From time to time, we see so many horror movies come and go. Spooky, haunted houses, serial killers, slashers, maniacs, mentals, satanic and many others have been pictured in the movie. A lot of sub genres, a lot of remakes, a lot of variations, twist and all that can easily be found through the ages. Yeah, it’s all true. But have we ever thought where it all came from?
Or how does the horror movies genre change from time to time?
For you who share the same passion about horror movies, and want to know the road that have been travelled by Horror movies, allow me to have the honor to be your guide. Buckle up, here we go.
Where It All Began
The year was 1922, place: German. I can say that it was the birth of horror movies. W Murnau started the terror and fear through Nosferatu, nosferatuthe
story about bloodsucking vampire. It wasn’t the first vampire movie, as in 1896 Georges Melies made Le Castle Du Diable, but Nosferatu was the first movie where we saw vampire destroyed by sunlight. This one boasted remarkable animalistic makeup that has not been replicated, even with modern
technology. Dozens of vampire movies followed after that. In 1931 Universal Studio launched 2 legendary horror movies, Dracula with Bela Lugosi and Frankenstein with Boris Karloff. Both of the movie became a classic and very successful. Boris Karloff even became a legendary name in horror movies history. The Mummy (1932) a silent picture with horror icon Boris Karloff in the title role, remains a classic, with unforgettable make-up and atmosphere. In 1935, the sequel of Frankenstein,
The Bride Of Frankenstein was made.This isn’t silent anymore.
During 40’s the world’s on war, and it has changed the genre. Horror was almost forgotten as patriotic movies and war has taken the place. It slowly raised again around 50’s, where comedy and musical movies ruled. There were good ones took place at this time, House of Wax is one of the example. 1960 was the time for Hitchcock to make a memorable movie: Psycho. Too bad, this is the only horror movie by Hitchcock, cuz then he made lots of suspence thriller goodies like Rear Window, Vertigo,North by Northwest,Dial M For Murder that kinda changed the genre again. And remember, spaghetti western Movies in the late 60’s also had its moment.
This is the most creative year of Horror movies.Unlike before, horror movies got big exploration, where so many variation of story and evil came in. Note there were lots of controversy and protest happened here.The Exorcist (1973) for example showed disgusting scenes that never been imagined before, like the green puke to the face transformed to evil. This movie was controversial when Catholic Church protested that the demon cast-out in the movie was against the code of conduct. The shining, that based on Stephen King’s novel was one of the best one during 70’s. Later on from this decade to 80s and 90s, lots of movies was made based on his scary novel such as Carrie, Christine, Cujo, It, , Cat’s Eye, Dream Catcher, are the example. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) was a low budget movie that reached a great result. This one introduced “the slasher movie” to the world that later followed by Halloween (say hi to Michael Myers) , Friday the 13th, Scream in the 80’s and 90’s and so on. Omen is a bonechillin’ movie that can still give
you nightmare even with today’s technology of making movie.Simply unforgettable. Amityville Horror, based on the true story was the first movie that took place in the actual location. The report said a lot of bizarre and dreadful things were experienced by cast and crew in location.
This is the decade of madness. All gory stuff were shown sadistically for viewing. cutted off body parts were seen everywhere. Nightmare on Elm Street that launched Freddy Krueger to horror hall of fame, and Jason Voorheyes slashing games in Friday the 13th are one of the example. These two had some of their sequels during 80s, together with 3 of Halloweens. And remember how Italian horror movies that have a very sick super bloody vision? Count Romero and Argento for this category. This is also the era where horror expanded to tv.
Funny thing happened in 90s. There’s a tendency of self defense and self actualization by horror character on terror they have made to people. For example Ghost, Bram Stocker’s Dracula that told the story about Count
Dracula’s painful love to Mina, or Interview With Vampires that unlocked the mystery of vampire lives. Scream started a new genre, teen horror movies, slashing-serial-killer-who-did-it,which soon followed by I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend, and some more. A note in 1999, an independent movie Blair Witch Project became a big phenomena,using a documentation technique to give us fear,tense and mental disturbance. This one inspired some other movies like St.Francisville Experiment, The Lamarie Project and
tv series Freaky Links.
Still too early maybe to talk about horror movies in 2000s, but looks like Hollywood has running out of ideas. They are trying to widen up their view to see new ideas outside that can give new vision on the term of horror. The Ring, remake from Japanese movie was their first success. Followed by The eye, and some other remakes from Asian cinemas.
This decade seems being led by Japan and Korea, by making so many horror movies with lack of effects or gory blood but still successfully tortured our feeling. They don’t go with the Hollywood pattern, they just dig everything else that hasn’t been touched yet. Thailand is also emerging as a good horror maker. Indonesian movies too, with amusing number of horror movies every year. We also mark the decade 2000 for the decade of sequels and remakes too, such as Halloween H2O, Freddy vs Jason, modern version of Bram Stocker’s Dracula, Dracula 2001,
Halloween Resurrection, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre , House of The Dead, The Amityville Horror and so on.
While the effort to combine some genres and produce something new has still been going on. Saw for example, combine the psycho thriller ala Hitchkock with slasher, sadistic, bloody and graphic scenes.
My prediction? I think this decade will continue to do so. Hopefully in the next decade we will see some new approach, style and way to present horror movies. Let’s wait and see where the horror movies continue their path.