Terrors of the Screen
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Illustrated overview of the history, techniques, characters, and plots of horror films from around the world.
teeth, while special disks were inserted in his mouth to disfigure his cheekbones. Furthermore, his skull was elongated with a matted wig at the top. Many critics of the era claimed that the full figure of the Phantom was the most terrifying stage in all silent film. What made Chaney greater than any of the formers who provided horror on the screen was other perhis gift for even the most repulsive of human creatures, for evoking some sympathetic response for the pathetic outcasts whose most
with film, Browning rarely knew what he would do next. For the most part his unique talents were unappreciated and his growing addiction to alcohol marked him as an undesirable employee to Hollywood's conservative studio heads. Then in 1930, thanks to the perceptive Thalberg and the talented Chaney, Browning made a successful sound version of his popular silent film The Unholy Three. As a result of terror films the the picture's obvious box-office appeal, Universal Studios contracted him to to
1927 stage version of the Gothic tale. So it was that the forty-eight-year-old Arisztid Olt— better known as Bela Lugosi— came to the screen role that was to be his namesake for over three decades. Lugosi was an unusual man, an uneven performer and the first true screen aristocrat of terror films. A comparison with his predecessor is inevitable. To Chaney, the audience gave sympathy and understanding. Lugosi, on the other hand, by his mannerisms and appearance, demanded rather than earned fear.
terrors to the test. Working with an imaginative script by DeWitt Bodeen and helped by the competent directing abilities of Jacques Tourneur, Lewton masterminded the splendid movie The Cat People. The plot concerned a frightened career woman, Irena, who was obsessed with the idea that she had inherited the dreadful curse of her Balkan ancestry: anger changes one into a deadly panther. She tries to postpone her marriage to Oliver Reed, telling him of her fears for the future, but he refuses to
of a vampire. Later that same night, Orlock, now safe from the dangerous daylight and seeking blood to sustain him, enters the sleeping victim's bedchamber. But Nina, hundreds of miles away, sensing her husband's peril, wakes from a feverish nightmare screaming her loved one's name and miraculously drives the vampire away from Harker. (This original incident was designed by Galeen to emphasize the power of love against the evil forces of the netherworld.) The following evening the helpless and