The Horror Timeline
By David Carroll and Kyla Ward
Part 2: 1900-1969
Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is published. As an exploration of the darker side of the soul it deserves mention, and is also considered the first twentieth century novel. Francis Ford Coppola moved the premise into Vietnam to see what would happen in 1979, whereas Nicholas Roeg's telemovie (1994) was set in the original's time period.
'The Monkey's Paw' is W. W. Jacobs' contribution to the genre, and a significant one it is -- probably the most famous short horror story, certainly of those written this century.
The first collection from M. R. James, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, is published, heralding one of the most respected of this century's horror authors, particularly in his speciality of the quiet but creepy ghost story.
The Listener is published, a book of short stories by Algernon Blackwood containing his best-regarded work, 'The Willows'. Blackwood was only one of a number of successful authors belonging to the Order of the Golden Dawn, an occult society created in 1888 by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, and whose most infamous member was Aleister Crowley. Other notable members were William Butler Yeats, Arthur Machen (debuting with 'The Great God Pan' in 1894), Lord Dunsany and the incredibly popular (in his time) Sax Rohmer who gave the world Dr Fu Manchu. This group represented not only most of the weird fiction originating in the UK at the time (one report lists Bram Stoker as a member), but is the last flourishing of English horror literature till James Herbert and Clive Barker .
Among the first experiments with film there were a number of gruesome and fantastic scenes, but the first real horror movie was probably William N. Selig's 16 minute version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde .
A number of German films were made in this decade using the premise of artificial creatures. They include Der Golem (Heinrich Galeen, 1914), Der Golem (Paul Wegener and Carl Boese, 1920, 'its splendid sets, performances and certain scenes all being clearly influential on later Hollywood films, especially Frankenstein' ), Homunculus (Otto Rippert, 1916) (actually a serial totalling 401 minutes -- 'the most popular serial in Germany during WW I, even influencing the dress of the fashionable set in Berlin' ) and Alarune (filmed at least three times, firstly in 1918 by Eugen Illes). Metropolis , of the next decade, also fits the pattern and gives us Rotwang the Inventor, perhaps the earliest, and certainly a still effective, cinematic mad scientist. A variation (and an incredibly influential one at that) was provided by Robert Wiene in 1919 with The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. In this case the entire landscape was artificial, created in the mind of a madman.
Le Fantôme de l'Opéra, by Gaston Leroux, is published. Although every Gothic novel had its midnight prowlers and deformed relatives kept under the stairs, this introduced sympathy for the devil on a, dare we say, operatic scale , .
The Lodger, by Belloc Lowndes (filmed in 1926 (by Alfred Hitchcock), 1932 and 1944, and done twice as an opera), is an early notable example of many, many works based on Jack the Ripper (see  if you don't believe us), though Robert Bloch's 'Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper' (1962)  may be better known. However Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's still incomplete From Hell (issue 1, 1991) will become the definitive work of fiction on the subject, we suspect .
Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps, or The Rite of Spring, a tale of the simultaneous triumph and cruelty of spring, nearly caused a riot at its initial performance due to its unconventional and disturbing use of rhythm. The programme concerns a primitive ritual in which a girl dances herself to death.
The German director Friedrich Murnau shoots Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Gravens and is immediately sued by the Stoker estate  (who probably hadn't heard of the 1921 Hungarian Drakula -- and that's all we know as well). This is despite substantial changes to the source (a habit taken up by later screen-writers), enough to count as a different story. It was remade with lots of rats in 1979 by Werner Hertzog.
Howard Carter and his patron Lord Carnarvon open the tomb of Tut-ankh-amon. Carnarvon died soon after, starting rumours of a curse [1930s].
And I will show you something different from either
(not just a cat fancier)
The first issue of Weird Tales is published, the first all-fantasy magazine in the world, it survived thirty-two years without ever showing a profit. The inaugural editor was one Edwin Baird, soon succeeded by Farnesworth Wright and, much later, by Seabury Quinn. The magazine attracted a still-famous plethora of authors (,  and ) and a small but dedicated audience. Indeed the attempts by public officials of various cities to ban the November '24 issue over C. M. Eddy's story 'The Loved Dead' only increased sales. It was later joined by Famous Fantastic Mysteries in '36 and Amazing Stories, and was revived in 1974 and again in 1984.
Among WT's first contributors (and who was later offered the editorialship after Wright, but declined) was one Howard Phillips Lovecraft with 'The Nameless City'. In succeeding works such as 'The Rats in the Walls' (1923), 'The Call of Cthulhu'  and 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth' (1931) he developed 'the Cthulhu Mythos', a cosmos of insane and unknowable gods with little regard for humanity. . His work is in essence the culmination and logical extreme of the traditional horror tale, concerned with foreign lands and beasts, yet his meticulously detailed locations, particularly of his home state, bridge the gap towards the modern style.
Universal Studios produce a silent Hunchback of Notre Dame (Wallace Worsley) starring Lon Chaney Snr, 'the man of a thousand faces' .
The unfinished novel The Trial is released against the wishes of the (deceased) Franz Kafka (and indeed the actual trial was never written). Kafka has captured the essence of waking nightmare in an ever-shifting dream-scape of bureaucracy gone mad, and 'at least indirectly influenced much of modern horror fiction' . Orson Welles made a good-looking movie of the novel in 1962, starring Anthony Perkins as Josef K.
In America, Universal Studios foreshadow their later successes with Rupert Julian's The Phantom of the Opera. Many subsequent versions have been released, but few have the restraint and style, and none have Lon Chaney Snr, in his most famous role , .
Followed immediately by The Great Depression. In the economic down-turn of the next decade radio plays and pulps took people's mind off their problems and saw the creation of such as the hugely popular The Shadow (1930) and The Spider (1933), both dark vigilantes, wreaking havoc on the underworld. The former started as a radio narrator of the 'Detective Story Hour', leading into success in magazine (edited by Frank Blackwell) and novel (the first written by stage magician Walter B. Gibson) formats, with over 280 novellas detailing his exploits. In early 1932 the Shadow appeared in his own radio show, and was portrayed by Orson Welles in 1937-8, and Lynn Shores directed the first movie in '37, followed by two serials. The Spider first appeared in The Spider Strikes, written by R. T. M. Scott, but was soon the work of 'Grant Stockbridge', a pseudonym for several writers, most frequently Norvell Page, totalling 118 novellas (and yes, the first movie serial appeared in 1938, the sequel in 1941). Both of these characters can still be found today, mostly in reprints and comics (and the lacklustre 1994 version of The Shadow), but the best preserved of the group appeared in 1939 and is just as well-known as ever. The adventures of Batman have been published continuously since his inception, and have had many interpretations, but the recent portrayals of Tall, Dark and Moody (notably Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns (1986) and Tim Burton's cinematic version of 1989 and 1992) are simply a return to Bob Kane's original conception. Then there's Batman Forever, which was too messy for words.
This was the decade of the Universal monster movies, where 'the impossible took place in a tight, false world of studio-built landscape, where every tree was carefully gnarled in expressionistic fright, every house cunningly gabled in gothic mystery, every shadow beautifully lit into lurking terror' . Tod Browning's Dracula started it all and became the money-spinner of 1931 for the studio . 1932 saw James Whale's Frankenstein , introducing the man who ousted Lugosi as the studio's resident ghoul, Boris Karloff (whose much-repeated make-up was created by Jack Pierce) . Frankenstein was also the year's top grosser, whereas Karl Freund's The Mummy in '33, also starring Karloff, did not do so well financially. However, the plethora of sequels kept them busy for quite some time. The Wolf Man (George Waggner) blitzed the box-office in '41, introducing Lon Chaney Jr. in his most famous role . , [1939-1945]. [Clippings]
It was also the last decade of the pulps, by this stage there were titles for just about every taste, and the 'Spicy' -- read mildly erotic -- range was introduced. Inspired by a visit to the Grand Guignol Theatre in Paris [1890s], Henry Steeger, president of Popular Publications, revamped the Dime Mystery Magazine, adding Terror Tales and Horror Stories in the next two years. The horror pulps would last till 1941 -- typical content being described as 'sex-sadism with luscious females on the covers suffering the usual ignominies: whippings, roastings and mad-virus inoculations' [56 -- attrib. to Robert Kenneth Jones].
As mentioned with regards to The Shadow and ilk, radio plays were also popular at the time, with a number dedicated to the supernatural. This debuted the soon-to-be-familiar format of the anthology play (a consequence of the number of horror short stories). One of the first was Lights Out in 1934, broadcasting Arch Oboler to a national audience, but it wasn't till the [1940s] that the dedicated late-night horror show took off .
Fritz Lang's M is released, the first serious movie based on a serial killer (played brilliantly by Peter Lorre), its impact for the modern audience is still considerable. The German director had already made the classic Metropolis five years earlier. Lang's The Testament of Dr Mabuse (1933), a Gothic thriller, pitted the police protagonist of M against an insane scientist. Joseph Losey remade M in 1951.
In France, 'Julian West' -- actually the Baron Nicholas von Gunzburg -- financed the Karl Dreyer film Vampyr, on the condition he played the lead role . Not much of an influence (except possibly on Francis Ford Coppola ), it is still a wonderful movie .
The classic Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde movie is released (Rouben Mamoulian). It won its lead, Fredric March, an Academy Award .
Charles Addams first appearance in The New Yorker. He quickly became a regular, and by 1935 his cartoons had evolved into his immediately recognisable style. His darkly comedic visions of death and the macabre lasted until 1989, and spawned The Addams Family television show  and a more recent movie double, in 1991 and 1993. '...if the cartoon needed a caption, he felt he had failed in some way, even if the caption was brilliant' .
The Werewolf of Paris is published, a novel by Guy Endore, and is notable for providing the basis for The Wolf Man [1930s]. Guy Endore also wrote the screenplay for what may have been one of the fascinating early vampire films Mark of the Vampire (Tod Browning, 1935) -- if the studio had left it alone.
The Carmina Burana has been around since the twelfth century, a group of songs concerning morality, religion and, most of all, drinking and gambling -- collected from over Europe by the residents of a Bavarian monastery. However, it is only here that it becomes relevant to us, when the composer Carl Orff sets it all to music and creates the quintessential horror sound-track. O fortuna...
Panic was caused across America by the broadcast of Orson Welles' report-style radio dramatisation, Invasion From Mars, based on The War of the Worlds. Many people tuned in from another popular radio show and missed the opening explanation, believing it to be a real invasion .
The Arkham House publishing company is founded by August Derleth and Donald Wanderi. Admirers of Lovecraft's work, they were determined to ensure it survived both the author and Weird Tales . Derleth and other authors such as Robert Bloch  and Robert E. Howard began to utilise the mythos in their own stories, with mixed success.
The British Board of Film Censors banned the screening of horror films, both local and imported, for the duration on the grounds they would affect morale. The movies they did let through were generally edited out of all recognition. It is interesting that during this period, one of the most popular British radio serials was John Dickson Carr's Appointment with Fear (1943); a weekly short dramatisation with a host known as the Man in Black (played by Valentine Dyall). While some Americans had similar sentiments (Variety regarded The Wolf Man [1930s] as 'dubious entertainment at this particular time' ) the public proved them wrong.
It was a time of atrocity. The Nazi Movement in Germany, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, attempted the genocide of the Jewish race, creating one of the enduring symbols of the Bad Guy. Meanwhile, on August the 6th and 9th of 1945, America showed the world a new type of Horror; its canvas: Hiroshima and Nagasaki .
After the popular radio plays of the Thirties, often incorporating horror motifs, or at least dark and shadowy heroes [1930s], horror on radio came into its own in this decade. Examples were programs such as Dimension X, Inner Sanctum, I Love a Mystery (1939) and Suspense (1942). By 1950 however, the more visual mediums were taking precedence, and the programs fell by the wayside. Individual shows can be found in later years, for example CBS Mystery Theatre, but they are few and far between.
Ray Bradbury publishes 'The Candle', his first short story, in Weird Tales. He would go on to write The Martian Chronicles (originally The Silver Locusts) in 1951 and Something Wicked This Way Comes in 1963 (admirably filmed by Jack Clayton  in 1963). Carnivals were never the same again. Other achievements include the fascist future of Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and his collections of poetically macabre short stories such as The October Country (1956).
'Kiss me and I'll claw you to death' ran the publicity tag for Val Lewton's Cat People (directed by Jacques Tourneur), produced, as all his work, to a list of titles provided for him by his superiors at RKO. What RKO wasn't expecting (and wasn't sure it wanted) was a series of movies of subtle horrors and meticulously maintained atmosphere. Examples include Isle of the Dead (Mark Robson, 1945) and I Walked with a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur, 1943) and the mostly unrelated sequel Curse of the Cat People (Robert Wise and Gunther Fritsch, 1944). Cat People was also remade with lots of sex, Nastassja Kinski and a rather nice panther in 1982 (and Robert Bloch also wrote a comic version for TV in 1973).
William Gaines takes over his father's publishing business and changes the name from Educational Comics to Entertaining Comics. As well as SF and action titles they would also produce America's first and most famous horror comics, the likes of Tales from the Crypt, Haunt of Fear and Vault of Horror, all edited by Al Feldstein. EC became a cult sensation -- until 1954, that is, when Dr. Fredric Wertham's infamous The Seduction of the Innocents: The Influence of Comic Books on Today's Youth saw print. The backlash was incredible, EC was brought under the scrutiny of a US Senate Subcommittee and business went downhill fast. Mad Magazine remains the only survivor of the publishing house, though several of the old titles are seeing reprint. As Gaines said in the nationally televised court case: 'It would be just as difficult to explain the harmless thrill of a horror story to a Dr. Wertham as it would be to explain the sublimeness of love to a frigid old maid' . Tributes to the EC tradition include the excellent Tales From the Crypt television series and Creepshow (George Romero, 1982).
The first of the Abbot and Costello movies using the trappings of horror -- A&C Meet Frankenstein (not too mention Dracula and the Wolf Man), directed by Charles Barton. A 'fairly lively spoof which put an end to Universal's monsters for a while' , [1930s].
One of the most successful portraits of a futuristic totalitarian regime is presented in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. The other main contender in this field of political nightmares is Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932).
This is the magic year for horror on television, when everybody decided to convert their radio series into a more visual medium. Lights Out had started as a series of specials in 1946, and became a regular series, and Appointment with Fear and Suspense also made the transition. A less successful show of '49 was Starring Boris Karloff, which turned into Mystery Theatre Starring Boris Karloff, and then hit pay-dirt as Thriller. [1960s].
The main action this decade, in the cinema at least, was science fiction, but most of it fits snugly within this assembly. It hadn't taken long after World War II for another conflict to appear and these films were a telling indication of Cold War tension (and, by the way, of the rush of UFO sightings that began in earnest in 1947), in a decade 'in which anxiety, paranoia and complacency marched hand in hand' . The themes were internal invasion, corruption and paranoid fantasies. The classic Invaders From Mars (William Cameron Menzies, 1953) and It Came From Outer Space (Jack Arnold, 1953) are early examples (though, really, the first sign was Spencer Gordon Bennet and Fred Brannon's The Purple Monster Strikes (1945)), and The Thing  and Invasion of the Body Snatchers  are probably the best of the breed. Only in War of the Worlds (Byron Haskin, 1953 ) and Earth versus the Flying Saucers (Fred F. Sears, 1956) were large scale invasions portrayed. Naturally enough, post-holocaust movies started to appear, and it was also the decade of the monster movie, giant ants, silly robots, hairy beasts (and mixtures of the two), Neanderthal men, lizard-skin girl-lusting critters and on and on (Jack Arnold's The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) is the best example), mostly the product of science gone wrong. Mind you, the Japanese had their own thoughts on that subject .
Acclaimed British writer John Wyndham produces The Day of the Triffids, his best known work along with 1957's The Midwich Cuckoos. The books had reasonable film adaptations in 1963 (Steve Sekely), 1977 (Wolf Rilla) and 1995 (John Carpenter, the latter two known as The Village of the Damned).
The Thing is released, directed by Christian Nyby (really under the control of Howard Hawks). It was an adaptation of J. W. Campbell's 'Who Goes There?' (1938) and 'contains the first space monster on film, and is quite nimbly made' . The story was re-adapted by John Carpenter in 1982 (it looked real good, but did anyone understand it?).
The first performance of Arthur Miller's The Crucible is given, and while its events are a metaphor for contemporary American politics, it is also a fascinating look at the hysteria of the witch hunts . Miller is a highly regarded mainstream writer, Death of a Salesman (1949) possibly being his most famous play.
And Vincent Price appears in the film that truly established his horror reputation, André de Toth's House of Wax. Price specialised in playing exquisitely evil villains, ranging from the intermittently possessed Charles Dexter Ward (The Haunted Palace, Roger Corman, 1963) to the Abominable Doctor Phibes (Robert Fuest, 1971 -- the 1972 sequel's pretty good too). Although very fond of camping it up, he is the genii of some truly chilling moments in movies such as he produced with director Corman .
Gojira was the highly impressive start of a long line, and if you don't recognise Inoshiro Honda's film, perhaps its occidental title will give you a hint: Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Well over twenty films have been devoted to the exploits of Godzilla, mostly the product of Honda and Eiji Tsuburaya, and other examples followed: Baragon, Ghidorah, Gaos, Gamera, Rodan, Manda, Mothra... All followed a strict ritual of killer breath and city-destroying tendencies (Tokyo suffered many ignominious deaths). And the reason for all this isn't too hard to find [1939-1945]. The US version added Raymond Burr as a reporter to the original, released in 1956. 
The first modern vampire novel is published -- Richard Matheson's I am Legend. This would have a great influence on the horror writers of the seventies, and was filmed twice (L'Ultimo Uomo della Terra (aka The Last Man on Earth, Sydney Salkow and Ubalda Ragona, 1964) and The Omega Man, (Boris Sagal, 1971). I am Legend is perhaps the best resolved of the many looks at Man Alone in the City. As well as a novelist Matheson has had great success with short stories and writing for movies and television, including the original Night Stalker (1972) and . [Article]
Lord of the Flies by William Golding appears, and proceeds to win the Nobel prize for literature, impressing and shocking with the veneer of civilisation slipping away from a group of shipwrecked children. And a pig's head. It's had a couple of adaptations, none of which we really want to mention.
Roald Dahl produces his first collection of twisted tales, Someone Like You. Kiss Kiss followed in '59. This prolific author is also known for his children's stories, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) and Witches (1983), both having been adapted into successful films. The word 'revolting' best sums up his fiction (in the nicest possible way).
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel), is a nicely written and complex tale (based on Jack Finney's 1954 novel), interrogating rather than reflecting the fears of its decade , [1950s]. It was remade in 1978 by Philip Kaufman, and again by Abel Ferrara in 1993. 'Invasion of the Bodysnatchers is one of the worst titles imaginable created by the pods that ran Allied Artists... McCarthy came up with a very good one which he stole from Shakespeare. That title fit our picture perfectly: Sleep No More' -- Don Siegel (in Fangoria #4). The studio also had their hand in downplaying the original powerful last scene.
Det Sjunde Inseglet, or The Seventh Seal, is Ingmar Bergman's classic about a knight (the ubiquitous Max von Sydow) playing chess with Death during the plague. Inspired by paintings in the churches of Bergman's childhood, it is unsubtle but powerful, and not a little disconcerting (the hacksaw was certainly a surprise). Not to be confused with The Seventh Sign, a strange little flick with Demi Moore in it.
Wisconsin farmer Ed Gein is arrested on suspicion of the murder of one Bernice Worden. His farmhouse is duly checked and the remains of approximately fifteen women were found in various small pieces. Dominated by his mother, her death led him to exhume and dissect corpses, fashioning crude clothing from their skins. Whilst talking candidly about his cannibalism and desecration, he was indignant about a charge of theft , .
The magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland first appeared, edited by the ever-punning Forest J. Ackerman and influencing an incredible number of later horror stars. It lasted 190 issues under Ackerman's reign and didn't last long without him -- it now appears as the occasional retrospective by the Ackerman himself. 'Many Fangoria readers think that FM is a childish magazine, and I totally agree... The point is that, if I didn't pick up a copy of FM a few years ago, I'd probably be writing to Popular Mechanics right now, about dishwashing appliances' .
Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, 'perhaps the most critically respected genre novel of the last fifty years'  has influenced just about everybody, really. If they only knew it, for she is perhaps the opposite of the archetypical horror author -- both popular and critically acclaimed during her life, but too soon forgotten. Other novels such as We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962) and various short stories such as The Summer People form a body of work both quiet and profoundly disturbing. In 1963 Robert Wise created an extremely successful adaptation of Hill House with The Haunting. [Article]
Robert Bloch's novel Psycho is released, featuring an obese Norman Bates and his mother, all based on the life of Ed Gein . The author has had innumerable successes with both novels and short stories as well as television and movie work, and was the first person to win the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1975. Bloch also wrote Psycho 2 in 1983 (unrelated to Richard Franklin's film) and Psycho House in 1990. , [Article].
The first of the Pan Book of Horror Stories is released, edited by Herbert van Thal, becoming one of the most well-known and influential of anthologies. The series became annual in 1962, and concentrated on new fiction from number five on. Van Thal continued till his death in 1983, and was replaced by Clarance Paget. In 1990 Pan put out Dark Voices, a best of the series, and it is now continuing under that name.
From the sublime to the ridiculous. William Castle obviously wanted people to come and see his movies. Or did he? In The Tingler he wired the seats in the theatre and delivered mild electric shocks to the audience. The King of Gimmicks (but by no means the only one), his quest was to scare the pants off America, and is also known for devising a system whereby the audience vote between alternative endings. The film was Mr. Sardonicus (1961) and the choice was to punish the villain or not. The unpunished version was never filmed. House on Haunted Hill (William Malone, 1999) was the first movie from Dark Castle Entertainment, a production company specifically created to remake Castle's Films.
Where Universal [1930s] had left off, across the Atlantic, Hammer's House of Horror took over. The small British studio had existed since WWII, but gained its name with treatments of all the old favourites, updated for modern audiences and more lenient censorship laws. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee hit the screens in The Curse of Frankenstein in '57, as the doctor and monster respectively; the double act was repeated in Dracula in '58 and The Mummy in '59; all directed by Terence Fisher, who added Curse of the Werewolf in '61. Sequels followed until both producers and audience ran out of steam, though the studio produced a great variety of product, including effective psychological horror and the dark SF of the Quatermass films. Considered the last gasp, The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires ('74), was a co-production with a Hong Kong studio and involved martial arts. In 1990 the British band Warfare released Hammer Horror, an authorised Hammer concept album. 'With Universal one had always known that nothing ghastly would assault the eye. With Hammer, one was constantly in danger from the sight of dripping blood, rotting corpses and bits of brains, all in vivid colour; to say nothing of well endowed young women falling victim to the monster in various stages of undress' .
Rod Serling creates a modern legend. Starting in 1959, The Twilight Zone lasted five seasons, and was renowned for the care taken with its production. While the best-known of its type, the Sixties had a number of successful anthology shows of more interest to the horror fan. Tales of the Unexpected (1960), Thriller (with Boris Karloff, 1960) and The Outer Limits (1963 -- remade in 1996), which followed on from the success of Alfred Hitchcock Presents  in 1955. (.
Alfred Hitchcock 'apparently had the time of his life'  directing his most successful film, Psycho, based on  and forevermore typecasting Anthony Perkins. It was followed by various sequels (number 2 is rather good) and a telemovie, Bate's Motel (Richard Rothstein, 1987). An incredibly prolific director, Hitchcock is regarded as possibly the master, and definitely unique, in the field of psychological horror. His distinctive style can be found as early as 1926 (The Lodger) and as late as 1972 (Frenzy, 'a closed and coldly negative vision of human possibility' ). Other works include Vertigo (1958, adapted from D'entre les Morts by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, though the book was written specifically for Hitchcock) and 'The Birds' (1963, based on Daphne du Maurier's story. People still haven't stopped using Hitchcock's imagery in their own films [1960s].
And just to give Hammer a run for their money, horror auteur Roger Corman shoots the first of his adaptations of Poe . House of Usher stars Vincent Price  and was written for the screen by Richard Matheson , and combinations of the three proceeded through The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), The Premature Burial (1961) and The Masque of the Red Death (1964), among others. This cult figure was the master of the cheap budget and the quick shoot, but was also responsible for discovering Francis Coppola , Joe Dante, and Martin Scorsese. Corman had already directed such delights as Attack of the Crab Monsters in 1957 and the original Little Shop of Horrors in 1959. He was still happily doing what he does best in 1991, with an adaptation of Brian Aldiss's Frankenstein Unbound, 'pure Corman'.
The release of Peeping Tom (just preceding Psycho ) causes fear and consternation among the viewing public, and effectively ended director Michael Powell's film career in England. The reason is the film's always surprising, intelligent and nasty look at an innocuous young man who takes voyeurism to new lengths. Similar ground was covered in Britain later, to critical success, in William Wyler's classic The Collector (1965).
Mondo Cane (also known as A Dog's Life), the brain-child of Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi, is a key precursor to the cannibal film , showing a montage of bizarre and sometimes horrific events from around the world . Not only a commercial success, it garnered an Oscar nomination for best song.
Dementia 13 is the first major movie of Francis Ford Coppola, a powerful and varied director. Other genre outings include the wonderful Apocalypse Now (1979), and don't we wish he'd kept the same style for Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)?. Dementia 13 itself is a strange creation, and quite effective. Influenced by Psycho  it also contained elements that makes it one of the embryo slasher flicks . But what does the title mean?
America enters the Vietnam war in earnest, President Johnson receiving permission from Congress to take 'all necessary action' against the Communist regime in North Vietnam [1970s].
John Astin and Carolyn Jones are the stars of a new TV show, The Addams Family, based on the cartoons of Charles Addams . Unlike The Munsters, 'essentially a straight-forward Stupid Dad comedy' , which also premiered in the same year, as well as numerous cartoons featuring the trappings of horror that would follow, The Addams Family was a truly macabre programme, maintaining the essential dignity of its characters in their naïve interactions with the outside world. It contained sixty-four episodes, running in American prime-time till September 1966. A guest appearance on Scooby-Doo lead to an animated series between '73 and '75 (with a young Jodie Foster as Pugsley) and movies were made in 1991 and 1993, directed by Barry Sonnenfield. They were purportedly based on the original cartoons and not the TV show, but there is some disagreement.
Ira Levin publishes Rosemary's Baby. This is the first prominent sign of a more introspective form of horror, building on the paranoia of the [1950s] - fear of self and invaders within society (referred to by various sources as 'Watergate Horror'). A faithful film adaptation follows in .
George Andrew Romero invents the Zombie movie (or at least gives it life), with Night of the Living Dead, a claustrophobic, effective and really cheap movie. Direct sequels are the classy Dawn of the Dead (1979) and Day of the Dead (1985), whereas the film was remade in 1990, written by Romero and directed by the original FX creator, Tom Savini. Dan O'Bannon continued the tradition in Return of the Living Dead (1985) (with one dire sequel, and then the encouragingly straight ROTLD3). Still not content, the prolific Skipp, and Spector have edited short story anthologies roughly set in Romero's universe (The Book of the Dead 1 and 2, 1989 and 1990). Other less official follow-ups abound. Romero's ability to realistically portray less-than-realistic subjects is also shown in one of the great vampire films, Martin (1977).
Rosemary's Baby is Polish director Roman Polanski's best regarded movie, winning an Academy Award for Ruth Gordon as Supporting Actress . A controversial figure, Polanski has left a large mark on his chosen medium, showing great variety in subject matter and style -- from black humour to commercial thriller. Other credits include Repulsion in '65, The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me, Your Teeth are in My Neck in '67, Le Locataire (or The Tenant, 1976) and the more recent Death and the Maiden (1995). The director has also shown some skill in front of the camera, including Guiseppe Tornatore's Une Pure Formalite' (1994). 'An entire generation has forgotten the debt modern horror films owe to Roman Polanski, the man who dragged the beast from the depths of collective unconsciousness to the surface where it has festered successfully ever since' .
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