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New Titles in the Library

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Basil Glynn’s The Mummy on Screen: orientalism and monstrosity in horror cinema explores the history of the Mummy film, analysing lost, half-forgotten films alongside chilling classics. By focusing on the Mummy's development from the silent era, all the way through its myriad incarnations in classic Universal and Hammer films, Glynn suggests the cinematic Mummy needs to be understood in terms of ‘changing discourses of race (in particular Orientalism), trangressive romance and monstrosity’ in order to truly appreciate its continued appeal to audiences.


When it was broadcast by the BBC in 1974, Penda’s Fen startled audiences with its tale of an English village rector’s son coming of age amidst folkloric visions of pagan wonderment and anguished sexual awakening. Edited by Matthew Harle and James Machin, Of Mud & Flame: The Penda’s Fen Sourcebook is a deep-map of the film containing contributions from scholars (including Adam Scovell, William Fowler, Beth Whalley and Yvonne Sal…

31 (2016)

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A group of carnival sideshow workers are abducted and forced to fight for their lives against a gang of killer clowns as mysterious, bewigged oligarchs in aristocratic period garb wager bets on who will survive.

31 is a film about violence as entertainment and death as spectacle. It’s a film about the depths of human depravity. It’s also about survival and the things rational, sane and civilised people will do when they are backed into a corner and forced to fight for their lives. While it riffs on the likes of similarly themed films such as The Most Dangerous Game (1932), The Running Man (1987) and Death Race (1975), it is all, obviously, presented in Rob Zombie’s inimitable and furiously violent style.

Like so much of Zombie’s film work, 31 has strong echoes of Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), though more so of its sequel (1986), both stylistically and in its fiendishly warped sense of humour. Film scholar Robin Wood once said The Texas Chain Saw Massacre "bri…

Lurking in the Stacks

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I recently moved to London to work as a Library Assistant at the British Film Institute's Reuben Library. The library holds a vast collection of material relating to all aspects of cinema and the moving image. Due to spacial limitations, the collection, which includes books, journals, periodicals, magazines, annuals, pamphlets and reports etc., is held across three locations: the library reading room, the closed access stacks beneath Southbank (where the library is located) and at the multimedia vaults at the archive in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. Managing the collection, and the circulation of its contents, and ensuring we know where items are and when, really keeps us on our toes!

Much of the library's collection held at the vaults has been collected and stored with care over the years, and there's a lot of really old and super rare material there, including now long out of print publications. It's important to preserve these items as they are part of our cinematic …