Coming down from the so-called Swinging Sixties, '70s Britain finally had to confront the fact that it was no longer a game changer in global affairs, just a small, seemingly overburdened nation with a closet full of skeletons and infused with an inability to swim against the tide of change.
As hooligans dominated our football matches, picketers and the police exchanged blows nightly on the news, and reports that the financial state of the nation tottered on the cusp of collapse, an air of the apocalyptic prevailed – and has endured to this very day. We'll look how this atmosphere was reflected by our culture, and how the ever acceleration demand for sensation spawned a surfeit of nihilistic sex and violence in the media. From drab-fests such as The Sweeney on telly, to the desperate last gasps of Hammer in our cinemas, and onward to the unapologetic pulp of James Herbert that spawned many a titter in our classrooms, we'll see how the permissive age eventually gave way to the pessimistic age.
Justin Harries is the co-creator and curator of Filmbar70, a London based film-club that specialises in screening anomalies drawn from the last gasp of European genre cinema, and has contributed visual and written essays to a number of DVD releases – especially those that lean toward the more glamourous side of the Giallo genre. He also makes up approximately 50% of 'The Carpenters' (a John Carpenter tribute band), synth-pop duo 'ZARDOZ' and is a member of 'The Begotten', a collective providing improvised sonics to E. Elias Merhige's avant-splatter flick.