Hammer Horror

If you’ve ever been unemployed and faced a day of dull nothingness, where the only useful thing you’ve done all day is change a loo roll, and nearly messed that up, then you’re probably familiar with Homes Under the Hammer.

Homes Under the Hammer is an eerie programme where presenters that look like ex-members of Bucks Fizz and footballer, and Dube inventor, Dion Dublin, take you around creepy abandoned houses and show you harrowing scenes of pink baths and unpointed roofs.

The fat medium one then contacts poltergeist property developers on a plaster oujia board, with the haunting chant of, ‘Have you checked the legal pack?’ and ‘It’s got a lot of potential’, as Dion bangs loudly on his percussive instrument. This stirs the undead to rise out of their crypts and transform characterful properties into generic, ghostly white hotel rooms in exchange for the fresh blood of housing tenants that deathly grey-skinned estate agents happily provide.

It’s sadly missing Christopher Lee but it’s certainly one of the most frightening of the Hammer series. A real psychological sleep wrecker. What’s most disturbing is that the flesh-eating poltergeists are never defeated or stopped in their incessant blood-sucking terror rampage.

Instead they are mawkishly paraded by the possessed presenters, cheered on in their onslaught of knocking down walls and building large patio areas that they’ll subsequently barbecue their unsuspecting victims on. It’s quite gruesome and completes the BBC’s daytime schedule of horror flicks, which also features Escape to the Country, where quiet country villages are seized upon by alien life forms that want to build out-of-period extensions and secure multiple holiday cottages for their retirement invasion.

Then there’s the graphic, sadistic, possession porn of programmes like Cash in the Attic and Bargain Hunt, where an evil bespectacled devil forces people to sell materialist, misery manacles to unsuspecting victims, competing against other unfortunates in order to escape hell and free their souls.

By the end of the day I feel queasy, unsettled and physically shaken by what I’ve seen. I turn off the TV and stare at the walls of my one bedroom flat, with its extortionate rent and lack of antiques. All it has is a big flat screen telly. And I close my eyes and try to dream of a world that has beauty in it, that has hope, that has love, but I’ve run out of toilet roll.

Words: Stan Skinny


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