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. In 2013 the BFI’s spellbinding season lifted the lid on this dark storehouse of the imagination, which found its heart in Britain, and came to life on film. Delve into a dark heart of film here.
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.
Drama195321 minsDirector: J.B. Williams
Stanley Baker enacts the classic Edgar Allan Poe story in this chilling short film, only recently rediscovered after being lost for 50 years.
Animation & Artists Moving Image20124 mins
Gothic-tinged animation, presenting the final day of a fox, who is being sentenced to death for murdering his rabbit lover.
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
Rare, shaky but priceless images of one of the great excavations of the early 20th Century - and its legendary leader, Howard Carter
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!
Amateur film19515 minsSilent
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.
A delightful Christmas adaptation of a classic ghost story with new music by Pete Wiggs of Saint Etienne, commissioned by the BFI.
Amateur film197612 mins
To carry on his important work the ego-maniacal scientist Dr Kelly must obtain another hand … a hand which begins to take on a life of its own.
Student film19708 mins Location: Durham
A vampire with a taste for the demon drink prowls the dark alleys and subterranean cellars of Durham in the 1970s.
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?