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            Jimmy Sangster

            Biografie

            One of the driving, creative forces behind the legendary Hammer Studios, Jimmy Sangster was born on December 2nd, in Kinmel Bay, North Wales. He began in the film industry as a production assistant at age 16 during WWII. After this gig, he worked as a gofer and assistant projectionist for Norman's Film Services at London's Wardour Street. Subsequently, he became a film magazine loader and clapper boy at a small studio located on Abbey Road.

            At this point, he was drafted by the R.A.F. and was posted to India. After his tour of duty came to an end, he was able to get himself a job as a 3rd assistant director for a low-budget film, that happened to be shooting near his parents' cottage. That film's producer was offered a job with Exclusive Studios, which was to become Hammer Studios. He brought Sangster along with him as an assistant producer.

            Hammer Studios producer Anthony Hinds offered Sangster the assistant director job, which he performed for a while before Hinds and 'Michael Carreras' urged him to give screen-writing a go. His script for the science-fiction film X: The Unknown (1956) proved to be the turning point in his career. His next project was The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), which he wanted to make his own instead of patterning it after the 1930's Universal picture; he was more interested in the role of the creator than that of the creature. Dracula (1958) (aka The Horror of Dracula)followed, which proved to be an even bigger hit for the studio. He then turned out subsequent scripts such as The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958) and The Mummy (1959) and would even write scripts for competing studios such as Blood of the Vampire (1958) and The Trollenberg Terror (1958) (aka "The Crawling Eye").

            By now, Sangster had tired of writing Gothic horrors and entered into a phase of his career where he concentrated on psychological thrillers which would be filmed in black & white. These included Taste of Fear (1961) and Paranoiac (1963).

            Another short-lived phase of his career came when he was approached to re-write a script titled The Horror of Frankenstein (1970). Feeling that it was too much of a carbon copy of his own The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and wanting to put a fresh spin on it, he injected his re-write with much sex and humor. His proviso for the re-write was that he get to direct for once, which Hammer allowed him to do. After "Horror of Frankenstein", he directed Lust for a Vampire (1971), filling in for frequent Hammer director Terence Fisher, after the latter had broken his leg. His final directorial effort was "Fear in the Night"; unfortunately, these three films would prove to be disappointments commercially and critically.

            Around this time, Sangster moved to Hollywood where his screen-writing credits would include Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1972), The Legacy (1978) and Phobia (1980), as well as episodes of such television series as "Banacek" (1972), "Cannon" (1971) and "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" (1974) and some detective novels.

            Sangster retired some time back, maintaining homes in both California and England. In 1997, his autobiography "Do You Want It Good or Tuesday?" was published. Sadly, the legendary writer passed away on August 19, 2011.

            His many years in the business are indicative of the talent of a prolific and much-respected screenwriter, whose films continue to be enjoyed to this day.

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