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Dead of Night$
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Jez Conolly and David Owain Bates

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780993238437

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780993238437.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 16 May 2021

Introduction: ‘A weekend in the country?’

Introduction: ‘A weekend in the country?’

(p.7) Introduction: ‘A weekend in the country?’
(p.3) Devil’s Advocates

Jez Conolly

David Owain Bates

Liverpool University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of Dead of Night, Ealing Studios' extraordinary post-war treasury of the supernatural. Since its release, it has become a classic of horror cinema and is regularly cited by writers and researchers as a singularly important title in the history and development of British national cinema. Dead of Night first did the rounds on regional ITV stations in the 1960s and 1970s before being picked up by the BBC who proceeded to show it four times between 1977 and 1990. Seventy years after its theatrical release, this famously elliptical cinematic anthology of claustrophobic scary stories continues to haunt the dreams of anyone who has seen it. If one considers the distinction between terror and horror that emerged in early analyses of Gothic literature, a basic interpretation of Dead of Night might place it in the former category. But a closer consideration of the direction of travel of Walter Craig's narrative and the procession of vignette tales that constitute the film's portmanteau form reveals a journey from nascent abstraction through to stark realisation, from terror to horror.

Keywords:   Dead of Night, Ealing Studios, horror cinema, British national cinema, cinematic anthology, terror film, horror film, Walter Craig

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