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HORROR: An Ever-Changing genre

12/2/2017, By James GaribayHorror is a genre that continues to evolve, desensitize, and occasionally offend.  Before we had the luxury of movies, the genre was that of dark tales and folklore.  Reading and listening can be more terrifying because it allows you to create your own scary world in your mind.  Everyone gets to have an experience that is truly their own.  Nowadays we are so desensitized with films like Hatchet and A Serbian Film that it is difficult to scare even the most hardcore of horror fans.  Horror movies were not always so in your face with all the special effects.

When movies themselves first came around the genre was able to have a transition into the future.  Horror directors used the stories from the past and literally brought them to life into a new era.  Films like Nosferatu, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Phantom Of The Opera, I believe, paved the way for the horror genre.  During the silent era movies had to rely on performances, lighting, and story-telling to get the audience excited.  Nowadays we have movies like The Village and call it horror.  Silent movies have a charm about them that most people just do not appreciate.  Some of them now are timeless classics.

As we are aware, films are constantly changing.  Around 1927 Talkies, movies with actual speaking, came about.  With horror now able to be heard, it was time to give the genre a new life.  Moving into the 1930’s we got some of our most famous monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy.  Throughout the next three decades horror more or less stayed the same as far as shock value goes.  It was a very different time and even though the stories got darker there was still much left to the imagination.  It’s what you don’t see that lets your mind roam.  Seeing a half-man half-fly creature was pretty graphic for the audience at that time.  Now we poke fun at it, not because of what little they had to work with, but because it seems now we want our creatures to so grotesque.

It was a simpler time, so I guess it was easier to scare the masses with skeletons on wires.  Throughout the 30’s and going into the 60’s horror was definitely much creepier than today.  Movies back then were very story driven, and it was the same with horror.  It wasn’t all ‘here are these people, killer on the loose, people start dying’.  There was a reason why these people were gathered together, a who, what, where, and why.  As much as I love modern horror, I personally love the simplicity of the old school.  Towards the end of the 1960’s the genre started to push the bar.  In Night Of The Living Dead we see zombies eating people.  Even though the movie is in black and white, it is still creepy enough to send a shiver down my spine.  The 60’s gave some great movies like Psycho and Rosemary’s baby, but it wasn’t until the 1970’s that horror was brought to a whole new level.

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