If you’re looking for a break from the movies and fancy watching something educational, then we highly recommend the fascinating docu-series Eli Roth’s History Of Horror.
Now in its second series, horror workhorse Roth gets up close with a bunch of influential figures from the industry to delve deep into some of our favourite themes and uncover what makes them so fascinating.
The AMC show features legendary horror directors and writers such as Rob Zombie, Stephen King, Quentin Tarantino, Joe Dante, plus a host of people that have starred on the other side of the camera, such as Elijah Wood, Bill Hader and Jack Black.
As Eli interviews them we look at key scenes in some of the most significant horror films in cinema exploring the themes and deconstructing them to reveal fascinating alternate takes on what we have watched.
This season has six hour-long episodes covering a number of themes:
Houses of Hell
In this episode Eli and company explore the role of the home in horror. Home is where the heart is, unless you live in a house of hell. Whether they’re filled with spectres or psychos, every house of hell pokes at our illusions of comfort and safety.
This episode takes a look at the history of monster movies, which can also been seen as the history of the evolution of special effects technology. But, whatever their size or shape and whatever they represent, for many horror fans monsters are the best part of the genre.
This episode isn’t for those with a weak stomach, as it delves into the more gruesome depths of the horror genre. It explores how film-makers use bodies to evoke powerful reactions in the audience and how complex subtexts can be veiled beneath the skin of films that might initially seem quite superficial.
Focussing on the witch as a towering figure in the history of horror. The archetypical evil witch is everything mainstream religion tells us a woman should not be – and that unapologetic, very female power frightens men and fascinates women.
The fifth episode, “Chilling Children”, explores how parents are supposed to love their children, no matter how awful their kids may be. The films highlighted in this episode may not solve the mystery of where evil comes from, but they have a terrifically terrifying time raising the question.
In this final episode Eli rounds of the season by discussing nine uncharacterisable films and speaking to the creators behind each of them to deconstruct how they succeeded in delivering films that broke new ground and left an indelible mark on the minds of everyone that saw them.
What makes Eli Roth’s History of Horror so enjoyable is the fact that it holds appeal to such a wide audience, from the everyday horror fan wanting to know more about their favourite films, to the horror scholars, hungry to know more about the art they adore.
As the nights draw in, this is a dark series that you cannot afford to miss.
Eli Roth’s History of Horror is screening now on AMC, which is a channel available on BT TV 332/381 (HD). You can catch it on Tuesdays at 9pm.