None the less, horror films really came into
their own with the advent of talking pictures. This golden age
of horror films can be said to have started roughly in 1930
when Bela Lugosi
reprised his theatrical role as "Dracula"
for Universal Studios. The phenomenal success of "Dracula"
led studios to produce a series of horror films that dazzled
audiences of the day with their make up and special effects
techniques. The most notable of these films includes Paramount's
Oscar winning "Dr.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931) ,
"Frankenstein" (1931), "Bride
of Frankenstein" (1935), and "The
Wolf Man" (1941).
The 1940's saw the development of a series of
low budget horror films that simultaneously amused, frightened
and delighted audiences. Ranging from the film noire "Cat
People" (1942) to "I
Walked With A Zombie" (1943) these films quickly became
The 1950's saw another resurgence in horror films,
initiated by the development of 3-D technology. In Britain,
Hammer Studios acquired a bevy of classic horror stars including
Lee and Peter
Cushing. If you are a fan of 3-D or campy horror films you
will definitely want to check out "The
House of Wax" (1953) and a personal favorite of mine,
from the Black Lagoon" (1954). If your preferences
run to classic British horror then you should investigate "The
Curse of Frankenstein" (1956), "Dracula"
(1958), and the delightfully Gothic "The Mummy"
The 1960's saw a resurgence of horror films in
the United States due largely to the talents of Roger
Corman. Corman was the master of the well turned inexpensive
horror movie and was noted as much for his eye for quality talent
as he was for his ability to accomplish a lot on a tiny budget.
Some of Corman's best work came about as a result of his collaboration
with Missouri native Vincent
Price and cameraman Floyd
Crosby. The trio frequently combined their talents to produce
a series of delightfully macabre horror films that included
a series of adaptations of the works of Edgar Allen Poe. Of
particular note are the trio's rather Freudian interpretations
of "The Fall
of the House of Usher" (1960) and "The
Masque of The Red Death" (1964).
Horror films began to gain mainstream acceptance
(not to mention increased box office revenues), in the 1960's
and 70's. Much of this success can be attributed to the work
of film auture' Alfred
Hitchcock. Hitchcock's "Psycho"
(1960) has inspired a plethora of imitators over the years ranging
the 13th" (1980), and "A
Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984) to the Oscar winning
the Lambs" (1991). None the less, Hitchcock
remains the grand master of horror and suspense films. Often
imitated, seldom equaled. If you enjoy watching a master manipulator
at work (not to mention getting your socks scared off), you
might want to check out this filmmaker's notable works. A list
of the best of Hitchcock's works (either for their historical
significance or for scream value), would include "Blackmail"
M For Murder" (1954), "Rear
"Shadow Of A Doubt" (1943), "Vertigo"
By Northwest" (1959), "Psycho" (1960), and
The horror film has also included some notable
foray's into the occult ranging from such early works as "Rosemary's
Baby" (1968), "The
Exorcist" (1973), and "The
Omen" (1976) to "Poltergeist"
(1982) and the campy "The
Contemporary audiences have flocked to films
"I Know What
You Did Last Summer", and the latest installment in
the Halloween saga, "Halloween:
H20". All of these extremely successful films would
indicate that horror films are definitely here to stay.
Debbie Twyman. All rights reserved. TERMS