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Horror History



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  • 1. AAD 250 Art and Human Values Enjoying Horror
  • 2. "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." ~ H. P. Lovecraft
  • 3. "This predilection for art that promises we will be frightened by it, shaken by it, at times repulsed by it seems to be as deeply imprinted in the human psyche as the counter-impulse toward daylight, rationality, scientific skepticism, truth and the "real." ... And this is the forbidden truth, the unspeakable taboo--that evil is not always repellent but frequently attractive; that it has the power to make of us not simply victims, as nature and accident do, but active accomplices." ~ Joyce Carol Oates
  • 4. Horror has these common elements:  Highly improbably sequences of events that usually begin in ordinary situations  Contrast the oddness of these events with the minutiae of daily life so readers identify with the characters  Main characters are people we can understand and identify with  Mood is dark, foreboding, menacing, bleak  Plot contains frightening and unexpected incidents  Violence, often graphic, occurs
  • 5. ANCIENT EVIL Stories where ancient evil, often hidden for centuries, awakes and threatens civilization. Lovecraft is a notable author.
  • 6. BLACK MAGIC Magic used for evil purposes
  • 8. EROTIC HORROR Horror stories with considerable explicit sexual activity, including violent sex
  • 10. NATURE HORROR Stories in which other living things become evil or attack humans. Examples might include microbes, rats, birds, or killer plants.
  • 11. POSSESSION Stories in which a character is taken over or controlled by another. That other might be a demon, some other evil force, or another human.
  • 12. PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR Stories that rely on the psychological problems of the characters to generate horror rather than the use of external supernatural elements.
  • 13. SPLATTERPUNK Horror stories with unusual and explicit sex and violence. Potential censorship problems
  • 14. VAMPIRES
  • 15. WERE CREATURES Creatures, often wolves, who are shape shifters changing from person to animal when certain stimulus is present.
  • 16. Appeal  To discover the possibility of something creepy within myself  To discover the possibility of something creepy about my perfectly normal-looking neighbors  To tantalize my suspicion that the world can't possibly be as orderly as it's advertised to be...  To discover an external cognate (in the imagination of the artist) to what I think of as my own dark secrets...  For plain old-fashioned entertainment and escapism
  • 17. Some Important Dates in the History of Horror 1235 An order comes out of the Vatican, authorizing the commencement of an Inquisition to re- establish the orthodoxy of the faith. The charge of heresy soon becomes entangled with the charge of witchcraft, and in this form took until the seventeenth century to die away.
  • 18. 1307 – 1321 La Comedia, or The Divine Comedy as it came to be known, of Dante Alighieri is written in Italy. This semi- autobiographical poem sets forth one of the most influential descriptions of Hell in the literature 1456 Vladislav Basarab of Transylvania gains the crown of Wallacia for the first time (until 1462, and again briefly in 1468). From his father he earned the nickname 'Dracula', son of the Dragon, but he earned for himself the name Vlad the Impaler, for his favorite method of execution.
  • 19. 1470 - 1516 The Dutch artist Hieronymous Bosch in this period produced paintings of religious theme and nightmarish impact -- the best known is The Garden of Earthly Delights. They came to the attention of the Inquisition after his death, but powerful patrons protected the collection.
  • 20. 1667 Paradise Lost is John Milton's epic poem of the fall from Heaven 1692 Not the largest or most gruesome of the witch trials, the events in Salem, Massachusetts are definitely the most famous. A group of young girls began to claim local women were bewitching them.
  • 21. 1776 The Japanese student of literature and critic Uneda Akinari, publishes Ugetsu Monogatari, or Tales of Moonlight and Rain. Drawing inspiration from popular myth, this collection of romantic and chilling stories includes 'The House Amidst the Thickets', 'The Chrysanthemum Trust' and 'The Carp that Swam in my Dreams'.
  • 22. 1781 Henry Fuseli, the then professor of painting at the British Royal Academy, paints The Nightmare. He was considered insane by most of his contemporaries.
  • 23. 1784 Donatien-Alphonse-François de Sade, better known as the Marquis de Sade, writes Les 120 Journées de Sodome, ou l'Ecole du libertinage (The 120 Days of Sodom), 'the most impure tale that has ever been told since our world began whilst incarcerated in the Bastille -- though the uncompleted novel wasn't properly published until 1931.
  • 24. 1820 Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein -- or the Modern Prometheus is published
  • 25. 1832 The German folklorists, Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm publish the fruits of their research in Kinder und Hausmarchen. It includes 'Hansel and Gretel', 'Snow White' and 'The Bone Flute'.
  • 26. 1833 The Baltimore Saturday Visitor publishes MS Found in a Bottle by the unknown author Edgar Allan Poe. Between here and his death in 1849 he publishes many short stories, including 'The Fall of the House of Usher' (1839), 'The Masque of the Red Death' (1842), 'The Pit and the Pendulum' (1843) and 'The Cask of Amontillado' (1846).
  • 27. 1867 A depressive and alcoholic young composer, Modest Mussorgsky, produces his masterwork. Ivanova Noch' na Lïsoy gore, popularly known as A Night on Bald Mountain, describes the adventures of a man who, stranded on St John's Mountain observes the witch's sabbat.
  • 28. 1885 After an initial setback Robert Louis Stevenson publishes The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde. 1888 One of the world's most infamous crimes occurs with the murder of at least five London prostitutes. While the police received hundreds of letters purportedly from the killer, only one is believed genuine, signed Jack the Ripper.
  • 29. 1897 Abraham 'Bram' Stoker publishes Dracula, or The Un-Dead. 1910 The first Frankenstein movie is made, directed by J. Searle Dawley and with the involvement of the innovator Thomas Edison
  • 30. 1923 The first issue of Weird Tales is published, the first all-fantasy magazine in the world, it survived thirty-two years without ever showing a profit. Universal Studios produce a silent Hunchback of Notre Dame starring Lon Chaney Sr, 'the man of a thousand faces
  • 31. 1927 Bela Lugosi, a Hungarian actor and former cavalry officer, appeared in the American version of the Dracula stage-play 1930s This was the decade of the Universal monster movies, Tod Browning's Dracula James Whale's Frankenstein, The Wolf Man
  • 32. 1938 Panic was caused across America by the broadcast of Orson Welles' report-style radio dramatization, Invasion From Mars, based on The War of the Worlds. Many people tuned in from another popular radio show and missed the opening explanation, believing it to be a real invasion.
  • 33. 1939 - 1945 The British Board of Film Censors banned the screening of horror films, both local and imported, for the duration on the grounds they would affect morale.
  • 34. 1939-1945 Continued It was a time of atrocity. The Nazi Movement in Germany, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, attempted the genocide of the Jewish race, creating one of the enduring symbols of the Bad Guy. Meanwhile, on August the 6th and 9th of 1945, America showed the world a new type of Horror; its canvas: Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • 35. 1947 William Gaines takes over his father's publishing business and changes the name from Educational Comics to Entertaining Comics. As well as SF and action titles they would also produce America's first and most famous horror comics, the likes of Tales from the Crypt, Haunt of Fear and Vault of Horror
  • 36. 1953 Vincent Price appears in the film that truly established his horror reputation, House of Wax
  • 37. 1954 Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Over fifteen films (and counting) have been devoted to the exploits of Godzilla.
  • 38. 1960 Psycho 1964 The Adam’s Family and The Munsters 1968 Night of the Living Dead Rosemary's Baby 1970 Release of Black Sabbath's first album 1973 The Exorcist
  • 39. 1973 Rocky Horror Picture Show 1975 Jaws 1976 Anne Rice releases interview with the Vampire 1978 Halloween 1980 Friday the Thirteenth
  • 40. 1986 The word 'splatterpunk' is invented by David J. Schow at a party, and refers to fiction that pushes the limits of taste into gory and sexual excess, a cousin to the SF cyberpunk movement, both of which were anticipated by John Shirley. 1991 Jonathan Demme's adaptation of The Silence of the Lambs is released to popular and critical acclaim and much debate. 1993 The X-Files
  • 41. 1996 The Scream series at the cinema and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) on TV provided the new look of horror -- media-savvy, slick, self- referential, hugely popular -- and occasionally scary
  • 42. 1999 The Blair Witch Project 2000 - ?
  • 43. QUESTIONS Why do we want to "escape" with a genre that stimulates fear and anxiety as it considers horrible events? Some people argue that horror causes people to think and act in unhealthy, morbid ways. How would you respond? Could this be true of other genres too? What relationship, if any, do you see between violence in real life as reported in the mass media and interest in horror fiction? Between horror film and horror books? Is horror really more about shock value than telling a good story?