Horror films throughout the years

  • The cabinet of Dr. Caligari

    The cabinet of Dr. Caligari
    This movie is a scary exploration of the mind of a mad man. To which he plots against an evil doctor, who apparently incarcerated a hero in a lunatic asylum. Viewing the film's peculiar take on reality, is a heightened version of mise en scene. The audience view the story through the narrator, where common scenery begins to form menacing shapes. The fact that it is not reality is portrayed well, as the characters each symbolising the surreal landscape.
  • The Golum

    The Golum
    The were many versions of what claim to be the first monster movie. One of them being "The Golem", which was directed by Paul Wegener, who also starred as part of his own film. The legend influenced Mary Shelley during the creation of her gothic novel, Frankenstein a century later.
  • Nosferatu

    Nosferatu is the first ever vampire movie to be made. Loosely resembling Dracula and Count Orlok, the fictional character that is, Max Schreck, curls up his long fingernails around a series of innocent victims. Directed by F.W. Murnau, he demonstrated an early version of light and shadow which was to distinguish is his work in Hollywood. As well as photographic image with stop motion special effects.
  • 1930's

    Horror films in the 30's are categorized as "exotic fairy tales" as they tended to include characters dressed in costumes in far- away lands, often fictional and made-up, talking in strange accents. Audiences seemed even more enthusiastic in the 30's than in the 20's and rushed to cinemas to be scared by large monsters who wreak havoc in fantasy worlds, events that helped them escape from the reality of depression and war.
    Admissions for UK Cinemas in 1935 were 912.3 million.
  • Dracula

    The only spoken parts of the film were those of the supporting cast that make the film come across as grimacing and grotesque. The film practically invented the concept of a strange land, howling wolves, frightened peasants and crumbling castles, owned by peculiar characters that are heavily accented with mesmorising eyes and strange taste in dress.
  • The Mummy

    The Mummy
    When the Tutankhamen Exhibition toured the world in the 1930's, audiences were fascinated by the 3000 year old remains. Modern viewers of the film, will most likely think that it is very slow-moving, however for audiences at the time, it introduced the concept of desertscape and ancient evil. The storytelling is very slow and atmospheric as a mummy is reincarnated and seeks the body of his lost love.
  • Freaks

    Freaks is a rare film that horrifies rather than frightens. It was slated on its release and has been blamed for the downhill path of horror films and was banned in many countries for over 30 years. It has been said that its a film both of its time and ahead of time. There have been many remakes of the film such as Freakshow and Freakmaker. The producers were not happy with the end result so they created three alternative endings that left the audience horrified rather than frightened.
  • King Kong

    King Kong
    Merian C Cooper, the creator of King Kong was described as a remarkable man. He was a journalist, an explorer, airline owner and Oscar nominated documentary maker, all before he created King Kong. He was part of the first generation of US film-makers. Cooper actually plays the part of the pilot of the plane that kills King Kong. King Kong was hugely successful upon its release and has remained one of the favourite films of film-makers and its audiences.
  • The bride of Frankenstein

    The bride of Frankenstein
    The Bride of Frankenstein has been described as one of the greatest horror films of all time, despite the moments of witty humor. Karloff, creates his monster to talk for the very first time in this movie in mangled syllables. Elsa Lanchaster who is featured as the bride of Frankenstein is very confused and vulnerable and simply does not want to exist. Frankenstein is reduced down to Dr Pretorius.
  • 1940's

    Wartime horror films were banned in Britain in the 40's as they were typically an American product. Producers and directors were very wary of taking the risks of creating an uproar with audiences. The 40's reflected on the internal side of horror. Americans felt safe compared to Europe and used this to their advantage, as they had more freedom to create what films they wanted, whereas Britain did not.
    Admissions for UK Cinemas in 1940 were 1,027 billion.
  • The Wolf Man

    The Wolf Man
    The Wolf Man is a horror film that includes many different versions of wolf legends. Siodmak uses gypsies, silver bullets and a full moon to create this mythical film. It is lightly based on European traditions, but established many of its own traditions that left Hollywood in awe. The film follows a man, named Larry Talbot who returns home and discovers that he has become infected by a bite from a gypsy he had met.
  • Cat People

    Cat People
    Cat People is a film that follows a young girl named Irena who believes that she is cursed. the curse is that if she continues with her marriage she will transform into a very dangerous cat. The genre of the film is edged more towards psychological/ thriller as the film is mostly based on what lurks beneath the shadows, which allows the audience to think for themselves. It had many sequels that followed after it and was a great success in the media.
  • 1950's

    Between the 1940's and the 1950's, the idea of monsters changed incredibly. In the 40's directors focused more on the character's becoming animals, but the 50's introduced a face onto the evil. After World War 2, film was upgraded as better technology was being invented and used. However, a downfall of this was that people were so used to the same quality of film, that when it changed, directors really had to up their game if they wanted to impress audiences.
  • It came from beneath the sea

    It came from beneath the sea
    Radiation was a convention used often in horror films after World War 2. Radiation in horror films was used to change the size of the mutant and Godzilla is a prime example of this. Directors tried to use existing life forms in their creations as they could be photographed and recreated into a stop-motion animation. It Came From Beneath The Sea, was created in 1955 and is about a mutant octopus that attacks San Francisco.
  • The wasp women

    The wasp women
    The Wasp Woman was Roger Corman's idea of mixing human and insect 'bits' together. The Cosmetic Chief has fallen on hard times and is in desperate need to invent an anti-ageing product. He was experimenting and the chief meets a woman named, Zinthrop who offers to become his first human test subject. The effects start out good, then it all goes incredibly wrong and he has turned her into half a wasp and half a woman.
  • 1960's

    The 60's were what was known as the "sexual revolution." The Manson Murders took place in 1960 and completely changed the way in which people perceived what was horrible. Horror films that were created outside of the mainstream studios, were often given low budgets and the 60's offered an opportunity to explore new ways of violence and sex. Teenage audiences were maturing as film was too and they were becoming wiser to common conventions used in typical horror films.
  • Psycho

    Psycho introduced us to Norman Bates, a monster that was so close to real, that teh moral of the film was to show how monstrous a man can be. Psycho has become one of teh most iconic horror films to ever be made, influencing the likes of Silent of the Lambs and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The conventions used in this film, were very new to audiences at the present time, however the screeching soundtrack, a knife and a shower scene has become all too familiar to audiences in our present day.
  • Carnival of souls

    Carnival of souls
    Carnival of Souls has been described as an "eerie experience," and leaves an impression on the audience even when the last scene has ended. The organ music and no dialogue give long sequences of silence to the film and even a slight diegetic sound can leave the audience frightened. From special effects to costume, the film as a whole is very minimalistic, yet it shows how you don't need an incredibly high budget to create something that leaves such a giant imprint on a member of the audience.
  • Blood feast

    Blood feast
    Blood Feast is another influential horror film of its time and was teh first ever 'splatter' movie to be made. the film is about an Egyptian caterer who specializes in women's body parts. Unlike Psycho, Blood Feast turned out as violent and blood-thirsty as it was made out to be. The story line is practically non- existent and the only reason why people probably still watch it now is for the gore.
  • Night of the living dead

    Night of the living dead
    One of the most influential horror films of all time is The Night of the Living Dead. It exceeded any typical convention that had possibly been created and follows the narrative of a woman named Barbara. The film signified a new darker direction of horror and has influenced so many directors from then on.
  • 1970's

    The most common conventions in horror films in the 70's were children and the process of childbirth. The 70's were about deep paranoia and the fear that the 60's had created a whole new culture of monsters and now the 70's have created something entirely new. Horror films in the 70's used zero humour. The 70's showed the horror film industry back in mainstream studios.
    Admissions for UK Cinema in 1970 were 193 million.
  • The exorcist

    The exorcist
    The Exorcist has been voted "The scariest movie of all time." It brought back respect for being so intellectual for a horror film. Even today, the special effects are amazing and are combined with amazing filming and an award winning use of sound. The film is a very unusual experience as it takes itself very seriously. There are little bits of irony included in the film, but there was no humour at all.
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    From the beginning of the film, the audience are instantly introduced to gory images and decomposing flesh. The movie as a whole moves slowly and follows 5 friends who are returning home after visiting their grandpa's house and are hunted down by the insane Sawyer family. The movie was banned in the UK for over 20 years. Even today, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is seen as brutally realistic, in a way that has been very difficult for remakes and sequels to be made.
  • Jaws

    Jaws was based on the best- selling novel written by Peter Benchley. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Jaws was a huge success. The budget was $12 million, but its total gross was $400 million; it was the first film to ever exceed over $100 million in the box office. Jaws was built on the mainstream trend, but introduced a realistic monster, that's neither human or supernatural. Jaws was the biggest monster movies ever made.
  • Halloween

    Halloween was first seen as an imitation of Psycho, however the low budget film was a huge success with teenagers as well as adults. The storyline follows a babysitter, played by Jamie-Lee Curtis, who tries to escape a serial killer, Michael Myers. Despite at the time being new and clever conventions, many of them have become clichés in today's horror films. The mask worn by the character Michael Myers, is worth over $2 million.
  • The Shining

    The Shining
    The Shining is based on Stephen King's besteseller about a haunted hotel, however, Stanley Kubrick's version was entirely different to the book. The film is overly based on the location rather than the characters within the film. Kubrick used a series of claustrophobia and agoraphobia to create the film. Kubrick used the building that the film was based in to show that there was something rotten in the architecture and it makes one of the characters go over the edge.
  • 1980's

    The 1980's introduced more gory scenes, especially as special effects were being used more frequently. Also, special effects became more technical and the use of animatronics, liquid and foam latex meant that characters could be distorted into whatever desired shape. Horror films in the 80's showed a new energy in the genre as special effects creators were working as hard as they could as there were no more zippers on costumes etc.
    Admissions in UK Cinemas in 1980 were 101 million.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street

    A Nightmare on Elm Street
    A Nightmare On Elm Street is about a hideously scarred man, named Freddy Krueger who brutally murders teenagers. Throughout the film, there are only four murders that take place, however, each murder is a story within themselves, with a separate location etc. Dark lighting is normally a key convention in horror films, however A Nightmare On Elm Street, shows bright lighting. Also, most of the scenes are based in realistic circumstances, such as school hallways.
  • 1990's

    By the end of the 80's, special effects had become over-used and lost their power and impact to shock the audience. The horror films that were created in the 90's were described as more of a thriller rather than horror.
    Admissions in UK Cinemas in 1990 were 97.37 million.
  • Se7en

    Set in a rainy and modern city, the director David Fincher presents the audience with a narrative that at first seems like its being told straight out of a textbook. The film follows to policemen, played by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, that clash, but are brought together by a shared goal. As an audience we can easily predict that something happens, to which both policemen have to fight for their survival.
  • Scream

    It was incredibly predictable that if you were born before the 70/80's and had watched the slasher movies, that someone will one day create a parody of them. That is exactly what Kevin Williamson did. The story features a group of high school students that become prey to a serial killer, that disguises himself in a mask and an all black outfit. Scream uses a lot of humour and becomes a hit with the audience the moment it starts. The movie grossed $161 million worldwide.
  • Final Destination

    Final Destination
    Final Destination begins with a teenage buy who foresee's a plane crash and prevents it from happening, only to have death hunt them down, one by one. Final Destination marks a significant shift in the horror genre. The new millennium had brought a new sense of evil and unease to audiences. In Final Destination, death is once again realistic but was still full of nightmares. For teenage audiences, Final Destination is a fresh concept as they are suddenly reminded of their mortality.
  • 200's

    During the 2000's the film industry was facing recession and was very hard for film- makers to deal with. By 2005, the horror genre was as popular as ever and horror films routinely topped box office charts. Audiences wanted a good, group scare just as their grandparents wanted in the 1930's. The villains however had changed. The psychopaths were gone and so were the unrealistic monsters.
    Admissions in UK Cinemas in 2000 were 142.5 million.
  • 28 days later

    28 days later
    28 Days Later, is a low budget film that is an entry into the Zombie- Apocalypse genre. The story follows a group of survivors who's survival is out of pure luck as they slept through the devastation. 28 Days Later is based on realism and true stories, such as The Blair Witch Project. Examples of this is the opening news project, riots, hangings, police brutality etc. 28 Days Later became uncannily similar to the 9/11 attacks.
  • The house of the devil

    The house of the devil
    The House of the Devil is a 2009 horror film written, directed, and edited by Ti West, starring Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, and Mary Woronov. It combines elements of both the slasher film and haunted house subgenres while using the "satanic panic" of the 1980s as a central plot element. The film pays homage to horror films of the 1970s and 1980s, recreating the style of films of that era using filming techniques and similar technology to what was used then.