Star Archive

Terence Fisher (1904 - 1980)

Sometimes you can get depressed about all the things you haven't done yet with your life. When you're plagued by thoughts that Mozart and Jesus were dead by their mid-thirties and Orson Wells made Citizen Kane before he left his twenties it's comforting to think of life's late starters. Terence Fisher started late, but he made a more significant contribution to cinema that most of his contemporaries. For good or ill. 

Fisher was born in Horsham and entered the merchant navy after leaving school. He was hitting thirty before he entered the film industry as clapper-boy though within three years he was an editor. After a decade of editing he finally got a chance to direct.

He worked steadily, but with the contraction of the industry in the early 50s he found himself working in various low-budget productions for low-rent companies. One of these companies was Hammer. His first film for Hammer was The Last Page in 1952, but it wasn't until The Curse of Frankenstein that he and the studio hit on a world-beating formula.

With its mix of sex and violence in lurid colour, The Curse of Frankenstein was a sensation. It moved the horror film to another level and indelibly associated Hammer and Fisher with the genre. Fisher didn't object to such typecasting. After all, it kept him in work.

The failure of The Phantom of the Opera temporarily severed his connection with Hammer, but he was back a few years later for Dracula - Prince of Darkness and most of the rest of his films were made for Hammer. 

The jury's out on whether Fisher is a true auteur. He considered himself a jobbing film maker with no pretensions towards art, yet the impact of his work is still being felt.

Still from Marry Me!Still from Face the MusicChristopher Lee takes lunchStill from The Curse of FrankensteinPoster for DraculaPoster for The Hound of the BaskervillesPoster for The Mummy

Filmography (as director)

1947 Colonel Bogey
1948 To the Public Danger
1948 Song for Tomorrow
1948 Portrait From Life
1949 Marry Me!
1949 The Astonished Heart (co.)
1950 So Long at the Fair (co.)
1951 Home to Danger
1952 The Last Page
1952 Wings of Danger
1952 Stolen Face
1952 Distant Trumpet
1953 Four Sided Triangle
1953 Mantrap
1953 Spaceways
1953 Blood Orange
1953 Three's Company (co.)
1954 Face the Music
1954 The Stranger Came Home
1954 Mask of Dust
1954 Final Appointment
1954 Children Galore
1955 Murder By Proxy
1955 The Flaw
1955 Stolen Assignment
1956 The Last Man to Hang?
1957 Kill Me Tomorrow 
1957 The Curse of Frankenstein
1958 Dracula
1958 The Revenge of Frankenstein
1959 The Hound of the Baskervilles
1959 The Man Who Could Cheat Death
1959 The Mummy
1959 The Stranglers of Bombay
1960 The Two Faces of Doctor Jeckyll
1960 The Brides of Dracula
1960 The Sword of Sherwood Forest
1961 The Curse of the Werewolf
1962 The Phantom of the Opera
1962 Sherlock Homes und das Halsband des Todes (Ger.)
1964 The Horror of It All
1964 The Gorgon
1964 The Earth Dies Screaming
1966 Dracula - Prince of Darkness
1966 Island of Terror
1967 Frankenstein Created Woman
1967 Night of the Big Heat
1968 The Devil Rides Out
1969 Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed
1974 Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell

 Terence Fisher at Amazon UK

 Terence Fisher at Amazon US