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  1. 1. Horror film timeline
  2. 2. From the late 1800's to the early 1900's, horror films typically didn't last very long, had no cuts and the camera rarely moved. 'Le Manoir du Diable' (1896) also known as 'The Devil's Castle' by Georges Melies was a three minute long silent movie that is considered to be the first ever horror film due to its typical elements of the horror genre such as ghosts, smoke and bats. 1898 - George Albert Smith patented his special photographic contrivance, which allowed 'ghosts' to be seen on film. This was a big step for the movie industry and inspired further devices. 1910 - The first version of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' was made, which was slightly longer and used a different style of camera work and editing then other horror movies during this time period. 1922 – The first ever vampire movie 'Nosferatu' was made, which was based on the popular novel 'Dracula' by Bram Stoker. The film shared the same plot as ‘Dracula’ but the character names were different. The director F.W Murnau’s effective use of light and shadows as well as his use of photographic image (as seen in the microscope sequences and the stop motion special effect) separated ‘Nosferatu’ from previous horror films. As ‘Nosfertau’ was a plagiarised version of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ the prints of the movie were destroyed. However a few prints survived and have become available to the public. 1896 - 1920
  3. 3. 1930’s Due to the advance in technology filmmakers were able to use sound such as sound effects in their movies, which changed the horror genre completely as sound added a new dimension of fear to movies. This effected the style and plot of horror films. Sound became a key aspect in horror films as it was used to create suspense or fear. During the 1930’s many were suffering from the Great Depression and horror movies were seen as a form of escapism for people. 1931 - ‘Dracula’ and another adaptation of ‘Frankenstein’, which both became a part of pop culture, was made. ‘Dracula’ was the first horror movie to feature dialogue and included detailed mise-en-scene such as fog, European settings, forests and howling wolves, which then become typical conventions of mise-en-scene for horror films. ‘Frankenstein’ also had effective mise-en-scene and sound effects but the idea that monsters were man made, which reflected cultural events at the time, had a deep impact on audiences. Additionally, both movies had trailers, which was very rare at the time.
  4. 4. 1940’s In the 1940’s people were constantly in fear due to WW2. During the years of the war the production of horror films in the UK was banned, so they had to rely on America for horror films. Moreover many consider the 40’s as the decade when the horror genre declined due to production companies failing to come up with new ideas and instead releasing sequels of the classic monster movies from the 1930’s or films that lacked creativity. However there were some classic films that were made in this decade. 1942 - The movie ‘Cat People’ is a film about a woman who believes herself to be a descendant of a race of people who turn into cats and was one of the first movies to make an explicit link between horror and female sexuality, something that has since become typical of modern-day horror films. The movie plays upon unseen horrors to scare the audiences. 1944 – ‘The Uninvited’ was a haunted house film that is known for its effective use of lighting and sound. The film influenced future ghost movies.
  5. 5. The 1950’s saw innovations in technology in the cinema such as CinemaScope, Cinerama, Stereophonic sound, 3-D and Smell-O-Vision, which were an attempt to pull people away from their TVs. After WW2, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, people started to fear that a Nuclear war could happen so production companies played upon that by changing the monsters/villains from mad scientists to mutant creatures that were the aftermath of a war of such nature. During this period horror movies were downgraded to b movie status, which meant that they weren’t as importance to production companies as other genres. 1954 – ‘Godzilla’ is a Japanese film about American nuclear weapons testing resulting in the creation of a seemingly unstoppable, dinosaur-like beast named Godzilla. The film played on the Japanese’s fear of nuclear power due to the recent Hiroshima and Nagasaki events, as Godzilla is considered to be a metaphor for nuclear weapons. Since its release, Godzilla has been regarded not only as one of the best giant monster films ever made but an important cinematic achievement. 1950’s
  6. 6. The horror genre changed a lot during the 1960’s as the idea that instead of fictional characters, humans themselves could be monsters was explored a lot more. 1960 - Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ differed from other horror films as it felt realistic to the audiences, which added another dimension of fear to it. The conventions used in this film, were very new to audiences such as the screeching soundtrack, a knife and a shower scene, which have become iconic. 1963- ‘Blood Feast’ is considered one of the first ‘splatter’ film. The film relies on the gore to entertain the audience instead of the actual plot. 1968 – The film ‘Night of the living dead’ is one of the most influential horror films of all time. It exceeded any typical convention that had possibly been created and follows the narrative of a woman named Barbara. The film signified a new darker direction of horror and has influenced directors and future films. 1960’s
  7. 7. 1970’s The 1970s marked a return to the big budget, respectable horror films, which dealt with contemporary societal issues and addressing genuine psychological fears. It is argued to be one of the best decades for horror films. Horror films during this decade took a step away from sci fi and into reality where the monster was a human instead. 1973– ‘The Exorcist’ is considered to be one of the scariest movie of all time with it’s dark and disturbing storyline of an exorcism of a young girl. The movie’s use of lighting, camera work, sound and editing added another dimension of fear to the movie. Until 1999 ‘The Exorcist’ was banned from video release in the UK because of how outrageous the BFI thought it was. 1974 – The film ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ follows a group of friends who fall victim to a family of cannibals while on their way to visit an old homestead. The character of Leatherface and minor plot details were inspired by the crimes of real-life murderer Ed Gein. It is considered to be one of the best horror films in cinema history. 1976 – ‘The Omen’ is about a child who is actually the antichrist. 1978 - ‘Halloween’ was a movie about a psychotic man with murderous tendencies in a mental prison for killing his younger sister.
  8. 8. 1980’s Technology was constantly improving and in the 80’s films could be shown in higher definition and the way films were edited changed. Also, special effects became more technical and the use of animatronics, liquid and foam latex meant that characters could be distorted or transformed into anything. As the horror genre became a lot more popular, production companies were more willing to give horror movies big budgets. 1981 – ‘The Evil Dead’ is a supernatural horror movie about five teenagers who awaken spirits after finding a book and an audiotape. The iconic use of POV camera, which is hurtled along the forest floor, gives the movie its trademark sequences. 1984 - ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ is a supernatural slasher film about several teenagers who are stalked and killed in their dreams and in reality by the villain Freddy Krueger. The movie used these new developments to its advantage when they used latex to make Freddy Krueger’s iconic heavily scarred and burnt skin. 1988 – ‘Childs Play’ is a slasher film with a unique twist as the killer is a 3ft doll, which was something that had never been explored before in horror films.
  9. 9. During this period the subgenres slasher and comedy horror were extremely popular. Also it became highly conventional to use teenagers as the protagonists in horror films as this was their main target at the time. Mise-en- scene was advanced to create as much as gore as possible that would also seem realistic to the audience. Due to the events of September 11th 2001, there was a change in global perceptions of what is frightening, and set the cultural agenda for the following years. The film industry, already facing a recession, felt very hard hit as film-makers struggled to come to terms with what was now acceptable to the viewing public. The popularity of the horror genre started to decline until 2005 where it became one of the most popular genres yet again. 1996 - ‘Scream’ combined black comedy, ‘whodunit’ mystery and the violence of the slasher genre to satirize the clichés of the horror genre popularised in classic horror films such as Halloween and Friday the 13th. ‘Scream’ stood out from other horror films as it featured characters who were aware of real world horror films and openly discussed the clichés that the movie attempted to subvert. 2000 – ‘Final Destination’ is a supernatural horror film about a group of teenagers who are chased and killed by Death after surviving a plane crash that was supposed to have killed them .The film is iconic because unlike previous horror films the protagonists in ‘Final Destination’ are fully aware of their impending demise, and half of the pleasure of the films for the audience is watching them squirm under the pressure. 2010 – ‘Insidious’ is a supernatural horror about a boy who inexplicably enters a comatose state and becomes a vessel for ghosts in an astral dimension who want to inhabit his body, in order to live once again. 1990-2010