Good over Evil : Terence Fisher

Terence fisher

The story of Terence fisher will be a short one mainly because his life was one of privacy and very few scandalous details I’m afraid.

However this historical director who brought an extensive collection of gothic horror to our screens began a revolutionary change to the genre that many believe to have always been their when it comes to the horror industry.

But before I explain this mans addition to screen here are just a few of his massive collection that I suggest you pry into this Halloween…

These legendary movies paved the way for another kind of horror and added a whole new personal attachment to these movies.

This would be the addition of Religion.

Before Terence fisher we had many directors who assigned themselves to the grotesque and subsequent story telling of monsters and ghouls never really touching on the humane parts of their origins or wether in fact they were scary or downright evil.

Filled with sexual overtones and explicit scenes combined with the entourage of religious symbolism and biblical contexts, Fisher brought us the ultimate fights of good versus evil.

Peter Cushing. Actor from Dracula

The iconic scenes in most of these movies come at the ultimate end of the evil doers rampages and for the most part are defeated by the power of good over evil. This small but relevant outlook on horror changed the entire industry as it not only preyed on the audiences fears but also their own religious superstitions and beliefs.

In ‘The Devil Rides out’ it was more prevalent with reading of prayers in Latin and exorcisms along with constant symbolism’s wether it’s crosses or otherwise. This conflict of faith over fear became such a draw to people it’s now a staple when it comes to any good horror movie even to today’s standards. Look at any modern day horror movie and you will see most refer back to the Bible or indeed a darker side to it rather.

Terence fisher during his last years

Fisher himself was born in 1904 in Maude Vale, London and at the age of 16 he left school seeing no interest in education and in later teen years began a 5 year position in the Merchant Navy.

It would seem a lot of the older horror genre directors had a lot in common in regards to military , leaving school at a young age and wanting something more creative and dark.

It’s my opinion that all these similarities is what led them to become such good detailed horror tellers and in a way their movies were almost therapy for their time in service.

He was raised however as an Anglican and by the time he came to directing his own films he was a devout one. This would seem hard to contemplate the given that he was creating dark and very sinister movies and the sexual content alone would have been enough to make him repent. However he managed to involve his fears and his thoughts into camera. In all his movies good wins.

His use of the cross for example.Gave a new perspective as a weapon almost in vanquishing the spirits or monsters within his movies. Never before had the cross been used as a source to kill or shun a Vampire until Terence introduced it as an idea. Yes there had been slight attention to it in earlier movies but this was the first time it was used a way to stop evil in its tracks.

The sexual undertones could have been due to his rivalry with other movie directors who at the time created this blend of sex and horror to drive movie goers and views but in his own way he allowed it to attend to audience members inner most vulnerabilities and shine a light on evil in everything we are as humans.

Dracula 1958 (hammer horror)

It’s weird to imagine their was an origin to the cross vs Dracula story but here we have it, Terence Fisher created the most iconic and now stereotypical development in the genre.

I look back at other movies such as ‘The exorcist’ , ‘poltergeist’ or even more recent as those like, ‘insidious’ or ‘paranormal activity’ and I thought would these movies have existed without the basic premise of religion and forces of evil.

The answer could be perhaps, as faith is at the forefront of humanity it would have at some point have been introduced but we may have never have been given the ideas as good as those portrayed in Fishers earlier movies.

….this has been a very short but very significant blog and I would be revised if not to atleast pay homage to Terence Fisher if not for his massive collection and contributions to the gothic horror world. So with this I will leave you with a quote by the Anglican himself…

“I call myself an emotional director, an intuitive director…if you like.”

Terence fisher
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