Friday, 12 March 2021

Norman J. Warren

Back to the deathblogs yet again, as yesterday morning brought the terrible news that the great Norman J. Warren has passed away at the age of 78.

Surely one of the best-loved directors of British horror films (if not, necessarily, the director of the best-loved British horror films), Warren’s work has always been close to my heart, even though, inexplicably, I’ve never got around to writing about it on this blog.

All five of the horror films he directed between 1976 and 1987 are good-bordering-on-great, full of real charm and ingenuity, and the fact that he and his close collaborators managed to bang them out on shoe-string budgets during a period when the genre had otherwise pretty much disappeared in the UK lends them a very special feeling.

Beyond that though, Warren will also be remembered simply as a thoroughly nice man. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting him myself, stories of his good humour, gallantry and all-round friendliness are legion. (I’d always vaguely hoped I might bump into him one day at a London movie event and get a chance to tell him how much I appreciate his work - but sadly it was not to be.)

Listening to him speak in interviews and commentary tracks is always a joy, even as hearing him discuss the many amazing projects which he tried to get off the ground over the years, only for plans to collapse at the last minute, is pretty heart-breaking.

For readers in the UK, Warren’s work will likely need no introduction (stumbling across 1978’s ‘Terror’ post-midnight on BBC2 and thinking “what the hell is this?!” must have been practically a rite of passage for movie fans in my own age group), but for anyone who needs a refresher, I think we at Breakfast in The Ruins owe him at least a quick career overview/appreciation, which I will post within the next few days, as soon as I’ve had a chance to sit down and write it.

In the meantime though - R.I.P. Norman. I’m sorry I never got the chance to offer you an over-priced BFI pint and tell you that ‘Prey’ and ‘Satan’s Slave’ are tops, but I’m sure that many others said it for me.

1 comment:

Maurice Mickelwhite said...

Oh no, this is sad news. NJW is one of those who really came across as a lover of Horror, as well as a maker. His run was a good one - honestly, couldn't pick a favourite.