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The earliest horrors were very dark and involved scenes of mutilation.
This was largely because the audience were weary of mystical
monsters who may have been mentioned in literature. The use of
costume and stock location were dark to add to the scary effect due
to the lack of technology.
A gothic, vampiric
In the 30’s horrors were mainly set in far off mythical lands in order to
carry out the gothic style. They, much like the 20’s featured
monsters, but were found inspiration from 19th century novels.
The 1st to feature a
In the 40’s horrors were banned in
Britain because of World War 2.
Leading America to take this particular
genre over. Americans then decided to
play it safe by staying with the same
guidelines of the 30’s by featuring
monsters but however put their own
unique spin on it by creating characters
that turned into animals or in fact
involve characters that were half man
half such as ‘The Wolf Man’. These
were again very popular with the target
World War 2 had now ended and 40 million live had been lost
leaving the generation devastated. The horrors portrayed through
previous films (Dracula, Cat People etc) no longer seemed to scare
the audience as they had faced real life horrors. However audience’s
did fear the effects of radiation, nuclear war and technological
change as well as scientific experimentation.
Teenagers became the main audience for horror films.
The Fly- 1958
Typical of the era as
people feared what
experiments may lead
Meaning that before the 60’s the ‘monster’ was
destroyed but after it was not always definitely
The fears that had kept the
nation on edge in the 50’s
were gone as there had been
no nuclear explosions or
destruction caused by
An extreme social change
occurred as drugs, sex, new
fashions and freedom had now
Most monsters of the 60’s
were in human form which now
intrigued and scared
audiences as they became
aware of the darkness of the
An end to the 60’s optimism came, however the quality of horrors
had grown tackling the fears of society once again. ‘The Pill’ was
introduced and women were made aware of potential birth defects
caused by Thalidomide had led to the fear of childbirth and children.
The idyllic image of family that was present in the 50’s had gone
away, as an idea that the enemy or evil can be found within your own
family was reflected in 1970’s horror.
The Shiningfeatured a
led by a
The exorcistfeatured a
by evil, due to
Otherwise known as the technological age, due to use of SFX
Society became materialistic with the belief being the bigger and
showier the better. Leading to horrors within the 80’s being full of
colour, SFX, killers in full view, graphic violence and murder and
enhanced editing skills.
Monsters remained human as this fear of the evil being within your
own family was still there. VCR’s were in the household, meaning you
could watch horrors within the comfort of your own house increasing the
A Nightmare On Elm street1984
Included gore, and created a
convention of victims being
killed because of committing a
Now in the 90’s audiences were sick of the graphic gore and guts
imagery, and craved more intelligent horrors such as The Silence Of
Audience now became familiar with the codes and conventions of
horrors and found them too predictable.
The tragedy of 9/11 had occurred, leaving audience to change their
views of what is classified as scary. They then feared the evil that
lurks in the world, especially terrorists. Modern horrors feature a
game, race against time or a killing force that cannot be seen.
Remakes of films and spoofs became popular, in addition to the
enjoyment of different types of horrors such as
supernatural, psychological and zombie.
The Saw franchise –
murdering became a dark
twisted game where
victims where forced to
All of the horrors displayed were current and
addressed the fears of the time, I intend to continue
addressing the fears of my target audience whilst
making it relevant to today’s society.
for example by playing on the idea of the ‘unknown’
and someone becoming possessed which seems to
be a common fear.