Restoring classic horror flicks

Posted by David Konow

It’s a sad fact of life that’s going to become more prevalent as time goes by, but we’re going to be losing a lot of movies because no one is preserving them by keeping the celluloid elements in shape.



There are a number of great tools you can use today to restore movies, and thanks to the efforts of some companies, we’ll probably lose less in the future, but it will still be a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things.

The fact that the negative of The Godfather, one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces of the 20th century could fall into disrepair - which ultimately took the efforts of Steven Spielberg to save it - is utterly astounding.

Now maybe Hammer films aren’t on the same level as Coppola’s gangster epic, but the horror movies they put out are genre classics, and have proven very influential on filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Tim Burton, to name a few.

In addition, Hammer recently had a comeback after many years of laying dormant with The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame.
 
Now the BBC is reporting that Hammer needs help restoring some of its greatest horror flicks, and the production company is asking the fans for assistance. Back in the day, the censorship in England was pretty draconian, and Hammer had to cut scenes out of their films to get their movies played in theaters, much like horror directors have to battle the MPAA in the States.

However, the missing footage may be in other prints that were sent to different countries, and they may also exist in private collections, or at least the company hopes so.
 
Specifically, Hammer’s looking for scenes from The Curse of Frankenstein, where a severed head is dumped in an acid vat, a scene in The Mummy where a tongue is cut out, along with an "under-dressed maidens" scene, a "knife in the neck / snake bite scene" from The Reptile, and more.

So if anyone thinks they may have some of the gory nastiness that Hammer’s missing, get on the phone, e-mail, or Skype to Hammer, and help them make their best known classics even more complete.