Hammer has risen from the grave

U.K. horror label back in production game after 30 years

The coffin lid for cult British horror label Hammer Film Prods. has been pried open once again, this time by a group of European investors led by Netherlands-based Cyrte Investments (HR 5/11).

The consortium — which in-cludes such industry players as John de Mol, former Chellomedia execs Simon Oakes and Marc Schipper and movie veterans Guy East and Nigel Sinclair of L.A.-based label Spitfire Pictures — plan to resurrect the dormant label and put it back into production for the big and small screen.

No financial details of the deal, which includes Hammer's 295-title library, were given, but those close to the deal said it is in the millions of dollars.

The new management team is headed by Oakes and Schipper, with East and Sinclair on board as nonexecutive directors with a first-look development and production pact with Hammer.

The newly constituted Hammer group will have shareholder equity and facilities in excess of approximately $50 million, the parties said last week. Oakes said in an interview that the business plan going forward will concentrate on making films under the Hammer banner rather than initially trying to resurrect some of the old titles.

It is the intention "to leverage the initial capital in the near future to provide a significantly increased production financing capacity," the consortium said.

The plan is for Hammer to return to production after more than 30 years "with an active development program designed to emulate the best traditions of Hammer."

Hammer is best known for its gothic horror productions in the 1950s and 1960s.