The first sentence on the definition of a horror film on Wikipedia quotes, “Horror films are unsettling movies that strive to elicit the emotions of fear, disgust and horror from viewers.”
Making a decent horror film is an art form. You need just the right amount of scary, a pinch of every viewer’s worst nightmares, and enough blood to bathe the entire audience in a nice red mist. A good horror movie needs the audience to leave the theater wide eyed, shaking, and ready to go to sleep thinking absolutely nothing for fear of going over everything they just saw. Some succeed, and horror geeks everywhere go crazy.
Why is it that horror is such a popular genre? Everybody who loves a good horror film must be partly masochistic. After all, who would want to willingly pay thirteen dollars to be scared out of their chairs at a movie theater? Watch people get murdered. There are two types of people in this world; those who love the horror genre, and those who don’t. Being one of the second nature, I’ve decided to try and find out if there is anything else to horror movies than simply screams and chainsaws.
Horror films can be made a variety of ways, but they generally have thriller or supernatural elements to them, like survival, or something unnatural and ‘evil’ coming to the human realm. The first films made to scare were created by such artists as Georges Melies, famous for hiss 1890s shorts. Japan began to express interest in the art of horror, like Melies, and it’s no secret that they make some of the best horror in film today.
A foreign film named Nosferatu, directed by F. W. Murnau, is considered one of the most classic horror films in the genre, created in 1921 as a German Expressionalist film about a vampire named Count Orlok. If you have been seeing a trend, you are sharp indeed. While Hollywood is top of the game in the film making business right now, it took most of it’s early inspiration from foreign films, adapting and remaking them.
Horror began progressing fast once Hollywood got into it’s working, with the genre booming in the 1930s. One of the most famous horror actors was named Lon Chaney, Sr. He did pretty much everything in the genre, from the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera to the Hunchback of Notredam, soon widely famous for dressing as extremely grotesque, monstrous figures.
While he was in those films to inflict that fear horror creators love, he showed that horror films aren’t simply for getting people scared. He also said in a Wiki Quote to Movie Magazine,
“I wanted to remind people that the lowest types of humanity may have within them the capacity for supreme self-sacrifice. The dwarfed, misshapen beggar of the streets may have the noblest ideals. Most of my roles since The Hunchback, such as The Phantom of the Opera, He Who Gets Slapped, The Unholy Three, etc., have carried the theme of self-sacrifice or renunciation. These are the stories which I wish to do.”