Britain is not exactly a place that cineastes would associate with the production of high quality horror films. Italy - yes. Japan - definitely. But Britain, when it comes to horror, gets automatically associated with Hammer. I am a fan of Hammer films, but they get so much focus that the true gems of British horror making go overlooked. In general, I don't think that British cinema gets the credit that it deserves. But this especially applies to British horror films. There have been some fantastic films made over the decades - up to contemporary efforts such as 28 Days Later and The Descent. In this article, I am appraising some iconoclastic British horror films that deserve more appreciation. Please add your own favourites below.
10. Xtro (1983)
Sam and his son Tony are playing outside when a light appears and abducts Sam. The light returns three years later and deposits a seed from which a half human/half alien creature grows. It kills a couple of people and enters a woman's house where it impregnates her and she gives birth to a fully formed human man who happens to be Sam. Sam makes a beeline for Tony and weird things start happening to the kid. He awakes drenched in blood - but it's not his own. He also has the power to kill people through telepathically transforming and instructing his toys to murder them. Sam and Rachel (Tony's mother) leave to investigate their old house and leave Tony in the care of the au pair. The au pair brings her boyfriend round for a bit of nookie and Tony kills them both. Meanwhile Sam and Rachel get down to even more nookie and Rachel is revolted to find out that Sam is composed of disgusting, rotten, peeling flesh. Tony arrives at the cottage and Sam takes his hand as they are vanished by the light. As if that weren't misery enough for Rachel, there is a rather nasty surprise waiting for her at home... Directed by Harry Bromley Davenport, Xtro flirted around the edges of the Video Nasty scene in the early 1980s. This film gets a lot of flak from the critics and from horror movie fans, but I happen to think it is a nifty little film with some nice flourishes. These include a woman giving birth to a fully grown man, the little boy Tony activating his scary toys to kill people and the weird appearance of the monster at the beginning of the film. The special effects are obviously done on the cheap but they are effective enough in producing revulsion in the viewer. The film has its supporters as well as its critics. The supporters view it as a cult classic which is eerie, trippy and you never know what bizarre thing is on the agenda next. As I said, I would side with the appreciative viewers. Xtro is a little gem of a movie.
My first film watched was Carrie aged 2 on my dad's knee. Educated at The University of St Andrews and Trinity College Dublin. Fan of Arthouse, Exploitation, Horror, Euro Trash, Giallo, New French Extremism. Weaned at the bosom of a Russ Meyer starlet. The bleaker, artier or sleazier the better!