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
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)