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Peter Hutchings

This is a book about the British film director Terence Fisher. A prolific film-maker with fifty titles to his credit, Fisher’s last film – Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell – was released in 1974, when I was twelve. I was not old enough to see any of the horror films upon which Fisher’s reputation rests when they were first released; for a number of them, I was not even born. I have been

in Terence Fisher
Peter Hutchings

these involves the construction of the horror genre as an important part of a national culture, with links to other aspects of British cinema, to literary traditions and also to a distinctive British character: ‘it may be that the themes relate to certain psychopathological aspects of the English temperament’. 10 The second entails bestowing upon Terence Fisher, Hammer’s main film director, the status of auteur, someone with a vision that transcends commercial constraints: ‘Indeed, once one

in Hammer and beyond
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Author: Peter Hutchings

This book is about the British film director Terence Fisher. It begins by setting the context by detailing Fisher's directorial debut to Hammer's horror production and the importance of the Hammer horror to Fisher's career. Hammer's horror production represents one of the striking developments in post-war British cinema. The book explains some professional and industrial contexts in which Fisher operated and shows how these relate both to the films he made and the way in which these films have been judged and valued. It presents a detailed account of The Astonished Heart, Fisher's sixth film as director, highlighting the benefits and some of the problems involved in thinking about Fisher's career generally in its pre-horror phase. The successful Hammer film, The Curse of Frankenstein, both inaugurated the British horror boom and established Fisher as a film-maker whose name was known to critics as someone who specialised in the despised horror genre. After The Curse of Frankenstein, Fisher became primarily a horror director. The book presents an account of the highs and lows Fisher faced in his directorial career, highlighting his significant achievements and his box-office failures. It also shows Fisher as a director dependent on and at ease with the industrial and collaborative nature of film-making. In a fundamental sense, what value there is in Terence Fisher's work exists because of the British film industry and the opportunities it afforded Fisher, not despite the industry.

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Peter Hutchings

Career overview So far as his career in cinema was concerned, Terence Fisher was always something of a latecomer. He did not enter the film industry until he was twenty-nine years old, he did not become a film director until he was forty-three, and he did not direct his first horror film (the type of film upon which his reputation was built) until he was fifty-two. To a certain extent, he was also a

in Terence Fisher
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Peter Marks

and film comedy, registers his contribution, as does Take Ten: Contemporary British Film Directors (1991). There, Peter Greenaway speaks of admiring Gilliam and fellow Python Terry Jones for their anarchy and irreverence, 4 while Derek Jarman puts ‘glorious Terry Gilliam’s Brazil ’ on a very short list of British 1970s and 1980s films he would keep. 5 By

in Terry Gilliam
Recursive and self-reflexive patterns in David Cronenberg’s Videodrome and eXistenZ
Steffen Hantke

light of the thematic and stylistic consistency of the six feature films he had made since Videodrome , it looks like Cronenberg prevailed by way of sheer stubborn persistence. 1 This is not to say, as Jonathan Crane reads the arc of Cronenberg’s career, that, once upon a time, Cronenberg ‘ was a horror film director’, but now, ‘as Cronenberg’s career has developed, his recent films cannot be so

in Monstrous adaptations
Peter Hutchings

the film that are not identifiable in any other way. The significant thing here is how distant such a reading seems from the sort of film-making associated with Terence Fisher. Horror as a genre has often been associated with non-conventional representations of gender and has attracted film-makers who are themselves gay and/or concerned to explore same-sex desire (in terms of British film directors, one thinks of James Whale

in Terence Fisher
Peter Hutchings

essentially the Baron’s redundancy. Stylistically it is competent but lacks any of the distinctive Fisher touches one finds elsewhere in his work. However, as Terence Fisher’s final film, it does afford him something that so many film directors’ careers have lacked – a quietly dignified exit. Notes 1 Harry Ringel, ‘Terence Fisher: the human

in Terence Fisher
Peter Marks

Making You Laugh , when he launched himself into an area without a track record. With Holy Grail , becoming a film director was similarly marked by his own enthusiasm, and by the lack of others (Jones apart) willing to take up the challenge. But the decision that Gilliam and Jones would direct had economic implications, established film companies refusing to finance the project. Their caution was

in Terry Gilliam
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Gothic television – texts and contexts
Helen Wheatley

television cannot succeed in producing horror. However, unlike King, Waller’s argument centres on the medium’s inferiority to film rather than its inability to surpass the real horrors presented on television: ‘on most television sets, shadows and darkness become murky, textureless areas that lack the ominous blackness so often favoured by horror film directors’ ( 1987b : 159). While the historical

in Gothic television