Fans of famed British horror staple Hammer Studios are no doubt familiar with the eerie work of composer James Bernard, whose haunting melodies graced more than 20 of the studio's most popular films of the 1950s and '60s.
A native of India, Bernard received his education at Wellington College. Upon meeting Benjamin Britten, who was one of his most beloved musical inspirations, Bernard was taken under Britten's wing and was encouraged by his mentor to study at the Royal College of Music. After assisting Britten for a year, Bernard met conductor John Hollingsworth, who introduced Bernard to the industry that would become his bread and butter for 50 years to follow. In his stint at Hammer, Bernard would score some of the thriving studio's most popular films, including The Curse of Frankenstein and The Horror of Dracula.
Composing the score for the restored Nosferatu (1992) in 1997, Bernard also provided music for a documentary of Universal horror films as late as 1998. In July of 2001, Bernard died in a London hospital of unreported cause. He was 75.