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Ten Years of Terror: British Horror Films of the 1970s Hardcover – 10 Sep 2001

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: FAB Press; New edition edition (10 Sept. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903254086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903254080
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,392,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"...Encyclopaedic, immaculately designed, lavishly illustrated with stills and garish promotional artwork, and featuring reviews which effortlessly straddle the worlds of fandom and serious film criticism, this is already my favourite film book - and I have many - as well as the incontestable book of the year..." -- Black Star Review

"...Fenton and Flint - in addition to a long list of excellent contributors - have certainly done their research on this groundbreaking decade for British horror. More than just an incredible reference book, this will open your eyes to tons of obscure flicks that you'll desperately want to check out for yourself." -- Shock Cinema

"...this book is HUGE! There's tons of black and white and colors photos, some of them full page! All the film's descriptions have all the information you would need to know like the various film titles, running time, distributing companies, BBFC cuts, BBFC certification, Production Credits (director, producer, executive producer, screenplay, story, director of photography, editor, music, art director...), complete cast listing and more!.." -- Gorezone

"Ten Years of Terror has been a long time coming, but well worth the wait; an indispensible addition to any film fan's library, exhibiting the quality of work and production values we have come to expect from FAB. -- Headpress 22

"Even if the text were not absolutely fascinating in all its exhaustive glory, the astonishing illustrations in this handsome volume alone would make it worth the cover price..." -- Starlog, issue 23

Ten Years of Terror covers, in glorious depth, the "golden age" of the British horror film (1970 to 1979) - a time when the genre could hold its head up high. This coffee-table tome is as sumptuous, sexy and seductive as any lesbian vampire flick contained within. And the artwork and photographs are, we're promised by the authors, amongst the "most lurid ever seen". They're not wrong there. Gruesomely beautiful and frighteningly good. -- Hotdog - Book of the Month

Buy this book IMMEDIATELY. It's the definitive work on British horror films of the '70s. It's attractively designed, lavishly illustrated and an essential purchase for any fan of British horror films. -- SFX - five star review

Hammering home the subsequent depletion of British film, this is a superbly illustrated memoir of a time when we consistently made movies that mattered. They weren't all brilliant. But with Hammer, Amicus and the like, as well as such independents as Pete Walker and Norman J. Warren churning out the chillers, we had a horror sector to be proud of. -- Empire

This is a Gothic coffee table book to die for. As a lovingly compiled reference work, this does the job. -- Total Film

About the Author

Harvey Fenton is the editor or Flesh & Blood and co-author of Cannibal Holocaust and the savage cinema of Ruggero Deodato (FAB Press).

David Flint is a freelance writer who contributes to a wide variety of magazines. He was the editor of Divinity magazine for several years and is the author of Babylon Blue (Creation Books).

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bex on 24 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
I read a review for this book but could never see it in the shops, but my mum ordered it for me and I was very impressed.

It covers every British horror movie in the 70s - many in great detail and while a large number of the movies are rare and perhaps only of interest to die hard fans, there are also lots of movies to keep the average reader entertained (The Omen, Alien, Straw Dogs, Dont Look Now, The Wicker Man, The Devils etc.)

The whole package is beautiful, the glossy paper, the many full page pictures and the level of research that has gone into it.

I often go back to it for reference, altough some of the films I decided I wanted to see are unavailable in the UK!

Other Fab press titles I have bought since never quite live up to this so can be somewhat dissapointing.

So basically I recommend this book very highly, but I think it will only interest those who enjoy horror movies and their history.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Murray on 21 July 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one big book, and excellent value for money. Not only is it packed with photos, but the text is excellent - not the thumbnail reviews of most film guides, but short essays by people who know, and care, about their subject. Well worth it.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
This book will take your breath away - it is HUGE. It has over 700 pictures, lashings in colour and is amazingly designed and presented. It's the writing, however, that makes this a very special book. As well as editors David Flint and Harvey Fenton, the book contains many entries written by the world's leading horror film journalists - people like Kim Newman, Jonathan Sothcott and Tim Greaves. These guys know their stuff and their concise, articulate prose is a breath of fresh air after years of analytical rubbish. This book makes stuff like English Gothic and Fragments of Fear irrelevant. Buy it now - if you're a horror fan, your life isn't complete without it!
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6 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Libretio VINE VOICE on 23 Oct. 2002
Format: Paperback
Not so much a celebration of British horror films as a dismissal of genre traditions prior to 1970, "Ten Years of Terror: British Horror Films of the 1970s" (2001) is a compilation of reviews written by a generation of writers for whom THE EXORCIST and THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE clearly provide the touchstones of modern horror. Raised on a diet of hip, cynical, and often defiantly American films stretching from THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT to FRIDAY THE 13th and modern revisionist slasher movies (SCREAM, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, etc.) by way of Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento and the European splatter subgenre, "Ten Years..." displays little patience with the Hammer 'formula' of yesteryear and pours scorn on many of the so-called 'traditional' horror films which continued to flourish throughout the 1970's (SCARS OF DRACULA, LEGEND OF THE WEREWOLF, etc.). Some of the criticisms are valid, of course: Writer-producer Milton Subotsky is rebuked for his professional shortcomings (resulting in a string of unproduced features and bland, shoddy items such as THE UNCANNY and THE MONSTER CLUB), and the Tyburn company is derided both for ignoring contemporary trends and for hiring a director (Freddie Francis) who claimed no affinity with the horror genre and treated his material with contempt. But to dismiss the likes of Terence Fisher as 'little more than a hack' (despite ending his 1960's output with FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, a masterpiece by any standard) and to belittle the Gothic trappings which had sustained the genre for more than a decade is to deny the true foundations of modern horror.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful and informative look at an overlooked, but important, horror film niche. 29 May 2006
By Thomas M. Sipos - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When people think of British horror films, thoughts turn to Hammer (with a nod to Amicus). But now for something completely different: A book about INDEPENDENT British horror cinema, 1970 -- 1979. Ten years, ten chapters.

Why those years? The editors explain: "When people talk of the long tradition of British horror cinema, they're talking about a myth. In fact, British horror films only thrived for a twenty year period. Before 1960, there had only been a handful of genre movies made in the UK; and since 1980, horror film production has dwindled to an almost non-existent level."

But if British horror began flowering in 1960, why not Twenty Years of Terror? Because, the editors believe, British horror cinema peaked in the 1970s, both creatively and quantitatively: "The 1970s saw boundaries broken down, taboos challenged, censorship under assault and the rule books torn up. It had never happened before, and it hasn't happened since."

While the editors acknowledge Hammer's past contributions, they believe that by the 1970s, independent filmmakers had assumed the creative cutting edge:

"Hammer -- particularly under the leadership of Michael Carreras -- seemed to have little idea of how to deal with the sweeping changes that were taking place. It's sobering to think that while William Friedkin was shooting The Exorcist and Wes Craven had made The Last House on the Left, Hammer were dusting off Terence Fisher to grind out another Frankenstein movie."

Ten Years of Terror is part film encyclopedia, with production credits and analyses for each film entry. Its huge format resembles the Overlook Film Encyclopedia, yet naturally, its coverage of 1970s British horror is more extensive. Vastly so. The Overlook's horror edition covers all North American and European horror films up till 1992, plus films from Japan, India and Latin America, yet is only 1/3 longer than Ten Years of Terror. Ten Years of Terror lavishes over 300 pages for films that the Overlook covers in under 30.

Likewise, Fragments of Fear: An Illustrated History of British Horror Films, covers nearly a century of British horror in 283 pages, compared to Ten Years of Terror's decade in 336 pages.

Clearly, Ten Years of Terror offers much more on 1970s British horror films than previous books. But what more is there? No, not padding. There's meat -- and blood and guts and gore. This is a beautiful book, hugely glossy, lavishly illustrated, in resplendent color.

Specifically: 143 film entries, 733 illustrations, 48 pages in full color. That's what it claims. I didn't count, but it doesn't appear off base.

In addition to ten chapters, there are appendixes for: (1) short and experimental films; (2) TV movies and series (for BBC and ITV buffs); (3) borderline cases (what didn't quite fit the editors' definition of 1970s British horror); (4) foreign films shot in Britain (including by us Yanks), and (5) unfilmed British horror movies (some films that were announced but not completed). Appendixes also illustrated, although the entries are briefer.

Ten Years of Terror should not be confused with all those other oversized horror film books, scant on text, heavy on the same old glossy stills. Like them, Ten Years of Terror is big and beautiful, oversized and lavishly illustrated. But it's thick with text. And its stills are rarities, obscure gems.

But wait -- there's more!

The Foreword was written by Norman J. Warren, director of such British gems as Horror Planet (aka Inseminoid) and Terror.

I first saw Terror in a New York theater, some 20 years ago. Terror soon sank into obscurity, forgotten and ignored, and I've been partisaning its revival ever since. I discussed Terror in my NYU film school paper on horror films (1982), and in Horror magazine (1997), and again for Horrorfind.com, and again in my anthology book Halloween Candy (2001), and again in the HollywoodInvestigator.com (2004), and again in Mondo Cult (2006). Happily, Ten Year of Terror grants proper coverage to Terror (Fragments of Fear doesn't even mention the film), generously illustrated.

I also disagree with part of Harvey Fenton's critique. He calls Terror's script "well-written" and adds: "Terror is an audacious achievement; objectively speaking, there are undoubtedly better movies covered in this book, but few can compete with this film for simple entertainment value. McGillivray's script is efficient and unobtrusive; its sole purpose is to string together the many delightfully exuberant set-pieces."

Terror is wonderfully enjoyable, and stringing together scenes does appear to be the script's sole purpose. But a script should also create a coherent story, with cause-and-effect plotting. Instead, Terror is one of those rare films that becomes less coherent upon repeated viewing. However, that's because one enjoys Terror so much, one fails to notice that its story makes no sense -- none at all. It's only after one sees Terror a few times, growing familiar with the twists and turns in the rollercoaster, that one sees the plot holes.

Norman J. Warren's later Horror Planet (aka Inseminoid) is also great fun. A slasher film on a harsh planet. Think Jason meets Alien.

Although Ten Years of Terror concentrates on British indie horror, it covers all British horror films of the 1970s, Hammer and Amicus included. If the reader is still in doubt as to the fecundity of that period, perhaps it will help to recall these films, all covered in the book:

Countess Dracula, The House That Dripped Blood, Scream and Scream Again, The Vampire Lovers, Lust for a Vampire, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, A Clockwork Orange, The Devils, Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, Hands of the Ripper, Straw Dogs, Twins of Evil, Asylum, Captain Kronos--Vampire Hunter, The Creeping Flesh, Dracula AD 1972, Frenzy,Horror Express, Psychomania, Tales From the Crypt, Horror Hospital, Theatre of Blood, The Wicker Man, Craze, House of Whipcord, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Vampyres, The Omen, Satan's Slave, Holocaust 2000, Schizo, The Uncanny, The Legacy, Alien, Saturn 3.

And over 100 more. Only a few entries are non-horror (e.g. Clockwork Orange, Straw Dogs). And mere inclusion does not mean the editors love the film. They disdain The Uncanny -- a film I much enjoy (I've a soft spot for horror anthologies, and for Donald Pleasance, and for Samantha Eggar).

Speaking of which, the trade paperback cover of Ten Years of Terror features the skull from Amicus's Tales From the Crypt. Enthralled by its TV commercials, I spent years waiting to be old enough to see it. For those who came of age post-DC, pre-HBO, the Amicus version will always be the "true" Tales From the Crypt. (Curiously, the hardback's dust jacket features Ingrid Pitt instead).

Ten Years of Terror is a treasure trove, and I'm sure many horror fans will spend hours drooling over the book, recalling films they'd perhaps momentarily forgotten. Others will thrill with the first blush of discovering a rare gem.

Ten Years of Terror is destined to be the definitive text of independent 1970s British horror cinema.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
How film books should be! 31 Oct. 2005
By Prelati - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
'Ten Years of Terror' - a history of British horror cinema in the 70s - is not only very well written, but also a truly jaw-dropping book to look at. The meat, however, of course remains in the text. During the 1980s all things Italian - particularly the work of director Dario Argento - dominated the cult horror scene. The films of the 70s - especially UK horror movies - were all but forgotten, a fallow period between the collapse of Hammer and the rise of spaghetti-splatter. 'Ten Years of Terror' successfully challenges that misapprehension. In point of fact, horror enjoyed a brief golden age in the UK in the 70s, and as this book shows, expired from market saturation rather than unpopularity.

Hammer, under pressure from big budget US competition from the likes of 'Carrie', 'the Omen', and 'the Exorcist', produced some of their most interesting movies in this era. While not classics, the likes of 'Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter' and 'Dracula AD 1972' are at the very least good fun, and not the total turkeys they've been portrayed as. Hammer also came under pressure from rival UK studios like Tyburn and Amicus, who developed their own styles which were quintessentially English and quintessentially 70s, and in this context that's not an insult. Even sleaze merchants like Peter Walker are now enjoying a critical revival, and 'Ten Years of Terror' helps explain why.

'Ten Years of Terror' is largely composed of in-depth film reviews, chronologically organised on a year-by-year basis, interspersed by generous, lavish colour sections. If you like good-looking movie books, intelligent film journalism, or just have a soft spot for spooky cinema, you'll devour this as I did. How film books should be!
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