The Horror Show!

A Twisted Tale of Modern Britain

27 Oct 2022 – 19 Feb 2023
£16.50/£12.00 conc

For telephone bookings call 0343 208 1497

Opening Times

Tue 10.00 - 18.00 (last entry 17.00)
Wed 10.00 - 18.00 (last entry 17.00)
Thu 10.00 - 21.00 (last entry 20.00)
Fri 10.00 - 21.00 (last entry 20.00)
Sat 10.00 - 18.00 (last entry 17.00)
Sun 10.00 - 18.00 (last entry 17.00)

Groups To book for a group of 20 or more, phone our groups booking line on 0343 208 1497 between 09.00 - 20.00 - Mon-Fri, 10.00-20.00 - Sat, 10.00 - 18.00 Sun and Bank Holidays. Group bookings are subject to availability. Groups of 10 or more receive 10% off full price tickets when booked in advance.

Student Groups Group bookings of 10 or more students pay a special rate of £10 per student when booked in advance.

Content guidance: This exhibition contains some graphic and disturbing artworks and therefore may not be suitable for children under 12. Parental guidance advised.

Embankment Galleries
via Victoria Embankment

This autumn Somerset House presents a major exhibition celebrating our greatest cultural provocateurs and visionaries, examining how ideas rooted in horror have informed the last 50 years of creative rebellion in Britain.

The Horror Show! is a landmark exhibition that invites visitors to journey to the underbelly of Britain’s cultural psyche and look beyond horror as a genre, instead taking it as a reaction to our most troubling times. Featuring over 200 artworks and culturally significant artefacts from some of our country’s most provocative artists, the exhibition presents an alternative perspective on the last five decades of modern British history in three acts – Monster, Ghost and Witch. Recast as a story of cultural shapeshifting, each section interprets a specific era through the lens of a classic horror archetype with thematically linked contemporaneous and new works. 

The exhibition offers a heady ride through the disruption of 1970s punk to the revolutionary potential of modern witchcraft, showing how the anarchic alchemy of horror – its subversion, transgression and the supernatural – can help make sense of the world around us. Horror not only allows us to express our deepest fears; it gives a powerful voice to the marginalised and society’s outliers, providing us with tools to overcome our anxieties and imagine a radically different future. 

The Horror Show! is co-curated by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard and Claire Catterall, who also conceived the idea. Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard are BAFTA nominated filmmakers and resident artists at Somerset House Studios. Claire Catterall is Somerset House’s Senior Curator.

This excellent show is full of phantoms… funny and serious at the same time and leaves us unsure whether we should laugh or scream or cry  *****

The Guardian

An intriguing trawl through the nightmares of youth culture ****

The Telegraph

Content guidance: This exhibition contains some graphic and disturbing artworks and therefore may not be suitable for children under 12. Parental guidance advised.

An A-Z Guide of The Horror Show!


Opening The Horror Show! Monster begins by delving into the economic and political turbulence of the 1970s and the high octane spectacle and social division of the 1980s. Against a backdrop of unrest and uprising, it charts the origin story and ascent of the individuals who will go on to disrupt, define and destroy British culture, while exploring the monsters which plague society today. 

Contributing artists include Marc Almond, BauhausJudy Blame, Leigh Bowery, Philip Castle, Chila Burman, Helen Chadwick, Monster Chetwynd, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Tim Etchells, Noel Fielding, Martin Green & Mark Moore, Pam Hogg, Dick Jewell, Harminder Judge, Daniel Landin, Jeannette LeeAndrew Liles, Linder, London LeathermanDon LettsLuciana Martinez de la Rosa, Lindsey Mendick, Peter MitchellDennis Morris, Matilda Moors, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Keith Piper, Guy Peellaert, Gareth Pugh, Jamie Reid, Derek Ridgers, Nick Ryan, Steven Stapleton, Ralph Steadman, Ray Stevenson, Poly StyreneFrancis Upritchard and Jenkin van Zyl

Installation view of Six Scintillating Sinners (In Vitro), 2021, Jenkin van Zyl.jpg

Installation view of Six Scintillating Sinners (In Vitro), 2021 by Jenkin van Zyl shows a close-up of a monstrous head made of cake, housed in a clear fridge
Installation view of Six Scintillating Sinners (In Vitro), 2021, Jenkin van Zyl

The Horror Show is a hot date – smart, funny, good-looking, with great taste in music. Thrilling and grotesque… reminds us that we’re alive

i News


The show’s second act, ​Ghost, marks the collapse of hyperinflated 1980’s culture into an uncanny temperature change that presided over the 1990s and early 2000s. It traces an unsettling path through to the global financial crisis of 2008, a turning point in time between a century of old and new, at the dawn of a digital age of faceless audiences and invisible cyber wars. 

Newly commissioned, immersive sound installations from Laura Grace Ford and Nick Ryan highlight the strange frequencies of an age that saw the emergence of trance music and readily accessible sampling machines. Ford’s installation explores the sonic textures of the city to uncover those hiding in the black spots that neoliberalism has failed to assimilate, while Ryan’s voices form a call-and-response, as visitors become spectator, spectacle and a ghost in the machine.  

Contributing artists include A Guy Called GeraldBarry Adamson, Hamad Butt, Adam Chodzko, Kevin Cummins, Graham Dolphin, Tim EtchellsAngus Fairhurst, Paul Finnegan, GhostwatchLaura Grace Ford, Lucy Gunning, Paul Heartfield, Susan Hiller, Matthew Holness & Richard AyoadeStewart Home, Derek Jarman, Michael Landy, Richard Littler (Scarfolk), Jeremy Millar, Haroon Mirza, Drew MulhollandPat Naldi & Wendy Kirkup, Cornelia Parker, Steve Pemberton, Nic Roeg, Richard RussellNick Ryan, Scanner (Robin Rimbaud), Adam Scovell, Sensory LeakageDavid Shrigley, Iain Sinclair, Kerry Stewart, Tricky, Gavin Turk, Richard WellsRachel Whiteread, Words & Pictures.

David Shrigley, I'm Dead, 2007, (c) David Shrigley. Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London_@0.5x.jpg

David Shrigley, I'm Dead, 2007, © David Shrigley. The David and Indrė Roberts Collection. Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
David Shrigley, I'm Dead, 2007, © David Shrigley. Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London


The exhibition’s final act, Witch, focuses on 2008’s financial crash until the present day, and celebrates the emergence of a younger generation and their hyper-connected community – a global coven readily embracing a dynamic grounded in integration and equality. Penny Slinger and Zadie Xa forgo the patriarchal occult and old world druidism with a new sorcery, rooted in ecology and bodily autonomy. 

Among the works on display are newly commissioned works from Somerset House Studios artists Tyreis Holder and Col Self , as well as a new commission from Linda Stupart and Carl Gent. The act’s final scene features a striking presentation from Turner Prize winning-artist Tai Shani, seen for the first time in the UK, accompanied by an audio installation created by Gazelle Twin and specially commissioned for The Horror Show!

Contributing artists include Ackroyd & Harvey, Josh AppignanesiRuth Bayer, Anne BeanAnna Bunting-Branch, Juno Calypso, Leonora Carrington, Coil, Charlotte Colbert, Marisa Carnesky, Cyclobe, Damselfrau, Jesse Darling, Eccentronic Research CouncilJake Elwes, Tim EtchellsGazelle Twin, Bert Gilbert, Rose GlassMiles Glyn, Tyreis Holder, Matthew HolnessSophy Hollington, Bones Tan Jones, Isaac Julien, Tina Keane, Serena Korda, Linder, Hollie Miller & Kate Street, Grace Ndiritu, Col Self, Tai Shani, Oliver Sim, Penny Slinger, Matthew Stone, Linda Stupert & Carl GentSuzanne TreisterCathy Ward, Ben Wheatley, Zoe Williams and Zadie Xa

Installation view of Tai Shani's The Neon Heiroglyph, 2021.jpg

Installation view of Tai Shani's The Neon Heiroglyph, 2021, shows a large ghost like sculpture tied down with ropes
Installation view of Tai Shani's The Neon Heiroglyph, 2021

The distinct signature design of the exhibition is courtesy of architects Sam Jacob Studio and Grammy-winning creative studio Barnbrook

The exhibition will have an accompanying programme of talks and events, with full details announced soon.

​The special exhibition shop, edited by Faye Dowling’s alternative art store GothShop.co, will feature an exclusive range of limited edition items, including a collectible exhibition book priced at £16.50, alongside a selection of original and inspired gifts, from clothing and accessories, to limited edition prints, books and zines.

The exhibition catalogue contains original texts by John Doran, Nathalie Olah and Patricia MacCormack, introductions from co-curators Claire Catterall, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard plus a foreword from Somerset House Artistic Director, Jonathan Reekie. The catalogue is edited by Faye Dowling and designed by Barnbrook

We're offering free access to the exhibition from 10.00 – 16.00 on Tuesday and Wednesday to Westminster residents, subject to proof of a current Westminster address. Offer available in person only and subject to availability.

Image collage: Barnbrook/Somerset House