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The Horrific History of Horror Films

Horror is one of the world's most well-known and well-liked film genres. Regardless of whom you ask, everyone is familiar with the concept of helpless victims trying to flee a psychotic killer, or potentially a poltergeist tormenting a remote village. But where did they begin?

When renowned French director George Melies released the short film "The House of the Devil" in 1896, the horror subgenre made its debut. The title has many translations, including: "Manor of the Devil '', "The Haunted Castle", "The Devil's Manor", and "The Devil's Castle". Running for a mere three minutes, it is one of the shortest yet most influential horror films in history. Deemed lost, the film went unheard of until 1988, when a copy of the film was discovered at the New Zealand Film Archive.

There are numerous subgenres within the genre "horror," each of which refers to and defines a distinct aspect of cinema. But when were some of the most popular ones established? 1934 is credited as the first year a film in the "Psychological Horror" subgenre was released, called The Black Cat, directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. The subgenre "Gothic Horror" made its debut in the 18th century, when the rise of romanticism fuelled its breakthrough. Additionally, zombie folklore originated during the 17th century, marking the beginning of the "Zombie Horror" subgenre. More recently, the "Slasher" subgenre was said to have begun in the 1970s.

What is the "scariest of all time" in terms of horror movies, according to critics? Everyone has different viewpoints, so it's challenging to demonstrate this claim, but the majority of people agree that The Exorcist, which came out in 1973, is among the scariest movies ever made. One critic from the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "This movie doesn't rest on the screen; it's a frontal assault." The film itself holds the title of "the second highest-earning R-rated horror film of all time." Other films being described as some of the scariest horror films of all time include 2018's Hereditary, 1974's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 2014's The Babadook, and 2003's Switchblade Romance.


What is your opinion on horror films? Do you think the development was key for the success of cinema? Be sure to let us know.


  • Written by Shelbie Webb

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