For ten decades, horror movies have dogged the cinema screens and are one of Hollywood’s longest-running genres next to the western. Ever since nosferatu (one of the earliest films in the genre) was released in 1922, The Blood and Gore, the thrilling and disturbing music, and the iconic scary villains that followed were historical trademarks in films that terrified several generations of moviegoers.
From silent vampires in castles to clowns dressed in makeup that scares pre-teens, the horror film has gone through many phases over the course of a hundred years. Popular with the public, these haunting favorites have not only shaped and influenced the genre in seismic ways, but also defined the decades in which they live.
1920s: ‘Nosferatu’ (1922)
When Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) is commissioned to Transylvania to make a sale with Count Orlok (Max Schreck), it is soon revealed that Orlok is a vampire who has his eyes on the real estate agent’s wife.
An unofficial adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, FW Murnauthe silent movie nosferatu was one of the first horror movies to be released along with Robert Weine‘s The cabinet of Dr. Caligaria. Through the use of shadows and staging, Nosferatu also played a large role in defining German Expressionist film throughout the decade and beyond. Finally, the lack of sound and Schreck’s terrifying performance added to the film’s chilling nature; which, since its release, has inspired a number of remakes.
1930s: ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ (1935)
Following the events of 1931 Frankensteinscientist Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) decides to leave his experiments behind. However, when The Monster (Boris Karloff) he kidnaps his wife, Frankenstein is forced to create a new creature to save her.
We pick up where the first left off, the groundbreaking science fiction horrorBride of Frankensteinwas one of the first movie sequels ever made. Masterfully directed by James Whale1935’s Bride of Frankenstein told a compellingly rich horror story of loneliness and humanity that was enhanced by Karloff’s sympathetic performance as The Monster. As a result, the film received glowing praise and, arguably, hand-crafted 1930s horror cinema.
1940s: ‘The Wolf Man’ (1941)
After being bitten by a wolf in a vicious attack, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) turns into a werewolf. Some villagers cause mayhem and mayhem and hunt for the beast while Larry tries to leave town.
Directed by George Wagner and with classic atmospheric fog, 1941’s The Wolfman followed the cycle of universal monster movies that dominated the 1930s. In fact, following the film’s success, it would generate future sequels that would also populate the 1940s. While the werewolf’s signature makeup and design scared the public at the time, The Wolf Man also has future filmmakers such as John Landis (An American Werewolf in London) and Joe Johnston (The Wolfmana modern remake of the 1941 film).
1950s: ‘She!’ (1954)
In 1954, giant ants roamed through cinema screens in Gordon Douglas‘science fiction horror’ Them!. As an army of mutated ants terrorizes civilians, it’s up to a team of scientists and military soldiers to end this uprising before the ants threaten civilization on a global scale.
Widely regarded as one of the first nuclear monster movies of the 1950s, Them! is an entertaining creature feature that is sure to make any viewer terrified of big bugs. Also starring Edmund Gwenn (Miracle on 34th Street) as an informative scientist, the film featured one of sci-fi horror’s most terrifyingly puzzling opening scenes as a little girl wanders alone in the desert, looking horrified.
1960s: ‘The Ghost’ (1963)
When paranormal investigator Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson) invites two women, Eleanor (Julie Harris) and Theodore (Claire Bloom), to a haunted house, strange events take place that put the lives of everyone involved in grave danger.
creepy and creepy, The hunt was one of the scariest movies audiences had seen in the 1960s, asking one question: Do you believe in ghosts? With inventive and dynamic camera work and great direction by Robert Wise, the supernatural horror film has held and terrified ever since. Harris’s cries of terror, the disturbing sense of dread and the horrifying use of sound The hunt an effective horror that helped define the decade.
1970s: ‘Halloween’ (1978)
One Evening in Haddonfield, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends babysit some kids nearby while the parents are away. What they don’t know, though, is a killer who kills teenagers one by one.
While 1960’spsychosis and 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre introduced horror fans to the ingredients of a slasher, John Timmermanclassic from 1978 Halloween may have been the formal birth of the horror-slasher subgenre. With a hypnotic, gripping and suspense-filled score, a terrified last girl, a bunch of horny teens and a masked killer, Halloween was iconic and defined horror from the 1970s (and beyond).
80s: ‘The Shining’ (1980)
Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) and his family move to the Overlook Hotel for the winter. But while living in seclusion, Jack begins to go mad, threatening the safety of his family.
With creepy twins that will haunt viewers’ dreams and striking visuals (particularly the blood pouring from the elevator doors), Stanley Kubrick‘s The shining was and still is influential. Amazingly, however, Stephen King has famously spoken out against the film and how much it differs from his novel of the same name. Regardless, Kubrick’s psychological horror has helped some to produce more 1980s film adaptations of King’s novels, including the popular 1986 hit hit. Stay with me.
90s: ‘Scream’ (1996)
After brutally assaulting and killing a girl, Ghostface targets Sidney (Neve Campbell) and her high school friends. In addition to Officer Dewey (David Arquette) and news reporter Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), they track down Ghostface who is behind all the murders in Woodsboro.
In 1996, legendary director Wes Craven introducing the public to the reference-filled slasher horror scream. Consequently, the film helped shape the next era of parody films and teen horror films. From the iconic, memorable and subversive opening scene to Campbell’s portrayal of an iconic bad-ass last girl, scream turned out to be a box office success and a hit with critics. It proved to be even more popular among fans of the genre as the film is full of references and nods to horror movies of the past while also innovating the genre in new and interesting ways.
2000s: ‘Paranormal Activity’ (2007)
When Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micha Sloat) move to a new house, mysterious things begin to happen. As the nighttime disturbances mount, the young couple, fearful that they are in the presence of a demonic spirit, decides to install security cameras.
Injecting an aura of authenticity, Paranormal Activity terrified of the public when it was released in 2007 Oren Pelic-directed film helped rekindle fans’ interest in the found-footage horror film with its number of suspenseful sequences and chillingly realistic visuals. Spawning sequels in the process, Paranormal ActivityThe film’s highly effective and lengthy marketing campaign turned the film into a box office phenomenon. Since then, it has left a mark on the genre and cinema of the 2000s.
2010s: ‘It’ (2017)
After his brother is eaten by Pennywise (Bill Skarsgrd), a killer clown lurking in the sewers, Bill (Jaeden Martell) and his group of bullied friends team up to track down the clown to stop more pre-teen murders from happening.
Featuring a star cast of teenage actors (Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jack Dylan Grazer among others), It was a blockbuster with the public in 2017. Along with several terrifying and edge-of-seat sequences, Skarsgard’s chillingly creepy performance as Pennywise made clowns scary again. Breaking cash register records and rightfully earning “iconic” status, Andy Muschietti‘s It also generated a sequel with 2019’sIt: Chapter Two.