HISTORICAL STAGES IN HORROR FILMS Kieran Browne
Gothic Horror of the 19th century • Gothic horror is a genre of literature that has elements of both romance and horror. Although it is sometimes confused with paranormal romance, according to some horror writers, gothic horror is considered a more atmospheric type of literature. The films are often dark and are based around a venerable female who becomes involved in a mysterious man, with a dark past, who eventually turns out to be a vampire or another supernatural evil being.
Horror of the silent era- German ExpressionismThis was a creative movement in Germanyprior to World War 1 in art, film, and music.It main theme was reaction and emotion.Reality was distorted for emotional effect.German Expressionism conveys strongemotions, such as pain, unhappiness andterror. It has very rich fusion of colours.Although, due to the time period, filmswhich used German Expressionism were inblack and white.They were mainly only shown in Germanybecause the country was secluded becauseof the first world war, they were relativelyunpopular and they faded out after only afew years.
MONSTERS AND MAD SCIENTISTS of the 1930’s• The era of monsters and mad scientists included famous films such as Frankenstein, Dracula and Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde. The films of this era often included inhuman monsters which often drew audiences into the cinema. These films brought sound and music into the film industry. Music was used to increase suspense at important moments, to try to scare the audience, and sound was introduced so the actors could be heard talking, allowing the audience to understand the storyline better, and more importantly so the audience could hear the screams of the actors, which increased the terror and made the audience more scared.
The primal animal within;WEREWOLVES AND CAT PEOPLE 1940’s• The 1940’s saw the rise of animal people in the film industry and films often included cat people or werewolves. People would transform into the animals ad often cause death and destruction The reason for the popularity of such stories in that era is unclear. What is clear is that man into animal stories are a noted part of that eras popular culture. It is also clear that The Mad Monster was a typical product of its time. Which featured the main character transforming into a werewolf.
MUTANT CREATURES AND ALIEN INVADERS 1950’s• The 1950’s saw the introduction of Alien invasions and creatures from another world into the film industry. The earliest horror film which included aliens was called ‘A thing from another world’ After WW2 people wanted more than just human faces in horror films and the alien horrors thrived at the time. Most of the alien horror films were black and white at the time which was quickly dying out but they formed a cult in later years. The sci-fi period mainly took over the horror industry but there was still a small gap for films like Dracula.
GHOSTS, ZOMBIES, SATANISM AND YOUR FAMILY- 1960-70’S• The 1960-70’s was an era which saw the introduction of films including the living dead, for example, zombie movies, and ghost stories. They reflected the general mood of society at the time after a successful 50/60’s There was also an introduction on demonic and evil children in horror films, such as Rosemarys Baby when the child is able to manipulate and control adults to the point of death. Possesed children were very often used. Peoples opinions of what was horrible changed after the Mason family murders and the family orientated horrors started to flourish. Satanism was also important in this era and it produced some very well known films such as ‘The Exorcist’. There seemed to be a Satan fearing opinion in the industry at the time.
HAMMER HORROR- A BRITISH SUCCESS• Launched in 1934, Hammers first production was The Public Life Of Henry The Ninth and, following a period of inactivity during WW2, the first picture from the newly incorporated Hammer Film Productions Ltd. was 1949s Dr. Morelle: The Case Of The Missing Heiress which was very successful and has been said to be one of the most important horror films of its time. The new companys first colour film was The Men Of Sherwood Forest in 1954, and in 1955 the success of The Quatermass Xperiment led to Hammers move into horror films including The Curse Of Frankenstein in 1957 and Dracula in 1958. The Production company was very successful with these films and the production company was launched into the film world. In later years Hammer Horror films comtiued to make films including Journey To The Unknown and in the 1970’s To The Devil A Daughter. However the company stopped making films for a period of time, but returned to the industry in 2008 with Beyond The Rave and also made Woman In Black starring Daniel Radcliffe.
SLASHER MOVIES AND BODY HORROR/GORE IN THE80’S AND THEIR DESCENT INTO POSTMODERN PARODY (SCREAM)• Slasher movies were very popular in the 1980’s. They mainly included one main character who had psychopathic tendencies. He would often stalk and kill his victims in sequence in a very violent and graphic manner. He would often use a violent weapon such as an axe or a cleaver. One of the most popular and well known slasher films would be Friday 13th and many other films used the same kind of features as this, a “Youth camp in the woods” idea, with venerable people who are eventually brutally murdered. The main psychotic character was also often masked. This added to the fear In the movie, just like in Friday 13th.
FEARS AND MORAL PANICS• Fears and moral panics in film have always been important in the media especially films because they convey peoples worries and panic. People want to find out about their concerns and things their worried about. An example of a film about moral panics in modern terms would probably be about terrorism due to the fact many people are concerned about this topic in society at the moment. The 1980’s began to use many special, visual effects and film makers were trying to make as many special effects as possible. Like in films such as An American Werewolf In London and Ghostbusters.
GORE VENGANCE RETURN 2000’S• The turn of the century saw the introduction of gore films which are basically just many different ways to kill people and directors tried to make the most disgusting ways of doing this. One example of a gore horror film would be the Saw series which show victims trying to escape from a situation and along the way, many of the victims get killed and mutilated. The main point of the films is the disgusting ways people die and the blood involved when they try to escape the life or death situation. The films have been very successful due to the lust for blood and gore that people seem to have, as people like to scare themselves and seem to like to see the blood and gore. Cannibal is arguably the best gore film ever made. They continue to be successful however hand held camera films seem to be becoming more popular now, such as Paranormal activity.