The introductory chapter is written to help position the reader regarding the academic climate that saw the first edition of Hammer and Beyond materialise, to consider some of the book’s omissions, and to assess the state of British horror in the years immediately leading up to, and following, its publication.
PeterHutchings, ‘The histogram and the list:
the director in British film criticism’, The Journal of Popular
British Cinema , 4 (2001).
Isabel Cristina Pinedo, Recreational Terror:
Women and the Pleasures of Horror Film Viewing (New York, State
University of New York Press
Exclusions and exchanges in the history of European horror
Culture (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press,
2013) , 7–8.
For a fuller discussion of this, see PeterHutchings, ‘Resident Evil? The
Limits of European Horror: Resident Evil versus
Suspiria ’, in Patricia Allmer, Emily Brick
and David Huxley (eds), European Nightmares: Horror
Cinema in Europe since 1945 (London: Wallflower,
2012), 13–23 .
Tohill and Tombs, Immoral Tales , 5.
Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend and Hammer’s The Night Creatures
For a discussion of this context, see
Jancovich, Rational Fears .
David Pirie, A Heritage
of Horror: The English Gothic Cinema
1946–1972 (London: Gordon Fraser, 1973) ,
Matheson, Bloodlines , 221.
Cited in PeterHutchings,
Terence Fisher (Manchester: Manchester University
Press, 2001) , 5–6.
Fears , 149
Although this ‘privilege’ is not
universally accepted and in fact has often been challenged, most notably
by producers and screenwriters.
For more on this, see PeterHutchings,
‘Authorship and British cinema – the case of Roy Ward
Baker’, in Justine Ashby and Andrew Higson (ed.), British Cinema – Past and
Present (London, Routledge
side’, Cinefantastique , 4:3 (1975), p. 10.
For more on this, see PeterHutchings,
“‘We’re the Martians now”: British SF invasion
fantasies of the 1950s and 1960s’, in I. Q. Hunter (ed.),
British Science Fiction Cinema (London, Routledge), 1999, pp.
For a fuller discussion of the press response to
Hammer, see PeterHutchings, Hammer and Beyond: The British Horror Film (Manchester,
Manchester University Press), 1993, pp. 4–11.
David Pirie, A Heritage of Horror: The English Gothic Cinema
1946–1972 (London, Gordon Fraser), 1973, p. 50
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.
This chapter identifies some of the cinematic strategies for the visual presentation of the female werewolf. It considers the issue of female violence as it relates to this particular horror monster in terms both of agency and of representation. The chapter focuses on some basic, even mundane, questions that often get overlooked in more straightforwardly ideological analysis, namely 'what does a female werewolf look like?' and 'what does it do?' It is the chapter's contention that a film's posing of, and attempts to answer, such questions informs and shapes both narration and style, and an appreciation of such elements can feed back into and ultimately bring nuance to more ideology-based readings. Horror cinema's female werewolf emerges from this as both more complex and more variegated in her various manifestations than has sometimes been allowed by horror criticism.
The introduction to the first edition sets out the book’s cultural-historical perspective, and explains how it traces the changing nature of British horror from the mid-1940s to the early 1990s, as it constantly sought to redefine itself in the face of social change. Hutchings explains how films of some distinction are identified and discussed through the work. But the worth of British horror does not reside entirely, or even perhaps mainly, in such films. Instead, the genre, or movement if you prefer, the possibilities it offers and all the films it comprises can be seen in total as offering a rich, fascinating and multifaceted response to life in Britain.