Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hammer vs AIP

In the sixties, the top horror studio in America wasn't the monster packed Universal - it was the period Poe chiller studio American International Pictures (AIP for short). They created the gems House of Usher, Pit and the Pendulum, Masque of the Red Death, and pretty much every other Corman-Price-Poe flick. They also made other, lesser known horror films (Witchfinder General - later passed off as The Conqueror Worm to make it "connected to the Poe Cycle," although it wasn't based on ANY Poe story - is a classic horror film. Corman didn't direct it, but Price starred.). They frequently used Price.

In England, the unchallenged horror studio was undoubtedly Hammer, creating the elegant (but filled-with-monsters) films Curse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula, and the lesser-known - but still good - Phantom of the Opera. They also weaved some terrible tales of their own. Their most frequent actor was Peter Cushing, who usually didn't play the monster - that spot was, under most circumstances, reserved for Christopher Lee.

Price and Lee are great actors (they starred together in another not-at-all-based-on-Poe film The Oblong Box. Corman didn't direct here, either.). Hammer was the English horror studio; AIP, the American. Neither is better. It's apples and oranges.

I like both.

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