Hammer House of Horror was a series of self-contained horror stories produced for UK television by Hammer Films in the very early 1980s (the first episode was broadcast in February 1980). The series applies the classic Hammer gothic style to tales set in (then) contemporary British society with great succcess.

Highlights of the series include "The Silent Scream", featuring Peter Cushing as a pet shop owner interested in human conditioning, "Children of the Full Moon", with Diana Dors as the mother of a werewolf family, and "The Thirteenth Reunion", a glorious tale of... well, it would be unfair to reveal the plot twist.

Another remarkable episode is "The Mark of Satan", a truly unique exploration of paranoia, schizophrenia and possible Satanism, which is quite unlike anything you'd expect from such a series - which was really a simple run of late-night shockers.

Some of the episodes are simply hokum, but each has at least one redeeming feature - if only a nostalgic record of some feature of 80s Britain. The series is resolutely British - grim but good-humored, gleefully gory, and populated by well-defined characters - from Dors' cheerfully evil matriach to Denholm Elliot's increasingly beleagured middle-aged estate agent whose recurring nightmare in "Rude Awakening" is increasingly infiltrated by erotic appearances from his secretary, and shortly thereafter his textbook nagging wife.

The full series is available on DVD in both the US and the UK. The UK version, at least, comes with an informative booklet. The full list of episodes, in order of transmission, is:

  • The House That Bled To Death
  • The Silent Scream
  • The Two Faces of Evil
  • The Mark of Satan
  • Witching Time
  • Visitor From The Grave
  • Rude Awakening
  • Charlie Boy
  • Children of the Full Moon
  • The Thirteenth Reunion
  • The Carpathian Eagle
  • Guardian of the Abyss
  • Growing Pains

Hammer went on to produce another TV series, Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense in the mid-80s, but it drifted away from supernatural themes and was not regarded as a worthy successor.

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