From black and white silent films to immortal demons, the horror genre has had plenty of twist and turns. There’s nothing better than locking the doors and windows, turning off the lights, grabbing the nearest cushion and sitting back for a night of great horror films; just make sure you don’t answer your phone.
The horror genre began with such great classics as Nosferatu and of course the original monster films: Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Dracula. The next level climax era was symbolised by Hammer Films who are known for making some of the best horror films ever (led by the masterful Christopher Lee).
One of the most popular forms of horror occurred between the 1960s-1990s: the Slasher. Starting with Peeping Tom, a film that was shot from the killer’s perspective, there have been a number of examples where a crazed killer is out to wreck havoc on innocent people (often teenagers). Psycho, one of Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpieces, subverted the audience’s perception of the genre by killing one of the main characters early on in the film. Scream also took this style to heart by killing Drew Barrymore’s character in the first scene, where many people believed her to be the main character. In the world of Slasher films nowhere is safe from the killer: no matter where you are there is always an insane person with a butcher knife, machete or razor finger waiting.
The next big thing in the horror genre was a new way of terrifying the audience with the deadly unknown: the psychological horror. Not giving the audience the comfort of slight, many films never showed what it was that caused death. The Blair Witch Project is one of the best examples: no villain or enemy is shown, but the young film makers are so distressed that the audience creates the villain. The Paranormal Activity series took this style to the next level by freaking the audience out, while making them think “how the hell did they do that?”
The latest addition to horror is the most gruesome, making audiences turn away in disgust while always keeping one eye of the screen. Splatter films have often been banned in many countries due to their heavy use of blood and the graphic ways people die. The most famous recent example of the Splatter film is Saw. The audience loved the twist and turns which helped create way too many sequels.
The horror genre has created some of the best moments in cinematic history. With its ups and downs, the genre’s light doesn’t seem close to going out as remake after remake are being pumped out each year and, as new film makers enter the fold, who knows what the future has in store?