Saturday, October 27, 2018

Happy Horrordays 1: Kate Bush: 'Hammer Horror" (1978)

Today marks the beginning of a bijou series of posts themed around Halloween. Hooray!

Also, today marks the fortieth aniversary of the single release of this little number from Kate Bush.

On Point!

What is there to say about Hammer Horror? Well, just look at it. It's a marvellous slice of Seventies gothpop and, mere months after her debut Wuthering Heights (Hammer is her third single outside Japan) must have looked to the casual observer to be fully setting out Bush's stall as a specialist in supernatural and ghostly turns. In fact, according to legend the song concerns thetrical superstition and an actor assuming the role previously held by a departed friend. So, not really about the Hammer Horrors themselves, and of course, Hammer Studios never did their own version of the song's Hunchback of Notre Dame. But that said, I never really took much stock in the artist;s own description of her songs (some songs off Hounds of Love in particular.)

But that video. Here's la Bush, looking all black and velvety and witchy, with a hooded dancer helping her through some of the more physical moves executioner-style. Bush live is a tricky thing to track down, and in the examples I've seen, it seems our Kate prefered to concentrate on the dancing for this one, and in the Tour of Life footage seems to even dispense with the idea of miming.

Effective, though, and decidedly creepy - especially that last minute throat grab. Good luck getting that on before the watershed in later years, and even now it comes across as edgy.


  1. Excellent stuff - and I really have little to add because I have to confess that I probably haven't heard this song since the 1980s. EXCEPT, I've just had that weird experience of unexpectedly revisiting something I hadn't thought about in decades and discovering that I remembered the entire chorus and musical arrangements. I'd like to think this is the magic of La Bush, combined perhaps with the power of the phrase 'Hammer Horror'. Like the song, it has instant recognition beyond the actual films (and definitions ranging from a cocktail to an unattractive person).
    Sorry, did I say I had little to add?
    I'll finish by paraphrasing another dark haired Goddess's writing and just say: "I bloody love Kate Bush!"

  2. Cheers, Al. There's not a lot not to love, really! Happy fanniversary :)