Gothic BFI Film Classics in October
BFI Publishing has announced eight special edition Gothic BFI Film Classics to coincide with the BFI’s Gothic Season this October. These will include four brand new books: The Shining, by Roger Luckhurst, Pan's Labyrinth, by Mar Diestro-Dópido, Nosferatu – Eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922) and The Innocents, by Sir Christopher Frayling, and four new second editions: Vampyr, by David Rudkin, Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, by David Robinson, Nosferatu – Phantom der Nacht (1979), all featuring a new foreword, and Cat People, by Kim Newman which includes a new postscript exploring the film's sequel, The Curse of the Cat People.
Stanley Kubrick hailed The Shining as 'the scariest horror film of all time' before its release in 1980. Though the film opened to poor reviews, it has since become one of the most admired horror films in cinema history. Exerting an enormous influence on popular culture, The Shining has spawned a vast array of interpretations and conspiracy theories.
Roger Luckhurst's illuminating study of this seminal film explores its themes, tropes and resonances through a detailed analysis of sequences and performances. Situating The Shining in a series of fresh contexts, this book looks at the complex nature of horror cinema at the end of the 1970s and early 80s. Taking the maze of the haunted hotel as a key motif, Luckhurst offers numerous threads with which to navigate the strange twists and turns of this enigmatic film.
This limited edition features original cover artwork by Mark Swan.
Sir Christopher Frayling explores the journey from Henry James's original novella, The Turn of the Screw, via critical debates and the stage version of The Innocents, to the screenplay by Archibald, Capote and Mortimer. Making full use of the unpublished Jack Clayton archive, the book also includes interviews with Deborah Kerr and Freddie Francis.
Del Toro's cult masterpiece locates the monstrous within fairy tales and links it to the very real horrors of post-Civil War Spain. This book explores the film's cross-cultural and historical contexts, and its groundbreaking use of ancient myths and folklore. It also includes an interview with del Toro about the genesis and production of the film.
Nosferatu – Eine Symphonie des Grauens
F.W. Murnau's 1922 Nosferatu, the first (albeit unofficial) screen adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, starring Max Scheck as the hollow-eyed, cadaverous vampire, remains a potent and disturbing horror film. Kevin Jackson's study traces Nosferatu eventful production and reception history, including attempts by Stoker's widow to suppress it.
Described by its maker as a 'poem of horror', Vampyr (1932) is one of the founding works of psychological horror cinema, adapted from a collection of gothic stories by Sheridan Le Faun and directed by the revered Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer. Despite the fact that there is no definitive print and many English versions are marred by poor quality subtitles, the film remains a vivid, extraordinary artwork in which the inner human state is made hauntingly visible.
In a reading as passionate as it is analytic, David Rudkin reveals how this film systematically binds the spectator – spatially and morally – into its mysterious world of the undead.
This second edition features a new foreword, discussion of the Martin Koerber and Cineteca di Bologna restoration of the film in 2008, and original cover artwork by Midge Naylor.
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
With its jagged, stylised sets, menacing shadows and themes of murder, madness and delirium, Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920) remains the source and essence of German Expressionist cinema. Fusing carnival spectacle with the paranoia of the psychological thriller, it centres on the haunting, sexually ambivalent presence of Conrad Veidt as Cesare – the somnambulist exploited as an instrument by the sinister Dr. Caligari.
David Robinson challenges long accepted versions of the history and reception of Caligari and redefines its relationship to the larger phenomenon of Expressionist art. His reassessment of the relative contributions of director, designers and writers becomes a fascinating detective story, as he investigates the status and significance of the single surviving copy of the original script, which came to light only in the late 1980s when almost all those involved in the production were dead.
This second edition features a new introduction that considers the place of German Expressionist cinema within the European revival of Gothic at the turn of the twentieth century, and original cover artwork by Ben Goodman.
Nosferatu – Phantom der Nacht
Werner Herzog's Nosferatu – Phantom der Nacht (1979) is one of the masterpieces of the New German Cinema of the 1960s and 70s. Adapted from Bram Stoker's Dracula, and mindful too of F. W. Murnau's earlier German film version of that same novel, Herzog's film is perhaps the most compelling screen treatment of the vampire myth.
In this comprehensive account of Nosferatu, S. S. Prawer begins with discussion of Stoker's book, the cultural fascination with vampires, and the formation and evolution of Herzog's career. Taking the production history into account, Prawer ultimately foregrounds the cultural and aesthetic components of the film that combine to such powerful effect.
This second edition features a new foreword by Brad Prager and original cover artwork by Matt Brand.
The influential horror noir Cat People (1943) was the first production from the unit set up by RKO Pictures to make low-cost, high-return horror movies. Producer Val Lewton was handed the title and ordered to come up with a film to fit. He and director Jacques Tourneur created an innovative film that is now legendary for its elliptical style – its emphasis on the terrors of what is suggested but not seen.
Kim Newman considers this ambitious work in light of its place in film history, exploring its relationship with the horror film genre from which it emerges and against which it rebels. Through close analysis, he teases out the layers of meaning and intent that make this at once a supernatural drama and an unusual psychological study.
This second edition features a postscript about the sequel, The Curse of the Cat People (1944), and original cover artwork by Graham Humphreys.