A history of Horror by Mark Gattis on BBC4

The older I get the more I savour quality horror, and I delight in my kids discovering the genre. (Oh, and they do, bit by bit.)

It takes bravery to endure good horror; and as Rudyard Kipling said;

“If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”

Had he have been commentating on early 21st century life he’d perhaps have been saying;

“If you can stomach 90 minutes of gutwrenching horror, you’ll be  a man my son.”

The fact is that recent horror franchises, I’m thinking specifically of The Saw and Hostel, are what’s increasingly called Horror Porn and those labellers are right.  These films are gross, crass, lacking ideas…just plain sick.

What Mark Gattiss eloquently did in his series (available for now onBBC iPlayer I’m sure) was to identify the genre creators and talk to them and gain fabulous insights.

Latterly Romero loomed large and rightly so.

My favourite moment in the entire series was when John Carpenter was unapologetic about the fact that Halloween had spawned a generation of shite slasher movies.

“Why should I apologise for opening the door to the genre.  All these people realised was that you could scare people cheap.”

Carpenter did it with utter class.