Thursday, 14 October 2010

A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss (BBC4)

The former star of League of Gentlemen and now novelist and writer on Dr Who and Sherlock brings us a documentary series about Horror movies. This first part looked at the first golden age of Hollywood horror, from the 1920's to the 1950's.

Gatiss openly admits that this series will be about very personal horror movies and he is clearly passionate with the films he discusses, but everything is somehow very dry. You expect such a creative, funny writer to bring some fun to the script, but he doesn't. Instead he delivers information in an overly theatrical way which, I assume, was intended to bring the fun to it, but he came across more like a paedophile museum guide for a school trip. Creepy.

I worried early on that this was just going to be another documentary about the same old films as the first 15 minutes mainly cover Dracula and Frankenstein, but things get more interesting after that with sections on James Whale, Freaks and RKO. By using Darcula and Frankenstein the episode does has an arc as Lugosi and Karloff stories litter the hour and finish it off.

Despite the dry yet perverse delivery this was a pretty interesting hour and I learnt quite a bit; the middle 30 being particularly good. The second episode looks like it's going to cover Hammer although I hope it covers more. And I hope there's more John Carpenter, I want to listen to him talk about Horror, not the (now) 100 year old woman who was in Dracula.

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