In the 1950's British periodicals would write about horror films with regard to the psychology of the genre. At the same time, and into the 1960's French critics related horror films to surrealism. This book along with Carlos Clarens' Horror Movies an illustrated survey (1968) were two of the first books to argue the case of the horror film as art. Horror in the Cinema is a consideration of the use of horror, the power to shock and terrify in the cinema as a whole and not just a study of the horror film. Butler discusses why cinema is the ideal medium for horror and praises the unseen and atmospheric horror of Val Lewton (high grade, low budget) over shoddy sadism and eroticism (cheap sensationalism e.g. Hammer). He also reviews two very influential Italian horror films directed by Mario Bava, Blood and Black Lace (1964), and Black Sunday (1961).
A serious study of the aesthetics of horror. The book examines the nature and narrative structure of the genre, dealing with horror as a 'transmedia' phenomenom. Carroll, a philosopher, cultural theorist and film scholar, tries to account for how we can be frightened by what we know does not exist, and how we can take pleasure from what horrifies us.
This book along with Ivan Butler's "Horror in the Cinema" listed above, were two of the first books to argue the case of the horror film as art. A history of the fantastic film from George Melies and German Expressionism to Hammer, Roger Corman and Italian horror. Clarens analyses our fascination with the horrific.
Why do we like horror films? And why did the horror film resurface so powefully in the sixties? In his study of the evolution of the genre and its themes and iconography, Derry contends that the horror genre represents the most popular and accessible expression of our everyday fears. We learn about our society and psychology as well as about the films themselves. The book is divided into three cyles:
Dillard first argued in favour of horror films in W.R. Robinson's book "Man and the Movies" in 1966. Over the course of the next ten years, many of the books mentioned here had appeared to further the cause of the genre. In this book Dillard closely analyses four films to examine just how the horror film is a valid and meaningful artistic genre directly related to our direct experience. The films discussed are:
One aspect of horror films - as of the film genres in general - that clearly invites further study is the difference in national approaches to the same set of conventions. Of particular interest in this book is the chapter dealing with Georges Franju's Les Yeux sans Visage (France, 1962) that includes a contemporary review of the film by Pauline Kael who speaks about a disinterested audience craving gore. This is a common scenario for anybody who has attended the screening of a film directed by Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci.