Hammer Films' blood ran deep in the veins of producer Michael Carreras-his grandfather Enrique was a co-founder of the studio along with William Hinds, and his father James was also an important creative mover-and-shaker there. The independent British studio unleashed a series of audaciously bloody and perversely sexual (for the time) takes on the monster stories tackled earlier by Universal Studios in such classic horror movies as "Dracula," "Frankenstein," "The Mummy," "The Wolf Man," and all of their sequels. The Hammer cycle started with the 1957 movie "The Curse of Frankenstein" with Peter Cushing as the doctor and Christopher Lee as the monster, and "Horror of Dracula," starring a ferocious Lee as Count Dracula and Cushing as Van Helsing. The films were huge successes, bigger than any of the studio's earlier productions, and generated plenty of controversy because of their garish graphicness. Michael Carreras was a pivotal help in making them successes. Carreras's best work was arguably as a producer, although he did eventually turn to writing and directing himself with the films "The Savage Guns" (one of the first "Spaghetti Westerns"), the thriller "Maniac," the supernatural horror "The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb," and the fantasy "The Lost Continent." Carreras directed the action film "Shatter" after the original director Monte Hellman was fired. Michael Carreras died in 1994, although the Hammer horror tradition continues.