In Search of Lost Hammer Horror Footage
Hammer Films is scouting for lurid lost scenes from its past horror productions.
The horror studio has named the “eyeball” scene from The Curse of Frankenstein, the “tongue-cutting” scene from The Mummy and the extended “throat-slitting” scene from Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell among the gory footage it hopes to unearth for restoration. Hammer has already located the infamous missing material from Dracula’s grisly disintegration scene (pictured) in its 1958 film, and is preparing it for a Blu-ray and DVD release.
Most of the lost clips amount to a few seconds here and there of particularly blood-saturated material censored in the original theatrical releases. Some footage will have been rumoured to exist in foreign prints, such as those distributed in Japan, where censors were more tolerant of blood and guts. Others are known of through stills appearing to capture moments never seen on the screen — and these may never have existed on film at all.
At the Hammer and Beyond blog, however, Matthew Coniam questions whether arbitrarily restoring lost footage makes the films any better, and whether it crosses the line “between legitimate restoration and artistic interference.” He continues:
[Just] what is the definitive, authentic version of a Hammer film? … I suspect that for many behind this project, the definitive version of any Hammer movie is going to be the one with as much tits and blood as possible, regardless of how, when or why such footage was shot.
With (non-severed) tongue in cheek, Matthew titles his article “What am I bid for Hazel Court’s nude scene?”
Head for the comments thread at the Hammer Films blog for fan discussion and more trivia about the lost Hammer horror footage.