A horror film is a movie in which the whole goal is to illicit feelings of shock, disgust, or terror from the audiences watching. It has been around ever since the eighteen hundreds and overlap, sometimes, with other genres as well. "Horror", as a term, can be used in order to describe different movies from ones that involve murderers to ones that are about ghosts. It is also often hard to gage what makes some scary movies scarier than others as well.
The very first scary movies were silent films about demons and cursed locations. In 1910, the first film version of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein was released and was extremely successful in scaring audiences across Europe and North America. The majority of the early full length horror movies were made and produced in Germany, who had, early on, effectively cornered the market. By the early thirties, filmmakers in America jumped into the game with works such as Dracula, Frankenstein, and Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.
Different things will scare different types of people but the directors and producers of the early thirties and twenties discovered fairly quickly that suspense, sudden plot twists, eerie sound effects, and other factors were more effective at getting people frightened than scary monsters or bloody guts.
Perhaps the greatest contribution to the horror genre was made by the world famous writer and director, Alfred Hitchcock. Throughout his long and successful career, he pioneered numerous techniques and methods that are still used in suspense and psychological films today. Hitchcock is considered to be one of the best directors in the world with most of his fifty feature films being considered absolute classics.
"Shadow of a Doubt", one of Alfred's early films happens to be one of the very first thrillers as well. The movie is so significant culturally that it was picked to be included in the National Registry of Films so that its overlapping characters, criminal behavior plot, and spooky dialogue could be studies and watched by enthusiasts for many decades to come.
His most well known projects, such as "Vertigo", "Rear Window", and "Strangers on a Train" were completed throughout the fifties. Each of them showcased Hitchcock's natural ability to frighten an audience with intelligent plots, emotionally unstable characters, and well placed spooky music.
Although King Kong, Godzilla, and other monsters are scary, many of the most frightening horror and thriller films in the industry are the ones where the 'monster' is never seen. This was done expertly by the creators of a movie called "Rosemary's Baby", which alluded to and mentioned a demonic baby but kept its appearance from the audience. "Jaws", "The Blair Witch Project", and other films also used this popular technique. Directors could force their audiences to fear something even more by not showing it.
Another popular and useful method involves the kind of sounds that a horror film uses. Sometimes a movie's music is the most powerful aspect when it comes to scaring or terrifying people. Though they might not have known it at the time, the viewers who saw the movie "Jaws" in the seventies were on the very edge of their chairs thanks to the film's infamous score.
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