12 British Horror Films You Need To See

Terror to delight fans of the macabre.

Prior to the 1950s, British horror consisted mainly of Tod Slaughter melodramas and the occasional vehicle for Boris Karloff or Bela Lugosi. A pair of truly notable films €“ Alfred Hitchcock€™s The Lodger (1926) and Dead Of Night (1945) €“ broke the mould, but the genre met with disapproval from the UK censor, who banned Freaks and Island Of Lost Souls (both 1932) for decades. The change came when Hammer released The Curse Of Frankenstein in 1957, which gave punters a home-grown monster movie with unprecedented levels of gore. The film played to packed houses and as Hammer€™s success continued, rival studios sprung up and their output made it very clear that there was much more to British horror than watching Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing putter around a gothic castle. From anthology films to zombie movies, there€™s a certain consistency to horror pictures from the UK, an atmosphere and a tongue in cheek attitude that sets them apart from slick mainstream fare. A low budget Brit flick can achieve more with a well-chosen location and a few good actors than any $200 million blockbuster you care to mention. The following films are available on DVD or streaming services and you really should attempt to track them down.


Ian Watson is the author of 'Midnight Movie Madness', a 600+ page guide to "bad" movies from 'Reefer Madness' to 'Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.'