Sunday, 24 October 2010
BBC4: A History Of Horror
A brief heads-up for any UK-based readers: the first two parts of a series entitled “A History of Horror”, presented by writer/comedian Mark Gatiss, are currently available to watch on the BBC iPlayer, and will remain there until, I believe, November 1st.
The first instalment, covering golden age of Hollywood horror, is pretty decent, but the second part, dealing with Hammer and ‘60s gothic horror in general, is bloody wonderful.
Initially I was irked by the fact that, like all current TV documentaries it seems, the whole thing has to be framed as some kind of ‘personal journey’ on the part of the presenter rather than just being a straight history. Thankfully though, Gatiss comes across as a genuine and knowledgeable fan, and manages to communicate the ineffable appeal of these films extremely well, I thought. And more to the point, I was happy to find myself agreeing with just about everything he said, and was overjoyed that he picked out so many of my personal favourites (“Plague of the Zombies”! “Black Sunday”! “Blood on Satan’s Claw”!) for special attention.
There’re also some great new interviews with Roger Corman, Jimmy Sangster, Barbara Steele(!) and Piers Haggard, a beautiful tribute to Peter Cushing, and… well, in short, I’d like to shake Mr. Gatiss by the hand and buy him a pint for making about as good a one hour TV documentary on this subject as could possibly be hoped for.
The concluding episode, covering ‘70s American horror, screens some time next week, and I’m looking forward to it.
For those of you in the rest of the world -- um, sorry, I don't think the BBC streaming stuff works abroad. Maybe somebody might Youtube it at some point...?