I live a somewhat dual personality. I like to think of myself as a big ol’ goff, but when it comes to horror films I am a massive wuss. I can’t deal with gore, and any level of psychological or jump-scare horror has me hiding behind a cushion. This is why the classic horror films are a good middle ground, they are creepy enough to satisfy my goth tendencies, while being tame enough by today’s standards to not having me jumping out of my skin.
Coupled with this is the importance of recognising where the genre came from. If you think that the film industry has barely been going a hundred years, some of these early examples of horror are simply breathtaking cinema, and have paved the way for the modern film industry as we know it.
Back in March, I was given the opportunity to watch the 1923 version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, screened in Bristol Cathedral. My inner goth squealed with delight – a silent horror film, screened inside a beautifully spectacular gothic building, accompanied with a live organ score. I was in my element.
This event was in association with the Bristol Cathedral and was part of the candlelight screenings of the Bristol Film Festival, which takes place across the city throughout the year, with screenings primarily in the spring. Alongside screenings in the cathedral they often show horror films in Redcliffe Caves, or put on family events at Arnos Vale. There are still a few events coming up this summer which are well worth checking out – take a look at their website if you’re interested.
The film itself was fantastic, and with the addition of the organ accompaniment was especially haunting. I have made a mental note to myself to try and get out to do these kinds of things more, because I can’t imagine a better evening than sat in the cavernous belly of a cathedral, watching silent films with a glass of red in hand.
A huge thank you for the Bristol Film Festival for inviting me along.