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Horror Genre timeline

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Horror Genre Timeline

Horror GenreTimelineBy Ryan Griffiths

What is Horror?Horror film is a genre that aims to create a sense of fear, panic, alarm, and dread for the audience. These films are often unsettling and rely on scaring the audience through a portrayal of their worst fears and nightmares. Horror films usually centre on the arrival of an evil force, person, or event. Horror can be supernatural or non-supernaturalUse of semantic codes and Mise-en-scene creates fear from an audienceSound and editing is also used to create this sense of uneasiness tension or panicHorror has a number of sub-genres these include

Horror sub genresAction HorrorComedy HorrorGothic HorrorPhysiological HorrorSci-fi HorrorSlasher HorrorZombie/monster/paranormal/demonic Horror

Horror Genre conventionsIsolated settings or anywhere that connotes being cut off or away from others Places with dark history e.g. abandoned hospitals, mental asylums haunted houses, churches etc.High and low angles to create hierarchy POV shots Close ups and extreme close ups to show reactions of characters Fast paced editing to create suspenseAmbient and non diegetic sounds to create tensionDark colours such as red and black (connoted with death and danger) Low-key lighting to create a sense of mystery Everyday objects that can be used as weapons make the film feel more realisticUse of monsters and their link with fear (vampires, zombies , ghosts etc.) Open narratives to make room for potential sequels or create more suspense last man standing after the events of the film this usually highlights the protagonist of this genre of film Strong use of binary opposites especially that of good and evil through the representation of the hero and villain of the filmPopular themes include good vs evil, revenge, religion, supernatural, post apocalyptic Earth, death and insanity

Origins of the horror genre.The first books that featured conventions of the horror genre such as death, fear and monsters came into circulation mainly during the 1800s with the publication of Mary Shelleys classic novel Frankenstein which focuses on a mad scientist who has an obsession with creating life and uses the body parts of executed criminals stitched together in order to create this human-hybrid of a life that is bought together by lightning and electricity.

Over time the horror genre became more and more popular and this inspired countless other books containing these themes which eventually became silent film adaptations.

Silent Horror films Within the 19th and the early 20th century bought about the invention of cameras and other types of filming equipment this allowed these novels to be bought to cinemas for the first time in the forms of silent forms and a number of these films came from the horror genre some examples of these include ; Nosferatu (1922)The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)The Golem, How He Came into the World.The Haunted House (1921)The Phantom Carriage (1920)Haxan (1922)The Phantom of the Opera (1925) During the year 1896 the horror genre was revolutionised with the release of the 3 minute long short film le manoir du diable which contained popular themes within the horror genre such as ghosts, spirits and witches and these were all well received by audiences.

1915 -1920Within these years numerous films were released which would bring changes to the horror genre and these included

The Golem which used varying types of camera work and Mise en scene in order to create an uncomfortable atmosphere for those watching the films and this helped to further influence the genre conventions of horror.

Cabinet of Dr. Calligari was one of the first films to use non-diegetic sound in order to create an eerie feel to a scene. For example screeching or other high pitched noises would be used when a death is about to occur.

1930sDuring the 1930s both diegetic and non-diegetic sounds were used within horror films and during this decade iconic horror films such as Dracula and Frankenstein were released and both included elements of iconography of the horror genre and introduced certain types of costumes and settings to the horror genre . These elements lead to them becoming the USP of these horror films and would generally get a good response from audiences The werewolf of London was also released in 1935 and this introduced director Stuart Walker to the horror genres who directing allowed horror films to become more realistic due to the use of makeup on characters such of the werewolf and making him appear to be more frightening.

1940sThroughout the 1940s horror films continued to become more successful. After seeing the success of the son of Frankenstein universal pictures then started to be rapidly produced during the mid 1940s. The 1940s also saw the introduction of the Wolf Man and numerous sequels containing either the Frankenstein monster or Dracula creating the horror sub genre of monster rally

The 1940s also saw the release of films such as cat people released in 1942 which focused less on the visible elements of horror and more on the physiological aspects of horror and fear.

1950sWithin the 1950s horror movies were generally made according to fears peoples had at the current time and as The Cold War was just beginning the horror films reflected the fears that were created by this such as the fear of invasion, nuclear war and the apocalypse and also included things such as nuclear mutants and also the plots of mad scientists. Godzilla (1954) focused on the fear of a city being destroyed by a giant reptile that had come about as a result of using nuclear weapons. This film was unique because of its use of special effects that would bring about a new sub genre which was the combination of sci-fi and horror.In 1959 low budget horror film House on haunted hill was released and was widely considered successful despite its lack of funding.

1960sDuring the 1960s horror films focused more on controversial issues and were considered more edgy and chose these issues in order to make horror films seem more realistic than they were during the 1950s. In 1963 the film At midnight Ill take your soul this film contains the plot in which a village man has a deep dislike for religion and he believes the only thing that matters is to have a family and continue his bloodline therefore he seeks out the perfect woman in order to have his son that he hopes will become immortal. The audience liked this change 1963 also saw the release of the film Blood Feast which was one of the first films of the splatter genre which used gore and physical violence in order to provoke a reaction from audiences. This film once again had a small budget but was still considered successful due to its ability to shock audiences with its graphic nature.

1970sThe 1970s in particular was a time concerned with tackling social issues such as sexism, consumerism, religion and conflict. These issues and themes became popular for plots within horror films. The 1970s also saw the increase of violence in horror films as there was heavier content of death and more graphic sex scenes within this time period. In 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre was released and retold the horrific true story of this event and this was made even more terrifying through the use of editing, camera work and non-diegetic sound which were all used in order to create tension especially during the killing scenes. The 1976 release of The Omen directed by Steven Spielburg was considered to be highly successful due to its ability to create dramatic tension. However films such as The Exorcist (1973) were seen as more successful due to its ability to have a more lasting impact on those who watched it.

1980sWithin the first half of the 1980s the main sub genre that was popular within horror was the slasher genre which involved a group of people being killed off one by one by a knife wielding cold-blooded killer. However later within the decade saw the rise in the combination of the horror and comedy genres. These films were also starting to use extreme close ups and special effects makeup in order to make the films more frightening and realistic. 1986 saw the release of Childs play which was a slasher film in which the protagonist was represented as a killer doll this film broadened the horror genre as it allowed the producers of the film to create their own conventions. 1981 An American Werewolf in London combined the genres of horror and comedy became hugely successful and raised 30.56 million dollars at the box office and was best known for its use of special effects makeup.

1990sThe 1990s saw the horror genre go back to its roots in the sense that it tried to include more monsters that were realistic and also true to life and once again saw the combination of genres in order to make more sub- genres of horror1991 saw the release of Silence of the Lambs which won awards due to it being so unique because of it joining the horror and crime genres together. This led to it winning several academy awards including best picture and best actor(s). 1994 New Nightmare was released this filmed distinguished itself as it showed the characters as being both on and off set for the film and continuing in their roles and conforming to horror genre conventions.

2000s-2010sDuring the 21st century typical horror conventions were often challenged and the way we perceive characters were changed through films such as the twilight franchise which made us see vampires not as terrifying but made them more appealing to younger audiences as they were no longer portrayed as violent creatures. Physiological horrors such as the ring also challenged genre conventions due to their focus on dread and dark horror film conventions that leave audiences in a state of tension. However this film might be seen as ridiculous as it is entirely unrealistic in the eyes of critical reviews of the film. The 2000s also allowed amateur horror films such as Paranormal activity with low budgets to become widely popular as the camera work and use of POV filming gave the film a more realistic feel and created more suspense due to its portrayal of the everyday lives of characters which audiences could relate widely too.

Why has the horror genre changed over time?The primary reason for the change across the decades within the horror film genre is due to advances in technology which will make the films either better or worse. For example the use of certain camera angles can make the film feel more tense or create ideas of hierarchy within these films or make them more realistic and therefore scary as this is what many people look for as they want to be genuinely frightened by these films. Secondly social changes might lead to a change within this genre as they might want these films to reflect social events that are causing fear or panic (Cohens moral panic theory) and therefore they will make the films more realistic as social issues will not stay the same and therefore if films are made according to them it is unlikely the audience will become bored of seeing the same thing over and over. In general the horror genre has undergone many changes e.g. silent to with sound, black and white to colour no special effects to elaborate monsters using special effects and makeup all of which had a positive impact on the genre as they allowed it to grow and become more entertaining for the audience that the horror genre was hoping to reach.