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A brief history of American Horror Cinema.

Updated on October 21, 2014

The history behind a monster!

Have you ever watched a movie that made you jump?

I think we all have. Whether it was Friday the 13th, Halloween, Saw, The Ring, Psycho or Alien, horror has effected so many of us. It makes us look around and sometimes look forward ( maybe reluctantly) to the next scare!

But did you ever wonder how it all got started? I have, and that curiosity made me write this blog. Enjoy and tell me what movies have scared you the most over the years!

Where did it all begin?

Horror Movies were born to do bad!

One of the most popular and profitable genres in American Cinema is, of coarse, horror.Americans love (especially in October) to kick back and watch a good scary movie now and then. From Scream to Friday the 13th, to American Werewolf..., to Psycho, to The Elm Street franchise, we love the movies that make us jump and scream! But, do you know where it all began?

Over 100 years ago, horror movies were born. It's hard to believe!

Did you know that Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and Lon Chaney Jr. made the Wolfman, Frankenstein's Monster, and Count Dracula famous, but none of them were the first to bring these creeps to the silver screen? In fact, Karloff played the monster 20 years after the original! In 1910, Edison Studios brought the gruesome story of Frankenstein to life in the J. Searle Dawley movie. This was the first adaptation of Mary Shelley's book. Augustus Philips played the crazed Dr. and Charles Ogle played the evil monster. it was bazaar and creepy but of coarse silent and different than anything produced from 1930 on.

Dr Jeckle and Mr. Hyde kept things scary in 1912. This was a story of what evil may lurk inside of every man, and what it can do if it is unleashed.

Then, in 1922, was the more famous Nosferatu.The ancient story of Vladimir, the impaler, Dracula, terrified millions around the world. Max Shrek was outstanding in the title role.

1925 Lon Chaney Sr. resurfaces as The Phantom of The Opera, and After Midnight.

1930 Universal starts doing the monster mash and releases Frankenstein . From there, a long series arises, from House of Dracula, to The Wolfman meets Frankenstein, and many more.All of these were remade many times.There are so many other great silent horror films out there that are worth watching. Have a happy Halloween!

A horror movie timeline

--1910---------------1912-------------1922-------1925--------------------1930-------------Frankenstein- Jekyll+Hyde- Nosferatu- Phantom of the..- Universal'sFrankenstein

The Zombie factor!

There is a debate about which was the first ever Zombie movie was. Though several publications used the word Zombie, the first movie to use it was White Zombie in 1932. The were not however the flesh eaters that we see now. There were like human robots controlled by a mad scientist by by Bella Lugosi. The flesh eaters did not appear until 1964 when Vincent Price became the "Last Man on Earth". Then "Night of the Living Dead" came out in 1968 and America saw a never ending explosion of Zombies of the flesh eating variety!

So, let the debate continue! Tell me your thoughts.


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    • profile image

      olderbutnotwiser 3 years ago

      Outstanding work. Love the photo of Karloff as the Monster!

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 3 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      Thank you all! I made some changes, so please tell me what you think!

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

      I loved all these old movies when I was a teen. Hard to believe that the version of Frankenstein with Boris Karloff so frightened audiences back then that is came equipped with a warning for the faint of heart! Voted up and interesting!

    • Mr. Smith profile image

      Mr. Smith 6 years ago from California

      I have to agree that the best horror is without the gore. Nice hub, Mike.

    • BWD316 profile image

      Brian Dooling 6 years ago from Connecticut

      cool hub, great info, the horror industry gets a bad rap now a days, especially with the cheesier films but it has a true history and it's own branch in the history of film! nice job voted up!

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      I love old horror films. Some of the silent classics were amazing. The Golem, Nosferatu, the Cabinate of Dr. Caligari and the Phantom of the Opera are still among the best horror films of all time.

      I saw the original Edison 'Frankenstein' film. For such a short, low budget project, it was fairly well done.


    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      A good look back at 'horror' movies. We've lost something in the translation over the years by adding gore. Loved your hub and voted up.