LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Auteur Publishing announces new series of books - Devil's Advocates
By James Whittington, Tuesday 25th October 2011
Auteur Publishing has announced a new series of books – Devil's Advocates – devoted to classics of horror cinema. The first two titles are Witchfinder General from freelance writer Ian Cooper and Let The Right One In from film critic and journalist Anne Billson. Each one is 112 pages in length and retails at £9.99.
Witchfinder General, directed by Michael Reeves, occupies a unique place in British cinema, praised and vilified in equal measure. This 1968 production tells a fictionalised version of the exploits of Matthew Hopkins, a prolific, real-life 'witch hunter' during the English Civil War. For critic Mark Kermode it is 'the single most significant horror film produced in the UK in the 1960s' while for playwright Alan Bennett it was 'the most persistently sadistic and rotten film I've ever seen'. It steadily gained a cult reputation, not hampered by the death of director Reeves, aged just 25, months after the film's release.
Hailed as a landmark film, it remains problematic, existing in a number of versions, variously recut, retitled and rescored. This in-depth study examines Witchfinder General as a horror film, a British film and an example of ‘'heritage cinema'. There is also consideration given to the historical figure of Hopkins, the source novel by Ronald Bassett and the iconic persona of the film’s star, Vincent Price. There are a number of close textual analyses of specific scenes and an exploration of the various contexts that inform the film, from the creation of the 'X' certificate and the tradition of Hammer Gothics, to its on-going influence on the likes of Ken Russell's The Devils (1971) through to the 'torture porn' trend of twenty-first century horror cinema.
Vampires have never been so popular. Amid the glut – Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Blade and Underworld – it takes a very special vampire movie to stand out.
Like Twilight, the Swedish film Let The Right One In is a love story between a human and a vampire – but there the resemblance ends. Let The Right One In is not a romantic fantasy but combines the supernatural with social realism. Set on a housing estate in the suburbs of Stockholm in the early 1980s, it's the story of Oskar, a lonely, bullied child, who makes friends with Eli, the girl in the next apartment. 'Oskar, I'm not a girl,' she tells him – and she's not kidding. They forge a relationship which is oddly innocent yet disturbing, two outsiders against the rest of the world. But one of these outsiders is, effectively, a serial killer. What does Eli want from Oskar?
While Let The Right One In is startlingly original, it nevertheless couldn't have existed without the near century of vampire cinema that preceded it. Anne Billson looks at how it has drawn from, and wrung new twists on, such classics as Nosferatu (1922), how vampire cinema has already flirted with social realism in films like Martin (1977) and Near Dark (1987) and how vampire mythology adapts itself to the modern world.
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