Hammer House of Horror (1980 series)
A series of British and British/American mixed-genre anthology series, mostly produced under the Hammer studios banner, generally mixing crime, spy, and mystery stories with occasional Gothic horror tales. Journey to the Unknown was a 1968 British anthology series produced by Hammer Films about everyday people finding themselves put into unusual circumstances, many of them supernatural in nature. The non-Hammer Thriller series which ran from 1973-1976 (unrelated to the 1960s American Boris Karloff's Thriller), by many of the same writers as the Hammer series, filled the void for this sort of mixed crime/mystery/supernatural genre programming through the 1970s. Hammer House of Horror was a 1980 British anthology series also by Hammer Films, with tales of haunted houses, demons, ghosts and other supernatural wonders. The 1980 series was followed up in 1984 by an Americanized Hammer House of Mystery & Suspense, one of the last successful projects for the struggling movie studio in the 20th century.
- Release Date: 1968 (Journey to the Unknown), 1980 (Hammer House of Horror), 1984 (Hammer House of Mystery & Suspense, AKA Fox Mystery Theater)
- Country/Language: US/UK, English
- Genres/Technical: Horror, Crime, Mystery, Anthology
- Runtime: (generally formatted for a 1-hour television slot)
- Starring: (various)
- Director: (various)
- Writer: (various)
- Producer/Production Co: 20th Century Fox Television, Hammer Films; Chips Productions, Cinema Arts International Production, Hammer Films
- View Trailer: (link), (link)
- IMDB: (1968), (1980), (1984)
- Rated: (not rated) (equivalent of TV-PG for Violence and Adult Content, especially in the 1980 series)
A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:
- s____ (One Tentacle: Debateably Lovecraftian, at best)
Really, not much "Lovecraftian" going on here, beyond the occasional Gothic theme, though the series does include some stories written by some fine contributors to the same sort of horror/fantasy/science-fiction Weird genre that Lovecraft contributed so much to, including Charles Beaumont, Robert Bloch, Oliver Onions. With the two series focusing mainly on crime, killers, and other such conventional horror topics, the suggested episodes listed below only represent the least non-Lovecraftian episodes.
Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.
- Brian Schuck at Films From Beyond the Time Barrier (link)
Synopses of Suggested Episodes
- "The New People" (1968) - A young couple move into the country, and are taken aback by how friendly the locals are, unware that the town is populated by an evil cult.
- "Somewhere in a Crowd" (1968) - A television host spies the same mysterious faces at various accidents where people have died. (A different adaptation of this story appears in Ray Bradbury Theater (1985 series).)
- "The Beckoning Fair One" (1968) - A young artist recovering from a nervous breakdown moves into a house haunted by a beautiful girl, and falls in love with her, overlooking his living fiancee. Based on the Oliver Onions short story "The Beckoning Fair One (fiction)".
- "In Possession" (1968) - A terrified couple becomes trapped in what seems to be a replay of a sinister event that happened in their apartment in the past. (Readapted as "The Uninvited" for Out of the Unknown.)
- "A Distant Scream" (1968) - Lying on his deathbed, an elderly man who has spent most of his life in prison for the murder of the woman he loved is granted a supernatural chance to go back to that fateful weekend and attempt to discover what really happened.... (Readapted as "The Last Witness" for Out of the Unknown.)
- "Possession" (1973) - With the exception of the poor central heating system, a young couple's newly-purchased country house seems ideal. While repairing the pipes, a handyman digs up the cellar and uncovers the body of the home's previous owner, who was murdered twenty years earlier. A séance held in the home reveals something very disturbing.
- "Someone at the Top of the Stairs" (1973) - A young woman and her friend rent a room in an old dark mansion. Soon they become aware of the fact that the other "renters" are a very strange lot, and that there are some very odd goings-on in the house that seem to be centered in the attic.
- "A Place to Die" (1973) - A doctor takes over the medical practice of a village general-practitioner. Upon arriving in their new home, the doctor and his wife receive a very warm welcome from all the villagers. The doctor's wife is at first flattered by the villagers' constant fawning and gifts, but soon becomes wary of their strange ways, and begins to suspect there is something evil in the village.
- "The Savage Curse" (1974) - When his brother vanishes without a trace, an American man goes to his last known location: a remote English village, where his investigation leads him to the mansion of an obsessed Edgar Allen Poe fan and his beautiful and enigmatic niece Dominie...
- "Nurse Will Make It Better" (1975) - A woman is hired to care for a young paraplegic girl at her father's estate. Unbeknownst to them, the woman is a devil-worshiper who sets out to steer the young girl down the path of evil.
- "Witching Time" (1980) - A 17th-century witch uses her craft to transport herself to the 20th century. She brings spine-chilling terror to the present-day occupants of the old farmhouse in which she lived. She puts her mark on the man now living in the farmhouse while his wife tries to save him.
- "The Thirteenth Reunion" (1980) - A controversial and thuggish weight-loss club where the heavier clients meet untimely demises is investigated, revealing the involvement of a cult of cannibals....
- "The House that Bled to Death" (1980) - A couple buy and attempt to restore a battered old house where a brutal murder happened years ago, but eerie and gruesome events lead the family to the house's dark secret.
- "Charlie Boy" (1980) - A carved African fetish with voodoo powers has a dangerous mind of its own....
- "Children of the Full Moon" (1980) - A married couple, lost in the woods, stumble across a creepy mansion and its inhabitants - an overly-kind old women and deadly wolf-children that scour the country-side looking for victims.
- "Guardian of the Abyss" (1980) - Completing a an ancient rite of human sacrifice is the unexpected consequence when an antiques dealer unwittingly buys a mirror with mysterious evil power, and crosses paths with a sinister cult, their hypnotic leader, and a slimy demon trapped in the mirror.
- "In Possession" (1984) - A terrified couple becomes trapped in what seems to be a replay of a sinister event that happened in their apartment in the past.
- "Black Carrion" (1984) - Two journalists search for a rock band that was popular 20 years ago but just seemed to have vanished and was never heard from again. Their investigation leads them to discover more about the band than they bargained for.
- "And the Wall Came Tumbling Down" (1984) - Workmen digging in a building discover the remains of a centuries-old devil cult.
- "Child's Play" (1984) - A family awakens to find themselves trapped in their own home, all windows and doors sealed by impenetrable walls. They desperately try to escape but everything fails. Then the wife notices a bizarre pattern.
Comments, Trivia, Dedication
- Several episodes of Journey into the Unknown were edited together in pairs with extra content (a framing device with a guest host), and released as feature anthology films:
- Journey Into Darkness (1968) hosted by Patrick McGoohan, "The New People" and "Paper Dolls"
- Journey To Midnight (1968) hosted by Sebastian Cabot, "Poor Butterfly" and "The Indian Spirit Guide"
- Journey to The Unknown (1969) hosted by Joan Crawford, "Matakitas Is Coming" and "The Last Visitor"
- Journey To Murder (1971) hosted by Joan Crawford, "Do Me A Favour, Kill Me" and "The Killing Bottle"
Associated Mythos Elements
- TO DO