Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film
Gothic horror and romance tales feed on our darkest fears and desires, and conjure the creatures of the night into being.
The sensational tales of 18th and 19th century writers like Horace Walpole, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and the Brontës, have defined popular culture, inspiring some of film and television’s most memorable characters, from Dracula and Frankenstein to Cathy and Heathcliff. The technology of film always did fulfil a deep-rooted Gothic fantasy, by capturing the spirits of the living, conjuring ghostly and disembodied forms, and re-animating the dead. Now the undead creatures of the Gothic imagination return to our screens again and again, shape-shifting and breeding new genres. Over the coming months, and four compelling themes, the BFI’s spellbinding nationwide season lifts the lid on this dark storehouse of the imagination, which found its heart in Britain, and came to life on film. You can look into this dark heart of film through the collection here, and also discover the contents of a mysterious black box.
'Man of a thousand faces' Lon Chaney stars in the first version of Gaston Leroux's oft-filmed novel.
Gothic chiller based on the novel by J. Sheridan Le Fanu. Jean Simmons stars as an heiress pursued by her unbalanced uncle and his perverted son.
A witchfinder traverses 17th-century England executing those he suspects of witchcraft.
David Lynch's moving true-life tale of the severely deformed Joseph Merrick and his rescue from the hell of a Victorian circus sideshow.
A terrifying encounter in a Gothic cathedral. The League of Gentlemen's Jeremy Dyson and Mark Gatiss collaborate on a twisted tale.
Directed by Andrew Brand
For whom does the bell toll? A man discovers a dreadful secret among his late father's belongings.
Directed by Will Bridges
A hungry zombie finds love while terrorising teenage campers in this gruesome but fun twist on the zombie movie.