British Cinema has been around since 1888, British Horror nearly as long. For years Hammer Horror was the driving force in national terror, with the likes of the Christopher Lee starring Dracula films being international classics. However, as they reached the end of the 20th century, their influence began to wain. British Cinema as a whole began to diminish, yet there was still lifeblood in the old industry, and we got British Rave Culture Cinema with the likes of Danny Boyle leading the way.
However, internationally British Cinema and British horror wasn’t what it had been, becoming a series of tired, repetitive cliches. Then came along one man who would be instrumental in raising both aspects of British film to what they had been in the golden years; that man was Edgar Wright.
Wright began out directing the cult British sitcom Spaced, the show that would launch the career of his long-time collaborator, Simon Pegg. From there Wright would go on to head the Cornetto Trilogy, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End, three solidly good films.
With Shaun of the Dead, Wright resurrected British Horror and brought it back into the mainstream consciousness. British Horror had endured the end of Hammer and had kept going, but had become far more niche than it used to be; Shaun of the Dead changed all that. What is on its surface a silly film about a group of friends fighting off the Zombie Apocalypse, beneath the surface lay the hidden depths of a broader social commentary. Shaun of The Dead was so beloved domestically that it brought British eyes back to British Horror, and more impressively brought the eyes of the World to Edgar Wright.
The idea of Auteur Cinema is that a director can become so prolific that they begin to influence the very industry itself, their films are instantly recognisably and sell because of the Director name attached rather than the film itself, think Wes Craven or, John Carpenter; for British Cinema Edgar Wright was our Auteur.
Following on from the cult success of Shaun of the Dead, Wright released Hot Fuzz which instead of mocking the Horror genre mocked the Cop Action Film genre, this was even more of a success. One of the reasons at least to me that Wright’s work is so prolific is that he plays off the stereotypes the rest of the World has about Brits, in a way only a Brit could do.
Whatsmore, Wright highlighted to the World some of the best British actors of that generation, introducing us to the likes of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, to name a few. That eye for talent has stayed with him throughout his career and doesn’t look to be going anywhere soon.
To conclude Wright’s importance to Cinema can’t be understated, he has brought the eyes of the British public as well as the World back to British Cinema and has shown what we are capable of. Even know as he has become more of a Hollywood director, he is still an inspiration and shows how British Cinema is still relevant in 2019.