A history of horror

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A history of horror

  1. 1. 1940’s 1920 -30’s 1950’s 1960’s 1980’s 1970’s 1990’s 2000+
  2. 2. 1920-1930 • The first horrors that came about tended to be silent movies produced right at the beginning of the 20th century. • These Horrors were very surreal, they were set in dark and gloomy places. • Castles and abandoned houses were the perfect stock location for these types of horror films and they did not really have colour and were filmed in the basic black and white. • This means that the directors and filming team had to heavily rely on the costume and evil being itself to create fear for the audience as sound was not possible. • Early horror films used folklore and legends from around the world to create a scary horror film as at the time this is what scared the audiences. Things such as monsters, vampires and werewolves. • They rendered the monsters into a physical form and then built upon these myths and legends to create terror and suspense for those watching the films. • German expressionism of the time created a strong visual style of these early horrors, as they used distorted worlds and strange angles to build upon the fear and terror. •Examples of films from this decade can include the first horror film that included vampires Nosferatu, other films that came about at this time were things such as
  3. 3. 1940’s • Horror films in the 1940’s progressed a little from the typical mythical films that were made in the 20’s and 30’s; these were around the time when the second world war had started. • Wartime horrors were produced in this era but were purely an American product as Wartime Horrors were banned in Britain; this was due to the fact that Britain wanted their soldiers to focus on winning the war rather than seeing all the horrors that they were about to face. • This era was when animalistic horrors were born, which focused on the "animal inside“ generally a human who was able to change into either a mythological being or some type of animal. • Two of the most popular Horror films at the time were ‘The Wolf man’ and ‘Cat People’, these tended to show animals who have transformed from humans then go around and murder and mutilate other humans. They also followed the typical codes and conventions of Horror and the same dark and gloomy places were used for the stock location. • Hitler himself is strongly identified with this type of iconography and legends of the wolf. The name Adolf' means "noble wolf" in Old German and Hitler can be closely linked to this, as he was like a wolf and hunted the Jews so get rid of them although he is not seen to be a very noble character and many people and audiences today are able to identify Hitler with Horrors and Horrific imagery . • The first sound movies were finally coming about , dialogue and music was finally becoming a big thing in Horror films, which led to a bigger effect on the audience as they use of sound create more tension and fear for the audience. • Female monsters first came to light in this decade as well as the introduction of sound, but rather than the female monster frightening or scaring the audience; the audience fell in love with her as she was beautiful and elegant rather than a hideous monster. An example of this is the bride of Frankenstein, when Frankenstein's
  4. 4. 1950’s • There were extremely big changes between the 1940’s and the 1950’s. • The Second world war had finally ended and the genre of Horror developed once again. • The monsters in Horror films were now humans but they seemed somewhat mutated and mutilated but mainly consisted of science fiction. This idea came from the end of the war when the soldiers came home from war and many had gone mad or had been badly injured this scared the public. • But the war led to the neglect of horror films and the soldiers had their own Horrors to tell as they has witnessed real and true Horror before their own eyes. • This then led to the studios trying to incorporate colour and TV so audiences were able to watch these Horrors at home. The 1950’s shifted completely from gothic to contemporary concerns, films such as ‘The Fly’, ‘The Blob’ and ‘Godzilla’ were all big films in the 50’s as they focused on the mutation effects from this such as nuclear war as nuclear warheads and weapons were starting to come about around the world and the audiences were again scared by the genre of Horror. • There was many science fiction that was incorporated into the Horror films of the 50’s and this terrified the audiences as well as the public. • This was the first time that Britain had fully emerged as a Horror film producer and there was great international success.
  5. 5. 1960’s • 1960’s was a big change for Horror, the audience were no longer scared of monsters or mutilated beings as they realised that these ideas were not realistic and were just myths and legends. They wanted reality, they wanted real life Horrors that were more believable, and much more sophisticated, and that dealt with some of the issues they faced in a real world. • Thrillers and horror were intertwined together; there was a lot more onscreen violence and nudity in Horror films. • Films like Psycho and The Shining were made in this era these films both played around with the idea that rather than there being a scary monster, humans were the antagonists. Both of these films showed the killer to be a normal everyday person but they always tended to be the antagonist trying to or succeeding to kill everyone, this usually stems from insanity and madness. • The beginning of the 1960's the first slasher film was introduced called ‘Peeping Tom’ this combined both his professionalism as a photographer and his lust for killing his victims. •The mid and late sixties then started to use the ideas of ghost stories such as The Haunting. Using black and white photography and minimal special effects to create terror and panic. • These ghost stories throb with psychosexual tension, and take a sadistic satisfaction in the suffering of the beautiful heroine. The protagonist is a final sacrifice
  6. 6. 1970’s • Due to the success of a cult film, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ many other cult films were being produced films such as the Exorcist, 1973 which was a big hit and was also voted the ‘Scariest movie of all time’ in 1999 by Total Film magazine. • These films tended to be based around supernatural elements, leading the audience to fear the unknown and the un-dead. • One of the biggest fears during the seventies was the fear of children, the thought of children becoming possessed and inflicting the harm and even death onto to others was terrifying this is shown through the film ‘The Omen’ where many say it is like the devil reincarnated himself. • Many women became afraid of child birth after Author David J Skal identifies this fear with the introduction of the contraceptive pill and the birth defects if had by thalidomide. Women were scared to give birth and scared of their own children. • The family and the home is where most fear is created as this is where they are supposed to feel safe but knowing they have their own Horrors as home created panic for many. Now the enemy is in your own home father than the unknown. • This decade introduced a new wave of monster horrors with more realistic monsters, such as ‘Young Frankenstein’ and Leather Face from ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ which was based around true events of a real life mass murder called Ed Gein this was the first time that real life elements were being brought into film.
  7. 7. 1980’s • The eighty's were a big decade for slashers as many big hit films were made during this decade. • But the 1980s also saw a wave of gory "B movie" horror films these were films that were very low budgeted and often a lot less publicised. At first of which were very highly criticized by critics and dismissed by critics but then later sae them become cult classics and a big success with critics. B movie films included films such as Fright Night, The Lost Boys and Poltergeist. • Special effects (SFX) has finally caught up with the imaginations of horror directors and the audiences. This began with Alien, which was actually released in 1979. Everything that lurked in the shadows in films of the 1950's was now out in the light, all bigger, better and more gruesome than before. •The main demographic for audiences of horror movies in the 1980s was 15-24 year old men; an audience seeking thrills as a rite-of-passage, to prove that they have strong enough stomachs to sit through these gut-wrenching gore fests. •Horror films of this era included A Nightmare On Elm Street and slashers, Halloween and Friday 13th.
  8. 8. 1990’s • • • • By the end of the 1980's the gore that once terrified the audiences had worn off; by this time some spoofs were being made so the audience did not feel scared by these things anymore. A lot of dark, disturbing films at this time were labelled as psychological thrillers, yet they shared an awful lot of the same codes and conventions used in horror films. The psycho’s are introduced in this decade with The Silence of the Lambs and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Silence of the Lambs was a psychological Horror where the antagonist used sick and twisted way to kill his victims, he gets into their minds and uses their own minds against them. In 1996 Scream was released; this mixed the slashers from previous decades and the new psychological horror together which produced a parody for those that had grown up with the original slasher horrors and now had something new to fear. .
  9. 9. 2000’s • • The beginning of the 2000's gave us blood guts and gore movies and portrayed the moral panic around gore-nography or torture porn, where the victims bodies are completely mutilated. Films such as Saw and Final Destination mixed gore and phsychological horror together and produced a films where death takes the form of the antagonist rather than an actual person. Final destination shows how you cant escape death and how death will get everyone in the end, it is like fate. Saw it about the bloody mutilation of many unsuspecting victims who are hacked at and cut and slashed by the psychotic antagonist. As the gory era was coming to a halt the audiences were then enticed by the supernatural Horrors as well as possession. These included antagonists that were spirits, the devil or demonic beings which meant they were much harder to kill off and get rid of. Audiences often realised that by the end of the film the spirits were never really gone and this created terror for the audience; as the stock location was usually set in an everyday home which allowed them to lose their self sense of security and proved effective. Films such as ‘The Conjuring’ ‘Paranormal Activity’ and ‘Insidious’ can be said to be some of the most influential and successful supernatural/possession films made.

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