Horror film Discussion question

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Write 3 discussion questions about the movie “the comedy of terrors – Vincent prince (1963)” and chapter 12 on the book (A Companion to the Horror Film – Harry M. Benshoff)

Examples from previous class:

1) When thinking about the video Feast Your Eyes? Why do you think Lon Chaney’s, in terms of his body and/or makeup, character acting was so revolutionary?

2) How do you think Greek mythology, Christianity and other religions paved the way for “horror”? (pg 208-210)

3) “The horror film…continues to embody the ideological circumstances of the moment that contains it” (Sharrett, pg 71) Coming out in 1920, in what ways is Cabinet of Dr. Caligari a reflection of postwar era?

4) In Cabinet of Dr. Caligari things aren’t really what they seem when we find out Frances has been a patient at a mental facility the whole time. Discuss the theme of perception v. reality and how the form of expressionism further illustrated Frances’ dreamlike state?

  1. Lon Chaney was one of the first horror film icons, embodying several monsters and ghouls such as the Phantom in the Phantom of the Opera and Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Both of the aforementioned characters are hideous yet sympathetic to the viewer. How does Lon Chaney use pantomime to create sympathy in such terrifying figures?
  2. Germany’s Weimar era was strife with post-war trauma and engaging in a new 1920s risque scene, resulting in combinations of violence and sexual obsession in German Expressionist art and film. How does The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari dwell on the aspects of violence and sex to reflect the culture of 1920s Germany?
  3. In Ch. 4 of the textbook the section called “Horror and the Coming of Feminism” references Roman Polanski’s horror masterpiece Rosemary’s Baby as an attack on the patriarchal society. In Rosemary’s Baby, the husband is regularly viewed as a manipulator, and Rosemary must surrender herself to the confinements of the marital relationship and gender assumptions. Given that this film came out in 1968, more than 50 years ago, has the horror genre progressed or regressed for the feminist agenda?

On page 215 of chapter 12 (Horror Before “The Horror Film” by Harry M. Benshoff) in A Companion to the Horror Film, the film historian Carlos Clarens discusses in his work, An Illustrated History of the Horror Film, that illusionist and film director George Mélies is responsible for not only being the progenitor of the fantasy and science fiction dramas, but also horror films. Clarens bases this assumption from Mélies’s use of monsters, devils, and moon men in his films. After reading this chapter, do you feel that horror and science fiction are interrelated genres? If so, detail any films that you feel are a proper combination of the two.

In chapter 12 (Horror Before “The Horror Film” by Harry M. Benshoff) of A Companion to the Horror Film, author James B. Twitchell explains how the ideas of monsters and strange creatures can be traced back to as early as caving paintings from ancient human civilizations. After reading this section and learning of the long and detailed history of how the horror genre came to be, what is your earliest experience with the horror franchise? Was it through a movie, a book, an art piece, or a comic? How has this experienced shaped your overall journey in the world of film?

In chapter 8 (Horror and the Censors by Julian Petley) of A Companion to the Horror Film, it discusses how as more and more horror films were being made the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) began cracking down on these works due to their increasing use of gruesome and horrific themes, suchasprofuse blood, murder, suicide, torture, etc.

In the 1925 film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera, starring Lon Chaney, the film ends by having the phantom chased by and ultimately killed by the mob. This is a sharp contrast to the ending of the novel where Erik makes peace with Christine, who later buries him after his death. Additionally,the novel also depicts Erik as a far more sympathetic character whose plight is understood by Christine, unlike in the film where she is horrified of him and does everything to escape. Do you feel that the current politics of the time, one that was less tolerant of the unusual and different, affected the overall development and ending to the Phantom/Erik character in the 1925 film (instead of being understood and pitied he is killed by a mob)? Please Explain.

 

Last Updated on September 29, 2019