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.
Discover a haunted gem, the earliest film of the Christmas ghost story The Mistletoe Bough. Guaranteed to spook a whole new generation over a hundred years after its creation. With new music by Pete Wiggs of Saint Etienne, commissioned by the BFI.
Amateur film195610 mins
A decade before the BBC's version of M R James supernatural classic came this chilling version from the North Downs Cinematograph Society
Fantasy196925 mins Location: Bangor
A young man is left an old mansion in his uncle’s will. Too late he discovers that he's also inherited a legacy of witchcraft and demonology!
Science Fiction196426 mins Location: Comber
A strange old hermit uses witchcraft to give life to the Frankenstein monster. Will the creature be his instrument of revenge, or will it turn on its creator?
Amateur film19515 mins
Amateur award-winning dramatic thriller influenced by 1940s Universal Horror movies and made by husband and wife team John and Dede Wright.
Amateur film19948 mins Location: Harlesden
A female protagonist falls prey to the ‘Shadowman’, who stalks his victim before attack. Uses stop-motion animation as well as live action.
Documentary198126 mins Location: Whitby
What connects a vampire count and feuding fishing families? Five miles of coastline, storms at sea, and two contrasting imaginations.