Mark Gatiss – my top five European horror films

The presenter of Horror Europa reveals his personal favourites from the catalogue of European cinematic nightmares...

1. Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horrors (Germany, 1922) It’s the granddaddy, there’s so much in it, and its tentacles went straight into Hollywood, through James Whale and Tod Browning… it’s sort of fundamental. And still very effective. 


2. Les Diaboliques (France, 1954) Is it a horror film? It appears to get into supernatural territory, but it’s a horror thriller. Like Vertigo, it’s in a very weird realm. I saw it in my horror-obsessed youth when BBC2 showed it in a French season, and I’ll never forget it. 

3. Whip and the Body (Italy, 1963) Going back to horror, director Mario Bava has been my great discovery. In this, a man comes back to restart a sadomasochistic affair with his dead brother’s sister-in-law; she kills him; the affair continues. Uniquely Italian. 

4. In a Glass Cage (Spain, 1987) There’s nothing else like it. A former Nazi doctor living in Spain wakes up in an iron lung and a young man offers his services as a nurse, but he’s a former victim. It’s a very tough watch. 

5. Daughters of Darkness (Belgium, 1970) It’s a real work of art, I think. A strange, stylish cocktail of ingredients; 1970s chic rubs up against the silent classics. Delphine Seyrig as the mysterious lesbian countess is sensational. 



Horror Europa with Mark Gatiss is on tonight at 9:00pm on BBC4