This Friday I take a (very long) train journey to the beautiful Cornwall, where I will be delivering, in advance of my forthcoming book, a guest lecture on British horror comedy at Falmouth University.
I'm very excited about making this trip. Not only will I get to visit Cornall for the first time, but I'll also get to see my good friend Dr Neil Fox again, and meet some of his excellent students.
ABSTRACT: 'BRITISH HORROR IN THE DOGHOUSE'
The first fifteen years of the twenty-first century has seen British horror film production increase exponentially. This ‘British horror revival’ (Simpson 2013) has run concurrent with a variety of shifts that have taken place across British film and film culture. This includes shifts in the increasingly global prominence of British cinema at the international box office; the changing tastes of domestic audiences; and changing critical attitudes to the horror genre, which, for centuries, has been subjected to vociferous criticisms from the popular press and society’s moral pillars.
Horror film producers in the UK have responded to these changes, aided largely by a boom in cheap digital filmmaking technologies, which have prompted the production and distribution of micro-budget genre films, as well as some significant shifts in governmental film policy that have abetted the development of higher-profile horror movies.
In this talk, I will examine the post-millennial return of British horror cinema, and address some of the key themes that have emerged across one of the genre’s most divisive cycles: the slapstick horror comedy. Examining films such as Shaun of the Dead, Doghouse and Lesbian Vampire Killers, I show how recent horror comedies have satirised the social marginality of the assumed male audience of cheap horror films.
Dr Johnny Walker
Senior Lecturer in Media, Northumbria University