of 11 /11
The History of the Horror Genre Agne Ivanauskaite

The History of the Horror Genre

  • Author

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


The History of the Horror Genre.

Text of The History of the Horror Genre

  • 1. Horror is a film genre seeking to draw out both negative and emotional reactions from theaudience by playing on the audiences primal fears. Originally, horror was inspired by literaturefrom authors such as, Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley. Very popular themesthat often feature throughout horror films are the macabre and the supernatural. Horror filmswill often portray the viewers nightmares, hidden fears, revulsions and terror of the unknown.Plots will often entail the invasion of an evil force, event, or personage, commonly ofsupernatural origin, into the everyday world. Common elements that appear frequentlythroughout horror films include: ghosts, aliens, vampires, werewolves, demons, gore, torture,vicious animals, evil witches, monsters, zombies, cannibals, and serial killers.

2. ActionCombines the intrusion of evil, an event or the supernatural. Action horror movies may typically have gun fightsand frantic chases that are performed throughout the film. The themes and elements that are usually seenthroughout this particularly sub genre are the following: zombies, demons, gore, vicious animals as well asvampires. Examples of movies include: Blade, Dawn of the Dead and From Dusk Till Dawn.BodyThis type of horror is generated from the degeneration or deconstruction of the human body. This means thathuman body parts are used to create monsters for unnatural movements and dysfunction in order to create fearfor the audience. Examples of movies include: Teeth, The Invasion and Slither.ComedyCombines elements of horror fiction and comedy. Usually has some form of humour whilst also providing scaryand dramatic moments for the audience. Examples of movies include: Scary Movie, A Haunted House and This isthe End.GothicUsually contains supernatural beings and threat. The Gothic creates feelings of mystery, gloom and suspense andtends to the dramatic and the sensational, like incest, diabolism, and nameless terrors. Gothic Horror films mayfeature castles, dungeons and ruined or extreme landscapes. Examples of movies include: Frankenstein, Draculaand Dorian Gray.PsychologicalRelies on characters fears and emotional instability in order to build tension. Tension is built using eerie soundsand exploitation which builds the characters psychological fears. Examples of movies include: The Silence of theLambs, The Ring and A Tale of Two Sisters. 3. Science fictionRevolve around subjects that include but are not limited to alien invasions, mad scientists, and experimentsgone wrong. This particular sub genre may also include the fear of technology. Examples of movies include:Alien, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Alien vs. Predator.SlasherThis particular sub genre tends to include a lot of violence which often has a psychopathic serial killer whomwill stalk and kill several victims. The killer will typically have a specific weapon of their choice which they willthen use on the victims. A lot of mystery and suspense is included in this type of sub genre , usually to causetension within the audience. Examples of movies include: Psycho, A nightmare on Elm Street and My BloodyValentine 3D.ZombieInclude viral reliving corpses and mindless humans that feed off of human beings. Zombies are commonlyenacted as cannibalistic in nature. Examples of movies include: Dead Snow, 28 Days Later and World War Z. 4. The first ever depictions of supernatural events to appear in a number of the silent shorts was created bythe film pioneer Georges Mlis in the late 1890s. One of the best creations of his being Le Manoir duDiable, which is also recognized as one of the first horror films ever to be made. In 1898, Georges Mlisalso created another horror project which was called La Caverne maudite, also known as The Cave ofthe Unholy One the accursed cave. Japan too made very early forays into the horror genre, creatingworks such as. Bake Jizo and Shinin no Sosei. Another yet very popular adaptation was Frankensteinwhich was produced in 1910 by Edison Studies.The second monster appeared in a horror film called Quasimodo,the hunchback of Notre Dame, who had appeared in Victor Hugosnovel, Notre-Dame de Paris (1831). There were several moviesthat featured Quasimodo, these include: Alice Guys Esmeralda,(1905), The Hunchback (1909), The Love of a Hunchback (1910)and Notre-Dame de Paris (1911).German Expressionist film makers, during the WeimarRepublic era and slightly earlier, would significantly influencelater films, this included other genres, not necessarily horror.Famous works such as Paul Wegeners The Golem (1920) andRobert Wienes The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) had aparticular impact. The very first vampire themed movie wasmade during the time of: F. W. Murnaus Nosferatu (1922),which was an unauthorized adaption of Bram StokersDracula. 5. During the early period of captivating pictures, the American Movie Studio Universal Pictures began asuccessful Gothic horror film series. Popular film series featured Tod Brownings Dracula (1931) and BelaLugosi. Then quickly followed James Whales Frankenstein (1931) and The Old Dark House (1932), bothfeatured Boris Karloff as monstrous mute antagonists. Many of these films blended elements of sciencefiction with Gothic horror, an example would be Whales The Invisible Man (1933) which mirrored theearlier German films which featured a mad scientist. Frankenstein was the first in a series which lasted formany years, although Karloff only returned as the monster in Bride of Frankenstein (1939) which was thelast of Whales four horror films and Son of Frankenstein (1939).Other popular works featured The Mummy (1932) which was introduced asEgyptology as a theme for the genre. The image of the monster was designedby make-up artist Jack Pierce. The Universal horror cycle continued into the190s as B-pictures including The Wolf Man (1941), although this was not thefirst werewolf film, it was however a rather influential one.Rouben Mamoulians Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Paramount, 1931), wasfamously remembered for its use of colour filters which created Jekyllstransformation. Other very important horror films were, Michael CurtizsMystery of the Wax Museum (Warner Brothers, 1933), and Island of LostSouls (Paramount, 1932). 6. This was the period where technology was much more advanced, which meant the tone of horror filmsshifted from the Gothic towards contemporary concerns. There were two main sub-genres which beganto emerge, these were: he horror-of-armageddon film and he horror-of-the-demonic film. Someproductions featured humanity overcoming threats from outside: alien invasions and deadlymutations to people, plants and insects. Films such as Godzilla (1954) and its sequels features mutationfrom the effects of nuclear radiation.Filmmakers continued to merge elements of science fiction and horror over thefollowing decades. The film The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), from RichardMathesons existentialist novel was named to be a pulp masterpiece. The filmconveyed the terrors of living in the Atomic Age and the fear of social alienation.During the 1950s, Great Britain emerged as a producer of horror films. TheHammer company focused on the genre for the first time, enjoying hugeinternational success from films including classic terror characters which wereshown in colour for the first time.An influential American horror film of this period was GeorgeA. Romeros Night of the Living Dead (1968). This particularhorror-of-Armageddon film is about zombies which mergespsychological insights with gore. The film moved the genreeven further away from the gothic horror trends of earliereras and brought horror into everyday life. 7. The financial achievements of the low-budget gore films of theresultant years, and the critical and popular success of RosemarysBaby, led to the release of more films with occult themes during the1970s. Films such as, The Exorcist (1973), being one of the first of thesemovies which caused a significant commercial success, and wasfollowed by other horror films in which a demon entity is characterizedas the supernatural evil, often by impregnating women or possessingchildren.The ideas of the 1960s began to influence horror films, as the youthinvolved in the counterculture began exploring the medium. Filmssuch as Wes Cravens The Hills Have Eyes (1977) and Tobe HoopersThe Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) recalled the Vietnam war;George A. Romero satirized the consumer society in his zombiesequel, Dawn of the Dead (1978); Canadian director DavidCronenberg featured the mad scientist movie sub-genre byexploring contemporary fears about technology and society, andreinventing body horror, starting with Shivers (1975).In the 1970s, the works of the horror author Stephen King beganto be adapted for the screen, beginning with Brian De Palmasadaptation of Carrie (1976). During the 70s and 80s, psychologicaland supernatural horror started to take over cinema and murderand violence were no longer the main themes of horror films. 8. In the first half of the 1990s, the genre continued many of the themesfrom the 1980s. The slasher films A Nightmare on Elm Street, Fridaythe 13th, Halloween and Childs play all saw sequels in the 1990s, mostof which met with varied amounts of success at the box office, but allwere panned by fans and critics, with the exception of Wes CravensNew Nightmare (1994) and the hugely successful Silence of the Lambs(1991).Films that were part of a mini-movement of self-reflexive ormetafictional horror were: In the Mouth of Madness (1995), TheDark Half (1993), and Candyman (1992). Each film represented therelationship between fictional horror and real-world horror.Candyman displayed the link between an designed urban legend andthe realistic horror of the racism that produced its villain. In theMouth of Madness represented a more literal approach, as itsprotagonist actually hopped from the real world into a novel createdby the madman he was hired to track down.Horror became more self-mockingly ironic and outrightparodic, especially in the latter half of the 1990s. Films suchas, Braindead (1992) in particular took the platter film toridiculous excesses for comic effect. Wes Cravens Screammovies, starting in 1996 mixed ironic humour with theshocks. 9. The start of the 2000s was a quiet period for the genre. FinalDestination (2000) marked a successful revival of teen-centeredhorror and spawned four sequels. Other films such as HollowMan, Orphan, Wrong Turn, Cabin Fever, House of 1000 Corpseshelped bring the genre back to Restricted ratings in theatres.During this period, there was a major return to the zombiegenre in horror movies made after 2000. Films such as I amLegend (2007), Quarantine (2008). Zombieland (2009), andthe British film 28 days later (2002) featured an update onthe genre with The Return of the Living Dead (1985) style ofaggressive zombie. The film later spawned a sequel: 28Weeks Later (2007).Remakes of earlier horror movies became routine in the2000s. Remakes such as Dawn of the Dead, as well as 2003sremake of both Herschell Gordon Lewis cult classic 2001Maniacs and the remake of Tobe Hoopers classic The TexasChainsaw Massacre, there was also the 2007 Rob Zombiewritten and directed remake of John Carpenters Halloweenwere all successful remakes. 10. Remakes of previous movies still remain popular and serialized. Found footage style web videosfeaturing Slender Man became popular on YouTube in the beginning of the decade. Series of thisincluded TribeTwelve, EverymanHybrid and Marble Hornets, the latter of which has been adapted intoan upcoming feature film. The series is credited with reinvigorating interest in found footage and urbanfolklore.Horror also became prominent on television with series such as, TheWalking Dead, American Horror Story, Under the Dome, and The Strain.On the other hand, there has also been popular films with success withtelevision series made, such as, Psycho spawned Bates Motel, The Silenceof the Lambs spawned Hannibal, and Scream and Friday the 13th bothhaving television series in development.Youre next (2011), and TheCabin in the Woods (2012)both returned to the slashergenre. The Purge and itssequel The Purge: Anarchy(2014) both becamecommercial successes withtheir unique concepts ofsociety being the killer.