Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jimmy Sangster, RIP

Producer, screenwriter and director Jimmy Sangster passed away on Friday. He was 83. His scripts for both Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula (Horror of Dracula in the U.S.) were absolutely essential for the rise of the Hammer Horror aesthetic.

This almost wasn't the case. In Sangster's version of the story, he was approached to write the script for Curse after suggesting several ideas for the studio, even though he wasn't going to be paid for it beyond his role as production manager. After the success of Curse he wrote the script for Dracula, The Mummy, and several other early horror classics for Hammer. In the Seventies, he wrote Hammer's remake of Curse starring Ralph Bates, The Horror of Frankenstein, but only on the condition that he could direct. His main interest was always with psychological and crime thrillers; he also produced most of those scripts including two films with Bette Davis, and directed Fear in the Night with Joan Collins.

He later wrote for U.S. television, including The Night Stalker, Ghost Story, The Six Million Dollar Man and Wonder Woman.

Sangster was one of the last major creative crewmembers from the "golden age" of Hammer Horror. Most recently, director Roy Ward Baker passed away last year.

Read horror media expert Kim Newman's excellent obit for Sangster here.

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