Picking up where the first book, Dog Soldiers and Doghouses (2000-2011) left off, MJ Simpson’s 21st Century British Horror Films Volume 2 White Settlers and Women in Black (2012-2015) is the next in the author’s planned four-volume set.
You might have noticed that White Settlers and Women in Black only covers four years’ worth of releases while the first volume stretched across twelve. But those four years marked the start of the British horror boom. There are actually more films covered this time around despite the much shorter time frame. And they’re covered in the same short concise reviews, arranged alphabetically by year as before as well.
One of the first things that becomes apparent if you sit down and just start reading is how many zombie films with similar-sounding plots came out in that period. Wasteland, Zombie Hood, Zombie Lover, Dead End: Zombie Apocalypse, etc. Combined with serial killer films they probably take up at least a quarter of the book. It’s a testament to his dedication that he got through them all.
Readers of the first volume will enjoy seeing Richard Driscoll dragged over the coals again, this time for Eldorado, or whatever title it’s under this week. Also, be prepared to see the names Philip Gardiner and/or Aquinas quite frequently. Under the two names his large output of bad films, most of which seem to involve Melanie Denholme rolling around naked, are the author’s favourite target in White Settlers and Women in Black. And, if they’re all as bad as the one I’ve seen, they deserve it.
Of course, there are plenty of much better films covered as well. There’s Outpost II: Black Sun and The Woman in Black both of which had vastly inferior sequels that are also covered. As well as The Seasoning House, Citadel, Berberian Sound Studio and White Settlers among others.
One of the appeals for those binge reading as opposed to using it as a reference book will be seeing some now very familiar names start to show up. Neil Jones, Steve Lawson, Andrew Jones, David Ryan Keith, Paul Hyett and Corin Hardy among them. And for those looking for a challenge, there’s plenty of obscurities and presumed lost films waiting to be found.
21st Century British Horror Films, Volume 2: White Settlers and Women in Black (2012-2015) is a solid follow-up to the first volume. The lack of variety among the plots makes it a bit less enjoyable as a straight read, but that’s not Simpson’s fault. That said I do hope he finds a way to deal with that before volume three comes out next year.
21st Century British Horror Films, Volume 2: White Settlers and Women in Black (2012-2015) Review can be ordered from the author’s website.