Following on from his rather good three-part history of the development of horror movies in the UK and USA, Gatiss returns to look at European horror on the big screen.
Actor and writer Mark Gatiss embarks on a chilling voyage through European horror cinema. From the silent nightmares of German Expressionism in the wake of World War I to lesbian vampires in 1970s Belgium, from the black-gloved killers of Italy's bloody Giallo thrillers to the ghosts of the Spanish Civil War, Mark reveals how Europe's turbulent 20th century forged its ground-breaking horror tradition. On a journey that spans the continent from Ostend to Slovakia, Mark explores classic filming locations and talks to the genre's leading talents, including directors Dario Argento and Guillermo del Toro.
Available to watch until 11 November:
Here's producer John Das:
‘More than anything else, it was German expressionism in the wake of World War I that laid the foundations of horror cinema in both Europe and America. And we could think of nowhere better for Mark to begin his celebration of the great German Silents than at the atmospheric Orava castle in Slovakia, the home of Count Orlok in FW Murnau’s pioneering version of the Dracula story, Nosferatu (1922).
Orava Castle dates back to the 13th century, and Mark argues that “the decision to shoot Nosferatu here gives it an authenticity that¹s rarely been matched in any horror picture since, a disorientating sense that the terror, however outlandish it may appear, comes from a real place.”
Mark relished he chance to recreate some famous shots from Murnau’s film. But he also acknowledges the difficulties that many viewers may have seeing Nosferatu today:
“Familiar as we now are with the urbane Draculas of Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee, it¹s easy to find Max Schreck¹s wide-eyed, hunch-shouldered Orlok crude, and even absurd. But in his utter alien-ness lies his menace ¬nothing about him seems susceptible to human reason or emotion. He¹s a figure who¹s stepped out of a medieval painting of hell, an embodiment of apocalypse intruding into reality.”
“In many respects, Nosferatu is very different to Dracula. Indeed, if you watch it expecting a straightforward interpretation of Stoker¹s novel, you¹ll be baffled and frustrated. It has rats instead of bats, no-one gets staked or turned into a vampire. To do it justice, you need to see Nosferatu as a work in its own right."