Δευτέρα, 30 Απριλίου 2012

The History of Horror Cinema Part 2


The early days of Horror Cinema - Silent Films Part 2


The cornstone of horror films - the fearful surprise


It’s difficult to believe but the reader has to travel back in time and to imagine the first time when moving pictures were showed in France in 1895. The silent and super short film of Louis and Auguste Lumiere “Arrival of a Train at la Ciotat” - Lumiere N0 653 created the first fear full surprise to audience.

“women screamed, while men tried to hold on their reserve”

It was the reaction of the audience when they watched for the first time in their lives, a train to coming at them.

This reaction of the audience, fear because of an extraordinary surprise is the corn stone for the horror films creation.

You can see the historical film "Arrival of the train at la ciotat" Lumiere No 653



George Melies


George Meiles was a famous stage illusionist, inspired by the possibilities of the new medium of the kinetoscope (an invention of Thomas Edison) he bought a camera and started to create moving pictures of magic tricks.

He created the first film Studio in the Paris suburn of Montrevil and devised the first special effects. Sound simple, but during the early days of horror cinema the only available effect was to stop and restart the camera. By using this manual technique George Melies created the affect of appearance and disappearance of people or the affect to transform characters into skeletons and evil supernatural creatures.   

You can see an example of Lumiere's speciall effect works in his silent film Cinderella (1889)





Also in Melies classic film "The Haunted Caslte", the first horror film ever, uses this technique of closing and restarting camera many times. 

You can see the film "The Haunted Castle" on youtube  



To be continued 

Elias Stoikos 


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Relative resources for further reading

Σάββατο, 28 Απριλίου 2012

The History of Horror Cinema


The early days of Horror Cinema - Silent Films


Where the horror cinema was born ?


In Europe, in Grance, in Paris.  The theatre Robert - Houdin was the birthplace of horror cinema. On Christmas Eve - 1896, it was the first time in history of Cinema for the projection of a film with a supernatural theme - actually the theme of film was Mephistopheles.  




Le Manoir Du Diable (The haunted castle)


Was produced in 1896 by Star Studio (France) and directed by George Mellie’s. Also the script of the film was written by Georges Mille's.

The main character of Mephistopheles was performed by Jeanned d’ Alcy.




It is a 3 minutes short silent film.


Film opens with a large bat flying into a medieval castle, it transforms into Mephistopheles. Mephistopheles is the owner of the estate and plays by creating demons, skeletons and other evil supernatural creatures.




It’s a super short film, about 3 minutes but it has a script structure with three acts.


The first act (from 0 to 61 second) is about  the introduction of the evil character and his abilities and skills. The Mephistopheles, the filmmaker introduces the character by presenting him as a bat and then his transformation, abilities and his skills to create an army of evil servants and other supernatural creatures to serve him.


The second act (from 62 second till 3:11 ) is the introduction of the good character. An knight or a man of medieval aristocracy with his friend visits the Castle. Furniture appears and disappears. The place is haunted. The friend of main character escapes by running.

The main character stays in the castle and skeletons and other evil creatures appear in front of him. Finally, we can see the bat again and the transformation of bat into Mephistopheles. The struggle begins between the good character and the evil (the villain).


The third act, the good character uses a large cross and the evil poufs away.

The theme of the film

Only with faith you can win evil.


You can see the film on Youtube :



Elias Stoikos

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Παρασκευή, 27 Απριλίου 2012

Horror Films Part 5


Origins of the Horror Films Part 5 - Early days of Horror Cinema


I want to emphasize the importance of horror fiction as a source of inspiration for the development of Horror Cinema (Horror Films). At the first part, I highlight the importance of religious texts and mythology, the second part is about the Age of Enlightenment, the third part is about the influence of Industrial Revolution in horror fiction and publications, the forth part is about the period between 1880 - 1890. Finally, the fifth and last part of Horror Cinema Origins is about the influence of horror fiction in early horror movies.

The period of 1900s


The filmmakers of the 1910 - 1920 - 1930 use the best sellers of their time to ensure a guaranteed audience.

It’s rare but it can be found only in horror literature, authors known for their works in different themes such as Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Shelley Stevenson, H.G. Wells (The Island of Doctor Moreau - 1896) Gaston Leroux (The Phantom of the Opera - 1911) and Gustav Meyrink (The Golem - 1915)

Horror Fiction in Germany (1910 - 1930)


The German writer Hanns Heinz Ewers (personal friend of the occultist - Aleister Crowley) published the short stories Der Zauberlehrling (The Sorcerer Apprentice - 1907), The Spider (1915) and Vampyr (1921) .

Horror Fiction in England  (1910 - 1930)


M.R. James, re-invented the scary ghost story by writting the novel “Ghost Stories of an Antiquary” (1904) and the More Ghost Stories (1911).

Horror Fiction in United States (1910 - 1930)


H.P. Lovecraft is the most famous American writer of these particular period. The inspiration for his works are personal nightmares and the interpretation of symbolic υποσυνείδητο. His life was sort but his books inspired a large number of writers - among them Ramsey Campbell, Clive Barker and Steven King.

Lovecraft works are responsible also for the transformation of horror gender. His unique point of view to present the inside of a psychopath mind is the source of inspiration for the creation of novels such as  Psycho (1959).

Elias Stoikos

Related articles

Horror Films Part 3
Bibliography 
1. The rough guide to Horror Movies (Alan Jones)
2. 101 Horror Movies you must see before you die (Steven Jay Schneider)
3. Fangoria's 101 Best Horror Movies you have never seen : A celebration of the world's most unheralded fright flicks (Adam Lukerman
4. Horror Movie Freak (Don Summer)
5. Monsters in the movies (John Landis)
Online Resources 

Πέμπτη, 26 Απριλίου 2012

Horror Films Part 4


Origins of the Horror Films Part 4

I want to emphasize at the importance of horror fiction as a source of inspiration for the development of Horror Cinema (Horror Films). At the first part I highlight the importance of religious texts and mythology, the second part is about the Age of Enlightenment, the third part is about the influence of Industrial Revolution in horror fiction and publications.

The “sensational novel” reached the highest level of popularity in the 1880s and 1890s.





The Woman in White
Wilkie Collins wrote “The Woman in White” (1860) and it’s among the best plotted thrillers.

Ireland

During the period of 1880 – 1890, the Irish J. Sheridan Le Fanu created a series of supernatural tales with emphasizes on the mystery and the inexplicable. Among his famous works are Uncle Silas (1864) and his most famous story, the vampire tale Carmilla (1871).

The recognition of the horror literature

In the 1880s and 1890s the supernatural achieved a recognition and became a respectable literary subject. Horror literature attracted the interest of a large number of authors.
Robert Louis Stevenson
In 1886 Robert Louis Stevenson published his famous tale of a hubristic scientist. The master piece with the classic name “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the story of the book is about a divided or repressed personality.
France
In France Auguste Villiers del'Isle - Adam published the famous Contes Cruels (1883).   In 1891, the co-work of between Villiers de L’ Isle – Adam and Joris-Karl Huysmans (J.K. Huysmans) had as result, the production of the Satanist novel La bas (1891).
Oscar Wilde
The classic book of Oscar Wilde – “The Picture of Dorian Gray” (1890) is a masterpiece (a modern point of view of Faustian legend), it’s believed that was inspired by Huysman’s work.
Henry James
In 1889 Henry James enriched the gender by publishing the deeply ambiguous “The turn of the Screw” (1898) a story about Child abuse. Henry James wrote a large number of tales most of them about ghosts. “The Turn of the Screw” (1898) is the most significant of all.

Dracula

In 1897 Bram Stoker published the all time classic horror book Dracula (1897). A great book, it is written by using the point of view of many different characters. Dracula must be the most influential book in history of horror cinema.
The Real Crime case of Jack the Ripper
A series of women murders between August 1888 and July 1889 in London’s White chapel area that remain unsolved to this day were the inspiration for the development of Jack the Ripper legend.
The fictionalization of Jack the Ripper started almost immediately. Among the numerous book inspired by the legend of “Jack the Ripper”, is the “The Lodger” (1913) by Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes known also as Belloc.
Later, Aflred Hitchcock in 1926 filmed the silent horror film “The Lodger : The story of the London Fog ” based on the book of Belloc “The Lodger”.

To be continued

Elias Stoikos

Relative articles





Bibliography 

1. The rough guide to Horror Movies (Alan Jones)

2. 101 Horror Movies you must see before you die (Steven Jay Schneider)

3. Fangoria's 101 Best Horror Movies you have never seen : A celebration of the world's most unheralded fright flicks (Adam Lukerman

4. Horror Movie Freak (Don Summer)

5. Monsters in the movies (John Landis) 


Online Resources 



Τρίτη, 24 Απριλίου 2012

Horror Films Part 3


Origins of the Horror Films Part 3


I want to emphasize at the importance of horror fiction as a source of inspiration for the development of Horror Cinema (Horror Films). At the first part I highlight the importance of religious texts and mythology, the second part is about the Age of Enlightenment.

Horror fiction in the Age of Industrial revolution


The nineteenth century was the century of Industrial Revolution. The new technology was the force for economic development  and income increase. New innovations in printing industry decreased the cost of book printing even more. In this environment of technological developments, innovations and income increase the “penny dreadful” was born.




The most important terror tales of the Industrial Revolution period

I mention a sample of the most important, according to my opinion.   

1. The Phantom Ship (1839) by Frederick Marryat - it was inspired by the legend of the Flying Dutchman.

2. The Blue Drawtf (1861) by Lady Easther Hope.

3. Varney the Vampire (1845) by J.M. Rymer. It’s an early vampire story.


The horror theater during the Industrial Revolution


A large number of “penny dreadful” was the inspiration for great theater plays.  The most important of all is “The Murder in the Red Barn” (1840) by Maria Martin, based on a true murder story of 1827.


The Real Crime and the horror fiction during the industrial revolution


Newspapers during the age of Industrial Revolution published a large number of articles about real crime cases. These articles were the source of inspiration for the appearance of urban - legends.  

Among the real crime cases with a significance as inspiration for horror fiction are :

1. The case of “Spring - Heeled Jack”


The case of Spring-heeled Jack is the real story of a Boogie - Man who assaulted women indiscriminately and escaped from the crime scenes by taking giant leaps on supposedly spring - loaded boots. Rumours,  fantasy and mystery were the forces for the description of “Spring - Heeled Jack” as a monster with pointy ears and noise red eyes and with a demonic ability to emit flames from his mouth. The Spring - Heeled Jack, terrorised London during the decade of 1830s.      


2. The Body Snatcher       


In Scotland, the newspaper headlines were made by Scottish body snatchers in the late 1820s. It was the famous real crime story of Burke and Hare, known also as  the Scottish Body - Snatchers. As a result, of the newspaper publicity Robert Louis Stevenson was inspired and wrote the novel “The Body Snatcher” (1885).



3. Rookwood (1834)


Rookwood (1834) is the masterpiece of William Harrison Ainsworth. The Rookwood is based on the story of the highway man Dick Trupin. Unfortunately, nowdays the only Ainsworth novel to remain in print is the "Lancashire Witches" (1849), a book about the fictional story of a monk who sells his soul to Satan and brings forth a whole progeny of Witches.


4. Oliver Twist (1838)


Charles Dickens was also inspired by Crime Stories, the book “Oliver Twist” (1838)is based on a true crime story. Also Charles Dickens is the first author who used the character of a detective in British fiction (Inspector Bucket in the Bleak House - 1853). Charles Dickens created also some of the best ghost stories ever “A Christmas Carol” (1843) and “The Single - Man” (1860).




To be continued

Elias Stoikos

Relative articles


Bibliography 

1. The rough guide to Horror Movies (Alan Jones)

2. 101 Horror Movies you must see before you die (Steven Jay Schneider)

3. Fangoria's 101 Best Horror Movies you have never seen : A celebration of the world's most unheralded fright flicks (Adam Lukerman

4. Horror Movie Freak (Don Summer)

5. Monsters in the movies (John Landis)

Online Resources