on from the release of Beyond the Rave via social networking website
MySpace earlier this year, Hammer have announced the commencement of production
on their first proper film for over 30 years. A link to the press release
is to the right. Hammer have also published an exclusive interview on their
Wood was revealed as a forthcoming Hammer project in an article in Variety
on June 20th this year. According to the Variety
article, Hammer chief executive Simon Oakes said "Those
earlier Hammer films were very much of their time, and there is a lot of
affection for them, but we have to keep up with audiences' expectations today...
I like to think of ourselves now as dealing more in the Hitchcockian areas of
terror and suspense."
A little digging reveals that
The Wake Wood has been in development for some time, with the Irish-based
production originally scheduled to be made by Dublin-based independent Fantastic
Films (whose previous films include The Wilderness), with involvement
from The Irish Film Board and Hammer Films. In fact, unofficialhammerfilms.com
is ashamed to say (we're based in Ireland ourselves...) that we'd missed an
article in the Donegal Post on 15th May (see
here) which revealed that the production crew had been in the area around
Pettigo for three weeks previously, finalising locations and arrangements. The
production was put on hold in May owing to some issues with the script, and
according to production manager Kathleen Dore "We’re definitely coming back.
We’ll be back in July to continue the preparatory work and filming will start in
“There was a realisation that the long summer evenings are not ideal for
a horror movie. We need the darker nights. You could say Pettigo isn’t spooky
enough at this time of year.”
The announcement that
production is now under way should therefore come as no surprise, as filming has
been planned for several months now.
The article in the Donegal
Post also provides details of some figures relating to the production. There
are some 55 members of the production crew and cast booked into accomodation in
the area, and budget has been set at 1 million Euros (about £800,000 - twice the
budget of Beyond the Rave, but still well below most low-budget films
funding). It is not known currently if production will still be based around the
rural village, but filming is underway in Dongeal as of today.
Following on from the casting
of Nora-Jane Noone and Jamie Dornan in Beyond the Rave, and the strong
Irish cast and crew on The Wake Wood (including Aidan Gillen and Eva
Birthistle), it seems as if Hammer has developed
a real affection for Ireland...
Of course, this isn't the first
time they've come to the island either, with Ireland having featured in several
shorts from the Hammer/Exclusive era, and with both Sword of Sherwood Forest
and The Viking Queen having been filmed near Dublin. Anyone interested in
Hammer's Irish connections should seek out a copy of Film Ireland issue
119 which features a lengthy article on the subject by unofficialhammerfilms
editor Robert J.E. Simpson. Back issues are available from
Fans who remained sceptical
about Hammer's return, disregarding Beyond the Rave because of its serial
nature may take some comfort in the fact that this is a real film, and geared up
for a cinema release sometime in 2009. We'll be following the production closely
over the coming months.