Just finished reading A New Heritage of Horror: The English Gothic Cinema, an excellent overview of British Horror Cinema, from early Hammer sci-fi horror hybrids, like X the Unknown, right up to The Descent. The backbone of the book is devoted to Hammer, so if you’ve got a mild interest in the films and don't wish read Wayne Kinsey's exhaustive two volume Hammer history, this is a good place to go. The Hammer chapters are particularly good, detailing Hammer’s often turbulent financial partnerships with the big Hollywood studios, Hammer’s approach to the Dracula and Frankenstein mythos, and the battles the studio won and lost with the British censors (who nixed Hammer’s plan to film I Am Legend). Also good chapters on directors like Terence Fisher and Michael Reeves, and Hammer rival Amicus studios. Besides some very slight errors and the omission of the wonderful 1972 chiller Tower of Evil, A New Heritage of Horror is highly recommended for fans of horror and fantasy cinema.
Chapter 1: The Characteristics of English Gothic Literature
'The Tempestuous Loveliness of Terror'
Surrealism and the Gothic Tradition
Horror and the Tyranny of Realism
Chapter 2: The Identification of Hammer
The Hiring of Terence Fisher
The Press Reaction
Hammer and Censorship
Hammer after Frankenstein
The Personalities of Hammer
James Carreras and the American Dimenson
Chapter 3: The World of Terence Fisher
Chapter 4: Approaches to Frankenstein: Fisher, Francis and Sangster
The Frankenstein TV series.
The Last Hammer Frankenstein movies.
Chapter 5: Approaches to Dracula
Chapter 6: Other Approaches to Horror
The Amicus Factor
Chapter 7: Three Satellite Directors
Chapter 8: Science Fiction, Exoticism and Psychosis
A Note on Comedy Horror
Chapter 9: A Renaissance of Themes and Ideas?
Hammer's Last Period
Chapter 10: Towards a New Horror Mythology
Later UK Horror
The New Boom
Filmography and Index
Amazon US link
Amazon UK link