I have to declare an interest: Johnny Walker’s compellingly well researched study of the contemporary British horror film industry affords me a namecheck – one which is not necessarily critical, but suggests that I (like so many other writers on the genre) have a focus on British Gothic Cinema in my book of that title, with not a great deal of attention to current, edgier films. Johnny Walker is absolutely right, of course, and that imbalance is recalculated with this pleasingly fact-laden study, which draws together many strands — from commercial to the creative — which affect the contemporary industry (such as it is – in an ever more parlous state). The book is essential reading for any aficionado of the genre, as is Tanya Horeck & and Tina Kendall’s The New Extremism in Cinema: from France to Europe, which takes on a variety of cinematic shibboleth-shatterers, not just in the horror genre: the book addresses the graphic sexuality of much modern cinema (I have another connection with this theme, having written about the subject in Sex and Film for Palgrave Macmillan). This is the first important study of its kind, and it is both perspicacious and unflinching in examining the provocative issues raised by such directors as Lars von Trier and Gaspar Noe with ther unflinchingly graphic portrayals of sex and violence. Critical methods and the contentious debates regarding the expression of sexuality are both handled by the contributors with great rigour, even if some axes are noisily ground.

The New Extremism in Cinema: from France to Europe Tanya Horeck & and Tina Kendall, editors/ Edinburgh University Press, 9780748679102

Contemporary British Horror Cinema: Industry, Genre and Society by Johnny Walker

Edinburgh University Press, 9780748689736

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