Horror is a genre of fiction that involves playing on the fears of your audience and instilling fear in all those who view it which sometimes involve horrible or terrifying sequences. Some notable horror films are: The Exorcist, The Resident Evil series, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th and Puppet Master.
Horror fiction goes back to ancient times. Based on ancient myths, folklore and religion traditions, regarding death, afterlife, monsters and evil, horror fiction tapes into the primal emotion of fear and allow the reader/viewer to explore this fear.
In the 18th century, writers started explore the dark Gothic Horror found its roots in these ancient stories. One of the pioneers in the genre was Horace Walpole with the controversial novel The Castle of Otranto in 1764. It is regarded as the first modern novel that incorporated supernatural elements (in that time all books were written with pure realism). To cover up the fact that it was recently written, the author disguised it as an medieval story, translated by a fictious writer. When this lie was discovered many regarded the novel as being of poor taste but still the novel was very popular and many authors followed the example of Walpole and started to write their own horror novel. Great names of that time were William Beckford, author of the horror novel Vathek in 1786 or Ann Radcliffe, 10 years after Beckford with The Italian. Most horror authors were women and the story were femnistic in nature as the protaganist was female who used her resourcefulness and intellect to escape the dark forces.
In the 19th century, Gothic Horror flourished and brought forth a few of the greatest horror icons of all time, like Frankenstein in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), Mr Hyde in the Strange case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886 and Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897). The century also brought forth other great authors like short story writer, Edgar Allen Poe, Sheridan Le Fanou and Oscar Wilde. Cinema was coming up in the form of silent shorts. Film pioneer, Georges Méliès became famous for the incorporation supernatural elements in his short, and created in fact the first horror film: La Manoir du Diable in 1896.
Creature and Cosmic HorrorEdit
In the 20th century, horror booms once more, due to a proliferation of cheap periodicals. Horror finds quickly it's way to magazines. One of the authors was Tod Robbins, who explores the themes of cruelty and madness, who wrote for All-Star Magazine. In the years that followed pulp magazines specialated in horror and sci-fi became more popular, magazines like Weird Tales and Unknown Worlds.
In the early 20th century, new literal genres were created, cosmic horror. The pioner of the genre is H.P. Lovecraft, author of the Cthulhu Mythos who introduced many concepts still used till this day (like the Necronomicon). His style was so unique it started a complete new genre, known as Lovecraftian Horror. Ghost stories also grew in popularity, which were redefined by authors like M. R. James. In these days, horror found it's way to theater with the infamous Grand Guignol Theatre in France, viewed by many as one of the first splatter scenes. A few years, cinema was invented and grew in popularity and soon horror made the transitation to this new platform. It was the start of strong tradition, that till this day is an important player on the film market. The first of those horror films were based on novels like Hunchback (1909) (based on Notre-Dame de Paris (1831)). German expressionism has proved to be a great influence on horror culture and in other genres.
The first vampire movie was an unauthorized adaptation of Dracula, known as Nosferatu (1922). But Nosferatu wasn't the feature to portray a literary monster, the tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was adapted at in 1920's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for example.
In recent years a form of horror known as the Found Footage Film has grown in popularity since the beginning of the 21st century. Examples of this type of movies are Cloverfield, Rec and The Blair Witch Project.