1800’s 1896 Georges Melies produces The Devils Castle and is the world’s first ‘true’ horror movie. Ghosts, cavaliers, skeletons and witches appear at the call of the devil. The whole film lasts just a short three minutes. 1898 George Albert Smith patents his ‘special photographic contrivance’ (double exposure) which enabled him to show ‘ghosts’ on screen. His films Faust and Mephistopheles are premiered.
1900’s 1906 A French female director named Alice Guy releases a ten minute version of Victor Hugo’s Notre Dame de Paris called Esmeralda. 1908 First version of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is made, filming of a stage play. The Hunchback is released in the USA. 1909 Hugo the Hunchback is released in the USA and in the UK the Love of a Hunchback.
1910’s 1910The first filmed version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is released. Two more versions are also released this time of Louis Stephenson’s story.Wrench releases The Duality of Man and Nordisk releases Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.1911The first full length movie featuring a monster is released called Notre Dame de Paris which is filmed by Pathe.1912Gaumont releases the first full length pure horror movie called The Vengeance of Egypt. In addition this was the first film that surrounded the mysteries of ancient Egypt as the basis of a film.1913Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the first colored horror movie to be released. However it is only seen by few as complex technology was required in order to bring it to screen. In addition, the first film about Lycanthropy the Werewolf is released.
1914World War 1 begins. Paul Wegener the German filmmaker releases the highly influential Der Golem which is based upon an ancient Jewish mythology. Wegner the director of the film stars as the monster of the films title. German cinema flourishes.1917Wegener releases Der Golem und die Tanzerin the Golem which is the second Golem film and also he releases The Dancer.1918World War One ends leaving approximately 20, 000, 000 people dead as well as the majority of Europe in ruins!1919Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari (the cabinet of Dr Caliagri) is released being a visually stunning expressionist horror movie, with its unique set made up of hand painted backdrops, and the use of twisted dark streets and houses seemed to reproduce the desolation of the currently ended war.
1920’s 1920 Paramount creates a version of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, with Broadway star John Barrymore playing the central character. He became the first major acting star to take on a horror film role. Paul Wegener who is from Germany releases his third and most successful Golem movie named WieEr in die Welt Kam (How He came into the World). 1921 The first German film is released in the USA since the war. The film is named The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. The New York Times states it to be a ‘cubist shocker’, which was wrong. 1922 The first ever screen adaptation of Bram Stocker’s novel Dracula is released. The film was German and called Nosferatu. Although a lawsuit was launched by Stocker’s widow which then led to the courts decree that all copies of the film should be destroyed but a pirate copy survived and resurfaces in 1930 saving a piece of cinematic history. Calligari Wallace Worsley who is from the USA directs the film A Blind Bargain. The film sees Alonso Lon Chaney play a double role and is noteworthy because of this.
1923Wegener’s Der Golem is launched in the USA.The German born American filmmaker Carl Laemmle releases another version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame for Universal Pictures which was directed by Calligari Wallace Worsely. The film contained the biggest set that was built up to this point as a replica of the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris was made. Chaney’s self created make up and performance that stuns the world. He is to become known as ‘The Man of a Thousand Faces’. Universal will go on to become one of the most influential horror movie producing houses in the history of cinema.1925Chaney and director Tod Browning join forces for a macabre film called The Unholy Three which was set in a circus.Carl Laemmle makes The Phantom of the Opera with Chaney in the main role for Universal Pictures. Certain sections of the film are screened in two colours using Technicolor.Willis O’Brien put his stop motion animation technique to work and this was in order to bring Dinosaurs to life for The Lost World and London is demolished by giant monsters on screen.
1926 Fritz Lang the German filmmaker releases a film named Metropolis. Technically a sci-fi the film contains a sequence in a scientist’s lab which became the prototype for every Frankenstein film that has ever been made. The remake of the film Faust which is still recognised as a cinematic masterpiece is released by another German, Friedrich WillhelmMurnau. London Sleeps an otherwise unimportant film runs at to 5,810 feet in the USA. That is cut to 4,700 feet for its British release. It is the first film to be censored for horrific content. 1927 Tom browning and Chaney teamed up to make the first ever American vampire movie called London after Midnight but was released in Britain as The Hypnotist. ‘Talkies’ were introduced into the mainstream and the world of cinema is changed forever.
1928 Carl Laemmle releases The Man Who Laughs as a follow up to Phantom. German horror movie star Conrad Veidt starred in this film. The Terror becomes the first horror film that contains sound with the second full length talkie ever made, even its credit were read out.
1930’s 1930 Chaney becomes on of the last great silent stars. He made the transition to talkies in a remake of The Unholy Three. Unlike most silent stars Chaney makes the transition brilliantly. In the same year Chaney lost his battle to cancer and unfortunately passed away and was forced to mime gar during his last performance. 1931 Due to the unfortunate death of Lon Chaney, Tod Browning needed to find a new actor for Universal’s second production of a vampire film. The Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi is appointed and together they collaborate to make Dracula. As the film was a smash-hit Universal announces that they will produce another horror film. The studio was in the hands of Carl Laemmle Jr and the second film becomes an instantaneous classic. The title role is rejected by Lugosi and the director’s role is turned down by the Frenchman Robert Florey. So Frankenstein is picked up by the English filmmaker James Whale. Whale casts an unknown actor called William Henry Pratt better known as Boris Karloff, obtained the role of Frankenstein. Jack Pierce designs the makeup for Karloff with its iconic square head and neck bolts allowed a cinema legend to be born. Although, a scene where the monster kills a child is removed from the print as it is deemed too disturbing. Paramount releases a new version of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Frederick March playing the title role. This led to March winning an Academy Award for his performance.
1932 Edgar Allan Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue is released and is Universal’s third horror movie with Lugosi starring once again. Tod Browning makes Freaks. The film featuring a cast of real ‘freaks’ becomes banned outright in Britan and MGM the company Browning shot the film for ‘lose’ it. Dr X is released in two colour technicolour. James Whale releases a horror movie laden with comedy called The Old Dark Horse. Carl Laemmle releases The Mummy, Universal’s next incursion into horror. Karloff once again stars and Jack Pierce provides stunning make up. Karloff is tipped as the successor of Lon Chaney’s crown and was also given the epithet ‘Karloff the Uncanny’ An adaptation of HG Wells’ Island of Dr Moreau is released and becomes under the name The Island of Lost Souls, but becomes the second film of the year to be banned by the British Board of Film Censorship (BBOFC).
1933 Willis O’Brien recreates his work from the Lost World which was released in 1925 and released King Kong working alongside RKO. The film becomes a genre classic and a sequel is released ultimately named Son of Kong but was less successful. As the sequel contained a lot of comedy its sold as a ‘Serio-Comic Phantasy’. Universal and James Whale release Invisible Man which contained big comical moments as well as astonishing special effects. Claude Rains and HG Wells’ appeared in the film. A full length two colour Technicolour film called The Mystery of the Wax Museum is released with Fay Wray and Lionel Atwill appearing. 1935 Universal, Whale and Karloff team up and make The Bride of Frankenstein. Jack Pierce returns with his iconic makeup and Whale’s camp humor lifts the horror genre to a new level. The film establishes many of the musical types that were taken for granted in horror movies to this day. Music was produced by Franz Waxman. This was Whale’s last horror movie production as he was caught up into a world of scandal and alcohol. Universal releases its second werewolf movie, Werewolf of London starring Henry Hull and make up was once again done by Jack Pierce.
1936 Tod Browning’s The Devil Doll is MGM’s final horror movie and also ends the end of Browning’s commercial career. Universal release the film Dracula’s Daughter which is a controversial and rarely seen sequel to their 1931 classic. The last remnant of English Melodrama Tod Slaughter appears in Sweeney Todd. 1937 The BBFC introduces a new ‘H’ certificate. The ‘H’ stands for horrific and replaces the old ‘A’ (Adult) rating. Anyone accompanied by and adult could watch the old ‘A’ rating but the new ‘H’ system states that only audience members the age of sixteen or over can view the films in question. There were now three ratings, ‘U’ for universal which is aimed at children, ‘A’ for children and adults and finally ‘H’ for just adults. 1938 Universal re-releases Dracula and Frankenstein (1931) in an attempt to generate more income. This was the worlds first ever horror double bill. The plan is an ultimate success and becomes a standard practise for decades to come.
1939The Son of Frankenstein is released. Karloff plays the monster for one last time and the make up is once again done by Jack Pierce. The films sets are colossal and extraordinary. The angles used and the low-key moody lighting and in their conception recall the expressionist sets of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. In this film the monster has a sidekick, the hunchbacked Ygor and the role is played by Bela Lugosi. The Son of Frankenstein instigates a new wave of horror movie remakes and lead to the launch of Universal’s ‘Classic Monsters’ as a franchise. One of the first releases was The Invisible Man Returns. Meanwhile, World War 2 breaks out in Europe.
1940’s 1940 Universal release The Mummy’s Hand, showing their reinforcement in Egyptian horror movies.1941Lon Chaney Jr’s first film is made called ‘man made monster’ or ‘the electric man’ to give it its British title. The creation of Universal’s newest addition to its ‘Classic Monster’ franchise, The Wolfman is released. Jack Peirce creates an iconic look for the new monster. Lon Chaney Jr now becomes just Lon Chaney, and Bela Lugosi appears playing a supporting role in the film.1942 Universal releases The Ghost of Frankenstein. The Mummy’s Tomb is Universal’s next release. Their third horror film of the year comes in the shape of Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman. Chaney plays Wolfman and Lugosi plays Frankenstein. 1943The Son of Dracula is released and Chaney plays the main character.
1944 Universal releases two more mummy films The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse. Chaney plays the title role in both films. House of Frankenstein using the tagline ‘All Together! The Screen’s Titans of Terror!’ are also released by Universal. The studio’s three most famous monsters appear, Dracula, The Wolfman and Frankenstein’s Monster. Boris Karloff returns as Dr Niemann. 1945 Universal’s Second Generation of horror movies come to an end with another monster team up House of Dracula. This film truly marks the end of an era, it is also the last in a cycle of films, a cycle that other studios will copy for decades to come. House of Dracula is also the last monster movie for which Jack Pierce will undertake the make-up duties. British studio Ealing releases The Dead of Night a truly eerie film. 1946 Bedlam a film about St Mary’s of Bethlehem the infamous Victorian Institution for the insane is banned in Britain.
1950’s 1951 A new cycle of horror movies begins. The Thing ‘from another world’ terrorises an arctic research base. The BBFC introduces a new ‘X’ certificate, now only over eighteens can watch films in this new category which replaces the old ‘H’. The dawning atomic age will now spawn a new type of horror preoccupied with space, aliens, atomic mutation and Cold War anti-communist paranoia. This sparked a new revolution for horror. 1952 Amid fears that cinema is losing its audiences to television the 3D movie is born. The first 3D film is a cheap spectacle which makes a fortune at the box office. 1953 The War of The Worlds is released as is Them a story set in the Arizona desert where nuclear weapons tests have resulted in giant mutated ants. This theme reoccurs for many ‘B’ movies of the 1950’s. In one film The Beast from 20,000 fathoms stop motion animation effects genius Ray Harryhausen picks up where Willis O’Brien left off so many years before and a monster, woken by atomic explosions rises from the sea to destroy a city.The second 3D film is released and it is a horror movie House of Wax it is the first of many. Universal creates its newest ClassicMonster and The Creature from the Black Lagoon is born complete with stunning underwater photography and again glorious 3D.
1955 Release of This Island Earth. Japanese studio Toho releases its response to the nuclear age, Gojira (released in the US with new scenes and American actors as Godzilla King of Monsters) is awakened by US testing of the H-Bomb on the Bikini Atoll and razes Tokyo in a manner that reflects the country’s experience of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ten years earlier. The studio will go on to release more and more Godzilla films following Universal’s successful model from the forties teaming the monster up with more and more fellow creatures in gradually more comedic and cataclysmic outings. British studio Hammer releases it’s first foray into sci-fi horror, a film version of Nigel Kneale’s The Quatermass Experiment. Roger Corman makes The Day the World Ended for ARC later to change their name to American International Pictures. He devises a new formula that will yield a host of classic B movies: Sixty minutes running time, a ten day shoot, a minimal crew and cast and a rubber suited monster. 1956 Bela Lugosi whose career had tragically nosedived dies and is buried in his Dracula cape. Shakespeare’s The Tempest is reworked and set in space as The Forbidden Planet. Don Siegel directs The Invasion of the Body Snatchers a paranoid horror movie about aliens replacing humans with exact replicas. The film is a disturbing allegory about US fears of communist infiltration. 1957 James Whale director of the great Universal horrors is found dead. It is also in this year that Whale’s fellow countrymen at Hammer in the UK release their first out and out horror movie; it is a new version of Whale’s own earlier release, The Curse of Frankenstein. Universal threaten to sue Hammer if the film resembles their own, the critics call the film ’vulgar’ one even says that the film is ’…for sadists only’. Despite this the film grosses $8,000,000, almost thirty times what it cost to make and will mark the beginning of a cycle of films made by Hammer that will completely mirror Universal‘s cycle of twenty years earlier, the film also makes massive stars of its two main actors Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, they would become Hammer’s answer to Karloff and Lugosi. It is also directed By Terence Fisher who will go on to direct all of the studios classics. Hammer also releases Quatermass 2.
1958 Inspired by the success of its first Frankenstein movie, Hammer releases two more movies, both starring Cushing and Lee and both directed by Fisher . There is a sequel to Curse entitled The Revenge of Frankenstein, although having destroyed the monster in a acid bath at the end of the first film it is Baron Frankenstein himself that is brought back for the sequel rather than his monster. This becomes the staple formula for Hammer. The studio also releases Dracula (The Horror of Dracula in the US due to copyright reasons and disputes with Universal). Some critics suggest that the ‘X’ certificate was inadequate and that the film should be certified ‘S’ for sadistic or ‘D’ for disgusting! For Hammer the pattern is set and horror movies will never be the same again as gore and eroticism and full colour become horror movie staples. 1959 Now well into its recycling of Universal’s Classic monsters, Hammer releases The Mummy once again teaming up Fisher with Lee and Cushing.
1960’s 1960 Finally with a larger budget to work with and freed from the constraints of his back to back movies Roger Corman begins a cycle of horror films based upon the works of Edgar Allen Poe, many starring Vincent Price and all borrowing liberally from Hammer’s style of filmmaking. The first in the cycle is House of Usher. Hammer itself releases Brides of Dracula a sequel to their first Dracula movie, again Fisher directs this visually stunning film and Cushing appears as Van Helsing. Lee however is absent as the character of Dracula is not in this film. He does however appear in Fisher’s other movie for Hammer The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll. Hammer also plans its own version of The Invisible Man although the film is never made.Alfred Hitchcock releases Psycho. This film will spawn dozens of imitators over the coming decades and goes further than any film so far in the horror genre in it’s portrayal of sex and violence.The screeching violins that make up the soundtrack become iconic and the ‘slasher’ movie is born. Another taboo breaking film released in this year is Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring. Set in Medieval Sweden the story follows a father as he takes revenge on the men who rape and kill his daughter. The film is banned in Fort Worth, Texas due to its disturbing rape scene but wins many international awards. It will later spark a cycle of rape revenge movies in the seventies. 1961 Corman releases The Pit and the Pendulum. Hammer’s answer to The Wolfman is released. Curse of the Werewolf is once again directed by Fisher but this time has Oliver Reed in the title role. 1962 Almost unnoticed and forgotten by the medium in which he had pioneered so much, Tod Browning dies. Hammer releases remakes of Phantom of the Opera and James Whale’s classic The Old Dark House.
1964 Inspired by Hammer Corman shoots his last two Poe films The Mask of the Red Death and The Tomb of Ligeia in England. Hammer itself releases The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb and Evil of Frankenstein, the latter is noteworthy for only one reason, Universal come to an agreement with Hammer and allow the British Studio to use Jack Pierce’s original make-up designs from the thirties. 1966 Hammer releases two double bills, Dracula Prince of Darkness is paired with Plague of Zombies while The Reptile is shown with Rasputin the Mad Monk. In true Roger Corman style, the films are shot back to back Prince and Rasputin on one set and Plague and The Reptile on another. By pairing them in such a manner, nobody notices that the same sets are used. 1967 Hammer releases it’s last Quatermass adaptation Quatermass and the Pit.
1968 'The Summer of Love’, the hippy counterculture leaps into the mainstream. Roman Polanski makes Rosemary’s Baby, the film is a genre landmark and although ostensibly about the abuse of a young woman at the hand of Satanists it can be viewed as the first in a sequence of films that will run through the seventies that are the genres response to the youth revolution of the sixties, all exploring issues of fear and paranoia as society seemingly loses control of it’s young people. Another genre making film is released in the form of George Romero’s low budget Night of the Living Dead. This low budget black and white shocker uses local villagers who volunteer their services to play the ambling flesh eating zombies. The action starts in the first scene and the tension never lets up as a group of strangers are stranded in a remote house and struggle with one another as much as their undead foes. An utterly bleak ending stuns audiences and ensures that this film that cost $114,000 to make becomes a cult smash. Romero approaches make up artist Tom Savini to work on the film but Savini is drafted to Vietnam. The film spawns dozens of imitations across the world but most importantly breaks new ground and taboos with it’s graphic depictions of gore. In the UK Hammer releases Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, Christopher Lee appears but complains bitterly about the portrayal of his character who is becoming increasingly sidelined. Over the next few years Hammer releases many Dracula films which become increasingly exploitative. 1969 Boris Karloff dies aged 82 and with him the last link to the Golden Age of Horror is lost.
1970’s 1970 A more permissive society and a tired formula encourages Hammer to make The Vampire Lovers an out and out erotic exploitation film with lesbian vampires and lots more nudity. 1971 Hammer releases an exploitation movie not linked to vampirism Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde. 1972 Cushing and Lee star in Hammers Dracula AD 1972. In an attempt to appeal to younger audiences the setting is updated, teenagers become the main characters and the film is filled with psychedelic rock music. Inspired by The Virgin Spring (1960) and the violent footage of the war in Vietnam director Wes Craven and producer Sean S. Cunningham release Last House on the Left. This rape revenge movie is extremely controversial for it’s graphic scenes of torture and rape juxtaposed with central actor David Hess’s acoustic score. Craven expresses that the film is an attempt to replicate the real life violence playing out in Vietnam. The film is cut and banned in some countries notably in the UK where the BBFC refuses it a certificate. 1973William Friedkin’s The Exorcist is released. This terrifying classic breaks new ground with it’s graphic portrayal of a child possessed by a demon and frank use of four letter words. Rumours abound of supernatural happenings on set and bad luck besetting cast and crew members and a horror movie legend is born. The film also benefits from an iconic soundtrack by Mike Oldfield. Hammer releases it’s final Frankenstein movie Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell. It is also Terence Fisher’s last film for the studio. British studio British Lion shoots The Wicker Man, however by the time that it is due for release EMI have bought the company out and want to disown the film. It is heavily cut and released as a B movie double bill with fellow British Horror Don’t Look Now. Despite the studios scorn and the fact that sections of the film are thrown in as landfill under a British motorway, The Wicker Man will go on to become a a cult classic and will eventually be hailed as one of the greatest British films of all time.
1974 Hammer merges it’s Dracula cycle with the popular martial arts movies of the seventies and releases The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires. In the US Tobe Hooper releases The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The film is pilloried for it’s graphic depictions of violence and gore and is ultimately banned in a number of countries. Following the pattern of many ‘slasher’ movies of the seventies, the film will become a franchise and spawn a number of sequels. Along with Last House on the Left the film is credited with bringing a new sense of realism to screen violence. 1975 Steven Spielberg releases Jaws. It becomes a worldwide phenomenon. The story of a series of shark attacks on Amity Island will inspire a number of sequels but with its memorable score by John Williams and incredible performances from its cast none will be as successful as the first. In an echo of Karloff’s Frankenstein (1931) the film breaks a taboo in a scene where the shark eats a little boy. Canadian Filmmaker David Cronenberg releases Shivers and his sub-genre of body horror is born. His films will continually explore peoples fear of infection, infestation and bodily change. 1976 The first release of a pre-recorded film is a 1972 Korean movie called The Young Teacher. Hammers final horror film is released, Christopher Lee stars in To the Devil a Daughter an adaptation of Dennis Wheatley’s novel and Hammer’s entry to the current spate of films involving children and the occult. Another film released this year that is US made but set in England is The Omen. Directed by Richard Donner and with a memorable Oscar winning score by Jerry Goldsmith, the story follows the early childhood of Damien Thorn, the Antichrist. Like The Exorcist before it rumours abound of bad luck and tragedy besetting the cast and crew. These rumours will persist and the film will pass into screen history and urban myth. It will also spawn two less successful sequels. Stephen King’s novel Carrie is another entry in the ‘demonic child’ cycle of films. Sissy Spacek wins an Oscar for her portrayal of the telekinetic teenager and Brian De Palma directs.
1977Wes Craven releases The Hills Have Eyes a film about a family of cannibals inspired by the real life Scottish story of Sawney Bean. David Cronenberg releases Rabid 1978 The ‘slasher’ returns. Drawing inspiration from Hitchcocks’s Psycho (1960) John Carpenter releases Halloween. Like so many films before it since Universal’ s classic monsters the film spawns a franchise. Sequel after sequel will be released and Michael Myers becomes the latest recurring screen monster. Day of the Woman (more famously known by it’s later title I Spit on Your Grave) is the latest rape revenge movie to be released. It is banned in many countries. George Romero releases Dawn of The Dead. This time Tom Savini who has returned from Vietnam is on board to do special effects and make-up. The action is moved from a house as in Night (1968) to a shopping centre and becomes a critique of American consumerism. Romero’s shambling, flesh-eating zombies and Savini’s bright red stage blood become a trademarks of the film. Italian filmmaker Dario Argento helps secure the money for this US/Italian co production. 1979 Abel Ferrara releases Driller Killer while Italian director LucioFulci unleashes Zombie Flesh Eaters his unofficial sequel to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978). In the US Ridley Scott releases the influential Alien. In many ways the film harks back to the sci-fi horror of the fifties but also incorporates many of David Cronenberg’s themes of ‘body horror’. H. R. Giger’s stunning bio sets and an Alien bursting from John Hurt’s chest make this film a memorable entry into both sub genres.
1980’s 1980In an attempt to cash in on the success of Halloween, Paramount releases Friday the 13th. Sean S. Cunnigham (Last House on the Left) produces. Jason Vorhees becomes the latest screen slasher. The film will spawn ten formulaic sequels, a tv series, novels and comics. Master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick releases his answer to the slasher movies, the terrifying The Shining starring Jack Nicholson. Italian film Cannibal Holocaust is banned in many countries around the world due to it’s scenes of sexual violence and real animal torture. In order to escape an outright ban in the UK it is released straight to video as home video is not yet covered by the BBFC and films can be released uncut. 1981 David Cronenberg releases Scanners with it’s iconic exploding head sequence. Sam Raimi releases his low budget horror The Evil Dead. This low budget shocker causes an international outcry for it’s graphic violence and gore. 1982GO Video in a publicity stunt send a complaint to Mary Whitehouse about their own film Cannibal Holocaust. The stunt however backfires and Whitehouse begins her campaign against ‘video nasties’. John Carpenter releases his remake of The Thing (original version 1951). He transforms it into an allegory about infection and paranoia for the AIDS era. However it seems that with the introduction of home video, box office returns for cinema horror are dwindling. 1983 In response to the trend for slasher movies, horror pioneers Universal bring back Norman Bates from Hitchcock’s Psycho and release Psycho 2. The film is a moderate success and spawns two further sequels. Cronenberg’s masterful take on the video age Videodrome is released. Deborah Harry stars in a film that explores the effects of exposure to violence, torture and pornography via the video medium on human society.
1984 In the UK after pressure from Mary Whitehouse and The Daily Mail amongst others the government passes the Video Recordings Act (1984). The British Board of Film Censorship becomes the British Board of Film Classification. Under new guidelines films can be prosecuted for obscenity, forced cuts can be made and many will be banned from video altogether. Films affected will include Cannibal Holocaust, The Evil Dead, Driller Killer, I Spit on Your Grave and Zombie Flesh Eaters among others. Wes Craven releases A Nightmare on Elm Street the latest twist on the slasher theme. This time the ghost of murderer Freddy Krueger hunts adolescents and butchers them in their dreams. The film costs just $1.8 million dollars but grosses $25.5 million at the US box office alone. Like Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers the series becomes a franchise mirroring the model pioneered by Universal in the thirties and forties. 1985 George Romero releases Day of the Dead. The film receives a limited release and is condemned by critics as being too slow and depressing. It will be his last zombie film for twenty years. 1986 Cronenbergreleases his most commercially successful film yet, a remake of the nineteen fifties movie The Fly. 1987 As horror films become increasingly comedic Sam Raimi releases a slapstick remake of his own earlier film under the title Evil Dead 2. It seems that the horror boom of the seventies and eighties is largely over and that audiences are once again looking elsewhere for their entertainment. Arnold Schwarzenegger appears in the action sci-fi/horror movie The Predator
1990’s 1992In a decade in which the horror genre is characterised by a never ending series of tired and hackneyed slasher sequels and during a largely barren period as far as new ideas for horror movies are concerned the genre films become increasingly more knowing and ironic. Peter Jackson takes gore to a new level for comic effect and releases Brain Dead. Elswhere looking back rather than forward for inspiration Francis Ford Coppola releases his own version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It is a box office if not always a critical success and draws heavily on Hammer’s visual style. 1994Driven on by the success of Coppola’s Dracula (1992) British Shakespearean actor Kenneth Brannagh releases hi version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt appear in the movie version of Anne Rice’s goth classic Interview With The Vampire. 1996 Wes Craven launches his new slasher franchise with Scream. The film has it’s tongue partly in it’s cheek with many knowing references to horror movie history and laughs mixed in with the scares. 1997 Producers rush out a film of I know What You Did Last Summer to cash in on the success of Scream. This slasher movie will spawn two less successful sequels. 1998In Japan Hideo Nakatu releases Ringu. 1999 James Fermann leaves his post as head of the BBFC. There will now be a softening of stance towards explicit content and over the next few years many ’video nasties’ will be certified and finally released in the UK. After a decade bereft of new ideas in the genre a low budget movie shot on a handheld camera becomes a worldwide phenomenon. Costing an initial $35,000 dollars, The Blair Witch Project grosses $248 million dollars worldwide. The improvised scenes and documentary feel of the film generate an atmosphere of terrifying realism and the film goes on to become the most successful independent film of all time.
2000’s 2000The Exorcist (1973) is given a cinema rerelease. 2002US studios begin to look to Japan for ideas. The first product of this trend is The Ring, a remake of Ringu. Zombie videogame Resident Evil is made into a film and sparks a new interest in zombie movies. 28 Days Later is the British update of the zombie apocolypse theme. 2003 Freddy vs. Jason brings together the two main protagonists of the Friday 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises in a 1940’s Universal style monster mash. A remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is released. 2004 Another Japanese horror is ‘Americanised’ when The Grudge is released. Dawn of the Dead is ‘re-imagined’ by Zak Schneider, following the lead established by 28 Days Later the slow shuffling zombies of the original are now sprinting, screaming horrors. British comedy Shaun of the Dead affectionately lampoons the zombie genre. Saw an ultraviolent movie franchise is launched it is to be the first in a series rumoured to be stretching to six films and a videogame. It also sees the advent of a new sub-genre of extremely violent splatter movies called by some critics ‘torture porn’. 2005 George Romero returns after a twenty year hiatus with Land of the Dead, the fourth film in his zombie cycle and his slow moving zombies are back. Hostel becomes the newest and one of the most successful entries into the torture porn sequence. It contains scenes of sexual violence and torture and is banned from release in some countries. 2006Hills Have Eyes is remade.
2007 Halloween becomes the latest 1970’s horror movie to get the update treatment.2008It looks as if the trend for remakes will continue for some time to come. Films currently in production or pre-production include new versions of I Spit on Your Grave, Last House on the Left, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scanners, Friday the 13th, Child’s Play, The Birds and Hellraiser.