Stephen Volk

Stephen Volk (born 3 July 1954) is a Welsh screenwriter and novelist who specializes in the horror genre.[1][2] He wrote the screenplays for numerous horror films, including Ken Russell's Gothic (1986), The Kiss (1988), and William Friedkin's The Guardian (1990). In 1992, Volk wrote the teleplay for the BBC mockumentary Ghostwatch. Other screenwriting credits include Octane (2003) and The Awakening (2011).

Stephen Volk
Born (1954-07-03) 3 July 1954 (age 67)
Pontypridd, Wales
  • Novelist
  • screenwriter
Alma materUniversity of Bristol
Years active1986–present

Early life and workEdit

Stephen Volk was born in Pontypridd, Wales on 3 July 1954.[3] Volk has stated his interest in horror was triggered by watching the TV drama The Stone Tape by Nigel Kneale, and the film Don't Look Now by Nicolas Roeg.[1] He studied at Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry, and the University of Bristol.[4] Volk then worked as an advertising copywriter before becoming a full-time writer. Volk's first produced work was Ken Russell's film Gothic in 1986. Volk also wrote a script, Horror Movie, for Goldcrest Films that was never made due to Goldcrest's collapse.[1]


His most famous work is Ghostwatch, a controversial drama shown on BBC1 on Halloween 1992.[5] It is commonly misrepresented as a hoax documentary, but this was never the intention. It was originally planned as a six-part series for the BBC. However, the producer of the series, Ruth Baumgarten, didn't believe it had commercial viability. Stephen reworked the script so that everything would be set "Like episode six" and repitched it as a 90-minute live broadcast drama on behalf of BBC's Screen One drama segment. Ruth accepted the new format.[6][5]

Other workEdit

Volk's TV work often involves the supernatural and the paranormal, such as with the ITV1 thriller series Afterlife (2005–06). Volk has written fiction in the horror and ghost story genres; some of these stories were collected in the book Dark Corners (2006).[2] In 1995, Volk wrote two serials of the series Ghosts. Volk's fiction often features real people as characters: the novella Whitstable (2013) features the actor Peter Cushing, while Leytonstone (2015) deals with a young Alfred Hitchcock.[4] In 2018, Volk published The Dark Masters Trilogy, an omnibus featuring Whitstable and Leytonstone, as well as a new novella, Netherwood. Netherwood features fictionalised versions of the writer Dennis Wheatley and the occultist Aleister Crowley.[7] Volk also wrote a monthly column about horror for Black Static magazine until the end of 2016.[2]

Volk's story "The Chapel of Unrest" was read on stage by actor Jim Broadbent at London's Bush Theatre in 2013.[8]


Novels and novellasEdit

  • Gothic (1987, novelisation of the 1986 film)
  • Vardøger (2009)
  • Whitstable (2013)
  • Leytonstone (2015)

Short story collectionsEdit

  • Dark Corners (2006)
  • Monsters in the Heart (2013)
  • The Parts We Play (2016)


Title Year Writer Story Notes Ref.
Gothic 1986 Yes No [9]
The Kiss 1988 Yes Yes [9]
The Guardian 1990 Yes No [9]
Ghostwatch 1992 Yes No Television film [3]
Superstition 2001 Yes No
Cyclops 2001 Yes No Television film
Octane 2003 Yes No Alternate title: Pulse
Afterlife 2005–2006 Yes No 9 episodes; also creator [9]
The Awakening 2011 Yes No [9]
My Haunted House 2018 Yes No

References and notesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Waffling With Horror Writer Stephen Volk" Retrieved 04-03-2017.
  2. ^ a b c Stephen Jones,The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 24.Hachette UK, 2013. ISBN 147210028X, (pp. 360-1)
  3. ^ a b Rose 2016, p. 220.
  4. ^ a b Rose 2016, pp. 220–223.
  5. ^ a b Paul Long, Tim Wall Media Studies: Texts, Production, Context. Routledge, 2014. ISBN 9781317860785 (pp. 150-1)
  6. ^ "Welcome to Fortean Times Magazine | Fortean Times". Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
  7. ^ Magdalena Salata, "“But Terrifying People Was What He Did Best”: The Dark Masters Trilogy by Stephen Volk". Diabolique Magazine, 18 November 2018. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Jim Broadbent makes one-off return to the stage." Matt Trueman. The Guardian, 6 March 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d e Rose 2016, p. 221.


  • Rose, James (2016). "Stephen Volk". In McCarthy, Elizabeth; Murphy, Bernice M. (eds.). Lost Souls of Horror and the Gothic : Fifty-Four Neglected Authors, Actors, Artists and Others. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. pp. 220–223. ISBN 978-1-476-66314-2.

External linksEdit