Right now, Hollywood is starting down a track that will take movies back to the past: the Victorian Era. We are on the brink of a revolution in horror which has a chance to revive the core fans and remind secondary fans of how fun being scared can be. This will not be the first time the creators of the genre have gone back to the time period to revitalize horror as we know it.
Why the Victorian Era?
The Victorian Era coincided with the birth of modern horror. During the years between 1837 and 1901, writers such as Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker were creating horror formulas which remain to this day. Gothic architecture was making a comeback and became a popular backdrop for the horror of the day. Paranormal experimentation and secret societies based in occultism were spoken about by everyone.
The fears about the progression of science, the importance of religion, the veil between this life and the next, and xenophobia became staples of horror during this period. The Victorian Era was also known for struggles between the rich and poor and the citizens and government. These are staples of horror.
Horror is in need of a revival. 2011 was a soft year for the genre due to the fact that movies like "Scream 4," "The Thing," and "Red Riding Hood" did considerably less than expected. Fans began a backlash over Hollywood continuing to remake old franchises instead of trying something new. While other genres such as superhero movies continue to grow, horror is falling by the wayside.
Paranormal investigation movies, such as "Paranormal Activity 3," are one of the crazes that works right now. People are worried about the progression of government, just as they were during the reign of Queen Victoria. With the Occupy movement fresh in our memories, no one can deny the struggle between the rich and the poor. We might not be reading "A Christmas Carol" for the first time right now, but Ebenezer Scrooge can be seen everywhere.
In the mid/late-1950s, people were not going to see horror in droves anymore. Universal Studios had a miss with "The Creature From the Black Lagoon" when placed against the popularity of other properties like "Dracula" and "Frankenstein." People were filling the theaters to see the new genre of science fiction and the raging western genre.
A failing studio in England introduced a horror movie in "The Curse of Frankenstein," and everyone took notice. Hammer Horror was born.
Hammer Film Productions then decided to start placing Peter Cushing's Van Helsing and Christopher Lee's Dracula together. Fans loved it. A few short years later, while the Hammer Horror "Horror of Dracula" series was in full swing, Roger Corman began his Poe phase with "The House of Usher." Horror was reborn. Fans came back in droves as they realized Hollywood was exploring the horror they grew up with.
We are starting to see the commercials for "The Woman in Black" and keep hearing whispers about recreations of "Dracula" and "Frankenstein." "The Raven" will have Edgar Allan Poe as the main character. Even though H.P. Lovecraft wrote after the close of the Victorian Era, his style and inspiration came directly from that time period. The same could be said about Lord Dunsany. Hollywood keeps taking a closer look at these two authors; the stars are right for something special.
Sometimes, Hollywood needs to scrap everything and start over. That time is now.
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