An Illustrated History of the Horror Film by Carlos Clarens

By Carlos Clarens

Illustrated heritage of Horror motion pictures

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For adult audiences with a taste for the macabre there was But a welter of literary adaptations. In the spring of 1908, the Selig Company of Chicago released Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, of many versions of the Robert Louis Stevenson novella, Polyscope the first which had Richard Mansfield play Another film thriller, Sherlock Holmes and the Great Murder Mystery was inspired by Poe's Murders in the Rue Morgue, and Edison adapted the same writer's System of Dr. Tarr and Professor F ether, removing all traces of horror and releasing it as a comedy under the title of Lunatics in Power.

The cinema is an invention without a future" was Lumiere pere's discouraging advice. Undeterred, Melies went ahead and bought an English camera and an abundant supply of film stock. The first films he made were done in imitation of the Lumieres: card players, bicycle riders, strollers. These sun-drenched scenes, often recalling the paintings of Manet, were shown at the Robert-Houdin. But between 1896 and 1897, more than a dozen halls had opened in the center of Paris. Movies were in great demand and, despite Father Lumiere's pessimism, they were fast becoming a highly profitable proposition.

It was, and Moussorgsky, Debussy, still is, a highly sophisticated , these criticisms are valid. Yet the film succeeds in fusing all of its elements into a filmic whole, creating an atmosphere of anguish and terror that goes beyond the queer, crooked houses and the winding streets, working its spell in the dark solitude of the movie house. proved to be a dead end. The same year Wiene again attempted to experiment with distorted sets and pictorial effects. The result was a fiasco. Called Genuine, the film dealt with one of those totally destructive women that so often But Caligarism itself German literature, a pagan priestess of great beauty, sold an Arab market to a rich old man, who keeps her imprisoned recur in in young nephew into slashing the old man's throat.

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