Films from the horror genre are designed to elicit fright, fear, terror, disgust or horror from viewers. In horror film plots, evil forces, events, or characters, sometimes of supernatural origin, intrude into the everyday world. Horror film characters include vampires, zombies, monsters, serial killers, and a range of other fear-inspiring characters. Early horror films often drew inspiration from characters and stories from classic literature, such as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, The Phantom of the Opera and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Horror films have been criticized for their graphic violence and dismissed by film critics as low budget B-movies and exploitation films. Nonetheless, some major studios and respected directors have made forays into the genre, and more recent generations of critics have analyzed horror films. Some horror films draw on other genres, such as science fiction, fantasy, black comedy, and thrillers.
What is "The Bell Witch Haunting" movie?
"The Bell Witch Haunting" is Willing Hearts Production's acclaimed motion picture based on America's greatest true haunting. It is a powerful supernatural thriller that boldly mixes a frightful ghost story with a great suspense plot. This historic thriller is based on actual events that happened from 1817 to 1821, in which a vengeful spirit tormented John Bell and his family, leaving him in a terrifying fight to save his children and his own life! Over a four year period, hundreds of people witnessed the Spirit's amazing demonstrations and heard it speak... Click here for more information and to see trailer
"The Bell Witch Haunting"
"I would rather face the whole British army, than face the Bell Witch again!"
-Andrew Jackson, President of the United States
The horror genre is nearly as old as film itself. The first depictions of supernatural events appear in several of the silent shorts created by film pioneers such as Georges Méliès in the late 1890s, the most notable being his 1896 Le Manoir du diable (aka "The Devil's Castle") which is sometimes credited as being the first horror film. Another of his horror projects was the 1898 La Caverne maudite (aka "The Cave of the Demons").
The early 20th century brought more milestones for the horror genre including the first monster to appear in a full-length horror film, Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre-Dame who had appeared in Victor Hugo's book, "Notre-Dame de Paris" (published in 1831). Films featuring Quasimodo included Alice Guy's Esmeralda (1906), The Hunchback (1909), The Love of a Hunchback (1910) and Notre-Dame de Paris (1911).
Many of the earliest feature length 'horror films' were created by German film makers in 1910s and 1920s, many of which were a significant influence on later Hollywood films. Paul Wegener's The Golem (1915) was seminal; in 1920 Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was both controversial with American audiences, due to postwar sentiments, and influential in its Expressionistic style; the most enduring horror film of that era was probably the first vampire-themed feature, F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922), an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Early Hollywood dramas dabbled in horror themes, including versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Monster (1925) (both starring Lon Chaney, Sr., the first American horror movie star). His most famous role, however, was in The Phantom of the Opera (1925), perhaps the true predecessor of Universal's famous horror series.
It was in the early 1930s that American film producers, particularly Universal Pictures Co. Inc., popularized the horror film, bringing to the screen a series of successful Gothic features including Dracula (1931), and The Mummy (1932), some of which blended science fiction films with Gothic horror, such as James Whale's Frankenstein (1931) and The Invisible Man (1933). These films, while designed to thrill, also incorporated more serious elements, and were influenced by the German expressionist films of the 1920s. Some actors began to build entire careers in such films, most notably Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.
Other studios of the day had less spectacular success, but Rouben Mamoulian's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Paramount, 1931) and Michael Curtiz's Mystery of the Wax Museum (Warner Brothers, 1933) were both important horror films.
Universal's horror films continued into the 1940s with The Wolf Man 1941, not the first werewolf film, but certainly the most influential. Throughout the decade Universal also continued to produce more sequels in the Frankenstein series, as well as a number of films teaming up several of their monsters. Also in that decade, Val Lewton would produce a series of influential and atmospheric B-pictures for RKO Pictures, including Cat People (1942), I Walked with a Zombie (1943) and The Body Snatcher (1945).
With the dramatic changes in technology that occurred in the 1950s, the tone of horror films shifted away from the gothic towards science fiction. A seemingly endless parade of low-budget productions featured humanity overcoming threats from "outside": alien invasions and deadly mutations to people, plants, and insects. These films provided ample opportunity for audience exploitation, with gimmicks such as 3-D and "Percepto" (producer William Castle's pseudo-electric-shock technique used for 1959's The Tingler) drawing audiences in week after week for bigger and better scares. The classier horror films of this period, including The Thing from Another World (1951; attributed on screen to Christian Nyby but widely considered to be the work of Howard Hawks) and Don Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) managed to channel the paranoia of the Cold War into atmospheric creepiness without resorting to direct exploitation of the events of the day. Filmmakers would continue to merge elements of science fiction and horror over the following decades.
The late 1950s and early 1960s saw the rise of production companies focused on producing horror films, including the British company Hammer Film Productions. Hammer enjoyed huge international success from full-blooded technicolor films involving classic horror characters, often starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, such as The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula (1958), and The Mummy (1959) and many sequels. Hammer, and director Terence Fisher, are widely acknowledged as pioneers of the modern horror movie. Other companies contributed to a boom in horror film production in Britain in the 1960s and '70s, including Tigon-British and Amicus, the latter best known for their anthology films like Dr Terror's House of Horrors (1965).
American International Pictures (AIP) also made a series of Edgar Allan Poe–themed films produced by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price. These sometimes controversial productions paved the way for more explicit violence in both horror and mainstream films.
In the 1960s the genre moved towards "psychological horror", with thrillers such as Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) using all-too-human monsters rather than supernatural ones to scare the audience; Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960) was a notable example of this. Psychological horror films would continue to appear sporadically, with 1991's The Silence of the Lambs a later highlight of the subgenre, although some of these films also cross into the crime or thriller genre).
Ghosts and monsters still remained popular: The Innocents (1961) and The Haunting (1963) were two supernaturally-tinged psychological horror films from the early 1960s, with high production values and gothic atmosphere. Hitchcock's The Birds (1963) had a more modern backdrop; it was a prime example of "nature-goes-mad" menace combined with psychological horror.
Low-budget gore-shock films from the likes of Herschell Gordon Lewis also appeared. Examples included 1963's Blood Feast (a devil-cult story) and 1964's Two Thousand Maniacs (a ghost town run by the shades of Southerners), which featured splattering blood and bodily dismemberment.
One of the most influential horror films of the late 1960s was George Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968). This zombie film was later deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" enough to be preserved by the United States National Film Registry. Blending psychological thriller with gore, it moved the genre even further away from the gothic horror trends of earlier eras and brought horror into everyday life.
With the demise of the Production Code of America in 1964, and the financial successes of the low-budget gore films churned out in the ensuing years, plus an increasing public fascination with the occult, the genre was able to be reshaped by a series of intense, often gory horror movies with sexual overtones, made as "A-movies" (as opposed to "B-movies"). Some of these films were made by respected auteurs.
Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby (1968) was a critical and popular success, and a precursor to the 1970s occult explosion, which included the box office smash The Exorcist (1973) (directed by William Friedkin and written by William Peter Blatty, who also wrote the novel), and scores of other horror films in which the Devil became the supernatural evil, often by impregnating women or possessing children. Evil children and reincarnation became popular subjects (as in Robert Wise's 1977 film Audrey Rose, which dealt with a man who claims his daughter is the reincarnation of another dead person). Another popular satanic horror movie was The Omen (1976), where a man realizes his five year old adopted son is the Antichrist. Being by doctrine invincible to solely human intervention, Satan-villained films also cemented the relationship between horror film, postmodern style and a dystopian worldview.
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 Last House on the Left (1972) and Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) both recalled the horrors of the Vietnam war and pushed boundaries to the edge; George Romero satirised the consumer society in his 1978 zombie sequel, Dawn of the Dead; Canadian director David Cronenberg updated the "mad scientist" movie subgenre by exploring contemporary fears about technology and society, and reinventing "body horror", starting with Shivers (1975).
Also in the 1970s, horror author Stephen King, a child of the 1960s, first arrived on the film scene. Adaptations of many of his books came to be filmed for the screen, beginning with Brian DePalma's adaptation of King's first published novel, Carrie (1976), which went on to be nominated for Academy Awards, although it has often been noted that its appeal was more for its psychological exploration as for its capacity to scare. John Carpenter, who had previously directed the stoner comedy Dark Star (1974) and the Howard Hawks-inspired action film Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), created the hit Halloween (1978), kick-starting the modern "slasher film". This subgenre would be mined by dozens of increasingly violent movies throughout the subsequent decades, Halloween has also become one of the most successful independent films ever made. Other notable '70s slasher films include Bob Clark's Black Christmas (1974).
In 1975, Steven Spielberg began his ascension to fame with Jaws, a film notable for not only its expertly crafted horror elements but also for its success at the box office. The film kicked off a wave of killer animal stories such as Joe Dante's Piranha, Orca, and Up From The Depths. Jaws is also 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.
1979's Alien combined the naturalistic acting and graphic violence of the 1970s with the monster movie plots of earlier decades, and re-acquainted horror with science fiction. It spawned a long-lasting franchise, and countless imitators.
At the same time, there was an explosion of horror films in Europe, particularly from the hands of Italian filmmakers like Mario Bava, Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, and Spanish filmmakers like Jacinto Molina (aka Paul Naschy) and Jesus Franco, which were dubbed into English and filled drive-in theaters that could not necessarily afford the expensive rental contracts of the major producers. These films were influenced by the success of Hammer in the 1960s and early '70s, and generally featured traditional horror subjects - e.g. vampires, werewolves, psycho-killers, demons, zombies - but treated them with a distinctive European style that included copious gore and sexuality (of which mainstream American producers overall were still a little skittish). Notable national outputs were the "giallo" films from Italy and the Jean Rollin romantic/erotic films from France.
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, filmmakers were starting to be inspired by Hammer and Euro-horror to produce exploitation horror with a uniquely Asian twist. Shaw Studios produced Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1973) in collaboration with Hammer, and went on to create their own original films. The genre boomed at the start of the 1980s, with Sammo Hung's Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1981) launching the sub-genre of "kung-fu comedy horror", a sub-genre prominently featuring hopping corpses and tempting ghostly females known as fox spirits, of which the best known examples were Mr. Vampire (1985) and A Chinese Ghost Story (1987).
Almost any successful 1980s horror film received sequels. 1982's Poltergeist (directed by Tobe Hooper) was followed by two sequels and a television series. The seemingly-endless sequels to Halloween, Friday the 13th (1980), and Wes Craven's supernatural slasher A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) were the popular face of horror films in the 1980s, a trend reviled by most critics. Another popular horror film of the '80s, Stephen King and George A. Romero's Creepshow spawned a lesser sequel in 1987, Creepshow 2.
Nevertheless, original horror films continued to appear sporadically: Clive Barker's Hellraiser (1987) and Tom Holland's Child's Play (1988) were both praised by some, although their success again launched multiple sequels, which were considered inferior by fans and critics alike. Also released in 1980 was Stanley Kubrick's austere supernatural thriller The Shining which became one of the most popular and influential horror films of the decade.
As the cinema box office returns for serious, gory modern horror began to dwindle (as exemplified by John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), it began to find a new audience in the growing home video market, although the new generation of films was less sombre in tone. Motel Hell (1980) and Frank Henenlotter's Basket Case (1982) were the first 1980s films to campily mock the dark conventions of the previous decade (zombie films like Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead had contained black comedy and satire, but were in general more dark than funny). David Cronenberg's graphic and gory remake of The Fly, was released in 1986, about a few weeks from the James Cameron film Aliens, Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator, Dan O'Bannon's The Return of the Living Dead, and Lloyd Kaufman's The Toxic Avenger (all 1985), soon followed. In Evil Dead II (1987), Sam Raimi's explicitly slapstick sequel to the relatively sober The Evil Dead (1981), the laughs were often generated by the gore, defining the archetypal splatter comedy. New Zealand director Peter Jackson followed in Raimi's footsteps with the ultra-gory micro-budget feature Bad Taste (1987). The same year, from Germany's Jörg Buttgereit, came Nekromantik, a disturbing film about the life and death of a necrophiliac.
Horror films continued to cause controversy: in the UK, the growth in home video led to growing public awareness of horror films of the types described above, and concern about the ease of availability of such material to children. Many films were dubbed "video nasties" and banned. In the USA, Silent Night, Deadly Night, a very controversial film from 1984, failed at theatres and was eventually withdrawn from distribution due to its subject matter: a killer Santa Claus.
In the first half of the 1990s, the genre continued with themes from the 1980s. It managed mild commercial success with films such as continuing sequels to the Child's Play and Leprechaun series. The slasher films A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Halloween all saw sequels in the 1990s, most of which met with varied amounts of success at the box office, but all were panned by fans and critics, with the exception of Wes Craven's New Nightmare.
Note: New Nightmare, with In the Mouth of Madness, The Dark Half, and Candyman, was part of a mini-movement of self-reflexive horror films. That is, 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 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 reflexive style became more overt and ironic with the arrival of Scream.
The Canadian film Cube (1997) was perhaps one of the few horror films of the 1990s to be based around a relatively novel concept; it was able to evoke a wide range of different fears, and touched upon a variety of social themes (such as fear of bureaucracy) that had previously been unexplored.
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, courtesy of the special effects possibilities with computer-generated imagery.
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 USA) took the splatter film to ridiculous excesses for comic effect. Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), featured an ensemble cast and the style of a different era, harking back to the sumptuous look of 1960s Hammer Horror, and a plot focusing just as closely on the romance elements of the Dracula tale as on the horror aspects. Wes Craven's Scream 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. It re-ignited the dormant slasher film genre.
Among the popular English-language horror films of the late 1990s, only 1999's surprise independent hit The Blair Witch Project attempted straight-ahead scares. But even then, the horror was accomplished in the context of a mockumentary, or mock-documentary. Other films such as M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense (1999) also concentrated more on unnerving and unsettling themes than on gore. Japanese horror films, such as Hideo Nakata's Ringu in 1998, and Masuru Tsushima's Otsuyu (aka The Haunted Lantern) (1997) also found success internationally with a similar formula.
The start of the 2000s saw the horror genre going into a slump as movies dealing with the supernatural had mild but not memorable success. Even the re-release of a restored version of The Exorcist in September of 2000 didn't quite cause a stir. Also, near-defunct franchises such as Freddy Vs. Jason somehow made it into theatres.
However, horror as a medium per se took two directions. The first, a minimal approach which was equal parts Val Lewton's theory of "less is more" (usually employing low-budget techniques seen on 1999's The Blair Witch Project) and the emergence of Japanese horror movies which have been remade into successful Americanized versions, such as The Ring (2002), and The Grudge (2004).
The second was a return to the extreme, graphic violence that characterized much of the type of low-budget, exploitation horror from the Seventies and the post-Vietnam years. Films like Hostel (2006), Saw (2004), House of 1000 Corpses (2003), The Devil's Rejects and the Australian film Wolf Creek (2005), took their cue from The Last House on the Left (1972), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and The Hills Have Eyes (1977). The latter two have also been remade: The Hills Have Eyes, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Other notorious examples are Audition(1999) and the Saw movies, which specialize in highly disturbing, art-directed, stylized violence.
There has been a return to the zombie genre in horror movies made after 2000. 28 Days Later... (2002) has been partially responsible for not just bringing zombies back into the forefront but also updating their overall attitude. Where they'd always been slow, lumbering creatures, in this film they became agile, filled with intelligence and rage (rage being the cause of their condition, contracted from infected monkeys), and postulated that coming into contact with just a drop of their blood could cause infection in 20 seconds. Because of this movie, an updated remake of Dawn of the Dead (2004) was made as well as Land of the Dead (2005) and even a spoof: the comedy-horror Shaun of the Dead (2004). More recently the popular video game franchise Silent Hill (2006) was given the big screen treatment and features an original storyline and a host of disturbing creatures that really set it apart from other recent horror films.
Edgar Allan Poe film "Nightmares from the Mind of POE"
About the movie...
Throughout Edgar Allan Poe’s life he was plagued with nightmares and the deaths of those he loved. Those nightmares and his tragic life were many times the basis for his stories and poems; often he found himself in the middle of those nightmares and stories as the victim or antagonist. “Nightmares from the Mind of Poe” brings to life those nightmares with Poe as part of the stories, as he dreamed and wrote them. In the movie, he struggles with nightmares, insomnia, sadness and despair in his own life as he creates his stories. The film brings to life four of the most well known tales from the master of suspense and horror - “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Cask of Amontillado”, “The Premature Burial” and “The Raven” ... CLICK HERE FOR TRAILER AND INFO
"Nightmares from the
Mind of POE"