Horror can have a lot of meanings as it can relate to many feelings and
It is defined as an:
- An intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.
A thing causing such a feeling.
Informal Something unpleasant, ugly, or disagreeable
It comes from the Ancient Greek 'orrodia', which translates to 'fear‘. It
also comes from Latin meaning “shudder of hair”
In the 1930’s universal studios created Gothic horror films. They became a hit as the
audience were a big fan of the thrill and horror genre they brought. Dracula and
Frankenstein were two famous ones. Horror movies introduced suspense, fear and tension
in the film industry. Audiences felt enthusiastic about the horror genre and enjoyed them.
Horror movies introduced in the 1930’s
The Dracula was the first movie created with sound, which made it such a popular movie.
In 1931 Frankenstein was one of the greatest monster of all time.
In 1930s Warner brothers did gangster and waxwork horrors.
In the late 1930s sadistic films were made
The old dark house was produced by universal productions and directed by James Whale
James Whale had full control over the film Frankenstein's wife
The film ‘Freaks’ a German film was the first film with circus people.
In 1939 the ‘Son of Frankenstein’ was made
Wartime horror movies were purely an American product. As they were
banned in Britain, as the film production was restricted throughout the
theatre of war in Europe.
In the 1940s sequels were popular for early horror films
Val Luton became head of horror to RKO studios
Films created and introduced in 1940
The mummy’s hand (1940)
In 1942 the film ‘Cat people’ was made
The mummy’s tomb 1942
The wolf man 1942/1943
Sequels were also made to Frankenstein and Dracula
In the mid 1950s horror films came to Britain and expanded there audience as more
people in Europe were watching and enjoying horror movies. Techniques were
also added such as stop-motion which was used to make them come to life.
However the increase in horror movies came to a fall as studios were trying too
hard to modernize and adapt to the changes such as colour due to this they
found it difficult to maintain focus in creating the horror movies however they
were still making profit.
Monster based films became very popular.
In 1951 there was a Dracula play in Broadway
In the early 1950s horror cinema production ceased after two decades in
Many horror films used Bray film studios which included an atmosphere in 18th
In 1957 ‘The curse of Frankenstein’ was the first film in colour and used shocking
gore and blood
In 1957 the film ‘Night of the Demon’ was a psychological and supernatural
thriller by Jack Dunure
In the 1960’s horror films were increasing they had some of the best horrors to offer
they more open to nudity, violence and strong language. By including these
aspects teenagers felt that horror movies became more realistic and were
appropriate for their age which made them even more popular.
The film industry expanded furthermore
Hammer films in 1960s became popular from British film studios
Hollywood stared to produce psychological horrors
The horror era continued....
Films had to be made cheaper. Hammer productions shared some cast and crew
In 1968 a film called ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ was made and it was considered to be the
scariest movie of all times
This started to continue in the 1970s
In the 1970’s the horror genre was known as the “Nightmare decades: in front of the
Horror movies from the 1970s presented the grim mood of the decade. The film
industry based on the horror genre increased. The 1970s marked a return and was
very successful and they got more popular and made a lot of profit. The films
were made more realistic but also included more children, showing their fear.
Films created in 1970’s..
In the early 1970s occult horror movies
became popular such as ‘The exorcist’ (1973)
The film ‘The Omen’ was a popular horror that a few sequels were made
In the early 1970s gore fests became popular such as the film ‘The Texas chainsaw
Movies such as the ‘The hills have eyes’ (1977)
Zombie movies continued into the early 1980s
Horror Films — Inside Out: Body Horror
Horror was losing a lot of its mainstream appeal, becoming the domain of the teenager.
The increasing realism of special effects led in one direction to movies where
watching flying bits of body became the point, brutal and gruesome scenes were now
more popular hence where the names for 80’s originated from “inside out: body
Films- The 1980’s saw a wave of gory movies
1980- Friday the 13th, directed by Sean S. Cunningham
Nightmare on Elm street created by John Carpenter this was a successful slasher
1881- Thomas Harris releases Red Dragon, creating Dr. Hannibal Lector, one of the
most successful portraits of a serial killer
An American Werewolf in London, directed by John Landis. It also received an Oscar for
Best Make-up for the living and the dead.
In the 1980s horror movies were based on movies that contained gore and brutal body horror.
However by the end of he 1980’s scary movies lost there ‘scare’ but became funny, this was
because horror movies did not focus on their story lines, but focused to much on their
realistic makeup and costumes for an example Dead Alive 1992. However there were
successful horrors that were created
Films Silence of the lambs directed by Jonathan Demme 1991- The movie is about an FBI agent that
tries to track down a serial killer with the aid of jailed psychopath. Stylish and disturbing. It
won two Oscar awards
Trauma created by Dario Argento in 1993- This movie is a about a girl investigating why her
parents and neighbours are missing. It is a brutal movie, that has a fascinating riddle at
NATURAL BORN KILLERS directed by Oliver Stone in 1994- This film is about a serial killer
couple who follow the fortunes of Mickey and Mallory as they slash their way across the
Mid-West. Distasteful and violent.
Se7en directed by David Fincher in 1995 - Perhaps the most gripping serial killer movie ever
made. The storyline is based on the digit 7 hence where the name aroused from.
In the 2000’s, events that happened on September 11th changed global perceptions of what is
frightening. This vigorously affected the film industry as it was already facing a
recessions, film makers struggled to come to terms with what was now acceptable to the
viewing public. Some people even wanted to BAN HORROR MOVIES IN THE NAME OF
WORLD PEACE. The horror genre were quiet during the 2000’s and mainly made remakes
of classic horror movies
Zombie films made a return: Resident evil and 28 days later
Final destination- This was a teen movie, the killer has no story to kill.. It has everyone in its
sights every character is in danger. The rules are clear and simple: if you are a character in a
Final Destination movie, you are going to die. Contains lots of gore, disturbing and brutal
Torture films also became popular such as SAW as the audience liked the massive amount
of gore they contain.
Why did the horror genre evolve in the way it did?
The reason why horror movies changed, is because various things in the industry has
developed such as technology. Technology plays a vigorous role in the horror genre, for an
example the quality of filming and colour getting introduced, film makers were able to
make characters look more realistic and settings. By making them look more realistic
horror movies were more frightening towards the audience. Real events also affected the
way the genre changed such as the 9/11 film makers had to come to terms with what was
acceptable to contain in horror movies.
This will give me more of an insight of what the horror genre
consists of in greater detail and develops my understanding in
generic conventions furthermore. By doing this research I know
what convention I can include in my film opening.