Beasts in the Cellar (paperback)

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Britain's Greatest Exploitation Film Producer!

"It may very well be that with Beasts In The Cellar John Hamilton and FAB Press have produced the best ever single subject book in the field of British horror cinema."
- MJ Simpson, SFX magazine.

"I'd rather be ashamed of a film that was making money than proud of a film that was losing it"
- Tony Tenser

Hailed as the 'Irving Thalberg of Exploitation,' Tony Tenser has an unrivalled position as the godfather of low budget British films. Amongst his many movies are the notorious 'nudie' Naked As Nature Intended, Roman Polanski's ground breaking Repulsion and Michael Reeves' classic Witchfinder General, as well as the outrageous sex/scifi/spy/spoof Zeta One. He made movies in every genre from childrens films to cannibalism, working with actors ranging from Christopher Lee and Vincent Price to Spike Milligan and Norman Wisdom.

Tenser's early career highlights include using strippers to picket cinemas and converting a Soho basement into Britain's first and most successful private cinema club. By the time he started producing films such as The Yellow Teddybears, The Black Torment and The Pleasure Girls, Tenser's name was a byword for colourful titles, controversial themes and outrageous publicity stunts. He would enjoy mainstream success with the likes of Cul de Sac, A Study in Terror and Hannie Caulder but his company, Tigon, will be always synonymous with horror epics like The Sorcerers, The Blood Beast Terror, Blood on Satan's Claw, and sexploitation gems such as Monique, the first British lesbian menage á trois.

Ambitious, ruthless and charismatic, Tenser was never less than colourful and by drawing on exclusive interviews, original production files and private correspondence, John Hamilton pieces together the stories behind the movies that made him the most admired and successful exploitation producer in British cinema. From battles with the censor to studio in-fighting, from tantrums on set to post-production interference, the cut and thrust of filmmaking on a budget is revived in glorious detail.


  • Detailed analysis of all of Tenser's films complete with the inside story behind the making of the movies, full production details, contemporary reviews and box-office statistics.
  • Rare and unpublished photographs, many from Tenser's private collection
  • A foreword and extensive interview with Tony Tenser, as well as contributions from many of the film-makers and stars of his movies.
  • An exhaustively researched filmography covering all of the films produced or distributed by Tenser as well as a wealth of detail on unfilmed projects.

'The analysis is clear-sighted and intelligent, while the well-chosen photographs perfectly illuminate the text. In fact, the actual production of the book is more impressive than several of the films considered here. If you're at all interested in the darker corners of the British film industry, here's a helpful searchlight.'
- Barry Forshaw, Crime Time magazine

below: Beasts in the Cellar author John Hamilton (left) with Tony Tenser (right) at the 2005 Festival of Fantastic Films.



About the Author

John Hamilton has been writing on British cinema for over a decade, contributing to several books, and magazines such as Shivers, The Dark Side and Flesh and Blood, as well as more mainstream publications. He is currently in the preliminary stages of researching a book about the great American independent film studio AIP.

Technical Details

Size: 272mm x 192mm

Binding: Paperback

Extent: 304 pages

ISBN: 978-1-903254-27-1

Publication Date: June 2005

Market: Cinema / Biography

Weight: 1005g

Edition: First Edition

Cover Price: £17.99 (UK) / $29.95 (US)

Product CodeFAB061
ManufacturerFAB Press

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