On Monday 17th February I will be giving a talk as part of the University of Sunderland's Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies research seminar series. The talk, entitled "Long time dead?: The British film industry and the horror genre in the early 2000s", will take place at 17.30 in the David Puttnam Media Centre, Room 233. Thank you to Professor John Storey for the kind invitation!
David Pirie famously argued that horror cinema relates to Britain in the same way that the western genre relates to America, and that, as a result of this, the classic British horror films produced by Hammer and its rivals in the 1950s to 1970s were “in no way imitative of American or European models” (Pirie 2008: xv). However, in the 2000s, film producers were skeptical of making British films that were overtly culturally specific, as it was presumed that films might be too parochial to sell to a global audience. The first British horror films that appeared in the twenty-first century were therefore explicitly indebted to “models” of filmmaking that were proving to be popular with overseas theatrical audiences, and, as such, they were cultivated with the broadest markets possible in mind. This talk will consider the industrial factors that led to the “British horror revival” in the first few years of the 2000s, and reflect on specific film cycles and key themes.