Where did ‘Horror’ come from?• The term ‘horror’ first came into play from Horace Walpoles 1764 novel ‘The Castle of Otranto’• This novel was full of supernatural shocks and mysterious melodrama• In the early years gothic tradition of writing reigned, however at the start of nineteenth century, writers wanted to develop their writing by making it dark and put fear for the audience• The first great horror classic is ‘Frankenstein (1818)’
Horror between 1890-1920s• During these times, it was dominated by books and gothic writing• A film pioneer Georges Melies, created silent shorts in the late 1890s, his work was believed to be the start of supernatural films• He made ‘The Haunted Castle’ which is stated to be the first ever horror film• During this era, horror films would use monsters and very gory effects on their characters to scare the audience• German Expressionist film makers of Weimar Republic era would later influence the Hollywood horror films• An example of some the films are Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1920) and The Phantom of Opera (1925)
1930 – 1940s• This was a star of a very important era, talking pictures were introduced. Universal Pictures began a very successful horror film series.• There were some very successful films made during these times, for example Todd Browning’s ‘Dracula’ (1931), followed by James Whale’s ‘Frankenstein’ (also 1931)• Both these films were very successful, and were made to ‘thrill’ audiences. Also it began the trend of monsters in films.• Other studios followed Universal’s lead, by creating movies and using new effects• For example Rouben Mamoulian’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931 by Paramount pictures) was remember for using various colour filters to show the transformation of Jekyll turning into Mr. Hyde who is a monster.
1950s – 1960s• By now, the were was a big progression in technology, which helped horror films create many sub-genres.• Two popular sub genre’s of this time were ‘horror of Armageddon’ and ‘horror of the demonic’• Many low- budget films would be streamed, based on the earth and humanity being attacked by species outside of earth like aliens, dinosaurs, insects, mutations and meteors etc• An example of this is the film Godzilla (1954)• During the later 1950s, Great Britain emerged in as a producer for Horror Films. Peeping Tom (1960), a Michael Powell film, is concerned about a serial killer who has a profession of a photographer, but murders his victims after.• Psycho (1960) a film by Wilfred Hitchcock, was the first ever slasher film, which was on the genre of ‘horror of the demonic’.• ‘The Night of The Living Dead’ was one of the most inspirational films of this genre and period, as it brought ‘the horror of Armageddon’ to real and everyday life.• Ghosts and monsters were still frequently used in horror films, but many films used supernatural premises for the ‘horror of the demonic’.
1970s – 1980s• During this era horror films started to become a lot more budgeted and successful• Halloween (1978, by John Carpenter), was a huge independent success.• This film along with other films like Friday the 13th ( 1980 by Sean Cunningham) and Nightmare on Elm Street ( 1984 by Wes Craven), created another sub-genre for horror, of “thriller” and “violence”. This inspired many films for the coming decades.• The Exorcist ( 1973 ), was a significant commercial success, and was followed by scores of films which used the ‘Devil’ as the supernatural evil, mostly by impregnating women or possessing children.• ‘Evil children’ and ‘reincarnation’ became popular subjects for the genre.
1990s• Horror films were extremely popular, and continued many themes of the 70s and 80s, which saw sequels to Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, which all were successful in the box office.• The Dark Half (1993) and Candyman (1992) were films in a mini-movement of metafictional or self-reflexive horror films.• Each film showed the relationship of real life horror and fictional horror.• Candyman for example, showed the invented urban legend, and the realistic horror of racism in society which caused the villain.• During this period however, the genre of horror was slowly pushing backwards. Many critics and viewers believed that horror films were all repetitive, ironic and parodic, and were all predictable.• Also the adolescent audience who would watch the slasher films of the previous decade grew up and many films of an imaginative nature were now coming in, courtesy of new technology and computer-generated imagery.
2000s – 2010s• This was an era, where new developments and ideas were being made for technology, which would be a massive improvement for horror films, making them more bloody, gory and realistic.• However, the early 2000s was a quite time for the genre, as films were being released but were on average ratings. Films such as Orphan, Wrong Turn, Cabin Fever and Final Destination, helped bring the genre back to it’s restricted rating in theatres.• This period saw the return of a lot of zombie based films. The Resident Evil game franchise was adapted into a film in 2002, and has four sequels.• During the 2000s, there were many remakes of films from the previous decades, such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre released in 2003• A large trend in this period, was the use of extreme gore and violence which showed torture and suffering of victims. Some of these films included Hostel, The Collector and Saw.• Finally in the late 2000s saw the arrival of Paranormal Activity, which had an excellent reception in the box office with positive reviews from critics. The film used the trend of ‘found-footage’, the trend was started by the makers of Blair-Witch Project ( 1999). This trend is continuing successfully with low-budget independent film companies.
Bibliography• www.horrorfilmhistory.com• www.wikepedia.org• www.imdb.com• Here are the websites I used to find my information.
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