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Frankenstein Goes to Hollywood

Three-part series in which actor and writer Mark Gatiss (The League of Gentlemen, Doctor Who, Sherlock) celebrates the greatest achievements of horror cinema.

A lifelong fan of the genre, Mark begins by exploring the golden age of Hollywood horror. From the late 1920s until the 1940s, a succession of classic pictures and unforgettable actors defined the horror genre - including The Phantom of the Opera starring Lon Chaney, Dracula with Bela Lugosi, and Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff.

Mark explains just how daring and pioneering these films were, and why they still send a chill down the spine today. He also traces how horror pictures evolved during this period, becoming camp and subversive (The Old Dark House and Bride of Frankenstein, both directed by Englishman James Whale), dark and perverse (films like Freaks, which used disabled performers), before a final flourish with the psychological horror of RKO Pictures' films (Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie), which still influence directors today. However, by the early 1950s the monsters were facing their biggest threat - the rise of science fiction films in the post-war atomic era.

Along the way, Mark steps into some of the great sets from these classic films, hears first-hand accounts from Hollywood horror veterans, discovers Lon Chaney's head in a box and finds out why Bela Lugosi met his match in Golders Green.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 31 Oct 2011 23:00

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterMark Gatiss
DirectorJohn Das
Series ProducerJohn Das
Executive ProducerMichael Poole
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