History of the Horror film genre Roberto Troisi
1890s-1920s• The first uses of supernatural events were in shorts created by Georges Méliès in the late 1890s. The most well known film is ‘Le Manoir du diable’ (1896)• Japan made two horror films in 1898, ‘Bake Jizo’ and ’Shinin no Sosei’.• In the early 20th century Quasimodo the hunchback of Notre-Dame was the first monster to appear in a horror film.• ‘Nosferatu’ the first vampire movie was made in 1922.
1930s-1940s• Universal Pictures began a successful line of Horror films starting with Tom Browning’s ‘Dracula’ (1931) starring Bela Lugosi.• James Whale then made ‘Frankenstein’ in the same year and continued making a series of ‘Frankenstein films.• In 1932 Tom Browning made the controversial film ‘Freaks’ about a group of circus freaks.• The genre progressed and actors were starting to make careers only starring in Horrors films.
1950s-1960s• Technology advanced and the genre started to split into two sub-genres, Armageddon films and Demonic films. Lots of films featuring humanity battling ‘outside’ threats like aliens, mutations and bugs were made.• During the late 1950s Great Britain became a main producer of horror films. Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ (1960) was the first ‘slasher’ film. ‘The Birds’ (1963) was also made by Alfred Hitchcock and shows the horror of nature going mad.• ‘Night of the Living Dead’ (1968) Directed and produced by George A. Romero was released and brought horror into the real life.
1970s-1980s• More films with the Occult theme were released, starting with The Exorcist (1973) and followed by a series of films involving the Devil.• ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ and ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ were released.• John Carpenter created ‘Halloween’ in 1978 and Wes Craven directed ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ in 1980. They were followed by more violent ‘slasher’ films over the following decades.• The 1980s saw a wave of gory films like Sam Raimi’s ‘Evil Dead’.
1990s• Due to number of ‘slasher’ films being released in the 1980s the Horror genre was in decline.• To reconnect with the audience the horror genre became parodic and self- mocking.• Wes Craven’s ‘Scream’ films started in the 90s and made fun of the typical conventions of ‘slasher’ films.• Along with the films ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ and ‘Urban Legend’, the ‘Scream’ films made the ‘slasher’ genre popular again.
• The early 2000s were quiet for the genre and mainly consisted of remakes of classic horror films.• Zombie films made a return, with films like ‘Resident Evil’ and ‘28 Days Later’ playing a big part in the return.• Torture films like ‘Saw’ have also become very popular because of the massive amount of gore involved.
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