Project Educate: A Brief History of Horror:
No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. -EDMUND BURKE
Real life, historical life, has given us a pretty good indication of what frightens us as a collective. We have expounded on the elements of horror from wars, psychological experimentation and illness, serial killers, superstitions and folklore, etc.
Before there was a way to express horrific events in still frame, we had literature, and word of mouth. Eventually, literature was adapted to movies, and with movies came photography. Without all of those elements, we would never have a horror genre. Without a built in want to be scared, or shocked, it never would have grown to the proportions it has over the last 150 years!
We seem to enjoy being scared, and it was a natural step from reading about it to being able to visually see it, and then capture it using makeup, special effects and a camera.
Without the aspects of literature, and movies, horror photography would probably not be where it is today!
Horror in Literature:
(Sources cited from Wikipedia.com)
H.P. Lovecraft was a pioneer in the horror literature genre. He was a tourtured soul who brought us enticing, terrifying creatures - he was dubbed a writer of 'cosmic horror'. His outlook on life was caustic and he died quite young, and those who read him while he was alive were far and few. But as the years passed after his death, he became known as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century, and has passed down to us an interesting look of not only how terror was interpreted in the early 1900's, but a fine look in to the writing style that he developed and perfected.
“I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men.”
― H.P. Lovecraft, The Outsider
Mary Shelley was an English writer, best known, perhaps, for her work of fiction "Frankenstein."
She came up with the idea one summer in Geneva, Switzerland, and she assumed it would only become a short story. But the book took shape, and we are now left with a legacy which was probably beyond her own reckoning. She allowed us to visualize (and later with the help of film technology, actually see) a man being pieced together, and brought back to life with the power of her own mind. While it is not a big deal any longer for a woman to write horror fiction, way back when this was quite an accomplishment. She spent most of the rest of her life trying to get this work, and pieces of her husbands work, published. Thankfully for us, eventually it was, and we can now all enjoy her vision.
"I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world."
- Mary Shelley
Horror literature eventually went from words to the cinema. The earliest horror films were based on characters from early folklore, such as vampires, werewolves and monsters. This was a trend that actually continued right up till the 1970's, when the more infamous gory slasher pics finally took over the genre.
1900-1930: Silent Fear
1930-1940: Classic Creations
1940-1950: Chills and Chuckles
1950-1960: Sci-Fi Horrors and the House of Hammer
1960-1970: Psychos to Zombies
1970-1980: The Birth of the Slasher
1980-1990: Modern Horror Begins
1990-2000+ : Scream Until You Like It
As the years progressed, and our technology increased (and is still growing steadily forward) our visions of horror and macabre take on different shapes, become their own entities. Fear is a powerful emotion; it can enable or debilitate us, but thankfully for those who enjoy the tingling, tense feeling of being scared, there are outlets for us to delve in to. From spooky, spine tingling words, to gritty, gory movies, to delicious and devilish photographs, there are so many ways others before us have expressed themselves, and so many ways for us to follow in their footsteps!
October 29th - November 5th, 2012 Project Educate Horror/Macabre Photography Week:
Welcome to Horror/Macabre Photography Week!