In 1980, Hammer Films, the renowned British film company responsible for classic horror movies such as Dracula and The Devil Rides Out, produced an anthology series of 13 short horror stories for television titled Hammer House of Horror. Some well known stars including the legendary Peter Cushing, Diana Dors and Denholm Elliot were brought onboard to star alongside some up and coming stars including Pierce Brosnan and Brian Cox.
Hammer aquired Hampden House, an old manor house in the small hamlet of Great Hampden in Buckinghamshire, for their head quarters. The property was an ideal choice, being in the Hammer Horror tradition of haunted houses with obligatory gargoyles and the like. The house was used extensively throughout the series appearing in many of the episodes and notably for the series opening credits. Nearby Chiltern towns and villages such as Great Missenden, Amersham and Chesham were used considerably for on-location filming.
The series was shown on the British ITV network in 1980, and ran for 13 weeks. Each week provided a new individual story. I can remember watching the first episode ‘Witching Time’ as a 12 year old and being hooked, eagerly awaiting each coming weeks episode. There was something about this series that captured my attention, probably being so young at the time and being allowed to stay up and get scared witless had something to do with it! I’m sure the series is responsible for my love of horror films which continues to this day.
Above all they were great stories of which most still stand up today. The opening music created the atmosphere perfectly. Even hearing it today sends a chill up my spine! The majority of the episodes were filmed around the area that I lived (South Buckinghamshire) and to top it all off I actually watched a scene from ‘The Silent Scream’ being filmed at my local parade of shops in Hazlemere.
Its no surprise then that this happens to be my favourite episode from the series. It featured the great Hammer actor Peter Cushing as Pet Shop owner Martin Blueck, who takes in an ex-convict as his shop assistant only to use him in his grotesque experiment. Another of my favourite episodes has to be ‘The House That Bled To Death’.
In 1997 I manage to see the series once again on the UK satellite channel Bravo. This spured me on to create a website dedicated to the series. Since then interest still remains in the series with many fans expressing their fond memories watching the series as a child, and so over the years since 1997 the website has been improved and updated with new locations found.
On the following pages, I have listed information and images for each of the 13 episodes, giving a brief summary of each story, stills from the episodes, the cast, production information and locations.
Living in the area where the episodes were filmed enables me to provide a comprehensive Film Location Guide which, if you know the area, or intend to visit the area will let you see the locations used in this wonderful series.
There was a follow up series titled ‘Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense’ which unfortunately was widely regarded as an inferior series and did not get televised in the UK as a complete series. Instead some episodes did manage to appear under their own individual titles.
I hope you enjoy looking over these pages. If you have any comments or suggestions then please contact me I’d love to hear from you.