Scarier than Brexit

SFX - - Reviews -

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.

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