James Henry Kinmel Sangster
2 December 1927
|Died||19 August 2011 (aged 83)|
|Education||Ewell Castle School|
James Henry Kinmel Sangster (2 December 1927 – 19 August 2011) was a British screenwriter and director, most famous for his work on the initial horror films made by the British company Hammer Films, including The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958).
The son of an estate agent, Sangster was born in Kimmel Bay, North Wales and was educated at Ewell Castle School in Surrey, and Llandaff Cathedral School in Cardiff. He began his film career, aged 16, as a clapper-boy.
After service with the RAF, he worked as a third assistant director on Ealing Studios productions, then joined Exclusive Studios (later Hammer Films) in 1949.
Sangster originally worked as a production assistant at Hammer Films, as well as being an assistant director, second unit director and production manager. After Hammer's success with The Quatermass Xperiment, he was approached to write X the Unknown, to which he replied "I'm not a writer. I'm a production manager." According to him, Hammer Films' response was: "Well, you come up with a couple of ideas and if we like it, we'll pay you. If we don't like it, we won't pay you. You're being paid as a production manager, so you can't complain." Sangster later turned to direction with The Horror of Frankenstein and Lust for a Vampire (both 1970) for the studio, but with far less success. His third (and last) film as director was Fear in the Night (1972), which resurrected the psychological woman-in-peril thriller he had begun with his script for Taste of Fear (1961). All three of the films he directed featured actor Ralph Bates, a friend of Sangster's and one of Hammer's better-known performers for the company during the 1970s.
Sangster scripted and produced two films for Bette Davis, The Nanny (1965) and The Anniversary (1968). His other scriptwriting credits included The Siege of Sidney Street (1960), which starred Donald Sinden and in which Sangster appeared as Winston Churchill. His many television screenwriting credits include Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Movin' On, The Magician, B. J. and the Bear, Most Wanted, Ironside, McCloud, The Six Million Dollar Man and Wonder Woman.
He is also the author of the novels Touchfeather, Touchfeather, Too, Foreign Exchange, Private I (aka The Spy Killer) Snowball, Hardball, and Blackball, all of which have been republished by Brash Books. His other books include the novel Your Friendly Neighborhood Death Peddler, the non-fiction memoir Do You Want it Good or Tuesday? and the 2003 screenwriting manual, Screenwriting: Techniques for Success. In 2019, Brash Books announced the discovery of an unpublished Sangster novel, Fireball, which they will be releasing in 2020.
Sangster died at his home in Kensington, London on 19 August 2011. He was survived by his third wife, the actress Mary Peach; a son from an earlier marriage, Mark James Sangster; and two grandchildren, Claire and Ian Sangster.
|1970||The Horror of Frankenstein||Also producer and co-writer|
|1971||Lust for a Vampire|
|1972||Fear in the Night||Also producer and writer|
|1955||A Man on the Beach|
|1956||X the Unknown|
|1957||The Curse of Frankenstein|
|1958||The Revenge of Frankenstein|
|1958||Intent to Kill|
|1958||Blood of the Vampire|
|1958||The Crawling Eye|
|1959||Jack the Ripper|
|1959||The Man Who Could Cheat Death|
|1960||The Brides of Dracula|
|1960||The Siege of Sidney Street|
|1961||The Hellfire Club|
|1961||The Terror of the Tongs|
|1961||Scream of Fear|
|1962||The Pirates of Blood River|
|1964||The Devil-Ship Pirates|
|1966||Dracula: Prince of Darkness||As John Sansom|
|1967||Deadlier Than the Male|
|1969||The Spy Killer||Television film|
|1970||Foreign Exchange||Television film|
|1970||The Horror of Frankenstein||Co-writer; also director and producer|
|1971||A Taste of Evil||Television film|
|1972||Fear in the Night||Also director and producer|
|1972||Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?|
|1973||Scream, Pretty Peggy||Television film|
|1977||Good Against Evil||Television film|
|1979||The Country Western Murders||Television film|
|1979||The Billion Dollar Threat||Television film|
|1979||Ebony, Ivory and Jade||Television film|
|1980||Once Upon a Spy||Television film|
|1981||No Place to Hide||Television film|
|1981||The Devil and Max Devlin|
|1984||The Toughest Man in the World||Television film|
|1985||North Beach and Rawhide||Television film|