Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Black Death & The Current State Of UK Horror


English auteur-in-the-making Christopher Smith failed to make an impression on me with his slasher debut Creep. Fortunately, his output since then has gone from strength to strength, revealing a versatile director with a broad and original vision. On his first four movies, I'm impressed with the ease at which he's stayed within the horror genre but moved so effortlessly between sub-genres. From Creep, to Severance and Triangle, each successive film has marked what feels like an almost exponential growth in maturity and intelligence.

The culmination of Smith's work so far is his slow-burning, bleakly apocalyptic medieval fantasy Black Death, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Behold these two recent posters for it by Simon Bisley, who did a similar one for Neil Marshall's Centurion last year. I like that these artworks create a connection between the two films, because, to my mind, they're tonally quite similar. In fact I think there's a kind of parallel synchronicity to Smith's and Marshall's careers so far, the two becoming more confident and skilled in tandem. It's definitely not a stretch to say that these two fellows - along with Simon Rumley - are leading the charge of the NWOBH invasion.

Speaking of which, UK horror has been in consistently fine form for the last few years. I'm frequently blown away by new British movies, seemingly popping up out of nowhere. For example, has anyone seen Outcast, directed by one Colm McCarthy? I saw it the other night and, despite a rather rote feeling conclusion, it's brilliant! One of the coolest occult horror flicks I've ever seen, and bound for kvlt status I'm sure. In terms of pagan, witchy mysticism, it may well overshadow Robin Hardy's upcoming Wicker Man sequel, The Wicker Tree, which - if the trailer is any indication - is looking worryingly hokie (please prove me wrong Mr. Hardy).


8 comments:

  1. I've been meaning to check out Black Death. Additionally, I finally just saw Centurion and it was KILLER.

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  2. Yeah, seriously, how METAL is Centurion? Nice to see you here Brett, I'm a fan of your blog...

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  3. This Black death is just a fine movie, nothing memorable. Of Smith's works I prefer much more Triangle, which I think it's his masterpiece ;)

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  4. Those posters are amazing. I guess I'm behind on British horror/genre films, because I hadn't even herd of Black Death. I'll be checking it out for sure.

    The Wicker Tree looks horrid. The trailer reminds me of Argento's Mother of Tears. Ugh.

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  5. Christopher Smith has quickly become a director whose subsequent films I look forward to with the relish of fanby. Severance, Triangle and Black Death have all made my top ten horror films list within their respective year. A very talented man.

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  6. Simon Bisley is such a pimp! What great poster art.

    This post actually persuaded me to watch Black Death, and it was a great movie. Definitely different than what I've been watching lately, and thankfully free of Hollywood BS. Thanks for the recommendation, Unflinching Eye! I will be watching Outcast soon, hope its just as good...

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  7. Yeah, can't recommend Outcast enough...

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  8. saw black death on netflix today. seriously one of the best films ive seen in a long time. thanks for the recommendation man

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