Screams in the silence: Horror films of the silent era (Part 1)

Horror, more than any other cinematic genre, taps into the deepest and most primal parts of the human psyche. From things that go bump in the night to the plausible terror that the quiet man that owns the motel is a psychotic serial killer, the genre has continued to evolve for every generation of cinema goers...

Screams in the silence: Horror films of the silent era (Part 2)

. In part two we cast our eyes back to Europe to look at the shadowy world of the German Expressionist movement in cinema, as well as Britain's contribution to the history of horror, and finally how the monsters finally got their voices...

Review: Chrysalide – 'Personal Revolution'

CHRYSALIDE 'Personal Revolution' DEPENDENT

Review: KMFDM – 'Our Time Will Come'


Review: Godflesh – 'A World Lit Only By Fire'


Friday, 31 October 2014

The weekly compendium 31/10/2014

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! It is finally here, goth Christmas etc. We've been pushing the Halloween theme hard this week with plenty of articles and treats for you. So let's see what was in our bag this week...

We kicked things off with part 2 of our look at silent horror films, before getting our hands on the new book from Andi Harriman and Marloes Bontje 'Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace'. We had reviews of the latest offerings from Tregenza, Aengeldust, and Bella Morte. News from Ost+Front. And a couple of Halloween themed articles looking at extreme music videos, and a round up of ideas for you to get in the mood this Samhain.

Over on Facebook we had new music from Uninvited Guest, The Dagons and Marilyn Manson. Computer games from Synthellic Music (home of Android Lust), and Faderhead's long awaited playable version of their 'Fist Full Of Fuck You' video. We've seen new music videos from Noir, Cygnets, and Erasure. As well as some freebies from Aeon Sable, David E. Williams, and Ctrl Alt Del.

Phew! That's your lot for this week. Tune in again on Monday for more dark delights and have a horrifying Halloween!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Intravenous Magazine's Halloween Round-up 2014

Greetings boils and ghouls! It is that time once again, the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain where the barriers between the worlds of the living and dead are at their thinnest and the spirits walk amongst us... it's also a night for having a bloody good party!

To aid you in your Halloween celebrations, no matter how you like to spend your evening, we have some ideas for you to make the most of your night.

A Compendium Of Terror...

First off we have some features from our crypt to get you in the mood while you're getting ready to get your costume on and head out to terrorise the town...

Strange Frequencies...

If you'd rather set the mood with a little audio, huddled round the wireless listening to tales of terror then why not check out these links to some of the spookiest podcasts on the web...

And don't forget the most infamous Halloween radio show of all time courtesy of Orson Welles.

Sinister Tomes...

We here at Intravenous Magazine are big supporters of Neil Gaiman's All Hallow's Read project which promotes the giving of scary books as a gift every Halloween. Last year we gave you some new and classic book recommendations for your young ones, and this year we've had a look at what 2014 has to offer.

A romantic, historical retelling of classic Gothic horror featuring Edgar Allan Poe and his character Annabel Lee, from a New York Times best-selling author.

'Evil Librarian' by Michelle Knudsen
When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right.

'The Penguin Book of Witches' by Katherine Howe
From a manual for witch hunters written by King James himself in 1597, to court documents from the Salem witch trials of 1692, to newspaper coverage of a woman stoned to death on the streets of Philadelphia while the Continental Congress met, The Penguin Book of Witches is a treasury of historical accounts of accused witches that sheds light on the reality behind the legends.

'Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales' by Kelly Link
Fifteen top voices in speculative fiction explore the intersection of fear and love in a haunting, at times hilarious, darkly imaginative volume.

'Ghostoria: Vintage Romantic Tales of Fright' by Tam Francis
Do you like scary stories with a little romance and a vintage twist? Welcome to Ghostoria. […] Ghostoria will gnaw the corners of your mind and challenge your ideas about life, love and death long after you leave.

'At Hell's Gates' by Devan Sagliani
When evil overflows from the deepest, fiery pits, the battle will be At Hell’s Gates…Whether you are a zombie aficionado, or you feed on horror, there is something for everyone. We’ve summoned some of the top Zompoc authors, masters in horror, and even some new talent to strike fear into even the most jaded soul. Dare you look, let alone approach, the dreaded gates?

'Suspended In Dusk' by Simon Dewar
Suspended in Dusk brings together 19 stories by some of the finest minds in Dark Fiction: Ramsey Campbell, John Everson, Rayne Hall, Shane McKenzie, Angela Slatter, Alan Baxter, S.G Larner, Wendy Hammer, Sarah Read, Karen Runge, Toby Bennett, Benjamin Knox, Brett Rex Bruton, Icy Sedgwick, Tom Dullemond, Armand Rosamilia, Chris Limb, Anna Reith, J.C. Michael.

'Dustbowl Gothic' by David Kimber
The year is 1929, and a tallman freak named Kahlil has returned home from a long sojourn to the traveling carnival sideshow in which he and his dwarf brother Heinrich grew up as adopted orphans. […] Desert life is unforgiving, where any faint hope is soon covered in dust to rot in the mind, a half-remembered memory. And yet, things are about to change for the worse in ways that none of the performers could have imagined.

'The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom' by Robin Spriggs
A hallucinatory exploration of the strange work and even stranger life of Ozman F. Droom, by Bram Stoker Award-nominated author Robin Spriggs.

'Cthulhu Lives! An Eldritch Tribute to H. P. Lovecraft' by Salomé Jones
At the time of his death in 1937, American horror writer H.P. Lovecraft was virtually unknown. The power of his stories was too great to contain, however. As the decades slipped by, his dark visions laid down roots in the collective imagination of mankind, and they grew strong. Now Cthulhu is a name known to many and, deep under the seas, Lovecraft s greatest creation becomes restless...

Evil Visions...

Last year we gave you a run-down of our 50 favourite horror films of all time. But there are plenty more new cuts on offer on DVD and in the cinema this year. If you're the kind of person whou would spend Halloween under a blanket watching a scary film, here are some new ones worth checking out.

As Above, So Below
Starring: Ben Feldman, Perdita Weeks, Edwin Hodge, Josh Kervarec
Director: John Erick Dowdle

Life After Beth
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon
Director: Jeff Baena

Dracula Untold
Starring: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper
Director: Gary Shore

Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard
Director: John R. Leonetti

Starring: Justin Long, Michael Parks, Haley Joel Osment, Génesis Rodríguez
Director: Kevin Smith

Deliver Us From Evil
Starring: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Joel McHale, Olivia Munn
Director: Scott Derrickson

Stonehearst Asylum
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Kate Beckinsale, Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley
Director: Brad Anderson


Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella, James Remar
Director: Alexandre Aja

Under The Skin
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Paul Brannigan, Robert J. Goodwin
Director: Jonathan Glazer

The Quiet Ones
Starring: Jarred Harris, Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke, Erin Richards, Rory Fleck Byrne.
Director: John Pogue

Black Masses...

If you're a party animal who relishes the chance to get out on the town every Halloween, but haven't made up your mind as to where to spend your night yet, we've got some club nights across the UK to recommend.

Darklands, York – Post Halloween Spectacular: 8th November

The Candlelight Club, London – 1920s Halloween: 31st October and 1st November

Slimelight, London – Club Night: 1st November

Eddies, Birmingham – Halloween Resurrection: 1st November

Torture Garden, London – Halloween Ball 2: 1st November

Torture Garden, Somerset – Heaven And Hell Halloween: 1st November

The Charnel House, Newcastle – Club Night: 1st November

Pit and Pendulum, Nottingham – Coven: 1st November

Jilly's Rockworld, Manchester – Back From Hell: 31st October

Restoration, Whitby – Club Night: 2nd November  

Best Of The Rest...

If you've got kids, or fancy doing something a little different this year, why not check out these fun activities across the UK.

Farm Of Horror
Lancaster Park And Animal Farm, Oldham, Wednesday 29th October

Pinup Halloween Special
Lola Lo, Manchester, Thursday 30th October

Halloween ghostly tour and ghoulish supper
Old Royal Naval College Greenwich, Thursday 30th October

Halloween at British Library
British Library, London, Friday 31st October

Necropolis – London’s journey of the dead
Waterloo Underground Tunnels, London, Friday 31st October

St Lukes Bombed Out Church, Liverpool, Friday 31st October 

Halloween ghost hunt at Newsham hospital 
Newsham Park Hospital Seaman's Orphanage,Liverpool, Saturday 1st November

Hauntings and hangings Halloween ghost hunt
Kidderminster Town Hall, Saturday 1st November

Halloween Dalton Mills ghost hunt
Dalton Mills, West Yorkshire, Friday 31st October

Copperdollar: back of beyond
The Old Market, Brighton & Hove, Saturday 1st November

That is just a little taste of some of the events and clubs happening this wee, but there are many more, so please support the goings on in your area. Of course if you're not feeling social you can check out the podcasts, films and books that we have recommended, but either way Intravenous Magazine would like to wish you a very happy Halloween this year.

Video Nasties (NSFW)

As it is Halloween we thought we would get down and dirty with twenty of the most bizarre, freaky, scary and downright extreme music videos from the world of goth, metal, and industrial. Some have aged well and some haven't. Some made it onto television, and some didt. And some, quite frankly, we can't see what all the fuss is about. Nonetheless, be warned the videos below are most definitely not safe for work and discretion is advised.

The Birthday Massacre – 'Blue'

Tool – 'Aenema'

Marilyn Manson – '(s)AINT'

Nine Inch Nails – 'Happiness In Slavery'

Dir En Grey – 'Obscure'

Cradle Of Filth – 'From The Cradle To Enslave'

Skinny Puppy – 'Worlock'  

Gorgoroth – 'Carving A Giant'

Salem – 'Piggyhog'  

Combichrist – 'Throat Full Of Glass'  

Korn – 'A.D.I.D.A.S'  

Sepultura – 'Arise'  

Satyricon – 'Fuel For Hatred'  

Spahn Ranch – 'Locusts'  

LFO – 'Tied Up'  

Eibon La Furies – '...And By The Moonlight'

Rammstein – 'Pussy'

Dawn Of Ashes – 'Poisoning The Steps Of Babel'  

Lesbian Bed Death – 'I Use My Powers For Evil'  

_Officers X Gary Numan – 'Petals'  

That's just some of the myriad of videos to dark, disturbing and controversial for civilised viewing. It's by no means an exhaustive list and few of these artists could have been featured many times. You can post your favourite extreme videos in the comment section of this post on our Facebook Page

Review: Bella Morte – 'Exorcisms'


Bella Morte have progressed a long way from their darkwave roots. The band have augmented their electronic origins with more raucous punk, goth, and alt-rock elements that have continued to transform the band's sound with every release. The band's last outing 'Beautiful Death' back in 2008 saw the band hit their stride in a big way showing a perfect balance between the different elements of their sound. Now after six years, their latest full-length studio release, 'Exorcisms', looks to bring a more mature sound to the fore.

'Exorcisms' is a hauntingly beautiful record that tempers the powerful hard rock core with the kind of luscious electronics and rich soundscapes that originally made everyone take notice. The title track kicks things off in a big way with its mournful electronics and emotional vocal performance driving the song forward and setting up the rest of the album nicely. The band then bravely follow this up with a Depeche Mode cover in the form of 'Never Let Me Down Again'. You could argue that this should have been saved for further along in the album's pecking order, but the band make a good job of it and it does compliment the ethos of the album, so it works. 'As Fire' Follows on nicely returning to the slow and mournful power ballad style of the title track, but brings things down a little more. 'Watching The Sky', 'Reflections', 'Tired' and the utterly sumptuous 'Entwined' follow suit with the slow down-tempo rock, big synths and soaring emotional vocals continuing to take centre stage for the majority of the album.

The band do rock things up a bit though with the more upbeat and bouncy sounding 'Water Through Sand' and 'A Quiet Place To Die' which push the rock punk elements a little more respectively, and break up the dark atmosphere of the rest of the album. The stand-out track though has to be 'The Dark' which perfectly synthesizes the luscious layers of electronics with a slow and measured rock punch.

As you'd expect from a veteran unit like Bella Morte, they know exactly what they are doing. The song writing is strong and memorable, he performances are passionate, and the album has got the high-class production that it deserves to really bring out the best in the tracks.

Bella Morte are back with a bang. It may be a slower and gloomier album that fans of 'As The Reasons Die', 'Songs For the Dead', 'Bleed The Grey Sky Black', and 'Beautiful Death' will be used to. But it works so well and still packs a big punch. This is Bella Morte at their best.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Review: Aengeldust – 'Meth Face'

'Meth Face'

Hot on the heals of her début outing under the Aengeldust Moniker, 'Freakshow' comes the latest slice of noisy industrial from Nadine "Cooraz" Engel (ACYLUM, TOTEM OBSCURA...). 'Meth Face' is a club-friendly industrial stomper rooted in rhythmic noise and power electronics. It's hard, harsh and dirty, but bizarrely enough it works.

The title track kicks things off with it's steady dance pace and various vocal samples held together by a machine gun like central rhythm. It is on the one hand a fairly straight forward exercise in rhythm-orientated song writing, but it works purely because it is noisy, heavy and meant to be played loud.

The EP goes on to feature several remixes from the likes of Advent Resilience, Antibody, Detuned Destruction, Inaki Kreator Noize, Moon Gates Project and VV303 who each bring their own unique flavour of noise to the table. Despite the fact that it is the same track remixed by a lot of different noise-favouring artists, it does still have a little variety to it with Antibody, Moon Gates Project and VV303 in particular sounding great. While Acylum gives 'Zombie' a particularly bombastic reworking with a more orchestral inspired mix.

Despite the noisy elements and the heavy use of rhythm throughout the main track, and in fact all of the remixes, this tracks primary focus is the dance floor and the clean and clear style of production coupled with a very uncluttered sounding mix, helps to pull it off.

It would have been nice to have at least one more original track to whet the appetite, but 'Meth Face' is a strong dance-orientated offering that will find a willing audience and keep interest in the project piqued until a new album or a more varied outing surfaces. 

Ost+Front return with 'Freundschaft'

Ost+Front return with a brand new single/EP cut from their latest album 'Olympia'. The new single 'Freundschaft' will be released on 28th November 2014 via Out Of Line Records as a Digipak CD in two editions; black and white.

The Single features remix contributions from the likes of Lord Of The Lost, Forgotten Sunrise, and Tanzwut, as well as two exclusive, previously unreleased songs: 'Wanderlust' and the long-requested early song 'Tschernobyl'.

Track List:
1. Freundschaft
2. Wanderlust
3. Tschernobyl
4. Sonne, Mond und Todesstern (Remix by Lord of the Ost)
5. Feuer und Eisen (Aneto Remix by Heimataerde)
6. Anders (Ständ Remix by Forgotten Sunrise)
7. Perfekt (Tanzwut Remix)
8. Liebeslied (Heldmaschine Remix)

'Freundschaft' is available to pre-order now via the Out Of Line webshop. For more information on the band, please visit their official website.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Review: Tregenza – 'Into The Void'

'Into The Void'

It has been a long time coming, but after a string of varied and exciting EP releases, Ross Tregenza has finally dropped his first full-length solo album. The former Goteki main-man has continued to dramatically expand upon the “death electro” sound he pursued with his former band's last album 'Santa Muerte', and brought in elements such as indie rock, blues, orchestral and dark ambient into the mix. The result has been a big jump in the scope and quality of his songwriter as he has pushed himself further with every release.

'Into The Void' filters these elements into something that blends cinematic power with pop simplicity. A few of the songs here will be familiar to those who have already downloaded the free EPs, but as with any good début album they have been given an overhaul and built up into a cohesive unit, with tracks such as 'Born Into Fire', the brilliant Leonard Cohen cover 'The Partisan', 'Last Light', and 'Wolves' in particular providing the backbone of the track list. While the new offerings 'Exhordium', 'Release', 'Disquietude', and 'The Void' blend atmospheric textures with elements such as mournful vocals and melodies, strong dance beats and delicate piano lines and warm orchestration to create compelling yet atmospheric style of dark synthpop that could be likened to Nick Cave and Warren Ellis collaborating with Depeche Mode.

The production walks a fine line between the cinematic and the pop-friendly sides of the album's sound. It definitely works though, especially with the orchestration complimenting the synths as well as adding some warmth to counterpoint Tregenza's cold futuristic vocal effect.

'Into The Void' has taken it's time to appear, but it has been worth the wait. Trengenza's skills as a solo artist are now beyond question. The song writing here is strong and memorable, the production is excellent and maintains an experimental edge that belies the ever-present pop slant of Tregenza's approach. This is the strongest and most confident release that in his varied and expansive back-catalogue and should provide Ross Tregenza a very solid platform for a long solo career.  

Book Review: Andi Harriman / Marloe Bontje – 'Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace...'

'Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace: The Worldwide Compendium of Postpunk and Goth in the 1980s'

There have been plenty of books dedicated to the roots and evolution of goth published over the years. Notable contributions from the likes of Gavin Baddeley, Mick Mercer, Natasha Sharf and Nacy Kilpatrick have made the gothic subculture and its related off-shoots an integral part of modern cultural studies.

Funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, the new book from Andi Harriman and Marloes Bontje, 'Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace...', follows suit to a degree, looking at how post-punk and the new romantics coalesced into what became known as goth, as well as a look at how the styles and aesthetics of the scene flourished throughout the 1980s. But one of the biggest selling points of this particular look at the subculture has to be in its extensive pictorial collection. It encompasses everything from flyers, album art, and promo shots of the famous bands of the scene, through to the personal photos of the people who went to the gigs and bought the albums.

Andi Harriman (a writer, DJ, artist and fashion theory and goth enthusiast) and Marloe Bontje (a student of language, culture studies, and history) have crafted a journalistic tone to the book rather than academic one, which engages the reader in a light and informal manner. The large number of quotes and excerpts from interviews from bands, promoters and fans as well as the short length of the various chapters make this read like less of an in-depth and dry dissertation, but rather more like a magazine special edition.

There is a heavy dose of nostalgia present throughout, which is aimed primarily at the people who were there at the time and would want to relive the glory years of the scene. But it is also open enough in it's objectivity to warrant it as a serious look at the subject.

The book raises some particularly interesting points; such as how the scenes in different countries were established at similar times with similar themes and motifs running through the music and fashion, but without much of the kind of initial cross-pollination that today would necessitate access to the internet in order to grow so rapidly and so far apart. But due to the short chapter lengths it doesn't really try to answer these questions, but rather leaves them open to interpretation.

'Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace...' is an interesting look at the goth scene which emphasises an element of oral history and photographic evidence instead of rummaging through old articles and interviews for its source material. It is a photo album made up just as much of words as it is pictures and creates its own snapshots of the evolution of a subculture.

At 220 pages in length – with over half of those given over to photograph space – it is not a dense or challenging read. But it's unique collection of first-hand source material nonetheless makes this a useful resource for anyone with a serious interest in the development of youth culture in the 20th century... or even those who just want to relive their youth in The Batcave.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Screams in the silence: Horror films of the silent era (Part 2)

Max Schrek as Count Orlok in 'Nosferatu...'

In part one we looked at the pioneering and highly influential work of George Méliès, the business model as created for the American market by Thomas Edison that would pave the way for the big Hollywood studios of the 1930s, and the first major star of horror Lon Chaney. In Part two we cast our eyes back to Europe to look at the shadowy world of the German Expressionist movement in cinema, as well as Britain's contribution to the history of horror, and finally how the monsters finally got their voices.

German Expressionism
The German Expressionist movement, perhaps more than any other style of cinema, has gone on to cast the longest shadow over horror films. Highly stylized and dreamlike, films made use of bizarrely constructed sets, long shadows, and distorting reality full of themes of a deeply psychological nature. The Expressionist films of the 1920's began to gain international notoriety as the anti-German sentiment of the post war years gradually began to fade and would have an noticeable effect on horror and film noire in the 1930's both in terms of the look of the films, as well the style of direction with several stars and directors making the jump to Hollywood when the Nazis gained power.

The origins of the Expressionist movement can be traced back to 'The Student Of Prague' in 1913. Written b
y Hanns Heinz Ewers and directed by Stellan Rye (his only film before dying in France during World War I), the film is a Faustian tale of obsession and magic that led to the film's star, Paul Wegener, gaining the role in the famed 'Golem' trilogy. The film displays many of the prototypical features that would become prominent in later expressionist outings for the likes of F.W. Murnau, Robert Wiene and Fritz Lang. 

However, it is 1920's 'The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari' that has the honour of being the most definitive of all the expressionist films. Directed by Robert Wiene and staring Conrad Veidt as the murderous somnambulist Cesare. '...Dr. Caligari' is one of the most overt uses of what would come to be known as horror to date. The angular misshapen sets, the dark-eyed and twisted antagonists, stark lighting with emphasis on dark shadows, murder, madness, and a twist ending have continued to resonate with fans of horror cinema ever since its release.

...'Caligari' had an undeniable star in the form of Conrad Veidt who would appear in another of Wiene's production 'The Hands Of Orlac' (1924) – a dark tale of a concert pianist who loses his hands in an accident only to have a murderer's hands transplanted on and which drive him to a killing spree. Films such as 'Waxworks' in 1924, and the 1926 remake of 'The Student Of Prague' ensured Veidt was written into the annals of Horror Cinema, while his performance as the disfigured Gwynplaine in the Paul Leni directed 'The Man Who Laughs' put him on a par with Lon Chaney for his dedication to uncomfortable makeup effects.

The other film that can just as easily claim to personify the German Expressionist movement is also the first attempt to bring literature's most famous vampire to the big screen. 'Nosferatu: Eien Symphonie Des Grauens' (1922), directed by F.W. Murnau and staring Max Schreck as Count Orlok, is an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' that was nearly lost save for one copy that survived and continued to influence horror fans. Schreck's rat-like count is reminiscent of the angular sets of 'The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari' while the long dark shadows and stop-motion gives the film an undeniably nightmarish quality. It is the film's use of shadows that has given rise to the most famous scene in all of silent cinema, where the count's shadow is seen climbing a staircase and opening a door near the climax of the film. It is a simple enough effect, but one that has reached into the fabric of cinematography. Today 'Nosferatu...' may look clichéd in a world full of vampire films, but this is one where all of the conventions and themes of the vampire film began. 

The shadow of the vampire...

Murnau made another important contribution to horror in the form of 'Faust' in 1926. Based on both the Goethe novel as well as traditional versions of the tale, Lang brought the infernal characters to life in an lavish production that would push the finances of UFA to their limits (only to stretch them further the following year with Lang's sci-fi epic 'Metropolis'). With a bigger budget, and better effects, the film is a richer production than 'Nosferatu', and it has stood the test of time as well even going on to influence Disney for the film 'Fantasia'.

F.W. Murnau circa 1920

Fritz Lang dipped his toe into the horror genre as well with the 1921 framed portmanteau 'Destiny'. The film isn't strictly a horror but the plot involving a woman trying to make a deal with death to save her lover does aesthetically link it to the likes of '...Caligari' and 'Nosferatu'. The film veers into fantasy, drama and adventure that proved to be a big influence on Douglas Faibanks for his film 'The Thief Of Baghdad' (1926), as well as the likes of
Alfred Hitchcock and Luis Buñuel.

The expressionist style soon began to spread out from Germany to other European nations with the likes of 'Haxan' (Swedish/Danish), 'The Phantom Carriage' (Swedish) and 'The Fall Of The House Of Usher' (Spanish) all taking their cues from the pioneering styles of likes of Wiene, Murnau and Lang. These may have been overshadowed by the German film makers for much of the 20th century, but the docu-drama style of 'Haxan', the structure and effects used in 'The Phantom Carriage' and 'The Fall Of The House Of Usher' have had a strong effect on later directors such as Ingmar Bergman. 

Ivor Novello as Johnathan Drew in 'The Lodger...'

Ghoul Britannia
Great Britain's contributions to horror cinema are inexorably bound to the films of Hammer and Amicus in the 50s, 60s and 70s. But Britain's contribution to the silent roots of the genre, while somewhat eclipsed, was still developing in it's own unique way. From the short trick films of early cinema, it slowly evolved and developed throughout the silent era and into the talkies until the British film industry was forever linked to horror.

Shortly before the pioneering effects of George Méliès would go on to capture the pre-first world war imagination on both sides of the Atlantic, an English inventor named Robert W. Paul made his mark on the fledgling medium. Starting out in the Kinetoscope market, Paul would go on to invent the first British-made film camera and projection system. His biggest innovation came in 1896 with the invention of a portable field camera that could capture multiple exposures on the same role of film, which would directly lead to the the first “trick” films that would make use of these special effects. 

In addition to inventing Paul would also, like Edison, found his own film production company and film studio that would produce a variety of different kinds of short film for music halls around the country. Two of the most notable are 'The Haunted Curiosity Shop' (1901) and 'Scrooge, Or Marley's Ghost' (1901). 'Scrooge...' being the oldest adaptation of a work by Charles Dickens for cinema. The film is a heavily streamlined retelling of 'A Christmas Carol' that dispenses with multiple ghosts in favour of Scrooge's deceased friend Marley showing him his past present and future. Like Méliès the films lack any potential shock, and instead plays up the camera trickery. 

Another film to come out of Paul's production line is the dark but ultimately comical 'The Freak Barber' (1905). Directed by J.H. Martin, the film sees a barber behead his customers, who eventually rise up and dismember him in return for his diabolical crimes. Again with a comedic element to it and an emphasis on the clever camera tricks the film lacks any real sense of horror, but its subject matter is nonetheless quite dark.

Cecil M. Hepworth circa 1915

A contemporary of R.W. Paul, Cecil M. Hepworth was also quick to sieze upon the popularity of moving pictures. Hepworth produced a large number of short films in the pre-war years before moving into longer productions. He is perhaps most notable for being the first person to commit 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' to film in 1903, as well as developing an early method of adding sound to his films with his Vivaphone invention. But for the purposes of this article it is his 1914 film 'The Basilisk' that links him to the development of horror cinema.

This 28-minute long film sees a mesmerist become obsessed with a young woman who is engaged to someone else. He uses his powers to put her into a trance and orders her to kill her fiance but is foiled by the appearance of a deadly serpent. The occult power of mesmerism echoes the later 'Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari'as is a classic morality tale which sees good triumph over evil in a more horror-orientated style than previous films.

Like George Méliès Hepworth's fortunes would ultimately take a turn for the worse. His melodramatic style failed to keep up with the grand productions of Hollywood and the cerebral style of the Germans. Ultimately his production company would fold, despite his earlier acclaim, and he would declare bankruptcy.

However, thanks to the likes of Hepworth, British horror cinema would go continue to grow and develop its own identity. Adaptations of great novels such as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1913), The Picture Of Dorian Gray (1916), The Hound Of The Baskervilles (1921) would become the first of many film outings for their authors works. While characters such as She, Faust, and Sweeny Todd would become popular in their own right inspiring many films both in the silent era and beyond. Also locations such as Madame Tussauds would also become ingrained in the public consciousness thanks to films such as 'Chamber Of Horrors' (1929), which would use the wax museum as a backdrop for it's plot Indeed the groundwork was laid for British horror's ultimate coming of age in the 1950s, 60s and 70s with Hammer and Amicus' glorious and titillating technicolour productions.

A young Alfred Hitchcock

Britain's undisputed biggest contribution to horror though came in the form of the renowned director and master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. 
The young director worked in his native England and briefly in Germany before finding fame in Hollywood. Initially his films proved to be cursed. Starting out as a title designer he worked his way up to the position of director and took the helm for a number of pictures in the early 1920's for Gainsborough Pictures a combination of financial problems and commercial flops almost ended his career before it had begun. However during this time he was able to work in Germany and witnessed part of the filming of F.W. Murnau's 'The Last Laugh' an experience that, in combination with Fritz Lang's 'Destiny', would profoundly impact the future style of the young Hitchcock.

These German Expressionist influences would emerge in Hitchcock's first major hit film, 'The Lodger: A Story Of The London Fog' (1926), which would also be his first major contribution to the horror genre. This atmospheric thriller stars Ivor Novello in the title role, playing a shady man that has taken up residence at a London boarding house against the back drop of a hunt for a Jack The Ripper style serial killer known as “The Avenger”. The film saw the introduction of classic “Hitchcokian” themes that would continue through films such as 'Rear Window' (1954), 'Psycho' (1960), and 'The Birds' (1963). 

Bela Lugosi in 'Dracula'

It... speaks!
“How do you do? Mr. Carl Laemmle feels it would be a little unkind to present this picture without just a friendly word of warning: We are about to unfold the story of Frankenstein, a man of science who sought to create a man after his own image without reckoning upon God. It is one of the strangest tales ever told. It deals with the two great mysteries of creation; life and death. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even horrify you. So, if any of you feel that you do not care to subject your nerves to such a strain, now's your chance to uh, well, ––we warned you!!” - Edward Van Sloan in the introduction to 'Frankenstein' (1931)

This brings us back neatly to where we began. The slow development of the horror genre from the advent of trick films, though the stream-lined melodramas to the German Expressionist movement would come together with one more important element to kick off horror as a genre in it's own right... sound. Experiments with adding sound to film had been around for a couple of decades in various forms, and indeed some silent horror films had elements of sound featured with them as a result. One prime example is the Carl Dreyer directed film 'Vampyr', which was actually recorded in 1932. As a result of the new technology the film was recorded in different languages and therefore featured little dialogue, relying instead on title cards. The shooting of the film pre-dates the advent of the Universal Studios monsters, but German studio UFA delayed the release until the American films had premièred. In comparison of 'Dracula' (1931) and 'Frankenstein' (1931), Vampyr feels archaic. Its expressionist and often dreamlike style is still very much in keeping with the conventions that Universal incorporated into their own films, but the lack of faith in adding audible dialogue led to the films commercial failure.

'Dracula' and 'Frankenstein' however, proved to be huge international hits. Bela Lugosi's suave persona and exotic voice would form the blueprint for every subsequent depiction of Count Dracula in popular culture. As would Boris Karloff's staggered growls and lumbering gait serve to cement the image of the creature. Drawing elements from the early trick films, the lavish makeup of Lon Chaney, and the shadowy expressionist movement, the addition of sound brought a whole new and much more personal dimension to the monsters that would, as Edward Van Sloan says in the introduction to 'Frankenstein'; “thrill”, “shock”, and even “horrify” the audience and turn horror into Hollywood's biggest money maker.

That's it for the final part. Don't forget to have a look at part one if you haven't already, and make sure you add these films to your Halloween viewing this year!

Friday, 24 October 2014

The weekly compendium 24/10/14

That's the end of another week here at Intravenous Magazine, and I'm already getting a head start on next weeks articles! Now that is dedication for you ;)

Anyway this is a quick round-up because a) I'm just back from the gym and HUNGRY. And b) I forgot to do this yesterday... Ooops!

We kicked off the week with part 1 of our Halloween special on silent horror films – a personal passion of yours truly. We also had plenty of news this week from the likes of Mlada Fronta, Swans, Noir, and Information Society. As well as reviews of the new releases from Chrysalide, KMFDM, Dreams Divide, and In Death It Ends.

Over on Facebook we had new videos from Project Pitchfork, Megaherz, and Junksista. New music from Angelspit, Emigrate, Aeon Sable, and Black Glove /Blonde Hair. As well as a new single from Uninvited Guest.

Oh you still want more? Well here is a little Spahn ranch for the weekend...

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