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History of Thriller Genre The thriller genre dates back to the Ancient epic poems such as the Epic of Gilamesh and Homer’s Odyssey. These poems contain similar narrative techniques as modern day thrillers. Homer's Odyssey is one of the oldest stories in the Western world and is regarded as an early prototype of the thriller. Novels such as Bram Stocker’s ‘Dracular’ and Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ include mythical creatures like those shown in modern thriller films, like: vampires, monsters, bats and wolves. One of the earliest known thriller films was the German film ‘M’ directed by Fritz Lang in 1931; where Peter Lorre played a child killer which was based on real serial killer known as the ‘Vampire of Dusseldorf’. However the auteur Alfred Hickcock is considered to be the ‘master of the thriller genre’ by the way he creates films which represent reality, making the audience relate to the film and therefore become more terrified. His first film was The Lodger (1926) which was a silent Jack-the-ripper story, this was followed by ‘Blackmail’ (1929) which was produced in both sound and silence. Since then the thriller genre has expanded and split off into many subgenres, somewhere influenced by current affairs like the assassination of President Kennedy which brought a sudden popularity to political and paranoid thrillers. In recent years, thrillers have been slightly influenced by the horror genre; they have more gore/sadistic violence, brutality, terror, and body counts. Recent thrillers which took this route include films like Eden Lake. Social norms have also changed the way in which some thrillers are produced, traditionally strong men have been the hero’s and the women being portrayed as the damsel in distress but since political movements have been made such as ‘feminism’ and equal rights between genders this has started to chance and you tend to see women as the heroine more frequently. The plot of a thriller is usually driven by the villain, who presents obstacles that the hero must overcome. Not all thrillers are suspense novels; but many suspense novels are thrillers. The average thriller is longer than the average mystery, which makes a brisk pace crucial to success. Part of the allure of thrillers comes from not only what their stories are about, but also how they are told. High stakes, non-stop
Dorcas Viela Media Studies
action, plot twists that both surprise and excite, settings that are both vibrant and exotic, and an intense pace that never lets up until the adrenalin packed climax. Today Thriller films have one main sub-genre known as ‘Psychological thrillers‘characters no longer rely on physical strength to overcome their enemies but with mental resources. This includes things like mind games and the disruption of one’s mental state. Many opinions on the thriller genre are that over time it has changed from being more psychological to being more gore based. In recent years, thrillers have been slightly influenced by the horror genre; they have more gore/sadistic violence, brutality, terror, and body counts. Recent thrillers which took this route include Eden Lake, The last house on the left, P2, Untraceble and Funny Games.