Hammer Films - The Icons of Suspense Collection

Hammer Films - The Icons of Suspense Collection
British studio Hammer Films might be best known for the horror movies they churned out throughout the '60s and '70s, but they also tried their hand at suspenseful gems that didn't get quite as much exposure. Nevertheless, this collection of low budget, Hitchcock-like films has one big thing working in its favour: immersive stories that draw the viewer in. The casts in all the movies are relatively unknown, although there will be a few familiar faces to anyone who's watched other British movies from this period. Hammer stalwart Peter Cushing takes the lead in Cash On Demand, a not-very-Christmassy tale of a bank manager whose family is held hostage by a wonderfully manipulative robber. A very young Oliver Reed also shows up on These Are The Damned as the leader of a biker gang, although the plot takes a dramatic and unexpected turn into sci-fi paranoia at the midway point. Never Take Candy From A Stranger is the best and most disturbing film in the collection. It's the story of a child molester who just happens to be the father of a hugely influential businessman in a small community. Originally released in 1960, the storyline was thought to be so shocking that the setting was moved to Eastern Canada in an attempt to convince Britons that it couldn't happen in their towns. Despite its age, it hasn't lost any of its effectiveness as an alarming cautionary tale. The three other films ― The Snorkel, Stop Me Before I Kill! and Maniac ― all rely on those last minute twists that keep the audience guessing, something Hammer always did well. The six movies range from good to really good, making The Icons of Suspense a nicely compiled collection that suggests there are likely plenty of other forgotten films in the Hammer archives that need to be rediscovered. The original theatrical trailers are included as the lone extra. This is not quite as inconsequential as it might initially appear because back then, trailers were more than just a short version of the film. Many current filmmakers could gain some pointers on how to make an audience interested in a movie without revealing the entire plot. (Sony)