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History of the Horror Genre

This is a slideshow on the history of the horror genre, including the different time scales, genres and characters.

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HORROR 
• noun 1) an intense feeling of fear, shock, 
or disgust. 2) a thing causing such a 
feeling. 3) intense dismay. 4) informal a bad 
or mischievous person, especially a child. 
— ORIGIN Latin, from horrere ‘shudder, (of 
hair) stand on end’.
German Expressionism 
● The first horror films were seen as 
very unnatural and disturbing 
pieces, which are said to have 
took some inspiration from 
expressionist painters and in part 
to spirit photography of the 
1860s. The narrative style was 
also inspired by the stories 
played out by the Grand Guignol 
Theatre Company coming from Gothic 
literature. They draw upon the 
folklore and legends of Europe, 
monsters etc.
● They had to overcome the limits set 
by technology and tell a story 
powerful enough to make the Movie 
effective and scary. They were mad 
on the basis of darkness and 
shadows, are such important 
features of modern horror, were 
impossible to accomplish with the 
budgets and technology of films at 
the time. So some scenes, for 
example in Nosferatu, where you see 
a vampire leaping amongst 
gravestones in what appears to be 
broad daylight, not what you would 
expect today.
● Nosferatu is the most 
recognised and famous 
film from this era, it 
was so successful 
because it was the very 
first vampire movie, 
that allowed the 
audience to escape in 
this different belief 
and total world outside 
of their own. It 
brutally showed the 
conventions of the 
legend, making the film 
only recently allowed 
to be viewed by the 
public.
Gothic Horror 
● The term 'horror' was first 
introduced in a play on Horace 
Walpole's 1764 novel, The Castle 
of Otranto, it was said to be full 
of supernatural shocks and 
mysterious melodrama. It was a 
rather odd tale but it started a 
craze, starting a wave of many 
imitators in what we today call 
the gothic mode of writing.
● The first great gothic horror 
classic was Frankenstein 1818, and 
many more films even today pay 
tribute too the Gothic era. 
Charles Dickens, used some 
conventions of the gothic era in 
'A Christmas Carol'.

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History of the Horror Genre

  • 1. HORROR • noun 1) an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust. 2) a thing causing such a feeling. 3) intense dismay. 4) informal a bad or mischievous person, especially a child. — ORIGIN Latin, from horrere ‘shudder, (of hair) stand on end’.
  • 2. German Expressionism ● The first horror films were seen as very unnatural and disturbing pieces, which are said to have took some inspiration from expressionist painters and in part to spirit photography of the 1860s. The narrative style was also inspired by the stories played out by the Grand Guignol Theatre Company coming from Gothic literature. They draw upon the folklore and legends of Europe, monsters etc.
  • 3. ● They had to overcome the limits set by technology and tell a story powerful enough to make the Movie effective and scary. They were mad on the basis of darkness and shadows, are such important features of modern horror, were impossible to accomplish with the budgets and technology of films at the time. So some scenes, for example in Nosferatu, where you see a vampire leaping amongst gravestones in what appears to be broad daylight, not what you would expect today.
  • 4. ● Nosferatu is the most recognised and famous film from this era, it was so successful because it was the very first vampire movie, that allowed the audience to escape in this different belief and total world outside of their own. It brutally showed the conventions of the legend, making the film only recently allowed to be viewed by the public.
  • 5. Gothic Horror ● The term 'horror' was first introduced in a play on Horace Walpole's 1764 novel, The Castle of Otranto, it was said to be full of supernatural shocks and mysterious melodrama. It was a rather odd tale but it started a craze, starting a wave of many imitators in what we today call the gothic mode of writing.
  • 6. ● The first great gothic horror classic was Frankenstein 1818, and many more films even today pay tribute too the Gothic era. Charles Dickens, used some conventions of the gothic era in 'A Christmas Carol'.
  • 7. ● The gothic era was based on very simple fears but exploited them very well, it kick started horror. It was simple yet creepy, creating some absolute classics, a lot of where the modern day horror conventions come from.
  • 8. Monsters and Mad Scientists ● Horror movies were reborn in the 1930s. The introduction of sound, as well as changing the whole of cinema had a massive effect on the horror genre. The imagery from the 1920s, was fantastic and give an amazing representation of visual horror but they missed the other aspects of horror. Instead of just visuals there were monsters that grunted and growled and sounds that built suspense, making horror even more believable.
  • 9. ● The horror films of the 1930s were exotic fairy tales, set in some far-off land and characters in period costume speaking in strange accents. Horror was still looking in the past, as they were looking upon the literary classics of the 19th century for their inspiration. However, this did result in one of the most famous horror even to this day, Dracula.
  • 10. ● There are many other great films that came from this era, some of which are extremely famous today. The like of 'The Mummy' (1932) and King Kong (1933) are just a couple of the Blockbuster big names that came from this era.
  • 11. The Primal Animal Within ● Wolves posed the main global threat at the outset of the 1940s. Hitler himself strongly identified with the iconography and legends of the wolf. The name 'Adolf' means "noble wolf" in Old German. Propagandists of the period habitually depicted him as the Big Bad Wolf of fairy tales. It's therefore no surprise that Universal, home of the iconic monsters of the 1930s, picked the Wolf as the figure of menace for the late 1930s and early 1940s.
  • 12. ● "The werewolf is neither man nor wolf but a satanic creature with the worst qualities of both." A quote from the film 'Werewolf of London' (1935). This was the film that kick started the Werewolf character, leading on to movies such as 'The Wolf Man' (1941), and when imaginations started to wonder, spin-off films were made, ones that showed the same style such as 'Cat People' (1942).
  • 13. Mutant creatures and alien invaders ● Between the 1940's and 1950's there were some drastic changes in the horror genre, horror was beginning to expand on the though of life such as creatures that had human faces, aliens and extremely large insects etc. It was all about mutations, alterations and differentiation on the norm. Creating monsters, mutant creatures and alien invaders.
  • 14. ● Here are just some of the examples of the horror movies that came out the era. This era began when soldiers had come home from the WWII and their imagination had run wild with stories due to the real life horror they saw everyday at war. As technology grew this allowed these ideas of mutated creatures to become possible and fund this trend.
  • 15. ● Great example of this era is 'The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms' (1953), it was said to be the 'King Kong' (1933) with fins. It is based on a beast that heads for New York, a dinosaur a Rhedosaurus. A massive dinosaur created by atomic testing, a story line that very much simulates King Kong just with more advanced technology.
  • 16. Ghosts, zombies, Satanism and your family/Hammer ● The sexual revolution with Psycho in 1960 and the Manson Family murders in 1969, the 1960s were a great change in what the public perceived as horror. The social stability post-war years was gone by the end of the decade due to huge change in the way the audience perceived sexuality. This was a counter culture opportunity to explore new ways of seeing sex and violence.
  • 17. ● This era was well and truly spawned from Psycho (1960). Psycho presented us with Norman Bates, the monster so close to normal it was only in the final section of the film that he revealed how monstrous a man could be. Based on the real- life story of Ed Gein, which has since proved fruitful for movies as diverse as Silence of The Lambs and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho has become iconic in a way few other movies have ever become.
  • 18. ● This sexual and violent turn has created a whole new set if conventions for modern day horror, lots of which are heavily involved in horror today. For instance the Male Gaze Theory which makes the camera a male, resulting in sexual objectification making the men empowered. Another theory is the Final Girl Theory which is if a girl is into drugs, drink, sex etc, they die. If they are a middle class girl, who works hard and studies etc, they survive. They often have a unisex name.
  • 19. ● The films were all about the family, most of the films contained members of a family, or a single member of the family that is the main character It's your Mum (Shivers). Your Dad (The Shining). Your brother (Halloween). Your sister (Alice Sweet Alice). Your husband (The Stepford Wives). Your little boy (The Omen). Your daughter (The Exorcist). It's the people you see so often you don't really see them any more (Carrie).
  • 20. Slasher movies and body horror/gore ● Horror movies of the 1980s (which probably began the era in 1979 with Alien) exist at the glorious watershed when special visual effects finally caught up with the gory imaginings of horror fans and movie makers. This was more a fan base inspired part of horror, due to the many years and generations of horror causing a wider and more developed imagination of horror.
  • 21. ● 'The Thing' is a very good example of the types of films that came out of this time period. The tag line is "Man is the warmest place to hide", optimising the body horror, being all about the human body and the horror of that can come from it.
  • 22. ● The horror films of the early 1980s show a new energy and delight in the genre, as special effects creators fell over each other to create sequences that had never been attempted on film before. However, the effect of gory images could easily be made over the top and sadly towards the end of the decade that is how it went. Special Effects Creators started to pile too many on top of each other so they lost their meaning, and their power to shock. The best films controlled this gore rather than being over the top with it.
  • 23. Format fears and moral panics ● By the end of the 1980s horror had become so reliant on gross-out gore and buckets of liquid latex that it seemed to lose its power to scare people so by the 1990's horror began to take a slightly different approach. They begin to make as what they called "horror for grown-ups", the 1990s presented monsters that were far more mundane. They involved more serial killers and more paranoia and mind games.
  • 24. ● These are some of the films that came pout of this era, showing the change in styles from previous generations of horror films.
  • 25. ● This was the generation where horror started to become smarter, the directors became better at getting into the audiences mind with a combination of different conventions through all of the years of different styles of horror. All of the different styles of horror allowed the horrors to become more effective to the audience because after all of the years of horror people almost started to become immune to the fear of them.
  • 26. Gore returns with a vengeance ● By 2005, the horror genre was as popular as ever. Horror films often topped the box office, with an above-average gross on below-average costs. Audiences wanted a good, group scare as a form of escapism, just as their great-grandparents chose Universal horror offerings to escape the miseries of the Depression and encroaching world war in the 1930s.
  • 27. ● The monsters have had to change, however. Gone were the lone psychopaths of the 1990s, far too similar of media portrayals of bin Laden. As the shock of twenty first century warfare spread across TV screens, cinematic horror had to offer an alternative, whilst still tapping into the current cultural mood. Inspiring films such as the Final Destinations'.
  • 28. ● This era is all about the difference in culture compared to all of the other generations of horror. The horror that is presented to us now has the best of all of the conventions of horror over the years, allowing there to be a lot more diverse amount of horrors films that range in styles and genres. Generally, they are more about building suspense and getting in to the mind of the viewer rather than to just show them something that looks scary.