2. How It Started
1890 – 1920s
the first depictions of supernatural events appear in several of the silent shorts created by the film pioneer
Georges Méliès in the late 1890s, the best known being Le Manoir du diable (The Haunted Castle, 1896) which
is sometimes credited as being the first horror film. In 1910 Edison Studios produced the first film version of
Frankenstein, which was thought lost for many years. Also in the early 20th century the first ever monster
appeared in a horror film. German expressionist film makers during the Weimar Republic are and slightly
earlier would be set to change the view of horror quite significantly.
1930 – 1940s
During the early period of talking pictures, the American Movie studio Universal Pictures began a successful
Gothic horror film series. Tod Browning's Dracula (1931), with Bela Lugosi, was quickly followed by James
Whale's Frankenstein (also 1931). Some of these blended science fiction films with Gothic horror, such as The
Invisible Man (1933) and, mirroring the earlier German films, featured a mad scientist. These films, while
designed to thrill, also incorporated more serious elements.
1950 – 1960s
With advances in technology, the tone of horror films shifted from the gothic towards contemporary concerns.
Two sub-genres began to emerge: the horror-of-Armageddon film and the horror-of-the-demonic film. A
stream of usually low-budget productions featured humanity overcoming threats from 'outside': alien invasions
and deadly mutations to people, plants, and insects. In the case of some horror films from Japan, such as
Godzilla (1954) and its sequels, mutation from the effects of nuclear radiation. An influential American horror
film of this period was George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968). Produced and directed by
Romero, on a budget of $114,000, it grossed $12 million at the box office in the United States and $30 million
internationally. This horror-of-Armageddon film about zombies blends psychological insights with gore, it
moved the genre even further away from the gothic horror trends of earlier eras and brought horror into
everyday life. Low-budget gore-shock films from the likes of Herschell Gordon Lewis also appeared.
Examples include Blood Feast (1963), a devil-cult story, and Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964), a ghost town
inhabited by psychotic cannibals), which featured splattering blood and body dismemberment.
3. How it started continued
1970 – 1980s
The end of the Production Code of America in 1964, the financial successes of the low-budget gore films of the ensuing
years, and the critical and popular success of Rosemary's Baby, led to the release of more films with occult themes in
the 1970s. The Exorcist (1973), the first of these movies, was a significant commercial success, and was followed by
scores of horror films in which the Devil represented the supernatural evil, often by impregnating women or possessing
children. The genre also included gory horror movies with sexual overtones, made as "A-movies" (as opposed to "B
movies"). John Carpenter created Halloween (1978). Sean Cunningham made Friday the 13th (1980). Wes Craven
directed A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984). This subgenre would be mined by dozens of increasingly violent movies
throughout the subsequent decades, and Halloween became a successful independent film. Other notable '70s slasher
films include Bob Clark's Black Christmas (1974), which was released before Halloween, and was another start of the
In the first half of the 1990s, the genre continued many of the themes from the 1980s. Sequels from the Child's Play
(1988) and Leprechaun (1993) series enjoyed some commercial success. 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 (1994)
and the hugely successful Silence of the Lambs (1991). 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. Wes Craven's Scream
(written by Kevin Williamson) 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. Along with I Know What You Did
Last Summer (written by Kevin Williamson as well) and Urban Legend, they re-ignited the dormant slasher film genre.
The start of the 2000s saw a quiet period for the genre. The release of an extended version of The Exorcist in
September 2000 was successful despite the film having been available on home video for years. Franchise films such as
Freddy vs. Jason also made a stand in theaters. Final Destination (2000) marked a successful revival of teen-centered
horror and spawned five sequels. The Jeepers Creepers series was also successful. Films like Wrong Turn, Cabin
Fever, House of 1000 Corpses, and the previous mentions helped bring the genre back to Restricted ratings in theaters.
Remakes of earlier horror movies became routine in the 2000s. In addition to 2004's remake of Dawn of the Dead, as
well as 2003's remake of both Herschell Gordon Lewis' cult classic 2001 Maniacs and the remake of Tobe Hooper's
classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, there was also the 2007 Rob Zombie written and directed remake of John
Carpenter's Halloween. The film focused more on Michael's backstory than the original did, devoting the first half
of the film to Michael's childhood. It was critically panned by most, but was a success in its theatrical
run, spurring its own sequel.
4. Horror Sub Genres
The supernatural is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above
and beyond nature. With neoplatonic and medieval scholastic origins, the metaphysical considerations can be difficult
to approach as an exercise in philosophy or theology because any dependencies on its antithesis, the natural, will
ultimately have to be inverted or rejected. In popular culture and fiction, the supernatural is whimsically associated
with the paranormal and the occult, this differs from traditional concepts in some religions, such as Catholicism, where
divine miracles are considered supernatural.
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of
plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common. Fantasy is
generally distinguished from science fiction and horror by the expectation that it steers clear of (pseudo-)scientific and
macabre themes, respectively, though there is a great deal of overlap between the three, all of which are subgenres of
• Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible (or at least non-supernatural)
content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities.
Exploring the consequences of scientific innovations is one purpose of science fiction, making it a "literature of
ideas". Science fiction is largely based on writing rationally about alternative possible worlds or futures. It is similar
to, but differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within
scientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure
Thriller is a broad genre of literature, film, and television programming that uses suspense, tension, and excitement as
the main elements. Thrillers heavily stimulate the viewer's moods such as a high level of anticipation, ultra-heightened
expectation, uncertainty, anxiety and terror. Thriller films tend to be adrenaline-rushing, gritty, rousing and fast-paced.
Literary devices such as red herrings and cliffhangers are used extensively. The cover-up of important information from
the viewer, and fight and chase scenes are common methods in all of the thriller subgenres, although each subgenre
has its own characteristics and methods.
5. Key Horror Movies
• "Dracula" (1931) starring Bela Lugosi. The first serious sound horror film.
• "Psycho" (1960) starring Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins and directed by
Alfred Hitchcock. In 1960, seeing a nude women being murdered in a
shower was something that no-one had experienced yet.
• "The Exorcist" (1973) starring Linda Blair. This film re-invented the horror
genre. During its initial release, stories were reported of viewers passing
out during the film.
• "Halloween" (1978) starring Jamie Lee Curtis. The gold standard of slasher
• "Alien" (1979) starring Sigourney Weaver and directed by Ridley Scott.
6. Key Horror Movie Directors
• Alfred Hitchcock - The birds, psycho
• John carpenter – Halloween, someone’s watching me
• Stephen king – The boogeyman, 1408
• Wes Craven – A nightmare on elm street, The hills have eyes, Freddie vs Jason
7. Key Horror Actors
• Robert Englund – Freddie vs Jason
• Jamie lee Curtis – Halloween
• Sigourney Weaver – Aliens series
• Bruce Campbell – Evil dead 1,2 and 3
• Bill Mosely – Texas chainsaw massacre