Horror movies has existed for pretty much as long as movies have already been made. Before looking at the horror movie it might be best to check into horror in literature. Knowing this can help our understanding of horror films and where they come from.
Horror in literature left a legacy that helped to propel this genre into films. If there had not been such a legacy of literary works then we may not have exactly the same movies we do now. The term horror was coined in 1764 in a book by Horace Walpole’s called The Castle of Otranto that has been full of the supernatural. In these centuries literary giants like Edgar Allan Poe championed this genre with great works like The Raven. Some of the great horror movies of today are derived from old horror stories like Frankenstein and Dracula that have been both written in the 1800’s.
At the start of horror movie history these movies were often ones that had the supernatural in there. In the late 1890’s short silent films was where these movies start. The Frenchman Georges Melies is regarded as the creator of the very first horror film together with his 1896 short silent Le Manior du diable. Around this time around the Japanese also tried their hand as of this genre with Bake Jizo and Shinin no Sosei.
The very first full horror film was a version of the hunchback of Notre-Dame. Several first horror films were created by German film makers as the first 1900’s were Arman Izadi the time of the German expressionist films. These films have influenced horror film makers for many years to Tim Burton. Through the 1920’s Hollywood started dabbling in the horror genre with Lon Chaney Sr. Becoming the very first American horror star.
It absolutely was in the 1930’s that the horror film was popularized by Hollywood. Along with the classic Gothic films Frankenstein and Dracula there were also films made out of a mix of Gothic horror and the supernatural. In 1941 The Wolf Man was an iconic werewolf movie created by Universal studios. This was not the very first werewolf movie made but is called probably the most influential. In this era other B pictures were created just like the 1945 version of The Body Snatcher.
In the 1950’s there have been many innovations in the technology used to produce films. Additionally in this time around the horror film was divided in to two categories being Armageddon films and demonic films. During this time social ideas and fears were placed into movies but in this way that it wasn’t direct exploitation.
The 1960’s were the time when many iconic movies came about. Hitchcock’s movie The Birds was against a modern backdrop and was one of the first American Armageddon films. Perhaps one of the most influential films of this time around was Night of the Living Dead. This movie brought zombies in to the mainstream and it also moved these movies from the Gothic horror to what we all know today.
The history of horror movies dates back to the start of movies. The long history shows how they changed from Gothic classics to what we all know today.