A few weeks ago I posted that I had just been down to London to see the fantastic stage show of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black. I wanted to see it before the release of the new Hammer film starring Daniel Radcliffe and I definitely made the right decision. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the stage version, with its comedic value and audience gasping moments, the stage does have its limits. In my opinion film was nothing less than awesome. Boy did it make me jump. Okay so that’s just my opinion (for what it’s worth) and I’m sure there are people out there who wouldn’t agree, but that’s the kind of classic gothic chiller that I was weaned on.
I guess it’s because I grew up on Hammer horror films that I fell for the whole gothic charm and all of the contemporary horror films of today just don’t do it for me. I love period costume, smoggy Victorian streets and candlelit mansions – who wouldn’t. I love the idea of wandering through a misty graveyard in the dead of night, with the very real threat of a vampire rising from its coffin and eating you alive (well, not me but some other poor waif). Those are probably the reasons why I just can’t bring myself to watch the likes of Paranormal Activity. The spooks are not enough, I need the whole scene set for me.
My first real memory of what I considered a horror was the 1950’s film – Quatermass and the Pit. The film takes place on the London underground below the fictional Hobbs Lane. During excavation works the workmen stumble across what they think is an unexploded WWII bomb. The object turns out to be an alien aircraft that crash landed millions of years ago. The above houses on Hobbs Lane have constantly experienced poltergeist activity and other unexplained phenomenon.
One particular scene has always stayed with me. It probably looks quite poor now in comparison to all the special effects Hollywood throws at us today, but the scene when the holographic image of a martian devil floats above the city of London will always send a chill down my spine.
I think I’ll go and rent Quatermass and the Pit now – it’s been a very long time since I last watched it.