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K. J. Donnelly

This chapter focuses on the presentation of pop music on television, specifically the pop promo, rather than the dedicated music television programme. It provides experimentation with a 'televisual unit', whose migratory malleability has led to the development of specialist channels (MTV). The chapter also focuses on appearance on VHS and DVD compilations, as well as increasingly important 'content' on the internet and mobile technologies. The chapter describes a range of music television programmes on British television: from the populist Top of the Pops to the more 'serious' The Old Grey Whistle Test; from the mixed appeal of The Chart Show to the more specialist, lo-fi aesthetic of Snub TV. It traces the development of the pop promo and focuses on some of its more experimental moments. In particular, it focuses on its links with the avant-garde and the implications of translating avant-gardist strategies into such a format.

in Experimental British television
Marnie (1964)
K. J. Donnelly

Hitchcock and Herrmann had a symbiotic and complementary artistic relationship. However, as this chapter contends, rather than necessarily synergic in their understanding of the unified requirements of drama, sometimes their complementary relationship took on a different character. In Marnie, Herrmann’s music attempted to ameliorate Hitchcock’s dark interests, in an attempt to romanticize Hitchcock’s bleak and grotesque story about a psychologist’s fantasy about possessing a disturbed kleptomaniac killer, which includes a deeply disquieting rape scene. The music moves to make these elements bearable, with a ‘sleight of hand’ that misdirects us from the utter darkness and irredeemable characters and obscene aspects of the film narrative.

in Partners in suspense
K. J. Donnelly

British folk horror films have a crucial relationship to the past, where the past has a direct connection with and sometimes a determining effect on the present. However, this form of historicism can be complex and irrational, and significantly different from the ‘historical’ representation of the past dominant in films. This yields an ‘outsider’ history, which seems the antithesis of the officially-sanctioned costume drama past which dominates British cinema and television. Lair of the White Worm (1988) not only has a story where antique legend is brought back into the present, but also depicts the historical past through startling and disturbing tableaux vivants that erupt violently in the present day. A Field in England (2013) is premised upon a narrative of uncertainly allied with the historical depiction of England in the mid-17th Century, during the English Civil War, which remains an ambiguous and troubling period of British history. Both Lair of the White Worm and A Field in England have a malleable sense of time and a magical flavour to historicism. Uncertain time is perhaps partly enabled by the unchanging dimension of space. In both, significance lies underneath the rural landscape and its rendering is in the very materiality of sound and image rather than simply in narrative and representational terms. This landscape is one that bears distinct scars of the past and is wreathed in the ineffable. This chapter will argue that although hearkening back to the past, folk horror films provide particular affordances for understanding the present.

in Folk horror on film
Critical essays on Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock

For a decade from 1955, Alfred Hitchcock worked almost exclusively with one composer: Bernard Herrmann. From The Trouble with Harry to the bitter spat surrounding Torn Curtain, the partnership gave us some of cinema’s most memorable musical moments, taught us to stay out of the shower, away from heights and never to spend time in corn fields. Consequently, fascination with their work and relationship endures fifty years later. This volume of new, spellbinding essays explores their tense working relationship as well as their legacy, from crashing cymbals to the sound of The Birds.

The volume brings together new work and new perspectives on the relationship between Hitchcock and Herrmann. Featuring new essays by leading scholars of Hitchcock’s work, including Richard Allen, Charles Barr, Murray Pomerance, Sidney Gottlieb, and Jack Sullivan, the volume examines the working relationship between the pair and the contribution that Herrmann’s work brings to Hitchcock’s idiom. Examining key works, including The Man Who Knew Too Much, Psycho, Marnie and Vertigo, the collection explores approaches to sound, music, collaborative authorship and the distinctive contribution that Herrmann’s work with Hitchcock brought to this body of films.

Partners in Suspense examines the significance, meanings, histories and enduring legacies of one of film history’s most important partnerships. By engaging with the collaborative work of Hitchcock and Herrmann, the essays in the collection examine the ways in which film directors and composers collaborate, how this collaboration is experienced in the film text, and the ways such a partnership inspires later work.

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Return of the British repressed

The term 'folk horror' has a become pervasive way of describing a wide array of films. The famous trilogy of Witchfinder General (1968), The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971) and The Wicker Man (1973) associates folk horror with the cultural margins of 1960s and 70s Britain, and elicits a fear and fascination with its curiosu rural inhabitants. But although the term is now ubiquitous, few can specify any further what ‘folk horror’ actually is. This collection undertakes an extended discussion of folk horror by considering the special importance of British cinema to it. It defines folk horror as a cultural landscape which brings to the surface what British modernity has repressed. Understanding folk horror this way helps delineate its common stylistic features, its development in British cinema and its place within the wider field of horror. In studies of topics as diverse as folklore, nature, the countryside, drums, English and Celtic history this collection widens the corpus of folk horror, incorporating lesser-known works like the sci-fi Doomwatch (1972), the documentary Requiem for a Village (1975), women’s folk horror and films by more recent filmmakers such as Ben Wheatley. Considering also the cult critical status that continues to make it a living, changing organism, this collection argues for folk horror as a cultural phenomenon, thereby providing an expanded understanding of the genre’s characteristics through which to explore the tensions and contradictions it stages.

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K. J. Donnelly
and
Steven Rawle

The introduction examines the significance and history of Alfred Hitchcock’s partnership with Bernard Herrmann. It also demonstrates the enduring appeal and legacy of the partnership in cinema from the 1970s onwards, especially as Herrmann worked with other directors steeped in the Hitchcock tradition.

in Partners in suspense
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What makes the folk horrific?
Louis Bayman
and
K. J. Donnelly

This introduction places folk horror in the specific context of British cultural history and applies a framework offered by genre studies. This framework suggests the importance of defining folk horror through its central fear: that of the folk themselves. Defining the genre this way allows us to analyse the wider cultural tensions replayed by folk horror’s recurrent themes and stylistic features. In so doing the introduction positions folk horror in relation to scholarship on horror and on British cinema, as well as to traditions of representation of the folk and their cultural landscape. In particular, the introduction considers folk horror to be the expression of a tension surrounding the unearthing of what is usually repressed from more mainstream, official representations of Britain. This unearthing is seen to have a historical and an anthropological, as well as a geographical and an archaeological sense. This final point acts as a springboard to then explain the rationale of the book’s different parts and the summaries of its individual chapters.

in Folk horror on film