One-Shots and Short Runs: The Black Sheep of Gothic Cinema

  • Barry Forshaw
Part of the The Palgrave Gothic Series book series (PAGO)


Not every film in the British horror genre inaugurated long-running franchises and there are many one-off films which offer very different rewards via the variations possible within a series — perhaps because each of the individual films had to establish its own parameters — and explore them fully within the 105 minutes or so allotted to it; a certain fruitful concentration was inevitable. Even certain mini-series (if that is how one might consider three films) offer illumination here, such as the American versions of works by Edgar Allan Poe, transplanted from the USA and made in England (Roger Corman’s intelligent adaptations The Masque of the Red Death (1964) and the same year’s The Tomb of Ligeia, along with the earlier and less successful The Premature Burial in 1962), which complemented adaptations of Poe by British filmmakers such as Ernest Morris’ The Tell-Tale Heart (1960). These one-offs include bizarre but somehow perversely watchable misfires such as Alfred Shaughnessy’s Cat Girl (1957), Sidney J. Furie’s Doctor Blood’s Coffin (1961) and Lindsay Shonteff’s Dead of Night-inspired Devil Doll (1964), along with some fully realised, imaginative pieces — all offering singular experiences rather than fleshing out elements of over-extended series — with, admittedly, some sense of exhaustion. And the mistakes that the directors of these cherishable films maudits make are often the sand in the oyster that produces the pearl.


Serial Killer American Version Horror Film Black Sheep Narrative Function 
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© Barry Forshaw 2013

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  • Barry Forshaw

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