A New Golden Age of TV Horror?

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After Northampton’s Lorna Jowett hatched the idea for a book on TV Horror with and Stacey Abbott (University of Roehampton) in the early 2000s, the two presented papers on the topic at various conferences as they researched and wrote, but had only a sense that by the time the book was published in 2012 there would be many, many more horror TV series to discuss. Given the phenomenal success of The Walking Dead, as well as The Strain, True Blood, iZombie, Ash vs The Evil Dead, the cult fandoms surrounding In the Flesh and Hannibal, and recent Netflix successes including From Dusk till Dawn, Scream and the summer hit Stranger Things, a new horror boom is in full swing. The appetite for horror on TV just keeps growing, and so Lorna and Stacey invited Darren Elliott-Smith (author of the recently published book Queer Horror Film and Television: Masculinity and Sexuality at the Margins) and Rebecca Janicker (editor of a forthcoming collection on American Horror Story), to join them for a round table discussion on TV Horror at this year’s CineExcess conference in Birmingham. The conference ran from Thursday to Saturday and the round table took place on Saturday 12th November. (Photo from left to right: Rebecca Janicker, Lorna Jowett. Stacey Abbott, Darren Elliott-Smith)

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After opening with all the panellists addressing the controversy surrounding the season 7 opening episode of The Walking Dead the session took the audience on an intense tour of some horror highlights—with a few differences of opinion along the way. When the audience were invited to take part too, the lively discussion expanded, with topics ranging from the new ways audiences are watching TV horror to the different approaches to showing ‘horror’ on the small screen. Lorna said, ‘Stacey and I tested out some of the material for the book at various CineExcess conferences in years gone by, so we were delighted to return for its tenth anniversary and fly the flag for TV horror once again. It was great to see such enthusiasm from delegates in the audience, some of whom were also researching horror on television.’ She added, ‘I’ve certainly come away with a list of yet more things to watch—there’s always too much TV!’