Fresh Blood or Exhaustion?: The 1970s to the Turn of the Century

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


What is the political stance of the British horror film? Initially, despite the bourgeois-baiting shock tactics employed by filmmakers, the genre shares with a great deal of British crime fiction an impulse towards the restoration of the status quo — but only after the latter has been sorely (and excitingly) tested by the eruption of some attractively destructive primordial force. But when that primordial force has been something other than a mindlessly homicidal monster, the destruction of social equilibrium can usually be found within an establishment figure, most often a doctor or scientist, or a member of the aristocracy (routinely perceived as decadent and corrupt — this is virtually a shibboleth of the genre). Ironically, the political stance of many British Gothic films which so upset the more conservative-minded over the years might even be described (for all their iconoclastic feel) as conservative (with a capital ‘C’); an analogy might be found in the mixed signals issued by such right-wing British newspapers as the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail. There is the divided attitude towards the establishment: a certain historical deference set against a nagging feeling that the establishment — though ineluctably and inarguably the natural leaders of society — are wrongheaded and morally bereft, and certainly in need of continual chiding and correction.


Daily Mail Political Stance Daily Telegraph Horror Film Establishment Figure 
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© Barry Forshaw 2013

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  • Barry Forshaw

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