Scarier than Brexit
released OUT NOW! 416 pages | Hardback
Author Jonathan rigby
Publisher signum Books
Following 2000’s English Gothic and 2007’s American Gothic, horror maven Jonathan Rigby’s latest surveys European horror cinema – and a strange, wild landscape it is, thanks to less restraint when it comes to sex and violence, and a disregard for logical plotting.
Rigby lavishes special attention on 113 titles, but also discusses general trends and other minor films. All the expected milestones are covered, with names like Bava, Argento, Franco and Fulci looming large, but he also shines a light on obscurities.
An erudite man, he’s fond of using paintings or poems as reference points. He has a mellifluous prose style and a sophisticated vocabulary, replete with terms like “susurration” and “stertorous”.
If there’s a weakness it’s the somewhat arbitrary nature of the book’s parameters. An exclusive focus on France, Italy, Germany and Spain excludes gems like Czech film Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders. And the decision to close in 1983, on the basis that home video caused a drop in production, means deserving titles like Demons and Anguish lose out. All the same, this remains an essential purchase for anyone beguiled by European horror’s unfettered, eroticised feverdreams. Ian Berriman
Also worth a read if you can track down a copy: Cathal Tohill and Pete Tombs’s 1994 book Immoral Tales.