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FrightmaresA History of British Horror Cinema$
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Ian Cooper

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780993071737

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780993071737.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction

Ian Cooper

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses how British horror films reveal the British national psyche as the heritage film or the social realist drama. It describes the British horror film as the site where high- and low-culture converge. It also talks about real-life horror and how it is easily transformed into generic fantasy. The chapter discusses the English fascination with murder. It talks about the importance of the gothic novel of the late eighteenth century as a kind of anti-Enlightenment vision of the spooky, and its influence to the cheap mass-market publications or 'Penny Dreadfuls'. It also talks about the influence of this low-brow popular literature that can be observed in the pulp fiction and horror comics which would cause a moral panic in the 1950s. The chapter discusses serial killers and 'Ripperology', the small industry that sprung up around Jack the Ripper that has cast a remarkable shadow over the British horror cinema.

Keywords:   British horror cinema, murder, gothic novel, Penny Dreadfuls, serial killers, Ripperology, Jack the Ripper

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