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Use film and TV in my classroom. Read research data and market intelligence. Peter Hutchings Updated: 21 August The Wicker Man Since then, gothic and horror tales have made extensive use of British landscapes, not just as atmospheric settings but also as objects of interest in their own right. Through these fictions a sense of our uneasy relation to the land has become manifest. Instead of signifying our home, and supporting our shared identity, the natural environment has been transformed into a site for anxiety, uncertainty and alienation.
It haunts us, undermines our modern sensibilities, and diminishes or effaces us entirely as figures in the landscape. British cinema has approached this theme in various ways. Here pagan beliefs and practices threaten and often overwhelm modern rationality. Each of the recommendations included here is available to view in the UK.
Borders and peripheral settings loom large in this type of horror, among them deserted beaches, inaccessible islands, and isolated woods and marshes. However, so do apparently more reassuring settings such as, most of all, the village. Indeed it is probably here that British rural horror is at its most unsettling, rendering strange and dangerous what many think of as the ideal community. Quatermass 2 Technological advancement is depicted here as both extraterrestrial in origin and destructive of traditional rural communities.
Village of the Damned However, they also belong to the village. The Reptile The Reptile was shot back to back by Hammer with The Plague of the Zombies, using the same sets and some of the same cast. Colonial secrets lurk in the Cornish countryside, atmospherically presented even though the filmmakers never went anywhere near Cornwall.
Order is finally restored but the conclusion is perfunctory and a sense of unease lingers long after the film is over.
10 great British rural horror films
The Witches The second Hammer film on the list is very different from The Reptile. Yet it is rarely considered as part of that cycle, perhaps because it lacks the iconoclasm and nastiness of some of the later folk horror films. As adapted by Nigel Kneale from a novel by Norah Lofts, its gentility is deceptive, however. The slowly dawning realisation that most of the villagers are accepting of human sacrifice is chilling primarily because the earlier presentation of the village is so conventional.
10 great British rural horror films | BFI
By the time the pagan leader announces that she wants a skin for dancing in, we know that she means it quite literally. Whistle and I'll Come to You What it does feature is someone haunted and terrorised by something, although what that something is remains unclear. Its inclusion here might be seen as a cheat as it was made for British television, but it was shot on film, it has received cinema screenings, and it certainly possesses a cinematic quality. However, the main reason for its inclusion is that it underlines the importance of television in the development of rural horror, especially in the s and s where cinema and television share an iconography and a set of thematic preoccupations.
There are differences between the two media, of course, but looking at them together reveals how pervasive anxieties about the rural actually are. Witchfinder General Set at a time of nationwide witch-hunts during the 17th century, Witchfinder General is a doom-laden film. Here it is not the landscape itself that is the source of unease but rather the savagery of the people who occupy it. This juxtaposition of an indifferent nature with appalling human behaviour recurs in other British rural horrors, but it is never done quite so effectively.
And Soon the Darkness The inclusion on this list of this proto-slasher or English giallo might raise some eyebrows, mainly because it takes place entirely in France. Yet it presents a rural setting as alienating as anything presented in other rural horrors and refracts it through a distinctive English sensibility. One of them vanishes and the other spends the rest of the day trying to work out what happened to her.
And Soon the Darkness presents a rural location in which an inability to speak French puts you in extreme danger. Neither of the English cyclists know the language, and to encourage our identification with them in this foreign land, the film has no subtitles. Blood on Satan's Claw It shares its 17th-century setting and an emphasis on the possibilities of human cruelty with Witchfinder General but that is about all, for here there really are witches and demons on the loose in the English countryside.
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Benefitting from being shot mainly on location, the film is a triumph of the picturesque and the atmospheric. Inasmuch as it has a politics, it is on the reactionary side, with the God-fearing elders putting the young rebellious pagans to rights, but it is more remembered now for its disturbing imagery. Largely ignored on its initial release which, given its distinctiveness, now seems utterly incredible , it has since become a major cult classic of British cinema. What is there to say about this film that has not been said before?
Dog Soldiers Dog Soldiers is a prime example of the new British rural horror, which is much more aware than before that horror is a truly international form. Dog Soldiers might be set in Scotland but it was filmed mainly in Luxembourg and is clearly made with an international market in mind.
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It might show the British Army versus Scottish werewolves and be full of references to English and Scottish culture with a very good Antonioni joke for good measure but it is also looking over its shoulder at the likes of Aliens and Predator and other monster movies. This is still Britain but it is also something else: an isolated rural setting that can play everywhere for everyone.
One name loomed largest, however: that of director Ben Wheatley. Suffice to say, it only makes clear its claim on the canon of rural British horror in its later stages. Kill List More information. This book examines 10 such figures, using their lives to build a narrative of this savage century. There were daughters, wives, mistresses, mothers and queens whose lives and influences helped shape the most dramatic of English conflicts. From Katherine Swynford and Catherine of Valois's secret liaisons to the love lives of Mary de Bohun and Jacquetta of Luxembourg, to the Queenship of Joan of Navarre and Margaret of Anjou, this book explores how these extraordinary women survived in extraordinary times.
Filled with interesting details, this is readable as it is relatable history. Wives, mothers, daughters, sisters to Kings; some even declared witches for the sake of others dogmatic sport. Licence has given them vibrant life. She weaves together the stories of the Red Rose and the White Swan Where Shakespeare made the men immortal, Amy Licence has given these extraordinary women wings to fly.
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For three years he had a succession of mistresses, while foreign princesses lined up to be considered for his queen. Enter Elizabeth Woodville, a widow five years his elder. While her contemporaries and later historians have been divided over her character, none deny her beauty. Conscious of her honour, Elizabeth repelled his advances. Elizabeth has attracted extreme criticism from hostile chroniclers. This enlightening book reassesses the tumultuous lives of the real White Queen and the king she captivated.
As she has done with all her other work, it is brilliantly researched and presents her readers with renewed insight on historical realities occasionally overlooked. She also includes a very original and interesting analysis of Edward's reign as the beginning of the Renaissance in England. You will like this book if you are at all interested in the Wars of the Roses. Go read it.
Her life spanned most of the fifteenth century. Would she indeed have made a good queen during these turbulent times? One of a huge family herself, Cecily would see two of her sons become kings of England, but the struggles that tore apart the Houses of Lancaster and York also turned brother against brother. In attempting to be the family peacemaker, she frequently had to make heart-wrenching choices, yet these did not destroy her.
The question of his reburial has provoked national debate and protest, taking levels of interest in the medieval king to an unprecedented level. While Richard's life remains able to polarise opinion, the truth probably lies somewhere between the maligned saint and the evil hunchback stereotypes. Why did he seize the throne?
Did he murder the Princes in the Tower? Why have the location and details of his reburial sparked a parliamentary debate? This book will act as both an introduction to his life and reign and a commemoration to tie in with his reburial. Entertaining, with a wealth of precise information, she writes a readable history book that is written in an She is not an apologist, but a responsible historian out to give as much information as she can without imposing her own point of view. I will read more of what she's done! I've read 60 or more books on Richard III and his reign, but learned some new info.
An excellent introduction to Richard and the controversies surrounding him. I also appreciate that she distinguishes between historical fact and speculation. Anne curses the killer of her husband and father, before succumbing to his marriage proposal, bringing to herself a terrible legacy of grief and suffering an untimely death.