Robert Simpson

Is THIS a Hammer Film? – Debating the criteria for a filmographical study of Hammer Films

Year: 2008

Keywords: ,


Trinity College Dublin
(at time of presentation)

Personal profile:

Authors own website:



See also:



Hammer has established its name as the producer of horror films, primarily between 1956 and 1976, however the company's history goes back more than 20 years previously and their production slate includes a great deal of non-horror material. Despite the vast amount written about Hammer, scholars (Kinsey, Pirie, Meikle, Hearn) still remain in disagreement about which films can/should be regarded as Hammer films. Even Hammer themselves conflict in their claims, with two different current "official" filmographies available to researchers.

This paper draws on ongoing research which has informed both the published filmography on the official Hammer website ( and in the compilation of my own book on the company (forthcoming from Telos).  It seeks to explore the complexitites involved in formulating an accurate and complete list of Hammer films and to break down the confused and misleading area of authorship in light of nearly 80 years of exhibition, production, development and acquisition. It seeks to suggest that there is no such thing as a "typical" Hammer film and that until an authoritative filmography is compiled, we cannot adequately understand the company and its creative development.