The horror genre is known for its persistent popularity, but it also harbors a number of films too bold or bizarre to succeed with mainstream audiences. Despite their lack of box office success, these same movies garner groups of devotees and remain perennially popular among those who recognize and appreciate their unique, startling and often groundbreaking qualities. Beginning with Victor Sjstrms The Phantom Carriage in , this book tracks the evolution and influence of underground cult horror over the ensuing decades, closing with William Wincklers Frankenstein vs.
The features that define a cult film, cult trends, recurring symbols and changing iconography within the genre are explored through insightful analysis of 88 movies. Included are works by popular directors who got their start with cult horror films, including Oliver Stone, David Cronenberg and Peter Jackson. About This Item We aim to show you accurate product information.
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50 Greatest Horror Movies of the 21st Century
Gagne, Paul R. New York: Dodd, Mead, Waller, Gregory. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, Williams, Tony. London and New York: Wallflower Press, Horror has been a Hollywood staple since the s, but, in addition to Hammer horror in Great Britain, there are also other national cinemas with rich horror traditions. In Italy, for example, giallo , graphic thrillers and horror films, flourished in the s and s. Predating slasher films, the giallo "yellow" takes its name from the color of the covers of pulp detective novels published in Italy in the s and s.
The genre includes both police films giallo-poliziesco and horror films giallo-fantastico , featuring an overtly expressionist stylization. A new wave of Japanese horror films includes Hideo Nakata's Ringu Ring , and Honogurai mizu no soko kara Dark Water , , both of which were remade, with mixed success, in Hollywood. For the film scholar Siegfried Kracauer, German expressionist cinema was both a harbinger and a cause of the rise of fascism in Germany. The films' avoidance of the real world, both visually in the use of stylized studio sets, and narratively in the frequent appearance of monstrous figures like Caligari and Nosferatu who command the will of others, was symptomatic of the German people's turning away from political responsibility and an explanation of their embrace of Hitler.
There has been more critical commentary on horror than any other film genre, with the possible exception of the western; and although today Kracauer's interpretations seem rather reductive, they share with all subsequent critical analyses of the genre the fundamental assumption that horror films, like most genre movies, reflect the values and ideology of the culture that produced them.
Don Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers , for example, about an invasion of alien seed-pods that replace people with emotional replicas, is typically discussed in relation to American contemporary culture in the s. Unlike earlier horror films, Invasion of the Body Snatchers imagines infection on an apocalyptic rather than personal scale, as in the vampire myth, a clear reflection of Cold War fears of nuclear destruction.
But even as Americans felt threatened by possible nuclear war and Communist infiltration, the film also expresses a fear of creeping conformism at home. Invasion makes the commonplace seem creepy, and in the climax a mob of plain-looking townsfolk pursue Miles and Becky out of town in a horrific evocation of the kind of witch-hunting mentality witnessed in the United States just a few years before the film's release.
The film's ambiguous ending how could the FBI or anyone possibly contain the pod invasion, which by now has spread much wider than the town of Santa Mira? In a number of essays published in the late s, Robin Wood set the critical agenda for much of the theory and analysis of horror. He offered a structural model of horror, informed by Freudian theory, built around a fundamental binary opposition of normal and monstrous.
Wood was responding to the progressive wave of horror films by such directors as Romero, Hooper, Craven, and Cohen. For Wood, "the true subject of the horror genre is the struggle for recognition of all that our civilization re presses or op presses" as quoted in Britton et al. He argued that the manner in which any given horror narrative resolves this conflict reveals its ideological orientation, and further, that most movies will be conservative, repressing desire within the self and disavowing it by projecting it outward as a monstrous Other.
31 Best Horror Movies to Stream
The monster thus is usually understood as the "return of the repressed. According to such a reading, the monster representing a challenge to the dominant values of heterosexual monogamy , must be defeated by the male hero in order for him to take his proper place in patriarchy by successfully pairing with the inevitable female love interest, typically represented as the attractive daughter of the scientist or lovely lab assistant. Horror films such as Frankenstein , Dracula , and Creature from the Black Lagoon follow this narrative pattern.
Wood provides a list of specific Others in the horror genre: women, the proletariat, other cultures, ethnic groups, alternative ideologies or political systems, children, and deviations from sexual norms. All of these have been taken up by critics of the genre over the last two decades, although the last category—deviations from sexual norms—has been the one most frequently explored. However, some feminist critics have shown how horror monsters may be read as projections of masculine desire and anxiety over sexual difference.
Following from Wood's perspective, many horror films are about anxieties over masculine performance, with women as the victims of male aggression. However, Carol Clover has argued that horror is potentially empowering for women. Her emphasis on the one female, or "final girl," who often survives the killer's rampage in slasher movies, transforming from terrified screamer to active heroine, killing the killer, has influenced numerous readings of horror films from Halloween to Alien and its sequels. Finally, some readings, such as that offered by Harry Benshoff, find in the genre a consistent monstrous representation of queerness and challenges to normative masculinity.
Perhaps because horror tends to raise questions about gender and its "natural" boundaries, women have been relatively important in the genre, first as consumers of gothic novels and later as makers of horror films. Critics have also examined representations of class and race in horror films. Mark Jancovich has persuasively linked the development of horror to the rise of the bourgeoisie and the dialectic of class.
- Focus on Reading: A Long Way from Chicago.
- The Pleasure and Pain of Cult Horror Films: An Historical Survey;
A classic horror film like King Kong evokes the fear of racial miscegenation in the figure of the dark ape, the beast in love with the white beauty, while fundamental to Dracula's appeal is his suave aristocratic bearing. Some late-twentieth-century horror films, such as The People Under the Stairs , Candyman , and Tales from the Hood , covering territory explored only occasionally in earlier films such as I Walked with a Zombie and Blacula , have addressed issues of racial difference in horror.
Questions of race in horror emerged with the casting of a black actor as the hero in Night of the Living Dead : killed by redneck vigilantes at the end of the film, his body is unceremoniously tossed onto a bonfire in freeze frames that evoke the contemporary racial violence then erupting across America. Some critics have extended the psychoanalytic approach to horror beyond the texts themselves to account for the spectatorial pleasures of watching horror films, an act that on the surface might seem inexplicable given that the experience arouses fear rather than pleasure.
Critics have also argued that horror films are particularly enjoyed by adolescents because in their awkwardness they can easily empathize with the monsters, who are social outcasts, and because they express in metaphoric form the physical changes—the hairiness of the werewolf, the sexual drive of the vampire—that occur with the onset of puberty. Certainly horror films do function as adolescent rites of passage and socialization, but such theories do not account for the appeal of all horror films.
Whatever the particular fears exploited by horror films, they provide viewers with vicarious but controlled thrills, like the fright one gets from an amusement park ride. It is no accident that so many theme park rides are horror oriented. As Bruce Kawin says in his essay "Children of the Light," "A good horror film takes you down into the depths and shows you something about the landscape. Benshoff, Harry. Monsters in the Closet: Homosexuality and the Horror Film.
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American Nightmare: Essays on the Horror Film. Toronto: Festival of Festivals, Clover, Carol J. Creed, Barbara. London and New York: Routledge, Grant, Barry Keith, ed. Austin: University of Texas Press, Grant, Barry Keith, and Christopher Sharrett, eds. Planks of Reason: Essays on the Horror Film , revised ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Huss, Roy, and T. Ross, eds. Focus on the Horror Film. Kawin, Bruce. King, Stephen. Danse Macabre.
New York: Everett House, Kracauer, Siegfried.
The Pleasure and Pain of Cult Horror Films - Book Review
McCarty, John. If that was still too overwhelming, don't worry: we've got you covered. Here you'll find the master list. That's right, we've hand-selected only the absolute best and most terrifying horror movies availabel on all the major streaming services and combined them here for your streaming or screaming pleasure.
Quite possibly the definitive werewolf movie , John Landis' horror masterpiece has the single greatest on-screen lycanthropic transformation in movie history Peppered with loving references to the werewolf movies that came before it and a few legitimate laughs to go along with the scares, An American Werewolf in London is remarkably knowing and self-aware, but never, ever flirts with parody.
Not enough can be said about Rick Baker's practical effects, which extend beyond the aforementioned on-screen transformation and into one of the most gruesome depictions of a werewolf attack aftermath you're ever likely to see. Apostle comes from acclaimed The Raid director Gareth Evans and is his take on the horror genre. Spoiler alert: it's a good one. Dan Stevens stars as Thomas Richardson, a British man in the early s who must rescue his sister, Jennifer, from the clutches of a murderous cult.
Thomas successfully infiltrates the cult led by the charismatic Malcom Howe Michael Sheen and begins to ingratiate himself with the strange folks obsessed with bloodletting. Thomas soon comes to find that the object of the cult's religious fervor may be more real than he'd prefer. If you're in the mood for some Stephen King movies, however, you may as well start with the first novel and one of the best adaptations.
Her classmates make fun of her, her religious nut of a mother tortures her endlessly. It's just pure tragedy. Until it suddenly becomes pure horror.
The pleasure and pain of cult horror films : an historical survey
Still, Child's Play and the franchise that followed it is even more impressive than that already great premise suggests. Chucky is just completely creepy. This demonic little bastard would go on to become an iconic horror villain but in in this, the first of the franchise, he's at his absolute terrifying best. That's what happens when you get talented people involved like horror maestro James Wan and superb actors Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. Wilson and Farmiga star as real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren who are called to deal with a small paranormal spot of bother in Rhode Island.
The Conjuring is based on a real case of paranormal activity and terrifyingly and effectively sets up the continued film adventures of the Warrens. Babysitting is a strange job. Parents need some time away from the kids for date nights and other events, of course. More often than not things go perfectly smoothly. But what if you pick the wrong babysitter? Even more terrifyingly, what if you pick the right babysitter but unbeknownst to you that's not the person who shows up to your house that night?
Emelie is a horror film that exploits these fears perfectly. Sarah Bolger stars as the titular babysitting monsters and does such a good job I don't know how she can be let around children ever again. Emelie is like an old urban legend writ terrifyingly large - just like all the best horror films are.
Written and directed on a shoestring budget by Sam Raimi, The Evil Dead uses traditional horror tropes to its great advantage, creating a scary, funny, and almost inconceivably bloody story about five college students who encounter a spot of bother in a cabin in the middle of the woods. That spot of bother includes the unwitting release of a legion of demons upon the world. The Evil Dead rightfully made stars of its creator and lead Bruce Campbell. The film takes place in , during the English Civil War. A group of soldiers is taken in by a kindly man, who is soon revealed to be an alchemist.
The alchemist takes the soldiers to a vast field of mushrooms where they are subjected to a series of mind-altering, nightmarish visions. A Field in England is aggressively weird, creative, and best of all clocks in at exactly 90 minutes. You may know the term "final destination" as what flight attendants say when they ask you if you've reached the end of your aviation journey or if you're on a layover. You marry those two concepts and you get a movie about a group of teenagers who cheat death by receiving a premonition that a plane will crash before take off and exiting.
- Whisper in the Dark.
- Incompleteness in the Land of Sets.
- Art that moves : the work of Len Lye!
- Encyclopedia of Women And Religion in North America ( 3 volume set).
Not to be cheated, death then does whatever it can to finally kill those meddling teens. I know you see that screenshot of Jason in all his masked and machete'd glory above, and are feeling a white-hot burning horror movie nerd triggering like never before. I know, I know. He didn't. And it's all the better movie for it. It features so many hallmarks of the slasher drama that we've grown to love. And yes, there is no actual Jason. The screengrab just looks cool. Green Room is a shockingly conventional horror movie despite not having all of the elements we traditionally associate with them.
There are no monsters or the supernatural in Green Room. Instead all monsters are replaced by vengeful neo-Nazis and the haunted house is replaced by a skinhead punk music club in the middle of nowhere in the Oregon woods. The band The Aint Rights, led by bassist Pat Anton Yelchin are locked in the green room of club after witnessing a murder and must fight their way out.