project #4 @mickproduction
A horror film is a film that seeks to elicit a physiological reaction, such as an elevated heartbeat, through the use of fear and shocking one’s audiences. Initially often inspired by literature from authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley, horror has existed as a film genre for more than one century. The macabre and the supernatural are frequent themes. Horror may also overlap with the fantasy, supernatural fiction, and thriller genres.
Horror films often aim to evoke viewers' nightmares, fears, revulsions and terror of the unknown. Plots within the horror genre often involve the intrusion of an evil force, event, or personage into the everyday world. Prevalent elements include ghosts, extraterrestrials, vampires, werewolves, demons, satanism, evil clowns, gore, torture, vicious animals, evil witches, monsters, zombies, cannibalism, psychopaths, natural or man-made disasters, and serial killers.
Some subgenres of horror film include action horror, comedy horror, body horror, disaster horror, holiday horror, horror drama, psychological horror, science fiction horror, slasher horror, supernatural horror, gothic horror, natural horror, zombie horror, first-person horror, and teen horror
The first depictions of supernatural events appear in several of the silent shorts created by the film pioneer Georges Méliès in the late 1890s, the best known being Le Manoir du Diable, which is sometimes credited as being the first horror film. Another of his horror projects was La Caverne maudite (1898) (a.k.a. The Cave of the Demons, literally "the accursed cave"). Japan made early forays into the horror genre with Bake Jizo (Jizo the Spook) and Shinin no Sosei (Resurrection of a Corpse), both made in 1898. The era featured a slew of literary adaptations, adapting the works of Poe and Dante, among others. In 1908, Selig Polyscope Company produced Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
In 1910, Edison Studios produced the first motion picture adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
In 1910, Edison Studios produced the first filmed version of Frankenstein. The macabre nature of the source materials used made the films synonymous with the horror film genre.
Lon Chaney, Sr. in the 1925 film The Phantom of the Opera.
Though the word "horror" to describe the film genre would not be used until the 1930s (when Universal Pictures released their initial monster films), earlier American productions often relied on horror themes. Some notable examples include The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), The Cat and the Canary (1927), The Unknown (1927), and The Man Who Laughs (1928). Many of these early films were considered dark melodramas because of their stock characters and emotion-heavy plots that focused on romance, violence, suspense, and sentimentality.
The trend of inserting an element of macabre into American pre-horror melodramas continued into the 1920s. Directors known for relying on macabre in their films during the 1920s were Maurice Tourneur, Rex Ingram, and Tod Browning. Ingram's The Magician (1926) contains one of the first examples of a "mad doctor" and is said to have had a large influence on James Whale's version of Frankenstein. The Unholy Three (1925) is an example of Browning's use of macabre and unique style of morbidity; he remade the film in 1930 as a talkie, though The Terror (1928) was the first horror film with sound.
Before and during the Weimar Republic era, German Expressionist filmmakers would significantly influence later productions. Paul Wegener's The Student of Prague (1913) and The Golem trilogy (1915–20), as well as Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), Arthur Robison's Warning Shadows (1923), and Paul Leni's Waxworks (1924), were influential films at the time. The first vampire-themed movie, Nosferatu (1922), was made during this period; it was an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Sweden, Denmark, and France
Other European countries also, contributed to the genre during this period. Victor Sjöström's The Phantom Carriage (Sweden, 1920) is a cautionary tale about a supernatural legend, Benjamin Christensen's Häxan (Denmark/Sweden, 1922) is a documentary-style, horror film, about witchcraft and superstition, and in 1928, Frenchman, Jean Epstein produced an influential film, The Fall of the House of Usher, based on the Poe tale.
Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's monster
in the 1935 Bride of Frankenstein.