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Beyond Hammer: British Horror Cinema Since 1970 Paperback – 1 May 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Auteur; First edition (1 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903663970
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903663974
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 17.1 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 430,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Working mainly within the field of contemporary horror cinema, James Rose has written a number of books, contributed to critical volumes and regularly publishes within a range of international film journals. One of his favourite films is 'Jaws' which he would take to a desert island (if he really did have to go) along with 'The Reflecting Skin' and 'Watership Down'. He would probably also take 'Escape from New York' and 'John Carpenter's The Thing'.

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Review

It's all well-written and enlightening, managing to tread the line between academic depth and easy readability. --Filmstar

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Walker on 4 Sep 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
That this book has received such glowing reviews astounds me. Rose, in only considering one film per chapter, mostly avoids the notion of historical context, and analyses his chosen films as though they were produced in some ahistorical bubble. There is no research of note; only the regurgitation of secondary sources (such as Creed's The Monstrous Feminine).

Oddly, when discussing more contemporary films, he does not talk about film policy, and fails to ask the "what?" "how?" and "why?" questions that what one would hope from study engaging with such contemporary material.

Auteur seem to pride themselves on producing books for A-Level students and undergraduates. This is no excuse. After all, the book lacks structure (there aren't any clear introductions/conclusions) and, in the timeline, lists only a handful of films when there have been over 450 British horror films produced since 2000 alone.

Read Pirie's A New Heritage of Horror instead, or wait for Jonathan Rigby's next edition of English Gothic, which is bound to be much more than a cut above this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. E. A. Molloy on 11 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was typed by a Nikki Hamlett at AMP Ltd, and she should be thoroughly ashamed of herself! Misuse of apostrophes abounds and the spelling is atrocious "... grow old and whither into death" on page 21 - 'whither' means 'where?' as in 'where are you going?' the word is 'wither'. Why use colons or semi-colons when a comma will do, eh Nikki? It's like it was typed by a ten-year-old.

The actual text itself is pretty narrow-minded, and the author himself actually asserts in the Introduction that "some films that others would consider essential to such critiques are either briefly mentioned or left out entirely", so the overview is sparse to say the least. I found it totally unacceptable that Rose compares 'The Last Horror Film' with 'Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer' and 'Man Bites Dog' but fails to mention the ultimate film on the subject of questioning why we watch violent films; Michael Haneke's 'Funny Games'!

I got the feeling that Mr Rose has not actually seen many of the films he refers to in the text; that his comments are second-hand and the whole thing was a college dissertation.

In short, seek out works by people who really know what they're talking about; Kim Newman is a leading authority on genre film. I can highly recommend any of his works. I cannot recommend this.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By a customer on 11 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
i was looking forward to this book, since it dealt with my favourite period of cinema history but oh boy was i in for a let down.
neither as learned as "Hammer and Beyond", nor as personal as "Fragments of Fear", i felt this book read like some graduate's thesis - pretty f...ing dull.
and does "An American Werewolf...", count as a British film ?
overall a big letdown.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eagle Fly Free on 27 July 2009
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British horror cinema and Hammer Studios remain synonymous in the minds of many, but there's so much more to the UK's horror tradition than Hammer's creaky but colourful adaptations of Dracula, Frankenstein et al. With the international success of recent British films such as 28 Days Later and The Descent, this academically-rigorous but highly readable book is a timely account of just how far the genre has progressed since Hammer's final film in 1976. An impressive debut.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By mkh on 21 April 2011
Format: Paperback
'Beyond Hammer' is a chronological anthology of some of the best British horror to have been made during and after the demise of the much-loved production company. It is an area that has not been considered extensively, as most texts tend to rush through this post-Hammer period or ignore it altogether. For that alone, this book should be welcomed, as the author clearly demonstrates a number of these films are worthy of study.

Sitting somewhere between cult enthusiasm and academic consideration, each chapter assesses one film, analysing the narrative themes and subtexts with the occasional diversion into production values and micro aspects, particularly mise-en-scene. As a result, this book has something for students studying the horror genre as well as horror fans wishing to read something more substantial than fanboy praise and gore-drenched detail.

Naturally, any book of this nature will be selective and as such is open to criticism - and it is true that Rose fails to consider any of the Amicus anthology films such as 'Tales from the Crypt' and completely ignores the work of both Norman J. Warren and Christopher Smith - but on the whole this is a well-balanced selection. Curiously, Rose's analysis gets stronger the further he moves away from secondary sources and relies more heavily on his own interpretations. The later chapters on films made during the New British Horror Revival are stronger than his more research-based considerations of earlier films and his final chapter on 'The Descent' is one of the best considerations of a horror film I have read in a long time.

However, this book does have its faults.
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