Horror Film Reader

Silver, Alain & Ursini, James (ed). Horror Film Reader. Limelight Editions. 2000.

A collection of seminal essays on the horror film, some dating back to the 1950's, exploring the roots of the genre and its appeal.

Ghoulies and Ghosties. Curtis Harrington, 1952.

Val Lewton, Universal horror and Vampyr are discussed.

Horror Films. William K. Everson, 1954.

Everson provides a short history of the horror film divided into eight categories: scientific experiments, monsters, vampirism and lycanthropy, voodoo, 'old house', necromancy and diabolism, ghosts and apparitions, and one unclassifiable group including 'stunt thrillers' and films such as The Phantom of the Opera.

The Subconscious: From Pleasure Castle to Libido Motel. Raymond Durgnat, 1958.

The kingpin of the horror film is the rendezvous of eroticism and violence. Durgnat examines Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, Quatermass films, Village of the Damned and Psycho.

The Face of Horror. Derek Hill, 1958.

Horror films are vastly popular, but many contain very dull plots spiced up with graphic violence. Curse of Frankenstein, Quatermass films and Blood of the Vampire are examples.

A Bloody New Wave in the United States. Jean-Claude Romer, 1964.

An early French article about H. G. Lewis' Blood Feast and Colour Me Blood Red. Also covered are The Horror of Party Beach and Curse of the Living Corpse. Romer identifies a wave of super-horror and super-sex films emerging from the USA.

Horror is My Business. Terence Fisher, 1964.

The Hammer director talks about his films, the stars - Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, horror and the supernatural. Curse of the Werewolf, Dracula, Curse of Frankenstein and Brides of Dracula are mentioned.

The Horror Film: Polanski and Repulsion. Ivan Butler, 1967.

A study of Repulsion.

From Voyeurism to Infinity. Raymond Lefevre, 1968.

Analysis of Peeping Tom.

Mario Bava: The Illusion of Reality. Alain Silver and James Ursini, 1975.

An overview of Mario Bava's work and style. How one man working against the limitations of small budgets, short shooting schedules etc. could become one of the most stunning of genre stylists. Black Sunday, The Whip and the Body, Hercules in the Haunted World, Kill Baby Kill, Shock, Black Sabbath, Lisa and the Devil, Rabid Dogs, Planet of the Vampires, Baron Blood, The Evil Eye and Blood and Black Lace are featured.

Neglected Nightmares. Robin Wood.

Wes Craven's Last House on the Left, Stephanie Rothman's Terminal Island and George Romero's Dawn of the Dead, Martin and The Crazies are discussed.

Is the Devil an American? William Dieterle's The Devil and Daniel Webster. Tony Williams.

An internal threat affecting American characters and institutions. William Dieterle's background in German Expressionism and his activity in the beginning phase of American Film Noir is examined.

Violence, Women and Disability in Tod Browning's Freaks and The Devil Doll. Martin F. Norden and Madeleine Cahill.

Often in films disabled male characters were bitter and twisted, bent on destructive revenge. Female disabled characters were docile, godley and sexless, they were usually rewarded with a miracle cure. Browning disrupted the pattern with these two films which depicted violent disabled women.

Monsters as (Uncanny) Metaphors: Freud, Lakoff and the Representation of Monstrosity in Cinematic Horror. Steven Schneider.

The nature of horror film monsters is investigated in relation to the thoeries of Sigmund Freud and George Lakoff.

The Anxiety of Influence: Georges Franju and the Medical Horror Shows of Jess Franco. Joan Hawkins.

Eyes Without a Face was very influential with its sadeian motifs and death-camp imagery. Franco used the story to push Euro-horror into a new more overtly sexual arena with his Awful Dr Orloff and Faceless. Hawkins also provides a socio-political background to the golden age of Spanish cinema.

Seducing the Subject: Freddy Krueger, Popular Culture and the Nightmare on Elm St Films. Ian Conrich.

Marketing a nightmare. Children possessed by Freddy and consumerism.

What Rough Beast? Insect Politics and The Fly. Linda Brookover and Alain Silver.

Analysis of David Cronenberg's The Fly.

Demon Daddies: Gender, Ecstasy and Terror in the Possession Film. Tanya Krzywinska.

Possession films from Haxan (1922) to Fallen (1998) is a genre ruled by an awesome dread of a primal masculine anarchic force which is figured as the demonic. The Devils, The Exorcist, Fire Walk With Me, Lost Highway, Videodrome, Event Horizon and Seven also feature.

Women on the Verge of a Gothic Breakdown: Sex, Drugs and Corpses in the Horrible Dr Hitchcock. Glenn Erikson.

Analysis of Riccardo Freda's 1962 film about the frustarted passions of a necrophiliac.. How could it have got past the censors, unless it was merely ignored?

"How much did you pay for this place?" Fear, Entitlement and Urban Space in Bernard Rose's Candyman. Aviva Briefel and Sianne Ngai.

In horror films there is a struggle between those who own property and the cooks, janitors and caretakers. There is also a struggle over who has the right to be afraid. Recent horror films such as Friday 13th and Candyman are viewed in the light of Reaganism.

The Haunting and the Power of Suggestion: Why Robert Wise's film continues to 'Deliver the Goods' to Modern Audiences. Pam Keesey.

An analysis of The Haunting and Robert Wise's work with Val Lewton. Why special effects need to be a tool in the service of storytelling and not the story itself.