AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: House of Hammer magazine #13 (1977)

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Comic editor Dez Skinn had conceived of a horror fan magazine called Chiller.  He worked right next to the production offices of Hammer Studios, and after walking past the front door one day he decided to talk to Hammer about licensing their name to use on the magazine.  In the 70s, Hammer Studios was a giant in the horror movie industry.  Their Frankenstein and Dracula franchises were huge hits.  They thought this new Hammer fan magazine was a great idea.  They changed the name from Chiller to The House of Hammer.  The magazine covered new releases as well as old.  Originally it was only going to cover Hammer movies, but it became clear that there would not be enough content so they opened it up a little bit to cover new genre pictures currently in release.  Sort of a prototype Fangoria.  The first issue was published in 1976.

Personally, I’m a big fan of Hammer Studios.  Their gothic horror films are classics.  Especially, like I said, their classic Dracula series with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

In October 1977, The House of Hammer #13 was released. House of Hammer #13 cover As you can see, the cover story was Hammer’s 1966 zombie flick, Plague of the Zombies. There was also a preview of Star Wars as it wouldn’t premier in Britain until Dec 1977. One of the cool things this magazine did was to feature comic adaptations of some of Hammer’s classic movies.  In this issue they adapt Plague of the Zombies.  It’s actually really well done.  The adaptation was written by Steve Moore with artwork by Trevor Goring and the awesome Brian Bolland of Killing Joke and Watchmen fame. Below are the first four pages.  The entire adaptation is about 13 pages, so you’ll have to click through to my Flickr set to see the entire thing.  If you click the first page below (with the movie title), you can read it full size on Flickr then just click the right arrow to move to page two.

Plague of Zombies pg 1 Plague of Zombies pg 2

Plague of Zombies pg 3 Plague of the Zombies pg 4

Later in the magazine is a seven page article that interestingly traces the history of the zombie in movies. It begins with the Voodoo created zombies of Bela Lugosi in White Zombie and goes all the way up to 1974’s blaxsploitation zombie flick Sugar Hill.  It includes lots of good pics as well.  Interestingly enough, I had heard that 1985’s Return of the Living Dead had originated not only the “BRAINS!” part of zombie-lore, but also the “zombies climbing out of the grave” visual.  However, in this article, you clearly see a picture from Hammer’s Plague of the Zombies with a picture of a zombie…crawling out of the grave.

Below are the first 2 pages in the article. Click the first one to see it full size on Flickr and like above you can just click the right arrow to move to the second page. That makes it easier to read.

Zombie article 01 Zombie article 02

The back cover features a color poster for Hammer’s Plague of the Zombies (left). Also check out a black and white still of a zombie from the movie (right).

Plague of the Zombies back cover Zombie

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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

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