The Info List - Horror Film

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A horror film is a movie that seeks to elicit a physiological reaction, such as an elevated heartbeat, through the use of fear and shocking one’s audiences. Initially often inspired by literature from authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker
and Mary Shelley, horror has existed as a film genre for more than a century. The macabre and the supernatural are frequent themes. Horror may also overlap with the fantasy, supernatural fiction and thriller genres. Horror films often aim to evoke viewers' nightmares, fears, revulsions and terror of the unknown. Plots within the horror genre often involve the intrusion of an evil force, event, or personage into the everyday world. Prevalent elements include ghosts, extraterrestrials, vampires, werewolves, demons, satanism, evil clowns, gore, torture, vicious animals, evil witches, monsters, zombies, cannibals, psychopaths, natural or man-made disasters, and serial killers.[1] Some subgenres of horror film include action horror, comedy horror, body horror, disaster horror, holiday horror, horror drama, psychological horror, science fiction horror, slasher horror, supernatural horror, gothic horror, natural horror, zombie horror, first-person horror and teen horror.


1 History

1.1 1889–1900s 1.2 1910s–1920s

1.2.1 United States 1.2.2 Germany 1.2.3 Sweden, Denmark and France

1.3 1930s–1940s 1.4 1950s–1960s 1.5 1970s–1980s 1.6 1990s 1.7 2000s 1.8 2010s

2 Subgenres 3 Influences

3.1 Influences on society 3.2 Influences internationally

4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links

History[edit] 1889–1900s[edit] The first depictions of supernatural events appear in several of the silent shorts created by the film pioneer Georges Méliès
Georges Méliès
in the late 1890s, the best known being Le Manoir du Diable, which is sometimes credited as being the first horror film.[2] Another of his horror projects was La Caverne maudite (1898) (a.k.a. The Cave of the Demons, literally "the accursed cave").[2] Japan made early forays into the horror genre with Bake Jizo (Jizo the Spook) and Shinin no Sosei (Resurrection of a Corpse), both made in 1898.[3] The era featured a slew of literary adaptations, adapting the works of Poe and Dante, among others. In 1908, Selig Polyscope Company
Selig Polyscope Company
produced Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 1910s–1920s[edit] United States[edit]

In 1910, Edison Studios
Edison Studios
produced the first motion picture adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

In 1910, Edison Studios
Edison Studios
produced the first filmed version of Frankenstein.[4] The macabre nature of the source materials used made the films synonymous with the horror film genre.[5]

Lon Chaney, Sr.
Lon Chaney, Sr.
in the 1925 film The Phantom of the Opera.

Though the word "horror" to describe the film genre would not be used until the 1930s (when Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
released their initial monster films), earlier American productions often relied on horror themes. Some notable examples include The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), The Cat and the Canary (1927), The Unknown (1927), and The Man Who Laughs (1928). Many of these early films were considered dark melodramas because of their stock characters and emotion-heavy plots that focused on romance, violence, suspense, and sentimentality.[6] The trend of inserting an element of macabre into American pre-horror melodramas continued into the 1920s. Directors known for relying on macabre in their films during the 1920s were Maurice Tourneur, Rex Ingram, and Tod Browning. Ingram's The Magician (1926) contains one of the first examples of a "mad doctor" and is said to have had a large influence on James Whale's version of Frankenstein.[7] The Unholy Three (1925) is an example of Browning's use of macabre and unique style of morbidity; he remade the film in 1930 as a talkie, though The Terror (1928) was the first horror film with sound. Germany[edit] Before and during the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
era, German Expressionist filmmakers would significantly influence later productions. Paul Wegener's The Student of Prague (1913) and The Golem trilogy (1915–20), as well as Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), Arthur Robison's Warning Shadows (1923), and Paul Leni's Waxworks (1924), were influential films at the time. The first vampire-themed movie, Nosferatu
(1922), was made during this period; it was an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Sweden, Denmark and France[edit] Other European countries also, contributed to the genre during this period. Victor Sjöström's The Phantom Carriage
The Phantom Carriage
(Sweden, 1920) is a cautionary tale about a supernatural legend, Benjamin Christensen's Häxan
(Denmark/Sweden, 1922) is a documentary-style, horror film, about witchcraft and superstition, and in 1928, Frenchman, Jean Epstein produced an influential film, The Fall of the House of Usher, based on the Poe tale. 1930s–1940s[edit]

Boris Karloff
Boris Karloff
as Frankenstein's monster in the 1935 Bride of Frankenstein.

During the early period of talking pictures, Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
began a successful Gothic horror film series. Tod Browning's Dracula
(1931) was quickly followed by James Whale's Frankenstein
(1931) and The Old Dark House (1932), both featuring monstrous mute antagonists. Some of these films blended science fiction with Gothic horror, such as Whale's The Invisible Man (1933) and featured a mad scientist, mirroring earlier German films. Frankenstein
was the first in a series of remakes which lasted for years. The Mummy (1932) introduced Egyptology
as a theme; Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Jack Pierce was responsible for the iconic image of the monster, and others in the series. Universal's horror cycle continued into the 1940s with B movies including The Wolf Man (1941), as well as a number of films uniting several of the most common monsters.[8] Other studios followed Universal's lead. The once controversial Freaks (1932), based on the short story "Spurs", was made by MGM, though the studio disowned the completed film, and it remained banned, in the United Kingdom, for thirty years.[9] Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Paramount, 1931) is remembered for its innovative use of photographic filters to create Jekyll's transformation before the camera.[10] With the progression of the genre, actors like Boris Karloff
Boris Karloff
and Bela Lugosi were beginning to build entire careers in horror. Both appeared in three of Val Lewton's atmospheric B movies for RKO in the mid-1940s, including The Body Snatcher (1945). 1950s–1960s[edit]

Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee
starred in numerous British horror films of the era, produced by Hammer Films. Shown here is the 1958 color remake of Dracula. It was Lee who fixed the image of the fanged vampire in popular culture.[11][12]

With advances in technology, the tone of horror films shifted from the Gothic towards contemporary concerns. Two subgenres began to emerge: the Doomsday film
Doomsday film
and the Demonic film.[13] Low-budget productions featured humanity overcoming threats such as alien invasions and deadly mutations to people, plants and insects. Japan's experience with Hiroshima and Nagasaki bore the well-known Godzilla (1954) and its sequels, featuring mutation from the effects of nuclear radiation. Hollywood directors and producers found ample opportunity for audience exploitation through gimmicks. House of Wax (1953) used the advent of 3-D film
3-D film
to draw audiences, while The Tingler used electric seat buzzers in 1959. Filmmakers continued to merge elements of science fiction and horror over the following decades. Considered a "pulp masterpiece"[14] of the era was The Incredible Shrinking Man
The Incredible Shrinking Man
(1957), based on Richard Matheson's existentialist novel. The film conveyed the fears of living in the Atomic Age
Atomic Age
and the terror of social alienation.

Carl Boehm starred as a serial killer in the 1960 slasher Peeping Tom

During the later 1950s, the United Kingdom emerged as a major producer of horror films.[15] The Hammer company focused on the genre for the first time, enjoying huge international success from films involving classic horror characters which were shown in color for the first time.[16] Drawing on Universal's precedent, many films produced were Frankenstein
and Dracula
remakes, followed by many sequels. Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee
starred in a number of Hammer Horror films, including The Curse of Frankenstein
(1957), which Professor Patricia MacCormac called the "first really gory horror film, showing blood and guts in colour".[17] Other British companies contributed to a boom in horror film production in the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s.

The shadowy figure from the shower scene from Hitchcock's Psycho (1960)

Released in May 1960, the British psychological thriller Peeping Tom (1960) by Michael Powell
Michael Powell
is a progenitor of the contemporary "slasher film".[18] Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
cemented the subgenre with Psycho released later that year. France continued the mad scientist theme, while Italian horror films became internationally notable. American International Pictures (AIP) made a series of Edgar Allan Poe–themed films.

Zombies in Romero's most influential film, the groundbreaking 1968 Night of the Living Dead. This was the template for all future zombie films.

Films in the era used the supernatural premise to express the horror of the demonic. The Innocents (1961) based on the Henry James
Henry James
novel The Turn of the Screw. Meanwhile, ghosts were a dominant theme in Japanese horror, in such films as Kwaidan, Onibaba (both 1964) and Kuroneko
(1968). Rosemary's Baby (1968) is an American psychological horror film written and directed by Roman Polanski, based on the bestselling 1967 novel of the same name by Ira Levin. Another influential American horror film of this period was George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968). Produced and directed by Romero on a budget of $114,000, it grossed $30 million internationally. An Armageddon film about zombies, it began to combine psychological insights with gore. Distancing the era from earlier gothic trends, late 1960s films brought horror into everyday life. Low-budget splatter films from the likes of Herschell Gordon Lewis
Herschell Gordon Lewis
also gained prominence.[19] 1970s–1980s[edit]

Suzy (Jessica Harper, right) and Sara (Stefania Casini, left) in Suspiria, a giallo horror film.

The financial successes of the low-budget gore films of the ensuing years, and the critical and popular success of Rosemary's Baby, led to the release of more films with occult themes during the 1970s. The Exorcist (1973), the first of these movies, was a significant commercial success and was followed by scores of horror films in which a demon entity is represented as the supernatural evil, often by impregnating women or possessing children. " Evil
children" and reincarnation became popular subjects. Robert Wise's film Audrey Rose (1977) for example, deals with a man who claims that his daughter is the reincarnation of another dead person. Alice, Sweet Alice
Alice, Sweet Alice
(1977), is another Catholic-themed horror slasher about a little girl's murder and her sister being the prime suspect. Another popular occult horror movie was The Omen
The Omen
(1976), where a man realizes that his five-year-old adopted son is the Antichrist. Invincible to human intervention, Demons became villains in many horror films with a postmodern style and a dystopian worldview. Another example is The Sentinel (1977), in which a fashion model discovers that her new brownstone residence may actually be a portal to Hell. During the 1970s, Italian filmmakers Mario Bava, Riccardo Freda, Antonio Margheriti and Dario Argento
Dario Argento
developed giallo horror films that became classics and influenced the genre in other countries. Representative films include: Twitch of the Death Nerve, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Deep Red
Deep Red
and Suspiria. Don't Look Now
Don't Look Now
(1973), a independent British-Italian film directed by Nicolas Roeg, was also notable. Its focus on the psychology of grief was unusually strong for a film featuring a supernatural horror plot. Another notable film is The Wicker Man
The Wicker Man
(1973), a British mystery horror film dealing with the practice of ancient pagan rituals in the modern era. It was written by Anthony Shaffer and directed by Robin Hardy. The ideas of the 1960s began to influence horror films, as the youth involved in the counterculture began exploring the medium. Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes (1977) and The Last House on the Left (1972) along with Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)[20] (based on the Ed Gein
Ed Gein
case) recalled the Vietnam War; while George A. Romero
George A. Romero
satirized the consumer society in his zombie sequel, Dawn of the Dead (1978). Meanwhile, the subgenre of comedy horror re-emerged in the cinema with The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), Young Frankenstein
(1974), The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
(1975), and An American Werewolf
in London (1981) among others. Also in the 1970s, the works of the horror author Stephen King
Stephen King
began to be adapted for the screen, beginning with Brian De Palma's adaptation of Carrie (1976), King's first published novel, for which the two female leads ( Sissy Spacek
Sissy Spacek
and Piper Laurie) gained Oscar nominations. Next, was his third published novel, The Shining (1980), directed by Stanley Kubrick, which was a sleeper at the box office. At first, many critics and viewers had negative feedback toward The Shining. However, the film is now known as one of Hollywood's most classic horror films. This psychological horror film has a variety of themes; "evil children", alcoholism, telepathy and insanity. This type of film is an example of how Hollywood's idea of horror started to evolve. Murder and violence were no longer the main themes of horror films. During the 1970s and 1980s, psychological and supernatural horror started to take over cinema. Another classic Hollywood horror film is Tobe Hooper's Poltergeist (1982). Poltergeist is ranked the 20th scariest movie ever made by the Chicago Film Critics Association. Both The Shining and Poltergeist involve horror being based on real-estate values. The evil and horror throughout the films come from where the movies are taking place.[21][22] The Amityville Horror
The Amityville Horror
is a 1979 supernatural horror film directed by Stuart Rosenberg, based on Jay Anson's 1977 book of the same name. It stars James Brolin
James Brolin
and Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
as a young couple who purchase a home they come to find haunted by combative supernatural forces. The Changeling is a 1980 Canadian psychological horror film directed by Peter Medak. A cycle of slasher films was made during the 1970s and 1980s. John Carpenter created Halloween (1978), Sean S. Cunningham
Sean S. Cunningham
made Friday the 13th (1980), Wes Craven
Wes Craven
directed A Nightmare
on Elm Street (1984), and Clive Barker
Clive Barker
made Hellraiser
(1987). This subgenre would be mined by dozens of increasingly violent movies throughout the subsequent decades, and Halloween became a successful independent film. Another notable 1970s slasher film is Bob Clark's Black Christmas (1974). Sleepaway Camp
Sleepaway Camp
(1983) is known for its twist ending, which is considered by some to be one of the most shocking endings among horror films. My Bloody Valentine (1981) is a slasher film dealing with Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day
fiction. The boom in slasher films provided enough material for numerous comedic spoofs of the genre including Saturday the 14th (1981), Student Bodies
Student Bodies
(1981), National Lampoon's Class Reunion (1983), and Hysterical (1983). Some films explored urban legends such as "The babysitter and the man upstairs". A notable example is When a Stranger Calls (1979), an American psychological horror film directed by Fred Walton starring Carol Kane
Carol Kane
and Charles Durning. Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975) began a new wave of killer animal stories, such as Orca (1977) and Up from the Depths
Up from the Depths
(1979). Jaws is often credited as being one of the first films to use traditionally B movie elements such as horror and mild gore in a big-budget Hollywood film. In 1979, Don Coscarelli's Phantasm was the first of the Phantasm franchise. Alien (1979), a British-American science-fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott
Ridley Scott
was very successful, receiving both critical acclaim and being a box office success. John Carpenter's movie The Thing (1982) was also a mix of horror and sci-fi, but it was neither a box-office nor critical hit, but soon became a cult classic. However, nearly 20 years after its release, it was praised for using ahead-of-its-time special effects and paranoia. The 1980s saw a wave of gory "B movie" horror films – although most of them were poorly reviewed by critics, many became cult classics and later saw success with critics. A significant example is Sam Raimi's Evil
Dead movies, which were low-budget gorefests but had a very original plotline which was later praised by critics. Vampire
horror was also popular in the 1980s, including cult vampire classics such as Fright Night
Fright Night
(1985), The Lost Boys
The Lost Boys
(1987), and Near Dark (also 1987). In 1984, Joe Dante's seminal monster comedy Gremlins became a box office hit with critics and audiences, and inspired a trend of "little monster" films such as Critters and Ghoulies.[citation needed] David Cronenberg's films such as Shivers (1975), Rabid (1977), The Brood (1979), The Dead Zone (1983), The Fly (1986) dealt with "body horror" and "mad scientist" themes.[23] Several science fiction action horror movies were released in the 1980s, notably Aliens (1986) and Predator (1987). Notable comedy horror films of the 1980s include Re-Animator
(1985) and Night of the Creeps (1986). Day of the Dead is a 1985 horror film written and directed by George A. Romero and the third film in Romero's Night of the Living Dead series. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is a 1986 psychological horror crime film directed and co-written by John McNaughton about the random crime spree of a serial killer who seemingly operates with impunity. Pumpkinhead (1988) is a dark fantasy horror film, which is the directorial debut of special effects artist Stan Winston. Child's Play (1988), Night of the Demons (1988) and Pet Sematary (1989) are notable supernatural horror films of the late 1980s. 1990s[edit] In the first half of the 1990s, the genre still contained many of the themes from the 1980s. The slasher films A Nightmare
on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Halloween and Child's Play all saw sequels in the 1990s, most of which met with varied amounts of success at the box office, but all were panned by critics, with the exception of Wes Craven's New Nightmare
(1994) and the hugely successful Silence of the Lambs (1991). The latter, which stars Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster
and Anthony Hopkins, is considered a major horror movie of all times.[24] Misery (1990) also deals with a psychopath, and the film received critical acclaim for Kathy Bates's performance as the psychopathic Annie Wilkes. New Nightmare, with In the Mouth of Madness
In the Mouth of Madness
(1995), The Dark Half (1993), and Candyman (1992), were part of a mini-movement of self-reflexive or metafictional horror films. Each film touched upon the relationship between fictional horror and real-world horror. Candyman, for example, examined the link between an invented urban legend and the realistic horror of the racism that produced its villain. In the Mouth of Madness
In the Mouth of Madness
took a more literal approach, as its protagonist actually hopped from the real world into a novel created by the madman he was hired to track down. This reflective style became more overt and ironic with the arrival of Scream (1996). In Interview with the Vampire
(1994), the "Theatre de Vampires" (and the film itself, to some degree) invoked the Grand Guignol
Grand Guignol
style, perhaps to further remove the undead performers from humanity, morality and class. The horror movie soon continued its search for new and effective frights. In the 1985 novel The Vampire
Lestat by the author Anne Rice
Anne Rice
(who penned Interview...'s screenplay and the 1976 novel of the same name) suggests that its antihero Lestat inspired and nurtured the Grand Guignol
Grand Guignol
style and theatre. Two main problems pushed horror backward during this period: firstly, the horror genre wore itself out with the proliferation of nonstop slasher and gore films in the eighties. Secondly, the adolescent audience which feasted on the blood and morbidity of the previous decade grew up, and the replacement audience for films of an imaginative nature were being captured instead by the explosion of science-fiction and fantasy films, courtesy of the special effects possibilities with advances made in computer-generated imagery.[25] Examples of these CGI include movies like Species (1995), Anaconda (1997), Mimic (1997), Blade (1998), Deep Rising
Deep Rising
(1998), House on Haunted Hill (1999), Sleepy Hollow (1999), and The Haunting (1999). To re-connect with its audience, horror became more self-mockingly ironic and outright parodic, especially in the latter half of the 1990s. Peter Jackson's Braindead (1992) (known as Dead Alive in the United States) took the splatter film to ridiculous excesses for comic effect. Wes Craven's Scream (written by Kevin Williamson) movies, starting in 1996, featured teenagers who were fully aware of, and often made reference to, the history of horror movies, and mixed ironic humour with the shocks (despite Scream 2
Scream 2
and Scream 3
Scream 3
utilising less use of the humour of the original, until Scream 4
Scream 4
in 2011, and rather more references to horror film conventions). Along with I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) (also written by Williamson) and Urban Legend (1998), they re-ignited the dormant slasher film genre. Event Horizon (1997) is a British-American science fiction horror film directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. The Sixth Sense (1999) is a supernatural horror film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, which tells the story of Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), a troubled, isolated boy who is able to see and talk to the dead, and an equally troubled child psychologist named Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) who tries to help him. House on Haunted Hill
House on Haunted Hill
is a 1999 horror film directed by William Malone which follows a group of strangers who are invited to a party at an abandoned asylum, where they are offered $1 million each by an amusement park mogul if they are able to survive the night. It is a remake of the 1959 film of the same title. Other horror films of the late 1990s include Cube (1997), The Faculty
The Faculty
(1998), Disturbing Behavior (1998), Stir of Echoes (1999), Stigmata (1999), Existenz (1999). Monster
horror was quite popular in the 1990s. Tremors (1990) is the first installment of the Tremors franchise. Lake Placid (1999) is another monster horror film, written by David E. Kelley
David E. Kelley
and directed by Steve Miner. Another successful horror film is Audition, a 1999 Japanese film based on the novel of the same name, directed by Takashi Miike. Around this period, Japanese horror
Japanese horror
started becoming popular in English speaking countries. The film The Last Broadcast (1998) served as inspiration for the highly successful The Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project
(1999), which popularized the found footage horror subgenre. The theme of witchcraft was also addressed in The Witches (1990), starring Anjelica Huston
Anjelica Huston
and The Craft (1996), a supernatural horror film directed by Andrew Fleming. Wolf is a 1994 romantic horror film following the transformation of a man (Jack Nicholson) into a werewolf. 2000s[edit] The decade started, with, among other films, Scary Movie
Scary Movie
(2000), a comedy horror directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans, which is a parody of the horror, slasher and mystery genres. The film received mixed reviews from critics. By contrast, Valentine (2001) was a conventional horror film. It had some success at the box office, but was derided by critics for being formulaic and relying on foregone horror film conventions. The Others (2001) was hugely successful, winning and being further nominated for many awards. It is a 2001 Spanish-American supernatural gothic horror film with elements of psychological horror. It was written, directed, and scored by Alejandro Amenábar. It stars Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman
and Fionnula Flanagan. Franchise films such as Jason X
Jason X
(2001) and Freddy vs. Jason
Freddy vs. Jason
(2003) also made a stand in theaters. Final Destination (2000) marked a successful revival of teen-centered horror and spawned five installments. Jeepers Creepers series was also successful. Films such as Hollow Man
Hollow Man
(2000), Cabin Fever (2002), House of 1000 Corpses
House of 1000 Corpses
(2003) (the latter an exploitation horror film written, co-scored and directed by Rob Zombie
in his directorial debut) and the previous mentions helped bring the genre back to Restricted ratings in theaters. Van Helsing (2004) and Underworld series had huge box office success, despite mostly negative reviews by critics. Ginger Snaps (2000) is a Canadian film dealing with the tragic transformation of a teenage girl who is bitten by a werewolf. Signs (2002) revived the science fiction alien theme. The Descent, a 2005 British adventure horror film written and directed by Neil Marshall
Neil Marshall
was also successful. Another notable film is Drag Me to Hell, a 2009 American supernatural horror film co-written and directed by Sam Raimi. The Strangers (2008) deals with unprovoked stranger-on-stranger violence. The House of the Devil (2009) is inspired by the "satanic panic" of the 1980s. Trick 'r Treat is a 2007 anthology horror film written and directed by Michael Dougherty and produced by Bryan Singer. Black Water (2007) is British-Australian natural horror film. Several horror film adaptations from comic books and video games were produced. 30 Days of Night
30 Days of Night
(2007) is based on the comic book miniseries of the same name. The story focuses on an Alaskan town beset by vampires as it enters into a thirty-day long polar night. Comic book adaptations like the Blade series, Constantine (2005), and Hellboy (2004) also became box office successes. The Resident Evil video game franchise was adapted into a film released in March 2002, and several sequels followed. Other video game adaptations like Doom (2005) and Silent Hill (2006) also had moderate box office success. Some pronounced trends have marked horror films. Films from non-English language countries have become successful. The Devil's Backbone (2001) is such an example. It is a 2001 Spanish-Mexican gothic horror film directed by Guillermo del Toro, and written by del Toro, David Muñoz, and Antonio Trashorras. A French horror film Brotherhood of the Wolf
Brotherhood of the Wolf
(2001) became the second-highest-grossing French language
French language
film in the United States in the last two decades. The Swedish film Let the Right One In (2008) was also successful. REC is a 2007 Spanish zombie horror film, co-written and directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza. Martyrs (2008), a French-Canadian horror film, was controversial upon its release, receiving polarizing reviews. Another notable film is The Orphanage (2007), a Spanish horror film and the debut feature of Spanish filmmaker J. A. Bayona. A Tale of Two Sisters is a 2003 South Korean psychological drama horror film written and directed by Kim Jee-woon. Another trend is the emergence of psychology to scare audiences, rather than gore. The Others (2001) proved to be a successful example of a psychological horror film. A minimalist approach which was equal parts Val Lewton's theory of "less is more", usually employing the low-budget techniques utilized on The Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project
(1999), has been evident, particularly in the emergence of Asian horror movies which have been remade into successful Americanized versions, such as The Ring (2002), The Grudge
The Grudge
(2004), Dark Water (2005), and Pulse (2006). In March 2008, China banned the movies from its market.[26] Credo (2008) and Triangle (2009) are two British psychological horror films. What Lies Beneath
What Lies Beneath
(2000) is a supernatural horror film directed by Robert Zemeckis, starring Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford
and Michelle Pfeiffer
Michelle Pfeiffer
as a couple who experience a strange haunting of their home. Orphan (2009) is a notable psychological horror film. The films I Am Legend (2007), Quarantine (2008), Zombieland
(2009), and 28 Days Later
28 Days Later
(2002) featured an update of the apocalyptic and aggressive zombie genre. The latter film spawned a sequel: 28 Weeks Later (2007). An updated remake of Dawn of the Dead (2004) soon appeared as well as the zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead
Shaun of the Dead
(2004) and Spanish -Cuban comedy zombie film Juan of the Dead
Juan of the Dead
(2012). This resurgence led George A. Romero
George A. Romero
to return to his Living Dead series with Land of the Dead
Land of the Dead
(2005), Diary of the Dead
Diary of the Dead
(2007) and Survival of the Dead (2009).[27] Cannibals
were present in horror films such as Dahmer (2002), Wrong Turn
Wrong Turn
(2003), Tooth and Nail (2007) and Dying Breed (2008). The Australian film Wolf Creek (2005) written, co-produced, and directed by Greg McLean revolves around three backpackers who find themselves taken captive and after a brief escape, hunted down by Mick Taylor in the Australian outback. The film was ambiguously marketed as being "based on true events"; the plot bore elements reminiscent of the real-life murders of tourists by Ivan Milat in the 1990s, and Bradley Murdoch in 2001; and contained more extreme violence. An extension of this trend was the emergence of a type of horror with emphasis on depictions of torture, suffering and violent deaths, (variously referred to as "horror porn", "torture porn", "splatterporn" and "gore-nography") with films such as Ghost
Ship (2002), The Collector (2009), Saw (2004), Hostel (2005), and their respective sequels, frequently singled out as examples of emergence of this subgenre.[28] The Saw film series holds the Guinness World Record of the highest-grossing horror franchise in history.[29] Finally, with the arrival of Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Activity
(2007), which was well received by critics and an excellent reception at the box office, minimalist horror approach started by The Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project
was reaffirmed. Cloverfield
(2008) is another found footage horror film. The Mist (2007) is a science-fiction horror film based on the 1980 novella of the same name by Stephen King. Antichrist
(2009) is an English-language Danish experimental horror film written and directed by Lars von Trier, and starring Willem Dafoe
Willem Dafoe
and Charlotte Gainsbourg. The Exorcism of Emily Rose
The Exorcism of Emily Rose
is a 2005 legal drama horror film directed by Scott Derrickson, loosely based on the story of Anneliese Michel. The Children (2008) is British horror film focusing on the mayhem created by several children. Remakes of earlier horror movies became routine in the 2000s. In addition to the remake of Dawn of the Dead (2004), as well as the remake of both Herschell Gordon Lewis' cult classic 2001 Maniacs (2003) and the remake of Tobe Hooper's classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), there was also the 2007 Rob Zombie-written and -directed remake of John Carpenter's Halloween.[30] The film focused more on Michael's backstory than the original did, devoting the first half of the film to Michael's childhood. It was critically panned by most,[31][32] but was a success in its theatrical run, spurring its own sequel. This film helped to start a "reimagining" riot in horror filmmakers. Among the many remakes or "reimaginings" of other popular horror films and franchises are films such as Thirteen Ghosts
Thirteen Ghosts
(2001), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Friday the 13th (2009),[33] Children of the Corn (2009),[34] Halloween (2007), Prom Night (2008), The Omen
The Omen
(2006), Carrie (2002), The Wicker Man (2006), Day of the Dead (2008), Night of the Demons (2009), My Bloody Valentine (2009), Willard (2003), Black Christmas (2006), The Amityville Horror (2005), April Fool's Day (2008), The Fog (2005), The Hitcher (2007), It's Alive (2009), When a Stranger Calls (2006), The Last House on the Left (2009). 2010s[edit] Remakes remain popular, with films such as A Nightmare
on Elm Street (2010),[35] The Crazies (2010), I Spit on Your Grave
I Spit on Your Grave
(2010), Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010), Fright Night
Fright Night
(2011), Maniac (2012), and Poltergeist (2015). The 1976 film Carrie saw its second remake in 2013, which is the third film adaptation of Stephen King's 1974 novel of the same name. Child's Play saw a sequel with Curse of Chucky (2013), while Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Hellraiser
all had reboots in the works.[36][37][38] The 2013 Evil
Dead is the fourth installment in the Evil
Dead franchise, and serves as a soft reboot of the original 1981 film and as a continuation to the original film trilogy. Serialized, found footage style web videos featuring Slender Man became popular on YouTube
in the beginning of the decade. Such series included TribeTwelve, EverymanHybrid, and Marble Hornets, the latter of which has been adapted into a feature film. The character as well as the multiple series is credited with reinvigorating interest in found footage as well as urban folklore. Horror has become prominent on television with The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, and The Strain. Also, many popular horror films have had successful television series made: Psycho spawned Bates Motel, The Silence of the Lambs spawned Hannibal, and both Scream and Friday the 13th had TV series in development.[39][40] You're Next
You're Next
(2011) and The Cabin in the Woods
The Cabin in the Woods
(2012) led to a return to the slasher genre; the latter was intended also as a critical satire of torture porn.[41] The Green Inferno (2015) pays homage to the controversial horror film Cannibal Holocaust
Cannibal Holocaust
(1980). Australian psychological horror The Babadook
The Babadook
(2014) was met with critical acclaim. It Follows
It Follows
(2014) subverted traditional horror tropes of sexuality and slasher films and enjoyed commercial and critical success. The Conjuring
The Conjuring
deal with the paranormal. Sinister (2012) is a British-American supernatural horror film directed by Scott Derrickson and written by Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill. Another notable supernatural horror film is Insidious (2010). The Witch (2015) is a historical period supernatural horror film written and directed by Robert Eggers
Robert Eggers
in his directorial debut, which follows a Puritan family encountering forces of evil in the woods beyond their New England farm. Get Out
Get Out
(2017) received universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Adapted from the Stephen King
Stephen King
novel, It (2017) set a box office record for horror films by grossing $123.1 million on opening weekend in the United States and nearly $185 million globally.[42] Gerald's Game (2017) is a psychological horror film based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. Other horror films include Frozen (2010), The Innkeepers (2011), Oculus (2013), Mama (2013), Green Room (2015), The Invitation (2015), Hush (2016), Lights Out (2016), Don't Breathe
Don't Breathe
(2016). The success of non-English language films continued with the Swedish film Marianne (2011), while Let the Right One In (2008) was the subject of a Hollywood remake, Let Me In (2010). South Korean horror produced I Saw the Devil
I Saw the Devil
(2010) and Train to Busan (2016). Raw is a 2016 French-Belgian horror drama written and directed by Julia Ducournau, and starring Garance Marillier. Subgenres[edit]

Action horror – A subgenre combining the intrusion of an evil force, event, or personage of horror movies with the weapon fights and frenetic chases of the action genre. Themes or elements often prevalent in typical action-horror films include gore, demons, aliens, vicious animals, vampires and, most commonly, zombies. This category also fuses the fantasy genre. Examples include: Aliens, Predator, Dog Soldiers, From Dusk till Dawn, I Saw the Devil, Priest, Feast and Train to Busan. Horror adventure - A film that blends expeditions, exploration, exotic places and other adventure elements in a horror setting. Examples include: King Kong, The Descent, Silent Hill, Jaws, Cannibal Holocaust. Comedy horror
Comedy horror
– Combines elements of comedy and horror fiction. The comedy horror genre often crosses over with the black comedy genre and are occasionally also horror films with a lower rating aimed at a family audience. The short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
by Washington Irving
Washington Irving
is cited as "the first great comedy-horror story".[43] Examples of comedy horror films include: An American Werewolf
in London, Beetlejuice, Jennifer's Body, Teeth, Nina Forever, Slither, Army of Darkness, Zombieland, Scary Movie
Scary Movie
and Idle Hands. Gremlins
and Ghostbusters were examples of comedy horror films aimed at a family audience. Body horror – In which the horror is principally derived from the graphic destruction or degeneration of the body. Other types of body horror include unnatural movements, or the anatomically incorrect placement of limbs to create 'monsters' out of human body parts. David Cronenberg is one of the notable directors of the genre. Body horror films include: Starry Eyes, Videodrome, Dead Ringers, Contracted, The Thing, The Fly and American Mary. Horror drama – A film that focuses on imperiled characters dealing with realistic emotional struggles, often involving dysfunctional family relations, in a horror setting. The film's horror elements often serve as a backdrop to an unraveling dramatic plot. Examples include: Dark Water, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Lights Out, The Babadook, The Fly, It, Let the Right One In, Antichrist, Excision, Mama, Mirrors and Audition. Holiday horror – A film which depicts horror events which are set during a holiday or holiday season. It often involves a psychopathic killer stalking a sequence of victims in a violent manner. It is set during Christmas, Halloween, Valentine's Day, April Fools' Day, or Thanksgiving. Examples include: Silent Night, Deadly Night, Black Christmas, Halloween, My Bloody Valentine, Home Sweet Home, April Fool's Day, Valentine, Trick 'r Treat
Trick 'r Treat
and All Through the House. Psychological horror – Relies on characters' fears, guilt, beliefs, eerie sound effects, relevant music, emotional instability and at times, the supernatural and ghosts, to build tension, scare and further the plot. Notable psychological horror films include: Repulsion, Rosemary's Baby, The Silence Of The Lambs , The Shining, May, Credo, Black Swan, The Changeling, The Uninvited and Get Out. Science fiction
Science fiction
horror – Often revolves around subjects that include but are not limited to killer aliens, mad scientists, and/or experiments gone wrong. Examples include: Frankenstein, Species, Mimic, Alien, The Fly, The Thing, The Blob, Apollo 18, Event Horizon and Resident Evil. Slasher film
Slasher film
– Often revolves around a serial killer who systematically murders people through violent means. Examples include: Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Black Christmas, A Nightmare
on Elm Street, Child's Play (1988), and Scream. Splatter film
Splatter film
– These films deliberately focus on graphic portrayals of gore and graphic violence. Through the use of special effects and excessive blood and guts, they tend to display an overt interest in the vulnerability of the human body and the theatricality of its mutilation. Examples of splatter horror films include: Inside, Train, The Human Centipede, Hostel, Saw, Blood Feast, Storm Warning and Maniac. Supernatural horror – Includes menacing ghosts, demons, or other depictions of supernatural occurrences. Supernatural horror films often combine elements of religion into the plot. Common themes include vengeful ghosts, witches, the devil, and demonic possession. Examples include: The Ring, The Grudge, The Amityville Horror, It, The Omen, The Exorcist, Paranormal
Activity, The Blair Witch Project, The Conjuring, Silent Hill, Sinister Gothic horror – Gothic horror is a type of story that contains elements of goth and horror. At times it may have romance that unfolds in the setting of a horror tale, usually suspenseful. Some of the earliest horror movies were of this subgenre. Examples include: Dracula, Sleepy Hollow, The Others, The Phantom of the Opera, Kill, Baby, Kill, Nosferatu, and Crimson Peak. Natural horror – A subgenre of horror films "featuring nature running amok in the form of mutated beasts, carnivorous insects, and normally harmless animals or plants turned into cold-blooded killers."[44] This genre may sometimes overlap with the science fiction and action and adventure genres. Examples include: The Birds, Jaws, Piranha, Bats, Lake Placid, Rogue, Alligator, Black Water Zombie
film – Zombie
films feature creatures who are usually portrayed as either reanimated corpses or mindless human beings. Distinct subgenres have evolved, such as the zombie comedy, which may or may not retain a significant horror theme, and often crosses into black comedy. Examples include: White Zombie, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, REC, 28 Days Later, Deadgirl, Dead Snow, Night of the Creeps and Messiah of Evil. Found footage horror: A film "technique" sometimes referred to as a subgenre which involves giving the audience a first person view of the story that is discovered from an original recording source within the plot. Recording film in this way merges the audience with the character’s experiences inducing suspense, shock, and bafflement.[45] Examples of first-person horror include The Blair Witch Project (1999), Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Activity
(2007), Cloverfield
(2008), and Devil's Due (2014) [46] Teen horror – A horror subgenre that victimizes teenagers while usually promoting strong, anti-conformity teenage leads, appealing to young generations. This subgenre often depicts themes of sex, under-aged drinking, and gore. It was most popular in 1964-1965.[47] Cyber horror – A film which is either has its narrative told all through a computer or any other form of technology, or that utilizes technology as a key plot element. Examples include Unfriended
and The Den.

Influences[edit] Influences on society[edit] Horror films' evolution throughout the years has given society a new approach to resourcefully utilize their benefits. The horror film style has changed over time, but in 1996 Scream set off a "chain of copycats", leading to a new variety of teenage, horror movies.[48] This new approach to horror films began to gradually earn more and more revenue as seen in the progress of Scream movies; the first movie earned $6 million and the third movie earned $101 million.[48] The importance that horror films have gained in the public and producers’ eyes is one obvious effect on our society. Horror films' income expansion is only the first sign of the influences of horror flicks. The role of women and how women see themselves in the movie industry has been altered by the horror genre. Early horror films such as My Bloody Valentine (1981), Halloween (1978), and Friday the 13th (1980) were produced mostly for male audiences in order to "feed the fantasies of young men".[49] This idea is no longer prevalent in horror films, as women have become not only the main audience and fans of horror films but also the main protagonists of contemporary horror films.[50] Movie makers have also begun to integrate topics more broadly associated with other genres into their films in order to grow audience appeal.[49] Many early horror films created high social and legal controversy. In the US, the Motion Picture Production Code
Motion Picture Production Code
was in force between 1930 and 1968, although it was strictly enforced only from 1934 to the late 1950s. The Code set guidelines of what was morally acceptable to show in movies, and, as such, it restrained movies containing controversial themes, severe violence, explicit sexuality or nudity. The gradual abandonment of the Code, and eventually its formal repeal in 1968 (when it was replaced by the MPAA film rating system) offered more freedom to the movie industry. Nevertheless, controversy continued to surround horror movies, and many continued to face censorship issues in many countries. An example of such film is the 1978 I Spit on Your Grave, an American rape-and-revenge exploitation horror film written, co-produced, directed, and edited by Meir Zarchi. The film was received negatively by critics, but it attracted a great deal of national and international attention due to its explicit scenes of rape, murder and prolonged nudity which led it to be banned in many countries, including Ireland, Norway, Iceland, and West Germany. Many of these countries have in later years removed the ban, but the film remains prohibited in Ireland.[51] Influences internationally[edit] While horror is only one genre of film, the influence it presents to the international community is large. Horror movies tend to be a vessel for showing eras of audiences issues across the globe visually and in the most effective manner. Jeanne Hall, a film theorist, agrees with the use of horror films in easing the process of understanding issues by making use of their optical elements.[52] The use of horror films to help audiences understand international prior historical events occurs, for example, to show the horridness of the Vietnam War, the Holocaust
and the worldwide AIDS epidemic.[53] However, horror movies do not always present positive endings. In fact, in many occurrences the manipulation of horror presents cultural definitions that are not accurate, yet set an example to which a person relates to that specific cultural from then on in their life.[54] The visual interpretations of films can be lost in the translation of their elements from one culture to another like in the adaptation of the Japanese film Ju on into the American film The Grudge. The cultural components from Japan were slowly "siphoned away" to make the film more relatable to a western audience.[55] This deterioration that can occur in an international remake happens by over-presenting negative cultural assumptions that, as time passes, sets a common ideal about that particular culture in each individual.[54] Holm's discussion of The Grudge
The Grudge
remakes presents this idea by stating, "It is, instead, to note that The Grudge
The Grudge
films make use of an un-theorized notion of Japan... that seek to directly represent the country." See also[edit]

Horror fiction
Horror fiction

Lists of horror films

horror films Cannibalism in popular culture Chinese horror List of disaster films Fangoria German underground horror Japanese horror Horror and terror Horror fiction List of ghost films List of horror film villains List of natural horror films Misogyny in horror films Monsters in fiction Monster
movie Racism in horror films Social thriller Survival horror
Survival horror
games Universal monsters Urban Gothic Vampire
film Werewolf



^ Steve Bennett. "Definition Horror Fiction Genre". Find me an author. Retrieved 24 April 2012.  ^ a b "The True Origin of the Horror Film". Pages.emerson.edu. Retrieved 24 April 2012.  ^ "J-Horror: An Alternative Guide". Japanzine. 29 September 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2016.  ^ "Edison's Frankenstein". Filmbuffonline.com. 15 March 1910. Archived from the original on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012.  ^ Clarens, Carlos (1997) [1967, Capricorn Books, pp. 37-41]. An Illustrated History of The Horror Film. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0306808005.  ^ Worland, Rick. The Horror Film: An Introduction. Blackwell Publisher. pp. 144 – pg.146. ISBN 1-4051-3902-1.  ^ Kinnard, Roy (1999). Horror in Silent Films: A Filmography, 1896-1929. North Carolina: McFarland. pp. 189–190. ISBN 978-0786407514.  ^ The American Horror Film by Reynold Humpries ^ Derek Malcolm "Tod Browning: Freaks", The Guardian, 15 April 1999; A Century of Films, London: IB Tauris, 2000, p.66-67. ^ David J. Skal, The Monster
Show: a Cultural History of Horror, New York: Faber, p.142. ^ J Gordon Melton (2010). "The Vampire
Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead". p. 247. Visible Ink Press ^ "Fangs for the memories: The A-Z of vampires" (October 31, 2009). The Independent.  ^ Charles Derry, Dark Dreams: A Psychological History of the Modern Horror Film; A S Barnes & Co, 1977. ^ Geoff Andrew, "The Incredible Shrinking Man", in John Pym (ed.) Time Out Film Guide 2009, London: Penguin, 2008, p.506. ^ "A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss - Q&A with Mark Gatiss". BBC Four. Retrieved 27 September 2017.  ^ "Hammer Horror". British Film Institute. December 27, 2017.  ^ "Frankenstein: Behind the monster smash". BBC. 1 January 2018.  ^ Mark D. Eckel (2014). "When the Lights Go Down". p. 167. WestBow Press. ^ Wilson, Karina. "Horror Movies In The 1960s: Bad Girls And Blood Freaks". Horror Film History. Retrieved 14 October 2017.  ^ "Cannibalistic Capitalism and other American Delicacies". Naomi Merritt.  ^ The American Horror Film by Reynold Humphries ^ American Horror Film edited by Stefen Hantke ^ "The Horror: It just won't die". Acmi.net.au. 17 September 2004. Archived from the original on 16 May 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012.  ^ http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-16344420 ^ "Horror Films in the 1980s". Mediaknowall.com. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012.  ^ China Bans Horror Movies – Shanghai Daily, March 2008. ^ George A. Romero's Survival of The Dead: More Horror News, 6 May 2010. ^ Box Office for Horror Movies Is Weak: Verging on Horrible: RAK Times, 11 June 2007. ^ Kit, Zorianna (22 July 2010). "'Saw' movie franchise to get Guinness World Record". MSNBC. Reuters. Retrieved 22 July 2010.  ^ I Spit on Your Horror Movie Remakes – MSNBC 2005 opinion piece on horror remakes ^ Halloween – Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 7 September 2007. ^ Halloween (2007): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved 7 September 2007. ^ "Friday the 13th: The Remake". Archived from the original on 23 August 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2008.  ^ Aviles, Omar. "Corn remake cast". JoBlo.com. Retrieved 11 April 2009.  ^ " Nightmare
on Elm Street Sets Release Date". Shock Till You Drop. 5 March 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2009.  ^ "Friday the 13th (2016)". IMDb. 13 May 2016.  ^ " Clive Barker
Clive Barker
Writing Hellraiser
Remake". IMDb.  ^ "Halloween Returns". IMDb.  ^ "MTV's 'Scream' TV Series Plot Details & Character Descriptions". Screenrant.com. Retrieved 2014-08-23.  ^ Fleming, Mike (2014-04-24). "'Friday The 13th' Series: Horror Franchise To Become TV Show". Deadline. Retrieved 2014-08-23.  ^ Film, Total. "Joss Whedon talks The Cabin in the Woods". TotalFilm.com. Retrieved 17 April 2012.  ^ https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2017/09/11/it-box-office-pennywise-is-bigger-than-jesus-with-a-123m-weekend/#5ce38d455c85 ^ Hallenbeck 2009, p. 3 ^ "Natural Horror Top rated Most Viewed – AllMovie". Allrovi.com. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012.  ^ refMcRobert, Neil. "Mimesis of Media: Found Footage Cinema and the Horror of the Real." Gothic Studies, vol. 17, no. 2, Nov. 2015, pp. 137-150. EBSCOhost, doi:10.7227/GS.17.2.9 ^ Reyes, Xavier Aldana. "Reel Evil: A Critical Reassessment of Found Footage Horror." Gothic Studies, vol. 17, no. 2, Nov. 2015, pp. 122-136. EBSCOhost, doi:10.7227/GS.17.2.8. ^ Miller C, Van Riper A. Marketing, Monsters, and Music: Teensploitation Horror Films. Journal of American Culture [serial online]. June 2015;38(2):130-141. Available from: Academic Search Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed 21 March 2017. ^ a b Stack, Tim. "Oh, The Horror". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 19 April 2012.  ^ a b Nowell, Richard. ""There's More Than One Way to Lose Your Heart": the American film industry, early teen slasher films, and female youth."". Cinema Journal. Retrieved 24 April 2012.  ^ Spines, Christine. "Chicks dig scary movies". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 15 April 2012.  ^ https://www.irishtimes.com/news/re-release-of-i-spit-on-your-grave-banned-by-film-body-1.653261 ^ Lizardi, Ryan. "Hegemony and Misogyny in the Contemporary Slasher Remake" (PDF). Journal of Popular Film and Television.  ^ Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra. History and Horror. Screen Education.  ^ a b Carta, Silvio (2011). "Orientalism in the Documentary Representation of Culture". Visual Anthropology. 24 (5): 403–420. doi:10.1080/08949468.2011.604592. Retrieved 7 March 2013.  ^ Holm, Nicholas. "Ex(or)cising the Spirit of Japan: Ringu, The Ring, and the Persistence of Japan". Journal of Popular Film and Television. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 


Worland, Rick (2006). The Horror Film: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing. pp. 73, 176–178, 184. 

Further reading[edit]

Dixon, Wheeler Winston. A History of Horror. (Rutgers University Press; 2010), ISBN 978-0-8135-4796-1. Steffen Hantke, ed. American Horror Film: The Genre at the Turn of the Millennium (University Press of Mississippi; 2010), 253 pages. Petridis, Sotiris (2014). "A Historical Approach to the Slasher Film". Film International
Film International
12 (1): 76-84.

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