By Wheeler Winston Dixon
Arranged through many years, with outliers and franchise motion pictures overlapping a few years, this one-stop sourcebook finds the historic origins of characters resembling Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolfman and their quite a few incarnations in movie from the silent period to comedic sequels. A background of Horror explores how the horror movie suits into the Hollywood studio process and the way its huge, immense good fortune in American and ecu tradition accelerated globally over time.
Dixon examines key classes within the horror film-in which the elemental precepts of the style have been verified, then banished into very easily trustworthy and malleable kinds, after which, after collapsing into parody, rose many times to create new degrees of depth and risk. A historical past of Horror, supported by way of infrequent stills from vintage movies, brings over fifty undying horror movies into frightfully transparent concentration, zooms in on modern-day best horror sites, and champions the celebs, administrators, and subgenres that make the horror movie so interesting and well-liked by modern audiences.
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Hollywood quickly put him to work, but the job was strictly “work” rather than art. Adapted from a play by Owen Davis, Christensen’s ﬁrst American ﬁlm, The Haunted House (1928), is an utterly conventional effort in every respect, featuring a sinister, deranged scientist (billed only as “The Mad Doctor,” which gives some idea of the generic feel of the piece) played by Montagu Love. The completed ﬁlm, a tepid comedy/horror blend, was both pedestrian and predictable. Not content with this, First National Pictures shoved Christensen into an equally vapid follow-up, The House of Horror (1929), a comedyhorror ﬁlm starring Mack Sennett veterans Louise Fazenda and Chester Conklin and containing a brief sound sequence in an otherwise silent ﬁlm.
In The Man Who Laughs, Veidt plays the role of Gwynplaine, a young man whose face has been disﬁgured so that his features are contorted into a permanent, hideous grin. Gwynplaine is in love with a young blind woman, Dea (Mary Philbin, who had starred as the ingénue in the original version of The Phantom of the Opera). A complex set of subplots drives the lovers apart; Gwynplaine discovers that he Origins 21 7. Conrad Veidt in The Man Who Laughs. Courtesy: Jerry Ohlinger Archive. is descended from royal blood, and the opportunistic Duchess Josiana (Olga Baclanova), seeing a potential for personal gain, tries to alienate Gwynplaine’s affections.
In this ﬁlm, Simone Simon is a gentle companion for the lonely Amy, not the menacing ﬁgure of the ﬁrst ﬁlm, but Oliver and Alice are disturbed by Amy’s ﬂights of fancy and punish her for insisting that Irena is “real,” as indeed she is to Amy. During this time, Amy has also been visiting the home of a lonely old recluse, Julia Farren (Julia Dean, in a stunning performance), unaware that Julia’s daughter Barbara (Elizabeth Russell) is jealous of her mother’s attentions to Amy and plots to kill the child.