Ten Years Of Ter­ror

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Total Recall - Rus­sell Lewin, Pro­duc­tion Ed­i­tor

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.

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