Frankenstein Goes to Hollywood

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Episode 1 of 3

Duration: 1 hour

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.

  • Gloria Stuart: 1910 - 2010

    Gloria Stuart: 1910 - 2010

    Mark filming with Gloria Stuart, star of The Old Dark House (1932)

  • Horror Q&A with Mark Gatiss

    Horror Q&A with Mark Gatiss

    "I think there's a genuinely fascinating personal story spanning the three episodes. Not just my own affection for the films, but the journeys of actors like Boris Karloff and Peter Cushing and directors like George Romero and John Carpenter."

    Mark talks about the series and his favourite horror films
  • Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

    Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

    Elsa Lanchester plays the bride to Boris Karloff's monster in James Whale's stunning sequel to the 1931 picture Frankenstein.

Credits

Presenter
Mark Gatiss
Director
John Das
Series Producer
John Das
Executive Producer
Michael Poole

Broadcasts

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