After ploughing through the very disappointing Inside Hammer by Hammer veteran Jimmy Sangster, I was delighted at the brilliance of this volume. Rigby traces British horror films right back to their genesis, with the emphasis rightly placed on the period from about the mid-'40s to the mid-'70s (which period is also covered by David Pirie's A Heritage of Horror, now sadly out of print). The commentary is a skillful blend of background information on key productions, synopsis and critical commentary. There is a good sense of historical flow, as Rigby tells the story of the British horror film in chronological sequence, rather than focussing separate chapters on different genres or directors, say. Thus the reader is made alert to the historical and sociological context, a dimension lacking in lesser books on the same subject.
The style and format is at once readable and also entertaining. Though it is possible, even advisory (and certainly enjoyable), to read the entire book from cover to cover, its format (the chronological order, along with side bars on every page giving details of key films) makes it a great reference tool to dip into from time to time. English Gothic is without doubt one of the finest, most compelling and exciting books I have come across on this subject.