In celebration of Dreamland’s cinematic heritage, The Dreamland Trust is bringing Hammer Film Studios to Margate for the South of England premier of the restored, 1957 Gothic classic, The Curse of Frankenstein (Cert 15), as part of Margate’s Halloween Horror Feast this October.

The matinee premier screening, on Sunday 28 October, includes a presentation and talk by Hammer’s official historian, Marcus Hearn, on the studio’s important place in the history of the horror genre. Formerly an editor at Marvel Comics, Marcus has written for The Times, The Guardian, The Independent and SFX. His numerous books include The Hammer Story, Hammer Glamour, The Art of Hammer and The Hammer Vault.

Hammer Film Productions was launched in 1934 – the same year that Dreamland’s iconic Grade II* listed 2,200 cinema complex was built on Margate’s seafront.  The Dreamland cinema was to become the forerunner for Britain’s super-cinema chain and features in an exclusive, free photographic exhibition at the Harbour Arm Gallery, Margate from Friday 26 October until Sunday 4 November.

Based on Mary Shelley’s 1816 novel, Frankenstein, Hammer’s The Curse of Frankenstein is widely regarded as one of the most important horror films of all time starring Peter Cushing (Baron Victor Frankenstein) who later retired to Whitstable in Kent, and Christopher Lee as The Creature.  Now restored to HD, the film will be screened, at the Theatre Royal, Margate, in its original ‘Academy Ratio’ format (1.37:1). Doors open 12.30pm – programmes starts at 1pm.

Bookings are now being taken at the Theatre Royal Box Office 0845 130 1786 – the Box Office will only be open from 4pm prior to any evening performance and two hours prior to any matinee performance. Outside of these hours you can leave an answer message or email box@theatreroyalmargate.com.

Tickets for the double bill film screening and Hammer Studio talk are £10 per person or £8 concessions. For special rate group bookings email me at jan@dreamlandmargate.com.


Photographer, Sam Bénard, returns to Margate this October to exhibit a selection of his work from an exclusive photo shoot of Dreamland’s disused Grade II* listed cinema complex during the council’s urgent works to the building in 2011.

Never without a camera in hand, Sam is eager to experiment with different styles and techniques producing dramatic and haunting images of empty public spaces and buildings with just a hint of human presence; whether that be in a cemetery in Madrid or Dreamland’s iconic 2,200 seat cinema.

The photographs will be exhibited from Friday 26 October until Sunday 4 November in the Margate Harbour Arm Gallery http://www.margateharbourarm.co.uk/ alongside images from The Dreamland Trust’s archive contrasting the building’s current condition with the elegant 1934 interiors.

The Dreamland cinema replaced a smaller cinema on the site, with this modernist masterpiece opening in 1935. The ‘super-cinema’, designed by architects Julian Leathart and WF Granger, was a tourist attraction in itself, with fans of modernist architecture willing to travel to just stop and stare at the exterior. The cinema’s design would be hugely influential on the development of modern cinema chains across the UK. This free exhibition is open daily between 10am and 5pm.

Other Margate Halloween Horror Feast events include:

Zombieland (Cert 15) drive-in move at the Lido in Cliftonville Friday 26 October http://thefilmfactory.bigcartel.com/ – Fort’s Café will deliver homemade burgers and fries to your car if you pre-order from their menu 2 days before at http://fortscafe.co.uk/. Internal combustion engine and radio essential.

The 10th anniversary of 2 Days Later horror film competition, screening and award ceremony at the Theatre Royal, Margate Saturday 27 October http://www.2dayslater.co.uk/ suitable for over 18’s and the outrageously dressed.

Club Hydropathe’s secret cinema is on Monday 29 October and free family Ghoulish Ghost Stories plus creepy dressing-up competition on Wednesday 31 October at the Tom Thumb Theatre, Cliftonville http://www.tomthumbtheatre.co.uk/.


Works are still progressing, under Thanet District Council’s urgent work notices served last autumn, with the only remaining work being the reinstatement of the concrete windows. The initial window installation has taken place to the Hall by the Sea facade, and was successful, with off-site manufacturer progressing. Further deliveries will be made to enable completion of that façade prior to progressing to the Seafront elevation and curved corned units.

Organ enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that measures have been taken to safeguard the cinema’s historic Compton Noterman organ from any further deterioration under a new urgent work notice.

This Notice includes for the clearing of debris from the chambers and pipes and the completion of a full survey to determine the repair strategy. An order will shortly be place with a well-known local organ expert – who has looked after the Dreamland instrument for many years – to begin the initial survey work.


We need… 

  • Help with the Dreamland cinema exhibition 26 October – 4 November
  • Stewards at the Drive-in 26 October 7pm – mid-night
  • Ushers for The Curse of Frankentein premier screening Sunday 28 October mid-day – 5pm

In return we can offer travel (within Thanet), per diems (where applicable), Margate Halloween Horror Feast tickets and lots of fun!

If you can help us, please drop me an email at jan@dreamlandmargate.com or call on 07722 556926.

Thank you!


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