KT Cloudbusting -- Kate Bush In Her Own Words

Hammer Horror

The song is not about, as many think, Hammer Horror films. It is about an actor and his friend. His friend is playing the lead in a production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a part he's been reading all his lfe, waiting for the chance to play it. He's finally got the big break he's always wanted, and he is the star. After many rehearsals he dies accidentally, and the friend is asked to take the role over, which, because his own career is at stake, he does. The dead man comes back to haunt him because he doesn't want him to have the part, believing he's taken away the only chance he ever wanted in life. And the actor is saying, ``Leave me alone, because it wasn't my fault - I have to take this part, but I'm wondering if it's the right thing to do because the ghost is not going to leave me alone and is really freaking me out. Every time I look round a corner he's there, he never disappears."

The song was inspired by seeing James Cagney playing the part of Lon Chaney playing the hunchback - he was an actor in an actor in an actor, rather like Chinese boxes, and that's what I was trying to create.

Making the video of ``Hammer Horror'' was the first time I had worked with a dancer. I wanted to do something different with it, using a dancer, and I was sitting in a hotel room in Australia when it suddenly came to me - the whole routine happened before my eyes - and the next morning at 9 a.m. the dancer turned up to start work. We'd never met before, and in ten minutes we were having to throw each other around. He was so inspiring that we did the video that same afternoon. I did it again in New Zealand, when we arrived late, so I went straight into the routine with a dancer I'd never met before who had learnt it from the video. It was the strangest experience - I got to the chorus and suddenly this total stranger appeared behind me doing the routine perfectly. I just couldn't stop laughing, and we had to do about three takes.

In the show I wanted to use the same routine, but I couldn't possibly sing it and dance at the same time, and I thought it was important not to mime it, as I wanted it to be a dance number, totally dedicated to dance, so I could let rip more. It was important that everyone should know that it wasn't a cheat, so I decided to dance to a backing track, and it was the only number in the show that wasn't live. (1979, KBC 3)


*It was quite a complicated story. An actor had a part in a moive but he died on the set, and the current actor was being haunted by the actor before. I was quite enchanted by the whole thing of movies and movie sets and ham actors, and they are very superstitious places as well, theatres and movie people. (????, TWS)

Gaffaweb / Cloudbusting / Music / Hammer Horror