Acclaimed author Jonathan Rigby marries meticulous research, opulent prose and a genuine passion for his subject of English Gothic, adding another exhaustive study to his bulging bibliography. It swiftly became an essential text for academics, horror fans and cinephiles alike on its initial print in 2000. This fourth edition, with the late great Christopher Lee adorning the cover, and some revisions and additions, it remains the definitive exploration of British horror fifteen years later.
English Gothic was the first of its kind to archive the lustrous cinema of English gothic, to cover the highs and lows in such depth. With this, the fourth edition, Rigby remains top of the literary heap. In the Author's Note, Rigby graciously admits his mistake in claiming British horror a has-been, as in the last ten years especially there has been a boom. This creative spurt alone warranted the latest revision, but it isn't focussed on film alone. TV has also become a fertile ground for morbid British minds to flex their macabre muscles, and Rigby devotes the second appendix entirely to Gothic TV. While only a relatively brief section in the book’s larger word count, it does prove thorough.
Rigby's writing is wry and affectionate, funny and zesty to frame his encyclopaedic knowledge. His rich vocabulary and anecdotes may intimidate some, but it's a very compelling text. It might be a reference coffee table topper, but its alluring style will quickly sucker the reader in to finishing it cover to cover. The genre genesis, fascinating as it is, is set in stone, and it's the latter chapters which detail the death and rebirth of British horror that prove the most fascinating.
By putting British horror into such illuminating social and historical context, English Gothic becomes something greater than nostalgia, and something truly essential and important. From the genre’s literary origins right through the noughties, it's a book that the desk or coffee table of any STARBURST reader shouldn’t be without.
INFO: ENGLISH GOTHIC: CLASSIC HORROR CINEMA 1897 - 2015 / JONATHAN RIGBY / PUBLISHER: SIGNUM BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW