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FRIGHTMARES: Book Review

Posted on: February 20th, 2017

As the author of Frightmares states in the introduction, British horror cinema has been much maligned. Horror is seen as even more of a third class genre than in the United States. There is the expectation that British cinema should be serious high drama. Throwing in the persecution of horror by the BBFC and their censorship of video nasties and you can see why horror has had such a difficult time.

Coverage in the book begins in the 1930s with The Ghoul. As you would expect, there is considerable coverage of the Hammer horror era, with examination of titles such as The Satanic Rites of Dracula. The Video Nasty era was another section of particular interest to me. You will find lots of gems as the author moves through the decades. There were many titles I’d never heard of that I now want to catch up on. From the modern era he takes a look at Dog Soldiers and Eden Lake.

It isn’t an exhaustive book covering everything, but more a look at what the author feels are the most significant films. It is a fairly academic title in that there are lots of quotes and notations. He examines themes and influences on British horror, both political and from other cinema. There are some black and white stills from films. It’s an interesting read but due to the niche nature, possibly not as accessible to all horror fans. I’d say you have to be interested in the subject to enjoy the book fully.

Reviewed by Andrew Tadman. @thebooksofblood.

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