Series: Fascist Ghosts

Fascist Ghosts: Racism and the Far Right in British Horror, Part One

In its own warped way, horror fiction has always reflected whatever is happening in the world around it. The most obvious metaphor is a funhouse mirror, offering a twisted representation of its surroundings for the audience’s surprise and entertainment. Inevitably, some of horror’s attempts to portray the surrounding world will be more successful than others. In 1978, Michael Moorcock–the doyen of Britain’s new wave science fiction–wrote an essay entitled “Starship Stormtroopers.” In this left-libertarian broadside against much of the fantasy and SF canon, Moorcock mentioned horror fiction only once and was clearly unimpressed by the genre: “In a writer...

Read More

Fascist Ghosts: Racism and the Far Right in British Horror, Part Two

Content warning: This article contains excerpts from explicitly racist material. In the first post of this series, I discussed portrayals of race and racism in British horror fiction from the earlier half of the twentieth century, particularly in the work of Sax Rohmer, Bram Stoker, Nigel Kneale, and Dennis Wheatley. In this post, I will look at how the rise of the postwar British far right in the 1970s was reflected by horror writers. A New Generation: James Herbert It is fitting that Dennis Wheatley’s final novel was published in 1974, a year that saw two generation-defining horror authors make their debuts as...

Read More

Fascist Ghosts: Racism and the Far Right in British Horror, Part Three

Content warning: this article discusses fictional portrayals of racism, including usage of racial slurs. The first post in this series gave an overview of racial stereotypes in British horror fiction; the second discussed how the rise of postwar far right groups, such as the National Front, was reflected in the genre. For its third and final instalment the series concludes by analysing how horror writers of Britain confronted the far right head-on in consciously anti-racist fiction. Horror Against the National Front Although the National Front never regained the heights it reached in the 1970s, it still cast a shadow over...

Read More