Thursday, February 23, 2012

Horror Movies

     The horror movie.  Who doesn't love an evening at the movies with the promise of being scared out of your wits by the scenes portrayed on the big screen?  What is it about  the genre that keeps us going back for more, sometimes sitting through a total stinker of a movie hoping that you will get that adrenaline rush that brought you there in the first place.
     I remember the first movie that actually made me jump out of my seat.  That movie was "Jaws".  When the head popped out of that sunken boat, I jumped.  Wasn't expecting that at all!  That's right.  "Jaws" is a horror movie.  Not in the general sense of everyone's idea of a horror movie, where there is a upernatural entity or a masked killer lurking about, but a horror movie nonetheless.  It utilizes the genre's sense of horror and mild gore to elicit a response from its' target audience.  You and I. 
     One of the earliest horror movies was 1922's German classic, "Nosferatu".  Atmospheric and moody, it portrayed on of the earliest appearances of Bram Stoker's "Dracula", though F.W. Murnau strongly resisted the resemblence, even during the lawsuit that Stoker's wife had filed against the production company after Stoker's death.
     It was in the early 20's that the Americans began putting out there own horror movies, starting with "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" with Lon Chaney in the lead role.  Chaney also starred in "The Phantom of the Opera",  and the lesser known "London After Midnight", doing his own makeup for each role.  Unfortunately he died before doing the role that went to Bela Lugosi, who will forever be remembered as the lead in "Dracula" in 1931.
     It was the following year, 1932, when "Frankenstein" was released, starring Boris Karloff.  This rocketed Karloff to fame, and sadly, although he also appeared in the movie, eclipsed Bela Lugosi's career.  Lugosi would never again find a role that brought him into the lime light as had "Dracula".  He faded into obscuriy in the 50's, appearing in schlocky horror films such as "Plan Nine From Outer Space" and the like.  He died at age 73 and was buried in his Dracula costume. 
     But, I digress.  It's easy for me to get a little carried away talking about my favorite movie genre.  I tend to lean toward the classic horror movies and pride myself on knowing a bit about the subject.  I continue to watch horror movies as the progress through the decades.  Some are down right awful, but every now and then a gem comes along and breathes fresh life into the genre. "Army of Darkness", "Scream" and the first "Saw" move come to mind.
     I leave it to you, good reader, to choose your favorite scary movie and embrace it as you would any other passion.  Watch the movies that get your adrenalin rushing and then watch some more.  There's no such thing as too much of a good thing, after all.
     Thanks for visiting.  Have a better one.

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