Nigel Kneale and Horror: Critical Essays

Ed. collection, 29. November 2021.

Edited by Derek Johnston

Scriptwriter Nigel Kneale had a career that stretched from the monopoly years of BBC television to the spread of multichannel television in the UK in the 1990s. Kneale is probably best remembered for his creation of the character of Professor Bernard Quatermass. While often associated with science fiction, these productions also have clearly horrific elements, and the Hammer film adaptations tended to emphasise the horror aspect over the science fiction. Kneale was also responsible for other horror scripts, including /The Stone Tape/ (1972), the series /Beasts/ (1976) and the television adaptation of /The Woman in Black/ (1989), as well as /Halloween III: Season of the Witch/ (1982). Through plays such as /Against the Crowd/ “Murrain” (1975) and /Beasts/ “Baby” (1976) as well as the Quatermass serials and Hammer’s /The Witches/ (1966) Kneale has been seen as a contributor to the folk horror genre. Yet much of this discourse takes place in non-academic areas, and the majority of academic work on Kneale has focused on Quatermass as science fiction.

As part of an attempt to rebalance the appreciation and understanding of Kneale and his work, proposals are sought for chapters for an edited collection on Nigel Kneale and Horror. The collection will be proposed for the new Hidden Horror Histories: Creativity in the Horror Genre series from Liverpool University Press. Proposed chapters should focus on Kneale as a creator in relation to the genre of horror, preferably examining texts with little or no previous academic analysis. More specific potential areas of examination could include, but are not limited to:

Kneale and genre, including his blending of genres and his attitudes to horror;

Kneale and Hammer, including ideas of adaptation and authorship as well as genre;

Kneale and gender, such as the representation of women as psychically “sensitive” in /Quatermass and the Pit/, /The Stone Tape/ and /Beasts/ “Special Offer”;

Kneale and class, such as his use of the view of “ordinary people” as commentary on events and / or sources of knowledge in the /Quatermass/ serials, /The Stone Tape/, /Beasts/ and /The Woman in Black/;

Kneale and race, such as the background of racial tension in/Quatermass and the Pit/, or the treatment of African magic in /The Witches/;

Kneale and time, whether that is the future haunting of “The Road” or the deep-time of /Quatermass/ or /The Stone Tape/;

Kneale and humanity, considering how he presents often cynical views of humanity as a whole, alongside sympathetic views of individuals;

Kneale and adaptation, both his adaptations of others and adaptations of his work;

Kneale and medium, such as his understanding of the potential of early television for storytelling, and his adaptation to different media.

The collection is envisaged as consisting of an introduction, ten chapters of about 7000 words each and a conclusion.

Proposals of 300 words plus an author biography of 60 words to be sent to derek.johnston@qub.ac.uk by Monday 29 November 2021. Please address any queries to the same email.