Thursday, 29 September 2011

1950's Horror movie research (Chris)

The 1950's was an era when the slightest of things would be considered taboo, therefore to a modern audience a lot of "horror" flicks of its day would be considered relatively tame to current eyes. Here are a few of the classic films from its time to see if there is any comparisons to the way in which the genre was approached.

You will find most of the horror of the 50's was heavily influenced by Science Fiction, often involving aliens, monsters or psychotic killers with some form of power.

1950's Horror

Many films were based around a more Science Fictional comic book edge, or tampered with the subject of control, sexism and a lack of control.  There was nearly always the screaming blond shrieking blood into the ears of the audience while her hero goes out of his way to save her at the right time. It was a way to show how Women were seen as weak, that Men were superior and therefore they could uphold this social image. There was usually a clever way of hiding the villain, and even during their menacing acts they would be hidden away from the main screen as to observe something as controversial as a death was unheard of in its day. This also helped to create an air of mystery around character's, especially monsters. Visual effects were obviously very primitive in the 50's so any upfront visual would usually be cheap, or not very convincing.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

An alien (Klaatu) with his mighty robot (Gort) land their spacecraft on Cold War-era Earth just after the end of World War II. They bring an important message to the planet that Klaatu wishes to tell to representatives of all nations. However, communication turns out to be difficult, so, after learning something about the natives, Klaatu decides on an alternative approach.

Unknown. (Unknown). The Day the Earth Stood Still. Available: Last accessed 29/09/2011.

The War of the Worlds (1953)

H.G. Well's classic novel is brought to life is this tale of alien invasion. The residents of a small town in California are excited when a flaming meteor lands in the hills. Their joy is tempered somewhat when they discover that it has passengers who are not very friendly. The movie itself is understood better when you consider that it was made at the height of the Cold War--just replace Martian with Russian....

Unknown. (Unknown). The War of the Worlds. Available: Last accessed 29/09/2011
The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

A scientific expedition searching for fossils along the Amazon River discover a prehistoric Gill-Man in the legendary Black Lagoon. The explorers capture the mysterious creature, but it breaks free. The Gill-Man returns to kidnap the lovely Kay, fiancée of one of the expedition, with whom it has fallen in love.

Unknown. (Unknown). The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Available: Last accessed 29/09/2011

The She Creature (1956)

Using hypnosis, Dr. Carlo Lombardi claims that he can have his patients regress and recover memories from their past lives, thereby proving that reincarnation exists. He also claims that the spirit of these past lives can be brought forth to take physical form.. A series of violent murders by a creature that seems to disappear into the sea suggests that Lombardi's claim may be correct. The medical and scientific community believe him to be a complete fraud but one enterprising businessman sees the opportunity to make a small fortune with Lombardi's ability.

Unknown. (Unknown). The She Creature. Available: Last accessed 29/09/2011.

Video samples:

This film shows somewhat of a turn table of the taboo subject of Women having any kind of power over Men, this concept in the 50's was enough to frighten any bloke from his Wife! In this film we see the "Devil Girl", an Alien being from the planet Mars, come to Earth to take Men to be breeding stock for her own race. Sexy, but scary!

The Bad Seed

This film is based around a little girl named Rhoda Penmark who may seem innocent at first glance but you know theres an uncanny evil lurking inside of her. As the film progresses we see Rhoda's character become caught up in her own crimes and the storyline tenses. It is a story of which is caught up in many similarities to this groups synposis for our own storyline, the concept of a young girl taking her negative emotions out on people through adolescent motives.

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