Jimmy Sangster

Active - 1956 - 2008  |   Born - Dec 2, 1927   |   Died - Aug 19, 2011   |   Genres - Thriller, Horror, Drama, Crime, Mystery

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One of England's top horror film writers and directors of the postwar period, Jimmy Sangster started out as a production manager in the '40s before turning to more creative pursuits. He was lucky enough to hook up with Sir James Carreras (1900-1990), the head of Hammer Films, which became one of the most successful of England's postwar studios, specializing in horror and science fiction material, where Sangster, either alone or in collaboration with others, excelled at the authorship of top-notch scripts. Some of these, such as The Curse of Frankenstein, The Horror of Dracula, and The Trollenberg Terror (aka The Crawling Eye) were adaptations of pre-existing stories and characters, but in every case, Sangster added tantalizing but economical twists of character and action that made them new to audiences -- Curse of Frankenstein and Horror of Dracula started up whole new horror cycles built around Hammer Films and the personalities of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee that ran into the '70s, while The Trollenberg Terror -- which started life as a five-part BBC-TV serial -- became one of the most popular low-budget British science fiction chillers of the late '50s. Sangster later moved into more mainstream chillers, such as Seth Holt's The Nanny, starring Bette Davis, which he produced as well as scripted, and occasionally ventured into action/adventure films, such as Deadlier than the Male (1966), an entertaining but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to adapt H.C. "Sapper" McNeille's post-World War I hero Bulldog Drummond into the James Bond mold. On a still more mainstream level, his co-authored story became the basis for the 1981 Disney comedy The Devil and Max Devlin, starring Elliott Gould and Bill Cosby. Sangster has also written numerous scripts for British and American television, most notably "Horror In The Heights" for the series Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

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