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Transcript of HORROR FILMS
Horror is an ancient art form. We have tried to terrify each other with tales which trigger the less logical parts of our imaginations for as long as we've told stories. From the ballads of the ancient world to modern urban myths, audiences willingly offer up themselves on the altar of fear AND they are happy to pay for the privilege.
"If movies are the dreams of the mass culture... horror movies are the nightmares"
— Stephen King, Danse Macabre
Why do we like to be scared?
Do we derive basic thrills from triggering the rush of adrenalin which fear brings?
Do horror stories serve a wider moral purpose, reinforcing the rules and taboos of our society and showing the macabre fate of those who transgress?
Is it that being scared when we know we're safe, reminds us we're alive and far from death yet?
"Each generation gets the horror films it deserves, and one of the more fascinating aspects of the study of the genre is the changing nature of the monsters who present a threat.
In the early 1940s, a world living under the shadow of the predator -Hitler, identified a part-man, part-wolf as their boogeyman, whose bestial nature caused him to tear apart those who crossed his path.
In the 1990s however, there was no need for a part wolf component: Jonathan Doe (Se7en 1994) and Hannibal Lecter (Manhunter 1986, Silence of the Lambs 1991, Hannibal 2001) were entirely human in their calculated and stylized killing methods.
As we move on into the twenty first century, the ghosts and zombies are back in vogue as Eastern and Western superstitions converge, and once more we yearn for an evil that is beyond human. In an era of war and waterboarding, supernatural terror is more palatable than the fear inherent in news headlines."
The film concerns itself with the legendary creation of the Golem by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel. In the 16th century, the Jews of Prague face persecution. Rabbi Loew creates a giant Golem out of clay to protect the people. Unfortunately, the creature rebels, setting fire to the ghetto, and wreaks deadly havoc
Often cited as the 'granddaddy of all horror films', this is an eerie exploration of the mind of a madman, pitting an evil doctor against a hero falsely incarcerated in a lunatic asylum. Through a clever framing device the audience is never quite clear on who is mad and who is sane, and viewing the film's skewed take on reality is a disturbing experience, heightened by the jagged asymmetry of the mise en scene. Although modern viewers might find the pace slow, with long takes and little cutting between scenes, "The Cabinet..." is stylish, imaginative, and never less than haunting.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Nosferatu is the very first vampire movie, baldly plagiarising the Dracula story to present Count Orlok, the grotesquely made-up 'Max Schreck', curling his long fingernails round the limbs of a series of hapless victims. Described as the vampire movie that actually believes in vampires, Nosferatu gives us a far more frightening bloodsucker than any of its successors;
But, then movies changed
The addition of sound changed the whole art form.
The dreamlike imagery of the 1920s, with ghostly wraiths floating silently through the terror of mortals, their grotesque death masks a visual representation of 'horror',
were replaced by monsters that grunted 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 strong elements of the fantastic and the supernatural, provided an effective escape to audiences tiring of their Great Depression reality, and, despite the money spent on painstaking special effects, often provided a good return for their studio.
The horror films of the 1930s are
exotic fairy tales
, set in some far-off land with characters in period costume speaking in strange accents. Horror was still essentially looking backwards, drawing upon
the literary classics of the 19th century for their source material.
This is the decade when two character actors got lucky:
who brought Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster respectively to the screen. Their images are still synonymous with 1930s horror, they both played a selection of roles; they are enduring models of the genre, evoking "horror" even in a still photograph.
It was banned outright in Britain and other countries, and languished in vaults for more than thirty years until it was premiered anew at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival to great acclaim. A new generation had claimed the word "freak" as their own, and the film found new life on the counter-culture arthouse circuit, where it has remained a staple for years. The film has been read in varying ways — as a commentary on the studio system that treated all its talent like sideshow performers, as trashy exploitation, as a poignant fairy tale, as a grim morality play — but it is truly one of those few films that once seen, is never forgotten.
What makes Freaks stand out?
real "freaks" played the freaks!
This is also the genesis of
The Evil Scientist
What is happening in the '40's?
The war changed what we were most afraid of again.
Instead of traditional, gothic literary monsters,
now we begin to be afraid of internal monsters.
Europeans = bad
we are drawn into the war because
of our connections, our PAST
We become afraid of what
might be hiding inside
The biggest threat right now is frequently portrayed as a wolf
Adolph means "noble wolf"
He used the nickname "Hier Wolf"
Nazi headquarters in various countries had wolf names
Our side used it to portray the bad
side of wolf - sneaky, vicious, a
pest to be destroyed.
The Big Bad Wolf
We are afraid of our primal roots
especially our base
waiting to explode
What is lurking inside us can rise up and ruin us
especially the evils
of female sexuality
WHAT YOU DON'T SEE
IS SCARIER THAN WHAT YOU DO
MOVIES IN THE
The war is over. People have seen enough horror in real life. They don't want to see it on the movie screen. Comedy is KING
One way to deal with it was
if you can't beat 'em
The other way was to capitalize on our new fear brought on by lessons of the war.
One lesson from the war was that it didn't matter who had more homeland pride or who had more soldiers.
War was now about
The 1950's movies combined the mad scientists and dangerous technology from the war and asked people to consider . . .
what could happen if these got out of control?
One of my personal favorites
It wasn't just OUR technology that scared us though . .
What would alien technology
do to us?
Studios were not putting money into horror movies. The best directors and actors were being used on big budget productions.
Horror movies were moved to the back burner. They got little money, the less-talented & lower paid actors and few theaters.
Many of these movies were sent to drive-in theaters where they found their new audience - TEENAGERS
Most of the time, these movies were the second movie to play
The "B" movie
Worst Movie EVER?
ESPECIALLY THOSE BROUGHT ABOUT BY NUCLEAR RADIATION OR AN OUT OF CONTROL SCIENCE EXPERIMENT
Genius at special effects monsters - known for his stop-motion animation.
"These monsters are usually spurred into a destructive rampage by the actions of a foolish few disobeying the rules, and can only be stopped through the actions of a resourceful hero. "
"These movies particularly manifest society's mistrust of the intellectual, in the form of the mad scientist, who must often have his destructive creations negated by "ordinary" citizens."
monsters happen because someone breaks the rules
(rules of God)
(rules of society)
(rules of science)
only a good, honest, normal man can fix the situation.
(a REAL man)
smarty pants smarties sometimes need to be saved from their situations by normal people
The country that can create the bigger weapon of mass destruction wins.
We now live with the knowledge of what was done with the bomb and what could be done to us with a bomb.
American International Pictures
focused on making low-end films
“What elements made these AIP films shlock classics? They were
shot in a hurry
, and so
that one can sometimes see the shadow of a boom mike in the shot or catch the gleam of an air tank inside the monster suit of an underwater creature (as in The Attack of the Giant Leeches).
They rarely began with a completed script
money was committed to projects on the basis of a title that sounded commercial
, such as Terror from the Year 5000 or The Brain Eaters, something that would make an eye-catching poster.”— Stephen King, Danse Macabre, p46
Movie theaters were also fighting against the newest obsession
To lure people away from their tv's, studios came up with gimmicks like
3D, stereophonic sound, and smell-o-vision
The in-theater gimmicks were very popular, like
things that flew out of the screen across the audience
films where you could vote on whether the villian died or not.
seats that were rigged with low level electric shocks
requiring ticket buyers to sign insurance policies in case they died
an intermission where you were given a chance to leave with a full refund if you were too afraid to continue.
give-aways like pretend axes, or memorabilia associated with the storyline.
Society is dealing with two major feelings -
We survived the 50's and there wasn't any nuclear war and those monsters started to look a bit silly now.
Now we start looking at ourselves - the social psyche
our stereotypes our traditions our prohibitions
If every generation gets the monsters it deserves, then the horror movie goers of the 1960s got... themselves. Going to the cinema to be scared at this time was the equivalent of gazing in the mirror, and noticing, for the first time, that there was something a little... strange about your own face.
complex psychological thriller
set a new standard
themes of corruptibility, confused identities, voyeurism, human vulnerabilities and victimization, deadly affects of money, Oedipal complexes, dark pasts
Repeated motifs of:
The music is iconic.
Before Psycho, films were mostly about a monster or an evil being. This film brought a psychological element to the terror.
Before, horror movies made us afraid of the obvious monsters. Now we realize we should also be afraid of the seemingly normal person right next to us!
The character of Norman is very complex. He's not just a one-dimensional lunatic killer.
The audience likes him at first. He seems like a nice boy who is emotionally abused by a horrible old woman. He makes Marion supper and seems so lonely.
But, then, we are startled to see him peeping at Marion through a hole in the wall. He has obviously used this before.
And we start to feel less sorry for him
But, we don't know if we really like Marion either.
We know she has been having sex in a seedy motel. She stole money and ran away.
But, then again, her boyfriend won't marry her, she works with a self-centered ditz, she has to be nice to slimy rich guys and she does tell Norman she's going back to Phoenix to fix a situation.
Then, Hitchcock does the absolute unthinkable!
He KILLS his leading lady!
No one saw this coming.
No one had ever done it before.
With prior movies, you knew what you had coming. Hitchcock tricked EVERYONE
and he did it in such a visceral, violent way.
Audiences had a certain expectation of safety. We could get attached to the leading lady because she was protected by the need to continue the story.
and there was no reason for the murder. The audience isn't given a MOTIVE.
NOTHING IS CERTAIN ANYMORE
Hitchcock disobeyed the rules of storytelling.
After this point, other filmmakers follow him and narratives change structure.
By making the audacious claim that
the darkest monsters
— brutal, homicidal, and unknowable —
live directly inside us
, Alfred Hitchcock, in the grandest stunt of movie history, did more than kill off his heroine.
He made a show of killing God
; he expressed the horror of a world that had seen enough real horror (World War I, the Holocaust, the dropping of the A-bomb) not to need any more monsters. And that’s why the horror films of today are forever in his debt, and in his shadow
Every time you see a slasher movie with Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers, or whatever new name they come up with for some hulk in a mask with a big blade,
you’re watching a remake of Psycho
— an attempt to recapture its fear and insanity. But, of course, that can never happen again. Because now we know what’s coming.
The movies, it turned out, could only kill God once.
Nominated for Oscars in Direction, Supporting Actress, Art Direction & Cinematography
#18 on AFI's best 100 movies ever in 1998
moved to #14 in 2007
#23 on IMDB - users ratings
AFI's #2 villian of all time
AFI's #1 thriller of all time
The shower scene!
one of the most famous movie scenes of all time.
shows Hitchcock's genius vision in filming and editing
THE KULESHOV EFFECT
An editing technique
shots are put in a sequence which allows the viewer to infer information but doesn't explicitly show it.
Another name from the 1960's horror genre
some are x rated!
George A. Romero gathered together his buddies in Pittsburgh in June 1967 and embarked on shooting a movie with the working title "Monster Flick". $114,000 and six months later they had produced Night of the Living Dead, an incredibly influential horror film which, in its deadpan approach to its subject, blew camp horror out of the water, and signalled the beginning of the searing social comment which horror films were to provide on the up-coming decade
Horror movies of the 1970s reflect the grim mood of the decade.
After the optimism of the 1960s, with its sexual and cultural revolutions, and the moon landings, the seventies were something of a disappointment.
It all started to go horribly wrong in 1970; the Beatles split, legends died, and it was downhill all the way from there: Nixon, Nam, oil strikes . . . .
However, when society goes bad, horror films get good, and the
1970s marked a return to the big budget, respectable horror film
, dealing with
contemporary societal issues
genuine psychological fears.
The crumbling family unit becomes the source of much fear and mistrust.
This time around 'the enemy within' is not a shapeshifting alien from another planet altogether.
This time the enemy is to be found in your own home.
It's your Mom
Your Dad (
). Your brother (
). Your husband (
The Stepford Wives
). Your little boy
). Your daughter
). It's the people you see so often you don't really see them any more (
The seventies were about
, and the
fear about the decrease in morality
that started in the 1960s. There is
not a lot of humor
in 1970s horror films. Horror once again returns to the mainstream.
The Exorcist is hugely significant to any study of the genre. It brought an
back to horror movies.
The special effects
(created mechanically, on set, rather than added in post production) are impressive even by today's standards, and they are combined with fine
(awarded an Oscar).
The film is a chilling experience because it
takes itself and its subject seriously
. The Exorcist is very much a 'grown-up' horror movie, and
marks the beginning of a new part of a cycle
in the genre.
Although the film is now an undisputed classic, and is considered a landmark of the genre,
it caused outrage at the time of its release
, and was described as "the most shocking, sick-making and soul destroying work ever to emerge from filmland."
Despite this, and its X rating,
it was nominated for 10 Oscars
- Linda Blair as Best Supporting Actress, Ellen Burstyn as Best Actress, Jason Miller as Best Supporting Actor, Best Art Direction and Best Picture -
and won two
(Best Sound, Best Adapted Screenplay).
With the full support of a
major movie studio
at the peak of his career, and a heavyweight marketing campaign, this is a film which took itself very seriously and is about as far from the B-movies of the 1950s as it is possible to go.
William Peter Blatty
was searching for a bestselling novel idea, and dredged up a story he remembered from his college days.
He wanted to write something serious, something which
reflected the anxieties of America as he saw them.
He changed some of the details from the original, real-life 'possession' case.
His purpose in writing the novel was to
shock and provoke people into questioning their faith, or lack of it.
In his first feature, the ABC movie-of-the-week Duel (1971), Steven Spielberg proved he could effectively handle suspense and menace. Shot and edited in 23 days, this simple David and Goliath story concerns a truck tailgating a businessman on a two lane highway.
That's pretty much it. Spielberg ratchets up the tension by never letting the audience see who is driving the truck. By the end of the movie, the threat posed by the driver has reached nightmare level — he keeps coming, he seems superhuman, and absolutely deadly. The TV movie caused quite a stir and is largely responsible for kickstarting the mogul's career.
He returned to the idea of an
unseen menace, combined it with the monster
he had reveled in as a child, and produced the sublime Jaws (1975), proving his worth as a director even with a budget of $12M.
Jaws was based on the bestselling novel of the same name, written by
Steven Spielberg took what was classic B-movie fare (big shark chews up skinny-dipping teenagers who scream a lot, the adults trying to solve the problem start having affairs with each other) and turned out a masterpiece of suspense.
It was a massive massive success
- from a budget of $12M US
its total gross was well over $400M
began the era of the modern Hollywood blockbuster.
- It was the
first film to exceed $100M in box office
Jaws built on the mainstream appetite for horror created by films such as The Exorcist, but
gave us a monster that was, uniquely
neither human nor supernatural nor the result of mutation.
Sharks are real. They're out there, swimming around, snacking on swimmers, right now.
The movie's success is rooted in this terrifying premise, as well as in the
inspiration taken, in terms of marketing and distribution as well as content, from the big monster movies of the 1950s.
One element that makes this film frightening is there is a
dark sexual symbolism in the form of a shark.
the shark is the ultimate slasher,
goring and mutilating its victims without a motive.
ly selected; male, female, young, old whose only transgression was to enter the watery world of the shark.
The POV underwater camera takes us into the shark's mind, and we see that
it is casual and indiscriminate in its choice
, picking off one pair of splashing legs rather than another simply because.
The shark doesn't make its first full appearance onscreen until 81 minutes into the 124-minute movie.
In keeping images of the shark off-screen for most of the film, Spielberg employed a strategy often used by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.
"A bomb is under the table and it explodes. That is surprise," quotes Hitchcock. "The bomb is under the table but it does not explode. That is suspense."
Spielberg leaves the toothy shark under the table for most of the movie and the payoff is one of the most effective thrillers ever made.
Jaws was the first movie to do a full force tv advertising push showing trailers on tv.
First movie to roll out the release across the country instead of big cities first.
Began the trend of summer blockbusters.
First to really employ merchandising as a strategy for publicity.
It was the movie that created the cliché of summer movies and forever changed the way movies are marketed and distributed.
Because of Jaws:
40% of movies are now released in summer
advertising on tv is routine
studio money into horror movies
how music was written and used
In the aftermath of the film's release, great white sharks were vilified and killed,
leading to their near-disappearance from the eastern seaboard.
At the same time, public fascination with sharks
led to a golden age of shark science that completely changed our view of the ocean and how it works.
And as the science began showing us how real sharks behave,
it spurred a worldwide conservation effort whose earliest champion was Jaws author Peter Benchley.
The biggest result:
Spielberg named the shark "Bruce" after his lawyer.
Because of so many malfunctions, he usually called it the
great white turd.
The boat is named "The Orca" - the orca whale is the only natural predator of the Great White Shark.
Throughout the movie the color yellow runs as a theme. Yellow is known as a color that sharks can actually see, which is why lifeboats should not be painted in that color.
The color red is never used for anything but blood!
During the scene where Dreyfus' character is underwater in a protective case, Spielberg used a real shark, which was much smaller than the mechanical shark. So they used a little person to stand in for Dreyfus in the scene. The real shark destroyed the cage. It looked so good they kept the footage.
After the shark blows up, the groaning sound effects during the shot of the carcass sinking are the same ones the truck makes as it crashes off a cliff in Steven Spielberg`s first film, Duel (1971) (TV). The sound effect is from the original Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).
Chief Brody's dog is really Steven Speilberg's
Steven Spielberg was never happy with the moment when Ben Gardner`s head pops out of the hole in the bottom of his boat. Preview audiences jumped at this scene, but Spielberg wanted more than an ordinary shock moment. However, the studio was unwilling to budget a re-shoot. So Spielberg declared that he`d pay for it himself, assembling a crew in editor Verna Fields` back-yard swimming pool, which would serve as the underwater location. A gallon of milk gave the water enough of the look of Nantucket Sound.
When he said he wanted to redo the shot , he said it was because the preview audience hadn't screamed enough!
A psychological thriller ?
A ghost story?
A story of evil possession ?
An allegory for The Holocaust?
the genocide of Native Americans?
A retelling of the story of the Minotaur?
Kubrik's apology for helping
NASA fake the moon landing?
The history of evil?
"A straightforward horror film was not what interested him. He wanted more ambiguity. If he was going to make a film about ghosts, he wanted it to be ghostly from the very first to the very last. The set was very deliberately built to be offbeat and off the track, so that the huge ballroom would never actually fit inside. The audience is deliberately made to not know where they're going. People say The Shining doesn't make sense. Well spotted! It's a ghost movie. It's not supposed to make sense."
Jan Harlan, Executive Producer (brother-in-law)
A supernatural horror
"Someone is about to turn into a monster. Or they have something inside them that is definitely not supposed to be there. Or they wake up to find that they are missing some bits."
"Such works may deal with disease, decay, parasitism, mutilation, or mutation. Other types of body horror include unnatural movements, or the anatomically incorrect placement of limbs to create 'monsters' out of human body parts"
"Simply put, this is any form of Horror that is based primarily on the
body visibly mutating
and developing in
out-of-control, hideous ways
. Instead of a clean, smooth, shiny quick change from one form to another, as with many in the past, these are
painful, messy, or just plain disturbing
"For maximum nightmare points, the transformation should be
force major personality changes.
Emphasis must be placed on
disfiguring and distorting
the victim's face. Slow transformations draw out the anguish. Being near irreversible raises the stakes still further. Unsought personality changes mean the victim is no longer truly themselves..."
Special visual effects finally caught up with the gory imaginings of horror fans and movie makers.
Technical advances in the field of animatronics, and liquid and foam latex meant that the human frame could be distorted to an entirely new dimension, onscreen, in realistic close up.
Everything that had lurked in the shadows of horror films in the 1950s could now be brought into the light of day. The monsters were finally out of the closet.
Once they were exposed to the light, however, these monsters proved to be the same as ever: ghosts (of supernatural origin), werebeings (of human origin), and slimy things (origin unknown).
The horror films of the early 1980s show a new energy and delight in the genre, as special effects creators fell over each other to create sequences that had never been attempted on film before. There were to be no more monsters with zippers up the back or visible air canisters under plastic.
However, the cumulative effect of gory images is one of desensitization; pile too many on top of each other and they lose their meaning, and their power to shock.
In keeping with the "excess is best" of the 1980s, it became common practice to pile great heaps of gory images on top of each other, and by the end of the decade is more comic than horrific.
It's body horror taken too far. It went way past scary to gross and then way past that to funny.
Light hearted "horror" films
the movie that Stephen King described as "ferociously original", and which quickly became a cult classic.
Raimi uses standard B movie ingredients (isolated location, a time scale of dusk till dawn, a small number of characters who get picked off one by one)
the inspired use of POV camera, which hurtles along the forest floor gives the movie its trademark sequences, and its subsequent iconic status.
The camerawork evokes a squealing, demented demon, dragging hapless cinemagoers along for a murderous ride.
While the sequences inside the cabin revel in shlocky gore, with plenty of dismemberment and spurting blood, it is the exterior action, with the camera careening between the treestumps, that sticks in the mind.
The Evil Dead is like a rollercoaster ride, with the audience jerked between scares and laughter, and the frenetic pace is maintained until all the college kids are dead.
The Evil Dead is still a gripping excursion through the backwoods, innovative and effective. It has a nastiness at its core which gives it a chill factor to remember. Raimi makes the best of budgetary constraints; much of the movie was filmed on a second trip to the cabin, with only Campbell and a bunch of stand-ins filling the over-the-shoulder shots ( a technique they nicknamed "shemping"). Despite the creative use of limited resources, it does creak in places. It was so successful overseas however, that Raimi got the backing to have another go.
Evil Dead 2
is neither a sequel or a remake of the original, but something of a cross between the two. With ten times his original budget, Raimi picks up any viewers who might not have seen the first movie with a flashback - only this time Ash is alone in the car with his girlfriend - explaining what Ash is doing at the cabin. After dispatching the possessed Linda, our hero becomes temporaily inhabited by demons too, only to have them driven away by the first light of dawn. Muddy, bloodied, exhausted, Ash is left on his own to battle the fiends, in an increasingly hilarious spiral of humor and gore.
picks up at exactly the point Evil Dead 2 leaves off, with Ash being whirled into a medieval past, and forced to confront a Harryhausen-inspired army of skeletons who are attempting to assault a castle. This can barely be classified as a horror film, being a comedy fantasy trip.
Nightmare on Elm St
Wes Craven 1984
a blend of humor & horror
Comes at victims spouting one-liners
glove of knives
Supposedly Freddie Kruger was the name of a boy who bullied Wes as a child.
low body count
utilizes "everyday" "safe" "normal" settings
each kill is almost its own mini-movie
no warning when it shifts between dreaming & reality
no rules about where the monster can get you
special effects seem sloppy to us now but this monster has become iconic.
The message is evil is all-pervasive, even in an environment that works very hard to deny its existence.
Perhaps as a reaction to the splatterfests of the 1980s, and an attempt to create "horror for grown-ups", the 1990s presented monsters that were far more mundane or ordinary.
Serial killers throughout history have always made good folk heroes. Their stories are told in legend and ballads and in the mass-marketed tabloids of all cultures.
Even into the 21st century their popularity shows no signs of dwindling. The search term "serial killer" throws up thousands of sites on the internet, and there are electronic shrines dedicated to individual criminals, as well as pop songs, TV shows, paperbacks, comic books and, of course, movies.
Serial killers are often represented as having more-than-human powers, which is where movies about them stray into the horror genre, rather than being thrillers; although the monster is human, he has a supernatural edge which makes him all the more frightening.
A serial killer fulfils several functions within a film's narrative structure.
He (or much more rarely, she) can play the part of villain, or antagonist, obviously, and can provide a worthy opponent for the protagonist.
However, serial killers onscreen are often portrayed as being supremely intelligent or cunning, and find it easy to foil 'those dumb cops'. Audiences respect this intelligence, and a well-played killer may excite our sympathy as much as our distaste. We are presented with a villain who is as reasonable as he is evil.
Serial killers in movies (rarely in reality) communicate with their pursuers, forging a bond through enigmatic phone calls and notes. In some ways they can appear as the Helper, aiding and abetting in their own capture. Sometimes they reciprocate respect with the particular agent or officer assigned to their case, and show them kindness.
Are we meant to like the killers? Perhaps not, but they exhibit shreds of sensibility and humanity which mean we can't altogether hate them. Is Lecter a villain or an anti-hero?