Rentals

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.

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The Limehouse Golem
The Limehouse Golem
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The Limehouse Golem

Thriller2016109 minsDirector: Juan Carlos Medina

Bill Nighy plays the arch detective investigating a series of grisly murders around the music halls of Victorian London, in this pungent Gothic mystery.

A Ghost Story
A Ghost Story
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A Ghost Story

Drama201792 minsDirector: David Lowery

David Lowery's haunting exploration of love and loss, with Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck is a high-point of recent independent American cinema.

Dead of Night
Dead of Night
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Dead of Night

Horror194599 minsDirector: Alberto Cavalcanti

A group of guests assembled at a country house swap uncanny and supernatural stories in this classic Ealing chiller from 1945.

Dracula (1958)
Dracula (1958)
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Dracula (1958)

Horror195882 minsDirector: Terence Fisher

Hammer's 1958 version of Stoker's Gothic novel was the most exciting to date, boasting lavish costumes and sets, a vibrant score and red, red blood.

The Mummy
The Mummy
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The Mummy

Horror195988 minsDirector: Terence Fisher

Classic Hammer horror of a reanimated ancient Egyptian mummy, who returns from his tomb to seek vengeance on its desecrators.

Frankenstein
Frankenstein
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Frankenstein

Horror193170 minsDirector: James Whale

The gothic horror that ushered in a wave of cinematic terror, starring Boris Karloff as the reconstructed monster with a human soul.

Psychomania
Psychomania
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Psychomania

Horror197291 minsDirector: Don Sharp

The greatest zombie-biker, toad-worshipping-Satanists horror in British cinema is an undisputed cult classic brimming with exciting action and fantastical mayhem.

The Curse of Frankenstein
The Curse of Frankenstein
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The Curse of Frankenstein

Horror195783 minsDirector: Terence Fisher

Meddling with nature has devastating consequences in Hammer's first Gothic horror, a visceral take on Mary Shelley's novel.

Paperhouse
Paperhouse
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Paperhouse

Fantasy198989 minsDirector: Bernard Rose

Bernard Rose’s cult adult fantasy follows a young girl who discovers an increasingly dark and dangerous dream world.

Suspiria
Suspiria
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Suspiria

Horror1977101 minsDirector: Dario Argento

Dario Argento’s phantasmagoric gothic nightmare blends operatic violence, disorienting dream logic and hyper-real visuals to create a horror classic.

Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead
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Night of the Living Dead

Horror196896 minsDirector: George A. Romero

Landmark film from 'zombie godfather' Romero, whose makeshift heroes fight for their lives against a new and terrifying enemy.

Witchfinder General
Witchfinder General
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Witchfinder General

Horror196887 minsDirector: Michael Reeves

A witchfinder traverses 17th-century England executing those he suspects of witchcraft.

Dellamorte Dellamore
Dellamorte Dellamore
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Dellamorte Dellamore

Horror1993103 minsDirector: Michele Soavi

Michele Soavi’s compelling concoction of anarchic Evil Dead-style horror-comedy, tragic romance and gore.

Blanche Fury
Blanche Fury
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Blanche Fury

Period drama194794 minsDirector: Marc Allégret

Valerie Hobson stars as the scheming governess with designs on taking over the Fury estate, in this atmospheric Gothic melodrama

The Man in Grey
The Man in Grey
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The Man in Grey

Melodrama1943116 minsDirector: Leslie Arliss

James Mason, Margaret Lockwood and Stewart Granger star in the first of the fantastically successful Gainsborough melodramas.

Blood on Satan's Claw
Blood on Satan's Claw
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Blood on Satan's Claw

Horror197096 minsDirector: Piers Haggard

Depraved sexual practices and satanic violence envelop a remote country village in this exciting period horror.

The Witches
The Witches
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The Witches

98 minsDirector: Cyril Frankel

Joan Fontaine stars as an ex-missionary drawn to investigate the sinister undercurrents beneath the surface of English village life.

Where Has Poor Mickey Gone
Where Has Poor Mickey Gone
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Where Has Poor Mickey Gone

56 minsDirector: Gerry Levy

A fairground showman (Warren Mitchell) exacts a terrible revenge upon the hooligans who terrorise him in this haunting tale of mystery and magic

The Fall of the House of Usher
The Fall of the House of Usher
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The Fall of the House of Usher

Horror195071 minsDirector: Ivan Barnett

An eerie British version of the classic Poe chiller, strong enough for a rare 'H' (for Horrific) certificate.

The Tell-Tale Heart
The Tell-Tale Heart
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The Tell-Tale Heart

Horror200411 minsDirector: Stephanie Sinclaire

What's under those floorboards? A man is driven to murder in a modern retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's ghoulish story shot by the legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff.

The Tell-Tale Heart
The Tell-Tale Heart
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The Tell-Tale Heart

Horror193450 minsDirector: Brian Desmond Hurst

A madman harbours murderous thoughts about an old relative with an evil eye in this chilling Edgar Allan Poe adaptation

La Belle et La Bete from Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film collection

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Dead Hungry from Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film

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