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.
|1948||To the Public Danger|
|1948||Song for Tomorrow|
|1948||Portrait From Life|
|1949||The Astonished Heart (co.)|
|1950||So Long at the Fair (co.)|
|1951||Home to Danger|
|1952||The Last Page|
|1952||Wings of Danger|
|1953||Four Sided Triangle|
|1953||Three's Company (co.)|
|1954||Face the Music|
|1954||The Stranger Came Home|
|1954||Mask of Dust|
|1955||Murder By Proxy|
|1956||The Last Man to Hang?|
|1957||Kill Me Tomorrow|
|1957||The Curse of Frankenstein|
|1958||The Revenge of Frankenstein|
|1959||The Hound of the Baskervilles|
|1959||The Man Who Could Cheat Death|
|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 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