Ten Years Of Terror
It probably isn’t the case nowadays, but back in the day factual film books could play a big part in nurturing a love of the movies. My generation had no internet (thankfully), so the likes of Alan Frank’s Horror Films and Michael Weldon’s Psychotronic Encyclopedia Of Film fired us up and, in some cases, changed us forever. Initially I borrowed film books from the local library and later bought lots, but one that came along in 2001, after my formative period had passed, is my favourite: Ten Years Of Terror: British Horror Films Of The 1970s by David Flint and Harvey Fenton; I consider it the best book ever written on British horror films. Back in the day, some magazine called SFX awarded it five stars in its review.
I’d long loved 1970s Brit horror (I actually have a strange predilection for any ’70s British films), so I knew this book was for me. Many of the films had given me enormous delight in the ’80s on late-night television – illicit after-dark viewings of, say, And Soon The Darkness, Assault, Incense For The Damned or Revenge.
There are great films discussed in the book, and awful ones, but, hey, they’re all from that wondrous, inflation-wrecked, titillating, brown, strike-ridden decade that I’ll always adore. All Hammer horrors are present, obviously, along with the likes of Amicus’s, Pete Walker’s and Norman J Warren’s. Well known, fairly mainstream films covered include The Wicker Man, Alien, The Devils, Polanski’s Macbeth and Hitchcock’s Frenzy. Ten Years Of Terror (great title!) features top quality film criticism with scores of superb photographs, lurid, sexy ’70s promotional artwork that would make your average member of generation snowflake fall out their chair, and bags of interesting info. Agonisingly, I’ve seen all but two of the 143 films listed. Which pair am I missing, I hear you cry. Whispers Of Fear and Face Of Darkness (both 1976), two ultra obscurities that have never been on television or released on video or DVD. (If you are a DVD company, PLEASE get the rights and release them! MY MONEY WILL BE YOURS!) What’s great is that anytime I rewatch one of the films covered I go back to these pages and enjoy the reviews afresh. My purchase has become a sort of living treasure.
Russell, sadly, doesn’t have much interest in modern British horror films.