America had Lugosi and Karloff, Britain had Cushing and Lee.
British Horror films for the most part were more focused on scary and eerie atmosphere and many are still some of the scariest films of the genre that you’ll see even today. Films like Night of The Demon (1957), The Innocents (1961), Quatermass and the Pit (1967), The Tomb of Ligeia (1964), Witchfinder General(1968) and The Masque of the Red Death (1964).
Some of our most famous horror films were made at the Hammer Studios. In 1955 a film called The Quatermass Xperiment began Hammer’s long success. The British version of Dracula (1958) made a star of Christopher Lee and he and Peter Cushing starred together in the sequels. Cushing and Lee would also star in The Mummy and The Curse of Frankenstein. Later came films like The Gorgon, Taste of Fear, The Witches and recently The Woman in Black and it’s sequel. Hammer films had blood and gore but they had great horror atmosphere too.
What I love most about horror films from my country is the ability to capture a spooky atmosphere, this to me is much more scary than blood, gore and monsters.
There have been many brilliant British TV versions of horror stories too, including The Woman in Black (1989), Whistle and I’ll Come To You (1968) and (2010), Remember Me (2014), The Signalman (1976), The Tractate Middoth (2013) and The Green Man (1990).
There have been many fine horror films made elsewhere but if I want a good ghost story done right, I know I can’t go wrong with those made here at the UK.
We need a good piece on great British horror films and maybe thoughts on Hammer Studios.
There was a fantastic exhibition at the British Library on the Gothic. I'm pretty sure its closed now, but if you're based in the UK it may be worth visiting to pick up some leaflets, or reading some reviews online. A large part of the exhibition centred on Hammer films and their transformations to correspond with social fears. – Aliya Gulamani7 years ago