Censored Screams

The British Ban on Hollywood Horror in the Thirties


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SKU: 9780786427314 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

As Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931) ushered in the golden age of horror films in the United States, studios and distributors were faced with a major problem in their number one overseas market: the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) were demanding extensive cuts, enforcing age restrictions, and banning outright many of Hollywood’s horror movies. The issue most often used to limit the showing of horror films was their “unsuitability” to children. With that in mind, the BBFC developed specific film codes—the “A” (for adults) and the “H” (for horrific), both of which restricted viewing to those 16 or older—and then applied them liberally. This work examines how and why horror films were censored or banned in the United Kingdom, and the part these actions played in ending Hollywood’s golden age of horror.

About the Author(s)

The late Tom Johnson, author of several books on horror cinema, taught and coached cross country and track for 30 years. He lived in Shillington, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Tom Johnson
Forewords by Tom Weaver ; and Richard Gordon; ; Afterword by Gregory William Mank
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 222
Bibliographic Info: 69 photos, filmography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006 [1997]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2731-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0892-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Foreword by Tom Weaver      ix
Foreword by Richard Gordon      xiii

Introduction      1
A Brief History of British Film Censorship      9
Children and Horror Films in the U.K.      15
How British Films Were Exhibited in the Thirties      18
A Brief History of American Film Censorship      20
Dracula—“The Strangest Passion the World Has Ever Known”      22
Frankenstein—The Movie That Made a Monster      32
The Sons of Frankenstein—“I’ll Show You What Horror Means”      46
1933-34—Breathing Spell      77
1935—Steps Must Be Taken      100
1936—Steps Have Been Taken      126
1937—Banned in Britain      141
1938—Signs of Life      148
1939—Back from the Dead      151
Afterword by Greg Mank      161
Epilogue      181

Filmography      187
Bibliography      199
Index      201

Book Reviews & Awards

“lively…accessible sketches…recommended”—Choice; “a fascinating read, meticulously researched and completely relevant to today”—Samhain; “profusely illustrated”—Monsters from the Vault; “covers all the subtlety involved in an interestingly researched chronicle”—Midnight Marquee; “a great book, filled with wonderful photographs”—Little Shoppe of Horrors.