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A History of Horror

Wheeler Winston Dixon

Publication Year: 2010

Ever since horror leapt from popular fiction to the silver screen in the late 1890s, viewers have experienced fear and pleasure in exquisite combination. A History of Horror, with rare stills from classic films, is the only book to offer a comprehensive survey of this ever-popular film genre. Chronologically examining over fifty horror films from key periods, this one-stop sourcebook unearths the historical origins of legendary characters and explores how the genre fits into the Hollywood studio system and how its enormous success in American and European culture expanded globally over time.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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p. vii


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pp. ix-xi

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Chapter 1: Origins

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pp. 1-24

Before there were horror movies, there were written or spoken horror narratives, fables handed down from one generation to the next, and, as we shall see, theatrical presentations designed to thrill and horrify audiences. The origins of the horror story may be traced to the beginning of narrative itself, or at least as far back as the...

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Chapter 2: Classics

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pp. 25-64

Between 1931 and 1948 one studio dominated the production of horror films, not only in the United States, but world wide. That studio was Universal Pictures, which began an aggressive slate of horror films in 1931 with Tod Browning’s Dracula, based on the...

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Chapter 3: Rebirth

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pp. 65-122

In America, horror films in the 1950s were trying to find a new audience. The genre had yet to recover from the predations of Abbott and Costello’s burlesques of Universal’s classic monsters (Meet the Mummy and so on). The rise of television, too, was another “monster” that the studios faced during this period, and one of the tools...

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Chapter 4: New Blood

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pp. 123-171

And so the floodgates opened. The horror films released from the 1970s onward had little in common with their predecessors, save for one central aspect: they genuinely horrified viewers. It is hard to imagine audience members fainting dead away at the sight of Boris Karloff in Frankenstein, but it is so; Edward Van Sloan’s “friendly...

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Chapter 5: The Future

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pp. 172-210

While the franchises of the 1970s through the turn of the twenty-first century continued unabated, a number of factors combined to make horror films in the new millennium more imaginative, more original, and more accessible to a wide range of audiences...

Top Horror Web Sites

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pp. 211-213

50 Classic Horror Films

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pp. 215-216


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pp. 217-222


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pp. 223-248

E-ISBN-13: 9780813550398
E-ISBN-10: 0813550394
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813547954
Print-ISBN-10: 0813547954

Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 52 photographs
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 769927210
MUSE Marc Record: Download for A History of Horror