This November sees the 50th anniversary of one of Hammer Studios’ strongest and most complex films: Roy Ward Baker’s Nigel Kneale adaptation, Quatermass And The Pit (1967). Sometimes known under the title of Five Million Years To Earth, the film takes Kneale’s BBC script from the original broadcast serial and turns it into something far more unnerving than the other films produced by the studio in … Continue reading Quatermass And The Pit (1967) @ 50
“Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.” – Kurt Vonnegut. Rather like J.G. Ballard, Nigel Kneale had a certain knack of preempting future social, technological and cultural trends. Kneale’s work is perhaps less appreciated than Ballard’s because the medium he predominantly worked in, television, is far and … Continue reading Nigel Kneale and Fascism
This presentation was originally given at the Folk Horror Revival day at The British Museum (16/02/2016). My thanks to the fellow admins of the Folk Horror Revival, especially Jim Peters and Andy Paciorek. There’s an overt connection between analogue technology and the narratives surrounding paranormal activity in British horror, especially when made during the 1970s. No doubt there are connections between the interest in such … Continue reading The Ghost In The Grain: Analogue Hauntings of the 1970s
One of the key criticisms of the Folk Horror Chain is its emphasis, both in argument and in evidence, upon the rural landscape and its various elements. While the key works of Folk Horror cinema seem to broadly use rural landscape aesthetics and practice to set and conjure their horror, by setting up such a parameter, it does indeed neglect some of the sub-genre’s most … Continue reading The “Urban Wyrd” In Folk Horror.
The characters of Nigel Kneale’s work rarely like the “outsider.” The drama of his plays is often built around small groups of people at odds with (or at least representational nationally of being at odds with) some concept of the outsider. The oppositional group will be diametrically opposed for a variety of reasons; sometimes for more pulp tendencies such as aliens in a space invasion … Continue reading Quatermass II (Nigel Kneale) – Fear Of The Outsider Within The Landscape.
The following article contains plot twists. Hysteria and Nigel Kneale’s Baby. A very particular and often quoted segment from Freud’s summations of hysterical patients will be used here to begin the contextualisation our analysis. Whilst writing about the generalities surrounding such cases of hysteria and eventually compulsion neurosis, Freud came up with a short but rather useful sound-bite to describe every patient he had seen. … Continue reading Technological Hysteria in Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tape (1972).
Two writers who could be said to epitomise the ideas of Folk Horror, M.R. James and Nigel Kneale, while addressing these ideals through different media, are writers whose work often crept into the same realm. This has lead to both of their work having a natural relationship with each other, with one almost being a reincarnation of the other. Of course, to imply such things … Continue reading An Ancient Evil: M.R. James and Nigel Kneale.
Moving away from the established ideals of the first two Hammer Quatermass films, 1967’s Quatermass and the Pit has much to praise. Part of this is most definitely down to the change in director to Hammer regular Roy Wood Baker who creates an interestingly claustrophobic London. While excavating renovation for Hobb’s End Tube station, workman come across what appears to be an unexploded bomb. Upon … Continue reading Quatermass and the Pit – Roy Ward Baker (1967)
Though perhaps not one of the first titles to come to mind at the mention of Hammer Horror, Quatermass 2 has been done a disservice over the years. Maybe due to it being the sequel to the film that effectively kick started Hammer’s horror cycle for definite, it seems unfairly overlooked in the Hammer back catalogue. Sitting in the shadow of The Quatermass Experiment and … Continue reading Quatermass 2 – Val Guest (1957)
As mentioned in the vintage horror article, here is a guide to the best of Hammer Horror films. It’s a name that isn’t as familiar as it should be in film circles, mainly because critical overviews often find the more snobbish of film reviewer calling them too tongue in cheek or camp. Hammer Horror films are so much more than this though and I hope … Continue reading A Beginner’s Guide to Hammer Horror.