Devil’s Advocates, a series from leading independent film and media studies publisher Auteur, is devoted to exploring the classics of horror cinema (and includes a study on The Company of Wolves by Exquisite Terror‘s own James Gracey—purchase here). For a chance to win this selection of books, answer the question below.
In the Mouth of Madness
Overlooked upon its initial 1995 release, John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness has since developed a healthy cult reputation and stands today as one of his most thematically complex and stylistically audacious pieces of work. Michael Blyth discusses the film is an extension of many recurring themes found in Carpenter’s filmography, as well as an affectionate homage to the works of Lovecraft and a self-reflexive celebration of the horror genre that predates the Scream-inspired postmodernist boom of the late ’90s.
Frenzy (1972) was Alfred Hitchcock’s penultimate film, and arguably one of his most misunderstood and neglected. Whereas even Psycho (1960) did eventually become respectable, Frenzy remains problematic for many. This Devil’s Advocate discusses the evolution of the film, its production, reception, and place in Hitchcock’s oeuvre, as well as its status as, Ian Cooper argues, a key film of ‘sleazy Seventies’ British cinema.
Candyman (1992) is almost unique in 1990s horror cinema in that it tackles its sociopolitical themes head on. Jon Towlson considers how Candyman might be read both as a “return of the repressed” during the George H. W. Bush era, and as an example of ’90s neoconservative horror. He traces the project’s development from its origins as a Clive Barker short story; discusses the importance of its gritty real-life Cabrini-Green setting; and analyses the film’s appropriation (and interrogation) of urban myth.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
When David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me premiered at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival it was met with outright hostility. Yet in the years since, there has been a gradual wave of reappraisal and appreciation, with the realisation that what Lynch had created was not a parody of soap opera and detective television but a horror movie. Lindsay Hallam explores how the film was an attempt to take back ownership of the material and the influence that Fire Walk with Me now has on contemporary film and across popular culture.