Terrors of the Screen
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Illustrated overview of the history, techniques, characters, and plots of horror films from around the world.
migrated west to the perennial sunshine and spacious surroundings of Hollywood. Then, too, the methods of production along with the management of film affairs had radically changed. One reason for the revolutionary changes was the gluttonus aspirations of the movie moguls themselves. These controversial entrepreneurs were cynical, free-wheeling and daring extroverts who were after big money. They thrived on the challenges of competition and conflict; no risk was too great if it meant not only
movie and refused to go along with the original distributing contracts. He reckoned on Laemmle's overriding concern that production costs determine how a film gets exhibited. Thalberg, in a daring gamble, made Worsley reassemble the cast for some further crowd thereby escalating the film's financial outlay by approximately $150,000. The idea paid off. When the president shots, saw the final sum, he initiated a tremendous advertising program to ballyhoo the picture's merits. So it was that
unsuspecting young women. Fortuof an unfortunate real estate agent provides the nately for the British, Professor Van Helsing is able to con- vince the right people that he knows a considerable amount about the supernatural powers of vampires, their unusual sleeping habits, and the means by which the loathsome creatures can be destroyed. With the aid of crosses, stakes, and sunlight, Van Helsing makes his point. In this oversimplified version of Dracula are several of the basic patterns
of the unknown. Thus three scholars searching for the answers to Egypt's marvelous past must confront an ancient pharaoh's curse if they dare open the coffin of Im-ho-tep. So too must Baron Victor Frankenstein face unimaginable horrors if he persists in his secret experiments to create life. The quest for knowledge, the search for creation remain timeless challenges, but how many of us draw back in terror, frightened to go beyond the acceptable borders of our experiences. Yet by watching terror
for the third and most popular of the terror films of the war years: Homunculus, a six-chapter, six-hour serial about an artifically set, so that constructed monster, a creature "without a soul, the devil's servant." 19 The 1916 screenplay reiterated the traditional terror story of what had by now become man-made monsters: mad sci- super-human monster, monster falls in love with beautiful girl who rejects him, monster revenges himself on entist creates the world. now Up until