History or Horrors By Tia Newton Ellie High Declan Healey
How It Started1890 – 1920sthe first depictions of supernatural events appear in several of the silent shorts created by the film pioneerGeorges Méliès in the late 1890s, the best known being Le Manoir du diable (The Haunted Castle, 1896) whichis sometimes credited as being the first horror film. In 1910 Edison Studios produced the first film version ofFrankenstein, which was thought lost for many years. Also in the early 20th century the first ever monsterappeared in a horror film. German expressionist film makers during the Weimar Republic are and slightlyearlier would be set to change the view of horror quite significantly.1930 – 1940sDuring the early period of talking pictures, the American Movie studio Universal Pictures began a successfulGothic horror film series. Tod Brownings Dracula (1931), with Bela Lugosi, was quickly followed by JamesWhales Frankenstein (also 1931). Some of these blended science fiction films with Gothic horror, such as TheInvisible Man (1933) and, mirroring the earlier German films, featured a mad scientist. These films, whiledesigned to thrill, also incorporated more serious elements.1950 – 1960sWith advances in technology, the tone of horror films shifted from the gothic towards contemporary concerns.Two sub-genres began to emerge: the horror-of-Armageddon film and the horror-of-the-demonic film. Astream of usually low-budget productions featured humanity overcoming threats from outside: alien invasionsand deadly mutations to people, plants, and insects. In the case of some horror films from Japan, such asGodzilla (1954) and its sequels, mutation from the effects of nuclear radiation. An influential American horrorfilm of this period was George A. Romeros Night of the Living Dead (1968). Produced and directed byRomero, on a budget of $114,000, it grossed $12 million at the box office in the United States and $30 millioninternationally. This horror-of-Armageddon film about zombies blends psychological insights with gore, itmoved the genre even further away from the gothic horror trends of earlier eras and brought horror intoeveryday life. Low-budget gore-shock films from the likes of Herschell Gordon Lewis also appeared.Examples include Blood Feast (1963), a devil-cult story, and Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964), a ghost towninhabited by psychotic cannibals), which featured splattering blood and body dismemberment.
How it started continued1970 – 1980sThe end of the Production Code of America in 1964, the financial successes of the low-budget gore films of the ensuingyears, and the critical and popular success of Rosemarys Baby, led to the release of more films with occult themes inthe 1970s. The Exorcist (1973), the first of these movies, was a significant commercial success, and was followed byscores of horror films in which the Devil represented the supernatural evil, often by impregnating women or possessingchildren. The genre also included gory horror movies with sexual overtones, made as "A-movies" (as opposed to "Bmovies"). John Carpenter created Halloween (1978). Sean Cunningham made Friday the 13th (1980). Wes Cravendirected A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984). This subgenre would be mined by dozens of increasingly violent moviesthroughout the subsequent decades, and Halloween became a successful independent film. Other notable 70s slasherfilms include Bob Clarks Black Christmas (1974), which was released before Halloween, and was another start of thesub-genre.1990sIn the first half of the 1990s, the genre continued many of the themes from the 1980s. Sequels from the Childs Play(1988) and Leprechaun (1993) series enjoyed some commercial success. The slasher films A Nightmare on ElmStreet, Friday the 13th, and Halloween all saw sequels in the 1990s, most of which met with varied amounts of successat the box office, but all were panned by fans and critics, with the exception of Wes Cravens New Nightmare (1994)and the hugely successful Silence of the Lambs (1991). To re-connect with its audience, horror became more self-mockingly ironic and outright parodic, especially in the latter half of the 1990s. Peter Jacksons Braindead (1992)(known as Dead Alive in the USA) took the splatter film to ridiculous excesses for comic effect. Wes Cravens Scream(written by Kevin Williamson) movies, starting in 1996, featured teenagers who were fully aware of, and often madereference to, the history of horror movies, and mixed ironic humour with the shocks. Along with I Know What You DidLast Summer (written by Kevin Williamson as well) and Urban Legend, they re-ignited the dormant slasher film genre.2000sThe start of the 2000s saw a quiet period for the genre. The release of an extended version of The Exorcist inSeptember 2000 was successful despite the film having been available on home video for years. Franchise films such asFreddy vs. Jason also made a stand in theaters. Final Destination (2000) marked a successful revival of teen-centeredhorror and spawned five sequels. The Jeepers Creepers series was also successful. Films like Wrong Turn, CabinFever, House of 1000 Corpses, and the previous mentions helped bring the genre back to Restricted ratings in theaters.Remakes of earlier horror movies became routine in the 2000s. In addition to 2004s remake of Dawn of the Dead, aswell as 2003s remake of both Herschell Gordon Lewis cult classic 2001 Maniacs and the remake of Tobe Hoopersclassic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, there was also the 2007 Rob Zombie written and directed remake of JohnCarpenters Halloween. The film focused more on Michaels backstory than the original did, devoting the first halfof the film to Michaels childhood. It was critically panned by most, but was a success in its theatricalrun, spurring its own sequel.
Horror Sub Genres• SupernaturalThe supernatural is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist aboveand beyond nature. With neoplatonic and medieval scholastic origins, the metaphysical considerations can be difficultto approach as an exercise in philosophy or theology because any dependencies on its antithesis, the natural, willultimately have to be inverted or rejected. In popular culture and fiction, the supernatural is whimsically associatedwith the paranormal and the occult, this differs from traditional concepts in some religions, such as Catholicism, wheredivine miracles are considered supernatural.• FantasyFantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element ofplot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common. Fantasy isgenerally distinguished from science fiction and horror by the expectation that it steers clear of (pseudo-)scientific andmacabre themes, respectively, though there is a great deal of overlap between the three, all of which are subgenres ofspeculative fiction.• Science fictionScience fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible (or at least non-supernatural)content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities.Exploring the consequences of scientific innovations is one purpose of science fiction, making it a "literature ofideas". Science fiction is largely based on writing rationally about alternative possible worlds or futures. It is similarto, but differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible withinscientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pureimaginative speculation).• ThrillerThriller is a broad genre of literature, film, and television programming that uses suspense, tension, and excitement asthe main elements. Thrillers heavily stimulate the viewers moods such as a high level of anticipation, ultra-heightenedexpectation, uncertainty, anxiety and terror. Thriller films tend to be adrenaline-rushing, gritty, rousing and fast-paced.Literary devices such as red herrings and cliffhangers are used extensively. The cover-up of important information fromthe viewer, and fight and chase scenes are common methods in all of the thriller subgenres, although each subgenrehas its own characteristics and methods.
Key Horror Movies• "Dracula" (1931) starring Bela Lugosi. The first serious sound horror film.• "Psycho" (1960) starring Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. In 1960, seeing a nude women being murdered in a shower was something that no-one had experienced yet.• "The Exorcist" (1973) starring Linda Blair. This film re-invented the horror genre. During its initial release, stories were reported of viewers passing out during the film.• "Halloween" (1978) starring Jamie Lee Curtis. The gold standard of slasher films.• "Alien" (1979) starring Sigourney Weaver and directed by Ridley Scott.
Key Horror Movie Directors• Alfred Hitchcock - The birds, psycho• John carpenter – Halloween, someone’s watching me• Stephen king – The boogeyman, 1408• Wes Craven – A nightmare on elm street, The hills have eyes, Freddie vs Jason
Key Horror Actors• Robert Englund – Freddie vs Jason• Jamie lee Curtis – Halloween• Sigourney Weaver – Aliens series• Bruce Campbell – Evil dead 1,2 and 3• Bill Mosely – Texas chainsaw massacre