Hammer Horror’s Dracula rises from the grave… and into UK fashion retail

Whatever language you may see it in, Dracula sort du tombeau – or to give it its English title – Dracula has risen from the grave, offers up a terrifying prospect.

But as bone-chilling as it may sound, it was enough to stir the sensibilities of the horror-loving audience of the late 1960s into theatre seats the world over as they indulged in the latest offering of camped-up blood-smattering from the now iconic British studio, Hammer.

And guess what? Christopher Lee’s enigmatic take on the vampiric legend is about to rise again, this time through a range of high street fashion items slated to hit Topshop and Topman later this year.

The collection will arrive courtesy of Aisle19 Solutions – an up and coming licensing outfit that has just secured the rights to a raft of Hammer Horror IP; a library of material and artwork that dates all the way back the earliest days of the British institution itself.

“We are about to launch a new apparel range at Top Man and Top Shop which is based around the ‘Villains’ trend for this season, highlighting how the huge catalogue of artwork dating back to 1934 can be adapted to current day trends,” Andrew Waller, managing director of Aisle19 Solutions, told Licensing.biz.

The launch will be followed with new lines hitting the clothing racks in the likes of New Look, Pull and Bear in the coming months.

Hammer Film Productions is a British film production company based in London. Founded in the 1930s, the studio rose to success with its vast catalogue of gothic horror films that  dominated the horror film market between the mid 1950s right up until the 1970s. Its visual style has often been regarded as the key influence over the look and feel of some of today’s classic cinematic monsters including Baron Frankenstein, Count Dracula and The Mummy.

On top of this, Hammer also produced a run of science fiction, thrillers, film noir and comedies, as well as, in its later years, television series.

It’s this heritage and cinematic icon status – driving the levels of notoriety its returning stars like Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing went on to achieve in the film world – that Aisle19 Solutions will look to bring to its new licensing programme.

“The absolute key to it is to find partners who will work hand in hand with the brand to build its name and introduce a new generation,” continued Waller. “Hammer really is a heritage brand with a huge amount of brand recognition and assets available to engage existing fans and springboard exciting experiences and content for new audiences.”

Key categories for the Hammer Horror licensing push will be apparel, publishing, gifting, dress-up, confectionery, games and gaming.

Adding to this, Waller has confirmed that the Hammer team itself, the rights owners to an enormous back catalogue of cult TV and filmic IP, is currently working on “new opportunities based around both experiential and live entertainment experiences across the UK.”

“These will support building the brand equity and subsequently support any new licensing programmes.”

While the initial appeal of the range and the IP taps immediately into the continued rise of the today’s pop culture scene on the high street, where retailers like Forbidden Planet are seeing increased demand for the genre, Hammer is also looking to bring a 21st century twist to the tale.

The Hammer Social Media team has already got plans to develop the Hammer brand further through initiatives both online and offline, utilising its wealth of content in gaming through apps or as collaborations with other well-known games.

Waller continued: “Hammer House of Horror is indeed a British institution, but its films and characters are also renowned globally. Our licensing strategy is based around building the Hammer Brand globally by working with best in class licensees in all key categories to develop first class products using a wealth of content available.

“We will develop the Hammer product around both classics and new movies to attract old and new converts to the brand,” he concluded.

Andrew Waller, managing director of Aisle19 Solutions is now looking for new partners for the Hammer Horror brand and can be contacted via www.Aisle19Solutions.com

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