Gothic in the horror film 1930–1980
DOI link for Gothic in the horror film 1930–1980
Gothic in the horror film 1930–1980 book
The international history of the horror film to 1980 may be seen in three principal phases: the German masterpieces of the silent era; the developments in America between 1930 and the late 1950s; and the largely British-centred product of the 1960s and 1970s. In this chapter, I want, as with the fiction, to restrict myself to American and British work, but it is worth noting from the outset that behind all subsequent horror films there lurks, in a curiously resonant parallel with eighteenth-century Gothic fiction, a German presence. It manifests itself in theme, in content, in a specific set of photographic styles, indeed in an entire mise en scene which runs from the range of Universal Studios films of 1931 and 1932 to the Hammer cycle of the 1960s. The horror film thus has a complexly twisted provenance: out, originally, of a body of legendry which owes much to real or fake German and central European sources and 'Transylvanian' settings, via English nineteenth-century fictional developments, but then mediated again through the directorial styles of the great German directors, Wegener, Wiene, Murnau and Lang.