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Horror Films in the 1920's - 1980's

Horror Films in the 1920's - 1980's

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Published by siannugent

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Published by: siannugent on Dec 17, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Click to edit Master subtitle style12/17/12
By Sian Nugent 
Silent film offered the early pioneers a wonderful medium in which to examineterror. Early horror films are surreal, dark pieces, owing their visualappearance to the expressionist painters and their narrative style to thestories played out by the Grand Guignol Theatre Company. Darkness andshadows, such important features of modern horror, were impossible to showon the film stock available at the time, so the sequences, for example inNosferatu, where we see a vampire leaping amongst gravestones in whatappears to be broad daylight, seem doubly surreal to us now. Nonetheless,these early entries to the genre established many of the codes andconventions still identifiable today. They draw upon the folklore and legendsof Europe, and render monsters into physical form. Nosferatu was the veryfirst vampire movie. In 1929 first movies with sound started to come out. Thetechnology was slowly improving.
Horror movies were reborn in the 1930s. The advent of sound, as well aschanging the whole nature of cinema forever, had a huge impact on the horrorgenre. The dreamlike imagery of the 1920s, the films peopled by ghostlywraiths floating silently through the terror of mortals, their grotesque deathmasks a visual representation of 'horror', were replaced by monsters thatgrunted and groaned and howled. Sound adds an extra dimension to terror,whether it be music used to build suspense or signal the presence of a threat,or magnified footsteps echoing down a corridor. Horror, with its strongelements of the fantastic and the supernatural, provided an effective escapeto audiences tiring of their Great Depression reality, and, despite the moneyspent on painstaking special effects, often provided a good return for theirstudio. In 1933 a horror film was made in colour, the technology was moving alot faster now. In 1931 a film called ‘Dracula’ came out. In 1931 also a filmcalled ‘Frankenstein’ came out.

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