The story behind the best British horror film in years

Video nasties and censorship are tackled head on in the sinister Sundance hit. Jacob Stolworthy speaks to its star Niamh Algar and director-co-writer Prano Bailey-Bond about the process from inception to fruition

Sundance Film Festival’s Midnight section has long been the holy grail for any burgeoning horror director. It’s where The Blair Witch Project (1999) kick-started the found-footage phenomenon; where Saw (2004) launched one of the most successful franchises in history; and, more recently, where It Follows (2014) and Hereditary (2018) were first unleashed, reinvigorating modern horror. Censor, which received its world premiere at this year’s virtual Sundance on Saturday (30 January), is a worthy addition to that list. In fact, it is one of the best horror films in years.

Directed by Prano Bailey-Bond, Censor tells the story of Enid (Niamh Algar), a young woman who makes a living tucked away in dingy screening rooms, watching depraved and gory films. In her notepad, she scribbles down the timings of the cuts she thinks need to be made before they’re viewed by the public.

For Enid, this fastidiousness doesn’t stem from a love of film but a sense of duty. During a tense dinner with her parents, she rebukes her father for suggesting otherwise. “It’s not entertainment,” she snaps. ”I do it to protect people.”

Like any psychological film worth its salt, nothing’s as it seems. The arrival of video nasty supremo Frederick North’s new film (creepily titled Don’t Go in the Church) sends Enid spiralling. Before long, she’s on a mission to find a sister who went missing years before. It’s here where the film kicks into gear leading to one of the most memorable climaxes for quite some time.

The idea of the film germinated “ages ago”, says Bailey-Bond, after she read an article on Hammer Horror, the London-based company known for its gothic films featuring the characters of Dracula, Frankenstein and more. Continue reading

Film review: The good lord offers little salvation in the horrific Saint Maud

Movie "Saint Maud"

Rose Glass delivers a blistering debut horror that sees a young nurse struggle to cope with isolation, temptation and salvation.

Psalm 31:23

Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful.

The philosophy and morality of the Bible are so interwoven into our society, that it seems we’ve chosen the parts we’re ok with, and discarded the rest. It’s easy to forget then the sheer brutality contained within a book that was written and amended thousands of years ago, guided by the voices of evermore contradictory men who twisted (or upheld) the supposed word of God. In Saint Maud that viciousness is brought to life when a private nurse attempts to “save” the soul of her patient, an enigmatic former dancer whose body has been taken over by cancer. One of God’s cruellest tricks. Continue reading

British Horror is both Unique and Wonderful 

By Abbie Spears

British horror movies aren’t nearly talked about enough, Abbie looks into what makes them special and gives them that unique edge.

I love horror, and I have spent an awfully long time listening to people list their favourite horror films, and I’ve noticed that horror films from the United Kingdom are rarely mentioned. I am partially guilty of this myself because British cinema can be easy to overlook when it’s not thrown in your face like the movies we’re all talking about. But I am British, and I take pride in the fact that my country has produced some excellent motion pictures. Continue reading

The Little Stranger review: One of the most original British horror films of recent times

The Little Stranger is one of the most original British horror films of recent times – although whether it can really be classified as horror is a moot point. Based on the novel by Sarah Waters, this is a story about class, envy and self-loathing.

It is set in the austerity-era Britain of 1948, when the country was in debt and drained of colour and when the old aristocracy was on its knees. Beautifully directed by Lenny Abrahamson, the film evokes this period in a way that is both nostalgic and frequently chilling

Domhnall Gleeson plays the youngish Dr. Faraday, an aloof and diffident figure who has opportunities in Clement Attlee’s Britain that would have been denied him before the war. He is from a very humble background, the son of a housemaid, but has risen up the social scale and is now a fully qualified country doctor. [ . . . ]

Continue at: The Little Stranger review: One of the most original British horror films of recent times