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Synthetic Flesh/Rotten Blood: The Turn to Gruesomeness in American Horror Films (1931-1936)

Wednesday 2nd August


Screen 2

Director: Various

Starring: Various

Rating: 18

UK 2017, 120mins

Mad scientists. Sadistic torture. Maniac killers. Alongside gangster movies and sex pictures, thirties horror films used sensational images to attract thrill-hungry audiences during the darkest days of the Great Depression. From Frankenstein (1931) to Freaks (1932) to The Black Cat (1934) to The Raven (1935), studios ballyhooed the public with ‘supershockers’ that left the moral guardians up in arms.

Filmmakers like James Whale, Tod Browning and Edgar G. Ulmer exulted in the gruesome and the brutal, flouting the Hays Code at every turn. Eventually, in July 1934, the censors struck back, banning ‘gruesomeness’ from horror, and the genre lost its fangs. Everyone soon forgot how shocking those 1930s films were. Until now.

Join author and Starburst film critic Jon Towlson on a graphic journey through 'pre-Code' 1930s horror cinema. Experience the terrors of synthetic flesh, the agonies of rotten blood, and abandon any preconceptions you may have that classic horror cinema is cosy and safe - classics like Dr. X (1932) and Murders in the Rue Morgue (1931) may be closer to modern day torture porn than you think.

Please note: all seats operate on a first come, first served basis, including sofa seating.