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New book will celebrate work of leading film historian

28th September 2021

Colleagues of a highly respected Northumbria University Film Studies academic, who died in 2018, have united to release a second edition of his landmark work on horror films.

Professor Peter Hutchings worked at Northumbria for 27 years before his death and his book, Hammer and Beyond: The British Horror Film – first published in 1993 –was widely regarded as the first substantive study of the genre of British horror cinema.

Film poster for Hammer and Beyond

Now Dr Johnny Walker, from the University’s Department of Arts, has edited the book published by Professor Hutchings, assembled new materials and written an introduction.

Dr Russ Hunter, who also worked with Professor Hutchings for many years, has written the afterword.

Before joining Northumbria, Professor Hutchings studied for his PhD at the University of East Anglia, where he was supervised by Professor Charles Barr, the academic often credited for inventing British film studies.

Professor Hutchings was Barr's second PhD student and his PhD, awarded in the late 80s, was revised and published almost 30 years ago as Hammer and Beyond: The British Horror Film. It demonstrated how culturally relevant, interesting, and valuable popular forms of film genres could be.

Dr Walker, an Associate Professor who is currently the Principal Investigator on an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded fellowship: Raising Hell: British HorrorFilm of the 1980s and 1990s, said: “When Peter  published the first edition in 1993, it was a time when all of the emphasis on horror cinema was on American films.

“Peter’s work really shone a light on British cinema and the fact that horror films in this country were just as worthy of attention and analysis.

“His work was the reason I came to Northumbria as an undergraduate. The second edition of the book is a tribute to a leader in British film criticism and a valued Northumbria colleague.”

The new edition of the book was the subject of a talk by Dr Walker which took place at the Paracinema Festival in Derby on 25 September.

“The response has been hugely positive,” Dr Walker added.

“It confirms Peter’s place as a significant figure in his field and the importance of republication.”

An online book launch will take place at 7pm on Wednesday 29 September via Zoom. A panel of six will take the audience through a discussion on the new edition, including Dr Walker, Dr Hunter, and Northumbria’s Dr Kate Egan, a recognised expert on horror cinema.

Registration is open here. Joining details will be emailed to participants.

Find out more information on Film Studies courses at Northumbria here.

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