Key Genre Films 1980s

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How things have changed. In the forties, for instance, one would find it difficult to name twenty good genre films of the decade but, since the late seventies, Hollywood has learned that their baby-booming audiences could not only handle strong horror and science fiction concepts, they craved them. Filmmakers everywhere went into overdrive. Like television today, there wasn’t a production house around that didn’t have at least one genre project in the making. The first … Continue reading

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Key Genre Films 1970s

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With The Andromeda Strain (1971) director Robert Wise proved that he was still as adept with science fiction themes as he was with the supernatural. A well constructed thriller, it tells of a group of scientists trying to analyse a strange alien spore which comes to earth. Stanley Kubrick, having explored the sterile depths of space in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), returned to a grungy Earth to show what might be happening in the … Continue reading

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Key Genre Films 1960s

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Throughout the sixties, Hammer studios continued with their blood-and-thunder remakes, including The Curse Of The Werewolf (1960), The Two Faces Of Doctor Jekyll (1960), The Brides Of Dracula (1960), The Phantom Of The Opera (1962), Kiss Of The Vampire (1964), The Evil Of Frankenstein (1964) and Dracula Prince Of Darkness (1966). Hammer also delved into other aspects of fantasy over the next few years: Science fiction in Five Million Years To Earth (1967), lesbian vampires … Continue reading

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Key Genre Films 1950s

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Just as the thirties had been a golden age for Gothic horror films, so the fifties would do the same for science fiction. The power of the atom had undeniably hooked the public on the wonders of science. This, coupled with the development of rocket power and the first major UFO sightings, provided a wealth of exploitable material for the film industry. The first film off the launch pad was to have been Destination Moon … Continue reading

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Key Genre Films 1940s

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The forties got off to a cracking start with Paramount’s Technicolor production of Doctor Cyclops (1940) starring Albert Dekker as a crazed scientist who discovers the secret of miniaturisation deep in the South American jungles. The film contains superb special effects sequences which required the construction of gigantic sets and props of everyday articles, including books, chairs, pot-plants and scientific instruments. Universal Studios, while reluctant to invest their horror films with big budgets, also turned … Continue reading

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Key Genre Films 1930s

1930s

In 1924 the first major theatrical production of Bram Stoker’s Dracula opened on stage in England. Starring writer-actor Hamilton Deane, the play was such a success that it was transferred to London’s West End. In 1927 the production opened on Broadway starring a young Hungarian actor named Bela Lugosi. Universal pictures purchased the screen rights that same year for US$40,000, intending to make the first ‘talkie’ version of the film with their resident horror kings, … Continue reading

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Key Genre Films 1920s

1920s

The coming of sound to the movies meant a great deal to the development of the fantasy genre. Although science fiction and particularly horror films had been produced since the earliest days of the medium, the addition of dialogue and, more importantly, special effects, greatly enhanced the creative abilities of filmmakers. As early as the turn of last century, Frenchman Georges Méliès had making short ‘trick’ films which had often been about or featured fantastic … Continue reading

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