INTRO TO HORROR
This week i’l be sharing my thoughts on the history of horror movies and what they have come to be over the years. From the gore and the blood to something more fresh and yet spine chilling. Horror movies only seem to get better over the years.
The cabinet of Dr. Caligari being one of the first horror silent films, directed by German director Robert Wiene, he is famously known for his silent expressionist films like- The hands of Oracle and Raskolnikow.
In the later era we see directors like Ed wood who take great inspiration from movies like Dracula and Frankestine, with Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff (arch enemies of the horror movies industry at that time)
“It is women who love horror. Gloat over it. Feed on it. Are nourished by it. Shudder and cling and cry out-and come back for more.
I have never met a vampire personally, but I don’t know what might happen tomorrow.
I don’t have a dime left. I am dependent on my friends for food and a small old-age pension”.Our ‘OG’ Dracula guy , BELA LUGOSI SAYS:
ROOTS OF HORROR
The history of horror is a vast and perhaps foolhardy thing to tackle. No matter how hard you try, there are films and horror subgenres that will slide through the cracks..
But horror is somewhat unique among the film genres in that there is a recognizable pattern that happens again and again. A film will come along and terrify an audience capturing their imaginations and making bank- Filmmakers flock to the cash cow like vampires to blood which leads to sequels and imitators – sometimes better than the original. But eventually the sequels run out of steam and the subgenre created by the original smash hit fades into memory lurking in the corners of history waiting to be rediscovered and reborn- this process is commonly referred to as cycles. Although other genres behave similarly, the unique appeal of horror from its low budget requirements to broad multinational appeal, make horror especially susceptible to these boom and fade cycles.
But as we look at how the genre changes over time, we must not think of the history of horror as being a rigid one way street. New films borrow from old films all the time, a constant remix of subgenres and new techniques to make something for contemporary culture.
But monsters didn’t only come from outer space, Creatures also emerged from the deep like the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms in 1953, Creature from the Black Lagoon in 1954 and of course the Japanese nuclear monster Godzilla also 1954.
So who did the first horror films borrow from? Monsters, murderers, demons and beasts have been around since antiquity, ghost stories told around campfires since we learned how to talk. But the roots of filmed horror were an extension of a genre of literature that got it’s start in the late 1700s: Gothic Horror. Developed by writers in both Great Britain and the United States the Gothic part of the name refers to pseudo medieval buildings that these stories took place – think of an old castle on a dark and stormy night – gloomy forests, dungeons and secret passageways.
“How deathless is Love when Dracula is your Boyfriend?”
The Manor of the Devil” – with bats, castles, trolls, ghosts, and a demon – played by Georges Méliès himself, you can see the elements of gothic horror are already firmly entrenched by this time in the public psyche.
Silent films in the teens and 20s were still exploring the possibilities of this new filmmaking medium. Several experiments were conducted including the first Frankenstein adapted by Thomas Edison’s studios in 1910 and Dante’s Inferno by Giuseppe de Liguoro in Italy in 1911. But the heart of horror in silent films would start to beat only after the conclusion of the first world war and in ashes of the tattered country of Germany.
In my next Series I will discuss further on German Expression and its culture that brought a whole new wave of creativity and art to cinema as a whole.