Film producer and writer;
Born September 19, 1922; Died September 30, 2013.
Anthony Hinds, who has died aged 91, worked in his father's Hammer film business for years, turning out cheap B-movies before he had an idea that transformed the anonymous little company into one of the most famous names in British entertainment.
In the late 1940s they were making film versions of radio shows, such as Dick Barton and PC 49. In the late 1950s they changed tack and made film versions of classic horror stories, beginning with Frankenstein and Dracula. It turned Hammer into a brand as distinctive and successful as Ealing, James Bond and Carry On.
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) cost around £65,000 and grossed about $7million in the US. Hammer made an even bigger impression with Dracula (1958), which reunited Peter Cushing and the towering, sinister Christopher Lee.
Hammer presented a heady mix of sex and violence, Gothic foreboding and Technicolor gore. They shamelessly revived Frankenstein and Dracula time and again and they were joined by an entire mythology of monsters, including the Mummy, the Werewolf and any number of naked lesbian vampires.
The early films were controversial, but the company received the Queen's Award for Industry in 1968, specifically for its contribution to Britain's exports.
The name Hammer suggests a certain menace, but it was Hinds's father's stage name, an abbreviation of Hammersmith, where he lived. William Hinds worked in the family jewellery business (which is still going), but also developed a career as a stage actor, comedian and impresario.
He branched out into films in the 1930s and set up Hammer Film Productions and Exclusive Films, a distribution company that he established with Enrique Carreras.
Anthony Frank Hinds was born in the Hillingdon area on the outskirts of London in 1922. He worked in his father's business briefly before the Second World War, in which he served with an RAF photographic unit in the Far East.
After the war, Hammer was revived as the production arm of Exclusive and William Hinds and Enrique Carreras passed on the running of the companies to their sons. Anthony Hinds and James Carreras began to reconsider their place in the market.
One of their projects was a film version of The Quatermass Experiment, a television serial about an astronaut who returns from a mission and slowly transforms into a blob-like monster. It caused a stir when broadcast in 1953. Hinds spotted the potential for a film and rushed it into production with The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), dropping the E to play up the adults-only X certificate.
Hammer took a further step towards so-called creature features with The Abominable Snowman (1957) and pretty much perfected their formula with Dracula.
Hinds combined the roles of studio executive and producer with that of writer. As John Elder, he scripted more than a dozen films, including The Curse of the Werewolf (1961), The Phantom of the Opera (1962), The Reptile (1966), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) and The Ghoul (1975).
He never courted media or public attention and latterly kept a fairly low profile, eschewing fan conventions, although he did contribute to several documentaries about the studio.
He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
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