to Hammer's horror legacy in her song "Hammer Horror." 

Like many Hammer films, the video is more atmosphere than substance, and the song's subject could be a synopsis from Hammer's golden age: the star of a film adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame dies on set, his friend takes the role but feels guilty about it, and then ends up being haunted by the dead actor's ghost. Some friend! It's not like the poor guy killed to get the role. Guess there's just no reasoning with ghosts.

Bush's ethereal soprano lends an appropriately haunting quality to this song, as well as to her many other gothic film-inspired works, like "Wuthering Heights" (written after she saw a mini-series based on the Bronte novel), "Hounds of Love" (which samples the 1957 film Night of the Demon), and "Get Out of My House" (based on The Shining). Although she hasn't released an album since 2011, she often resurfaces after long absences. Hammer Films also hibernated for a long time, but in 2008 began producing horror films again. If everything old is new again, maybe the next Kate Bush album will give the world yet another gothic film-inspired classic.

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