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University of Southampton horrifies film-goers

Published: 11 November 2004

The University of Southampton is sending shivers down the spines of film-goers and lovers of vampires, zombies and serial killers in a major season of classic horror films at the National Film Theatre in London this autumn.

A History of the Horror Film, which runs throughout November and December, has been put together by Dr Linda Ruth Williams, a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University and Dr Mark Kermode.

Mark Kermode is an Honorary Fellow of the University, although he is best known as a renowned film journalist. He is a regular panellist on Newsnight Review, film critic for the New Statesman, and a prolific writer and presenter of film documentaries for BBC 2 and Channel 4. Linda Ruth Williams has taught film in the English department at Southampton for ten years, and helped to develop its film studies programme. She has also contributed as a film expert to programmes such as Night Waves, Newsnight Review, and a range of Channel 4 documentaries. Mark has written popular books on The Exorcist and The Shawshank Redemption for the BFI Film Classics series, and Linda has written four books, including her latest, The Erotic Thriller in Contemporary Cinema, which is published next year.

Both have a long-standing interest in the horror genre, and together produced the programme for this season. Their choices emphasise the international nature of horror cinema and include films from Europe, the USA, Japan, and Korea. The earliest film in the season is J. Searle Dawley's 1910 version of Frankenstein, while the most recent is Kim Jee-Woon's 2003 A Tale of Two Sisters, demonstrating that the horror genre spans the history of cinema.

Prominent film experts, including two other University of Southampton film studies staff, Dr Michael Hammond and Dr Michael Williams, will introduce many of the screenings. The season also includes a rare showing of the complete version of The Devils, accompanied by an on-stage discussion with its director, Ken Russell. Russell grew up in Southampton and now lives locally, and has strong links with film studies staff at the University.

Mark Kermode comments: "The season provides a snapshot of a hundred years of international terror, blending familiar classics with left-field oddities to lead the viewer through a world of hidden delights."

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Notes for editors

  1. A digital image of Mark Kermode and Dr Linda Ruth Williams launching the film season at the University of Southampton is available on request.
  2. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University has around 20,000 students and nearly 5000 staff. Its annual turnover is in the region of £270 million.

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