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Psychos, Screams and Saws:Rise and Fall of U.S Horror Films (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
Chapter 1:We're All Go a Little Crazy Sometimes

Horror stories have been around for as long as stories have been told. So when the medium of film came around, it was no surprise when the horror genre immediately came along for the ride. Film however, still could not produce sound, so all films were silent, even horror films. Although the Silent Horror film genre does have it's own little cult following, the only notable horror film from that time was "Nosferatu"(1922) which was an adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula. The film was hindered from the start with copyright issues, forcing them to change many things including names and comeplete elimination of secondary characters. "Count Dracula" was now "Count Orlok", his frightening appearence, which is now famous among horror fans, is very different from the Dracula described. Despite these changes, the studio went bankrupt after Stoker's estate sued for copyright infringement and won, the court ordering all copies to be destroyed. Fortunately copies were saved and copied, allowing the film to continue. The film would serve as a huge influence to the vampire sub genre of horror by creating the "Nosferatu type" vampire who is, rather then erotic, hideous, and rather then make his victims vampires, kills them. Other the Nosferatu, most silent horror films are known by genre rather then name.

It would be nine years before another Dracula adaptation came, and the horror genre got the jump start it needed. This adaptation would prove to be the one people remember most, and that credit goes to Bela Lugosi's performance as Dracula. His voice and accent would become the trademark voice for Dracula, today becoming the stereotypical voice typically found in children's cartoons. Back then however it was a terrifying voice that echoed throughout America. The film, despite having no copyright issues, varied from the novel greatly. Despite not having specific comic relief, it was considerably less dark then the novel, and while the novel was known for being highly sexualized, the film was anything but. The film, like most adaptations, would change the original story considerably in spots.

There was worry from the studio a film without, among other things, comic relief would fail. However the film became a smash hit and forever bound the role of Dracula to Lugosi. Lugosi might have had a chance to avoid this fate if he had stuck with another major horror film role from the same year.

Frankenstein, coming out the same year as Dracula(1931) would have originally starred Lugosi as the title monster like Dracula but he walked out after technical difficulties leaft him frustrated. Also like Dracula, Frankenstein was based upon a classic horror novel of the same name by Mary Shelly. Also like Dracula, it would deviate from the novel however unlike Dracula, Frankenstein differed mostly in narrative while keeping fairly close to the tone. The film was released with controversy, the state of Kansas banning it for being immoral. Two controversies arose, from Dr Frankenstein proclaiming himself to be God(a line that was dubbed over with sound effects) and the scene of the Frakenstein monster drowning the little girl(which was edited as to not show, only imply) Despite this, the film was also a huge success.

A fate that would befall horror films in the future was franchising. Dracula saw the release of Dracula's Daughter(1936) and Son of Dracula(1943) while Frankenstein was followed with Bride of Frankenstein(1935) Both films, along with another smash hit The Wolf Man(1941) would begin a series of crossover films starting with Frakenstein Meets the Wolf Man(1943) Besides a few other cult classics like Freaks!(1932) and Mystery of the Wax Museum(1933)these films would dominate the box office, one thing that never made it into future generations of horror, with the only recent crossover horror being Freddy vs Jason(2003) and only rumors among fans of Helloween(Pinhead from Hellraiser vs Michael Myers from Halloween) However by the 1950's, these crossover horror films faded out with many ghost themed films such as House on Haunted Hill(1959) The Haunting(1963) and House of Wax(1953) all of which have been remade no more then a decade ago, the kind of films that made Vincent Price the legend he is today. There were also many sci-fi themed horror films including The Thing From Another World(1951) Invasion of the Body Snatchers(1956) and The Fly(1958) Despite being part of the horror genre, the genre that hosts some of the most offenssive pieces of film ever commited to celluoid, horror films seemed to stop wanting to push the boundary. Films like Frankenstein(1931) Freaks!(1932) and to a lesser extent Nosferatu(1922) and Dracula(1931) pushed some boundaries on what was accepted. However, absoloutely none of them broke the boundaries of a film that would come at the end of the 50's, and start a revolution in horror never before seen.

Alfred Hitchcock was allready a well accomplished director by 1960. Films like Rebecca(1940) Rope(1948) Rear Window(1954) and Vertigo(1958) among many others had allready cemented Hitchcock's place in history. He really didn't need to go further, however not only did he, but he outdid all his other films in terms of success and influence, unprecidented for someone 20 years into their directing career.

"Psycho" was nothing more then a dime store novel.Hitchcock however saw something in this story and decided to make it. He also wanted to make a really good inexpensive film to put the expensively made bad films to shame. One thing Psycho's story had going for it was an odd narative structure, introducing characters as though they were main characters only to have them killed off. Hitchcock wanted to use this narrative structure, figuring it would shock audiences which it did. Having a big star killed off within an hour's time was unheared of. Back then having the main character killed at all was pretty rare, even in horror films, but within an hour is something that even today is unique and near unduplicated. Another shocker was the flushing of the toilet onscreen. Back at the time, you did not see toilets flush onscreen at all. It was actually the idea of Joseph Stefano to do so, Hitchcock saying he would do it if Joseph wrote it so that the toilet flushing had to be seen.

Before the film could even be released, Hitchcock was tackled head on by the censors. Hitchcock, unlike most horror film directors who would meet these challenges, took on the censors and won. Their first complaint was that you could see Janet Leigh naked during the infamous shower scene, even though she wasn't. Hitchcock sent it bad unedited and they censors didn't look twice. Another was the use of the word "transvestite" However this was countered by explaining their is no inherent sexual meaning for the word. The final challenge was not wanting to end the film on an intense note, so added in the scene where the psychatrist explains everything. Hitchcock then added the scene where we see Norman at the end, giving the proverbial finger to everyone trying to control the film.

Psycho was a box office phenomenon. It broke records throughout America and Europe. Audiences, needless to say, loved it. Critics however were mixed. Some thought it was trash, some brilliant, some so-so. Overall from most critic's standpoints, there wasn't much to it. Despite this, there was no ignoring the box office draw this film was. Even with regulations held in theaters that no one be admitted after the half hour point, it did not stop audiences from pouring in.

Despite filming in black and white in order to make it less gory, those who saw it were still horrified, citing that the black and white made the gore seem more real to them. Indeed it was more violent then most other horror films released before then. The shower scene has gone on to be one of the most spoofed horror film scenes in history.

Despite Psycho's sucess, the floodgates for other more dark and grusome horror films was not opened immidiately. The only horror film that really came out that could be considered edgy was "Blood Feast"(1963) which despite being infamous for it's gore, did little to push the horror genre. What followed Psycho instead were thrillers with somewhat simalar themes of psychotic breakdowns like "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?"(1962) and "Hush, Hush Sweet Charollete"(1964) while cheesier B movie films continued through for the next few years on the horror scene. Even Hitchcock went back to thrillers with "The Birds"(1963) Only in the second half of the decade, would other directors begin to step the genre up a notch.

Next chapter:polanski leaves where Hitchcock leaft off by pushing the boundaries even further with "Repulsion"(1965) and "Rosemary's Baby"(1968) while young newblood film maker George Romero immortalizes the zombie genre and brings a new level of violence to American screens with "Night of the Living Dead"(1968) as the 1960's comes to an end.

Main Sources:
Citated Wikipedia pages
Official Websites
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Dr. Malone

So there's more to this? I enjoyed reading it, although I caught some grammar and spelling errors. "gruesome" is misspelled. "Left" not "leaft"
This sentence doesn't work at all:
"Despite filming in black and white in order to make it less gory, those who saw it swear it was gory."

Interesting read, I learned some stuff I didn't know. I'll read the next chapter if you post it.


Senior Member
That sentence is actually correct. Hitchcock filmed it in black and white to save costs, and make it less gory. However people actually thought the black and white made the blood look more real.

Anyway thanks for the review and yes I will be posting more chapters.


Senior Member
I'll try rephrasing it then.

Chapter 2:This is The End, Beautiful Friend, of the 1960's

Roman Polanski wasn't exacly what one would call a nobody in 1965, nor was he a name immidiately recognizable among the filming community. He had earned some critical success with some of his short films and then minor international fame "Kinife in the Water"(1963) which got him an Academy Award nomination for best Foreign Language film. However he had yet to make a real impact upon the world of cinema. Although Psycho(1960) shocked America with some of the things it showed, the shocking content in Psycho would look like child's play compared to Polanski's Repulsion(1965)

Repulsion's story concerns Carole Leodux, a beautiful women who is leaft alone in her home as her sister goes on vacation. The lonlyness begins to affect her mind, resulting in hallucinations and fantasies of rape and seduction.

Polanski, like Hitchcock, had some obstacles to overcome. For starters, his English was shaky at best and he was writing the script along with collaberator Gerad Brach. They got around this by having bare minimal dialouge, opting instead to use imagery to carry the story most of the way. His biggest obstacle however concerned the content of the film. As mentioned before, Psycho's content was not nearly are taboo as what Repulsion would do. The film was highly sexualized, something American film makers slipped in subtlely but never tried to come right out and explore. Worse yet, Polanski was filming this in England, a country with strict censorship laws and would sky rocket with censorship during the "Video Nasties" era. Now even the theme isn't the only thing the censors wouldn't approve of. The masturbation scene certainly had eyebrows up. Masturbation was never even talked about in American films, much less have a scene of it in a film. Add onto that a rape scene, another large taboo for films. This is combined with a lack of dialouge and the fact it would undoubtedly be compared with box office juggernauts like "Psycho" and 'Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"(1962) and possibly get lost in the shuffle of psychological films, it seemed destined for failiure. Polanski was not expecting much from this film as it was prepared to be reviewed.

The first obstacle was the censors, and for many, the idea of the censors approving this film without drastic cuts or banned alltogether would be a pipe dream. Polanski however, unknown to him, had two things going in his favour. The first was that the Secretary of the BBFC(British Board of Film Censors) John Trevelyan was an admirer of his. The second was that he had actual psychologists defending the film as a frighteningly realistic portrayal of a psychological breakdown. So Polanski's first big shock was when the film was passed uncut. This was only the beggining.

His second big shock was when he recieved praise from psychatrists on his realistic depiction of schizphrenia. This was especialy suprising considering neither Polanski nor Brach had done any research prior to writing the film. Last but not least was something Polanski could never have imagined happening with Repulsion.

Repulsion was a critical smash, recieving praise almost all around. Financialy the film by no means broke records, it still had a more then healthy box office income considering the low budget. Added onto that was further praise and recieved even more critical attention and fame. Polanski had a good start and was now even further up. However despite the success of Repulsion, it would be three years before his most well known horror films came along. In that same year, another film came out to revolutionize horror.

So far all the major box office horror films had been studio films made by people with experience in film making. Hitchcock had allready cemented his status before making Psycho, and Polanski had gained made one film before and several short films. Romero however, had little experience in production and no experience in making anything beyond commericials and industrial films. Compared to Polanski and Hitchcock, he was a nobody. He owned a company called Latent Images alongside friends John Russo and Russel Steiner. They were done with commercials however, and instead opted to make a horror film. They went to a film firm called Hardman Associates Incorporated. It was Romero who ultimately convinced them to help finance their horror film, which at the moment was untitled. They were detirmined to take advantage of the evolving climate of film. They helped them set up a company called Ten Images which raised a budget for the film. The budget however was miniscule. Many film makers have had low budgets to work with but the budget on this film was so small and the makers without much experience that it dictated the production of the film. The special effects were created using cheap supplies, choclate sauce used for blood, for example. A definitive title still had not been decided, filmed under title "Night of the Flesh Eaters" among others.

Despite the low budget and lack of experience, the film was comepleted. Other problems arrose when in concern with getting the film a distributor. Distributors wanted nothing to do with a film so horrofyingly violent, gruesome and with a downbeat ending. Some might've been willing to distribute it if the ending were changed but Romero and the others refused. Finally they found a distributor in the Walter Reade Organazation who not only distributed the film uncensored, but did so with the title "Night of the Living Dead"

"Night of the Living Dead" concerns a group of friends hiding away in a farm house when zombies begin roaming the town. The plot was simple and a basis of which to display horror and grusome special effects, of which would get the film acclaim, and scorn.

With no MPAA, there was nothing to stop kids from going to see the film despite the violence. The audience consisted mainly of teens and pre teens who were absoloutely terrified of the film. It wasn't unusual to see entire audiences stunned silent when this film was playing. Criticaly, there was a massive debate over the content of the film and whether it should be censored or not. What critical attention that was focused on the film itself was split, some critics calling it an "orgy of sadism" and went so far as to question the integrity of the film makers. There were some critics who saw the film as groundbreakings. People even began to see subversive themes such as criticism of racism and the cold war among other things despite claims from the film makers those were not their intentions.

Over a period of ten years "Night of the Living Dead" became a very profitable film. It immortalized the zombie genre and also would ensure gore became one of the main staples of the horror genre.

In that same year, Roman Polanski set out on his second run with the horror genre, making a film of a very different kind from "Repulsion"(1965) It would also prove to be the film the horror genre remembers him for.

Based on a novel, "Rosemary's Baby" concerned the title character of Rosemary moving into an apartment with her husband. Trouble comes not long after, the couple surrounded by odd neighbors while Rosemary becomes mysteriously pregnant. Hellish dreams of being raped combined with Rosemary's growing awareness of a conspiracy concerning her unborn child sees Rosemary beggining to investigate.

This time around the dialouge is much, much more abundant, equating to the normal amount of a feature length picture. The film has a more Hitchcockian style to it and was even longer then Repulsion running at 136 minutes, a running time you never saw in horror films, usualy only suspense thrillers. This was also Polanski's first American film. Although Santon had been explored plenty in horror literature, in America Santon had only been seen as a caricature and never seriously, so Polanski was taking another bold step. Added into all of this, Polanski remained almost one hundred percent faithful to the novel, something horror adaptations of the past like Dracula(1931) and Frankenstein(1931) had failed to do.

Unlike in England, there was no board to review whether his film was fit to be released or not, so the only question was would it be a success? It was indeed. "Rosemary's Baby" was a blockbuster hit, raking in money from the box office and high on rentals as well. "Rosemary's Baby" opened the door for films like "The Exorcist"(1973) and other santonic themed films. Despite the success of Rosemary's Baby, it would not be until Chinatown(1974) that Polanski became a big name in Hollywood.

The end of the 60's saw a revolution in film in general, not just horror. Films like "The Graduate"(1967) were pushing the boundaries at the same time these other filsm have. By the time the 70's came around, the stage was set for a string of classic films.

Next Chapter:Rosemary's Baby becomes overshadowed by "The Exorcist"(1973) while "Black Christmas"(1974) and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacare"(1974) sew the seeds of the slasher genre followed by "Jaws"(1975) bringning Spielberg into the big leagues, all the while smaller, independant cheesy supernatural B films fill in the gaps inbetween.


Senior Member
Chapter 3:Sewing the Seeds of Blood

In the early 70's Spielberg was just a socialy akward man pursuing his passion of film making. Even among peers and friends such as Coppola, Scorscesse and Lucas, Spielberg was an outsider. While they were intent on taking Hollywood in a more arthouse direction, Spielberg was just concerned with making movies and at the time was the only one among them who was considered a mainstream director, something Lucas wouldn't become until closer to the end of the decade with "Star Wars"(1977) Spielberg started from the bottom, gaining minor acclaim for his directorial debut on an episode of "Night Gallery"(1970) It wouldn't be long after in which Spielberg stepped up to make his first feature length film.

His secretary was reading a story from Playboy, a short story based on an experience Richard Mattheson in which he was trailed by a truck driver after a game of Golf. The secretary gave the story to Spielberg who knew he had his first film on his hands, a film that would be entitled "Duel"

"Duel"(1971) concernes a business man heading to an appointment when he finds himself being stalked by a driver in a truck. It seems that no matter what he does, the truck and it's unknown driver continues to stay on him.

The budget was low and the plot was simple. In the hands of a bad or even average director the film would've been a an almost surefire bust. Even in his directorial debut, Spielberg showed remarkable talent in his first directorial duty as director. This was combined with good editing and the mystery of who the driver is and what he wants. It's never resolved. We never see the man, never find out his motive. As a result, the film succeeded in keeping it's audience in suspense throughout.

"Duel" was a made for TV horror movie, which were fairly common in the 70's. However afterwards the film would be released in Australia, Europe and marginaly in America theatricaly. However the film ran at only 74 minutes, not long enough for a theatrical release, so Spielberg had to film 20 more minutes of footage. "Duel" proved to be successful enough to springboard Spielberg from filming TV films to directing in the big leagues. It would be 4 more years before Spielberg's next classic came along.

In the meantime the horror genre in America was mostly conquered by cheesy supernatural B movies. With the MPAA now in charge, ratings we are more familiar with today were implemented. Horror films were actually fairly split among ratings, some horror films were rated "PG" which would equivalate today to PG-13 and possibly light R. Some PG cult classics from then include "Blood and Lace"(1971) and "Tales from the Crypt"(1972) The R rated films usually proved to be much less successful within this short span. Two years after "Duel" however, that would begin to change one step at a time and by the early 80's most PG rated horror films became flops with some notable exceptions.

William Friedkin had allready seen critical and financial success with "The French Connection"(1971) It would not take Friedkin long however to begin his next film project, "The Exorcist"(1973)

"The Exorcist" was based on a novel which was loosely based on a supposedly true incident of a boy possesed by the devil. In the film the protagonist is a young 12 year old girl named Regan who begins acting strangely. Test after test is performed by doctors but Regan's behaviour only worsens and worsens until it becomes clear Regan's condition is the result of possesion by a demonic spirit, Father Merin and Father Karas step in to perform an Exorcism which is the last chance to save Regan.

The part of Regan was not originaly going to go to Linda Blair, as many other girls were considered before her. Finally Friedkin interviewed Linda Blair for the role, asking her what the Exorcist was about. The clinching factor was when he asked her if she knew what masturbation was(speaking of the scene where Regan masturbates with a crucifix) and not only did she know, she apparently practiced it.At first it looked like the film would never be made. Friedkin was taking an excruciatingly long time to film, detirmined to get every last detail down tight. The budget was going way over and the studio was becoming frustrated. It was a relief when the film was finally released into theaters.

The reaction from audiences was unprecidented. Audeince members were being overwhelmed like never before, it wasn't uncommon to see people leaving the theater before the film was done, overwhelmed by the onscreen goings. Combining horrorfying imagery with the fear of demonic possesion in the mostly christain America, "The Exorcist" took the world by storm. It was a box office smash, however like many classic horror films, reviews were split. Half saw the film as a masterpiece of horror while others labelled it foul trash. While the film was a success with the audience, there were many people angered by this film. Linda Blair needed body guards for quite some time afterwards.

"The Exorcist" overshadowed Rosemary's Baby and gave a jump start to more movies dealing with santon although many of these films would deal more with cults and witchcraft rather then Santon himself. While the Exorcist jump started a new sub genre, the seeds of another particular genre were about to be planted the next year, a genre that would dominate and change the horror genre forever.

Europe was well ahead of America in terms of where their horror scene was. In the 60's and 70's, they were allready being dominated by the "Giallo" genre, the European equivalent of the Slasher genre. However there are some distinct differences between the two genres, the main being Giallo films focused more on the crime/mystery and tended to be far more violent. Many of the slasher cliches were started in Giallo.

It would be Canada, a country which has created some cult classic slashers, who would start the slasher genre in 1974 with "Black Christmas"

"Black Christmas" had a now typical plotline of teens in a sorrority house where a killer dwells waiting to kill them off, all while making phone calls from within the house.

"Black Christmas" would implement many techniques that would be immortalized by "Halloween"(1978 ) Back in the time, teens were not typicaly used in too many horror films as main protagonists, so Black Christmas was unique in that prospect. It also used the "calls are coming from inside the house" which would be better known in "When a Stranger calls"(1979) When released in the U.S, the title was changed to "Silent Night Evil Night" but it did poorly under this title so it was changed to "Black Christmas", a title they didn't want to go with out of fear of it getting confused with black exploitation films of the time.

However even after the title change, the film financialy was only a moderate success. Criticaly the reviews were once more mixed although this time the positive reviews were not hailing it as a classic by any stretch. Some of the negative reviews cited it as being too violent, although the film is not considered violent now even by 1974 standards. The film failed to recieve much mainstream attention. It would be years and years until "Black Christmas" recieved any real attention. This bold new experiment had failed but the slasher genre would not have to wait long for a second chance.

The cheesy lesser known horrors continued to have a presence in the box office. Tobe Hooper was just cashing in, making another horror film meant to go down namelessly and make Hooper some quick money. He got the idea from being trapped in a store and seeing a chainsaw, thinking about how he would use it to get out. With this and a low budget, Tobe Hooper began work on "The Texas Chainsaw Massacare"(1974)

The film was about five teens going to investigate one of teen's grandfather's grave to see if they had been robbed due to reports of a string of recent grave robbings. When they arrive to check things out, one by one they are captured and killed by a leather faced mentaly retarded killer and his cannibalistic family.

With a low budget and harsh filming conditions, Tobe Hooper was aiming for a simple PG rated film so cut away just before any particuarly gory violence could be shown. When Hooper was done filming he took it to the MPAA. To his shock, they gave it an R rating. Hooper cut more out and returned it but it still got an R rating. The MPAA's explanation was that the film's atmosphere was so terrifying and the implied violence so shocking it could never pass with a PG.

Hooper's attempts to decrease the violence backfired. Watching it, there is very little violence at all however the film works around the violence in a way that the implied violence shocked the audience and made them imagine the violence so strongly they believed the film was truly violent. The gritty look gave it a documentary like feel which made the film seem more real and intense.

The film had a simalar impact that "The Exorcist"(1973) had on it's audiences. People were reguarly leaving theaters overwhelmed by what they saw onscreen. As opposed to Exorcist's imagery combined with it's religous themes, Chainsaw scared with being visceral and merciless. The film made viewers feel physicaly exhausted. Never had a film come out that had assaulted an audience the way Chainsaw did. Add this with false rumors of it being based on a real incident(the only connection between the film and real life is Leatherface being based on Ed Gein) made the film a financial smash. Critical reviews were mostly positive with a few negative reviews.

Censorship wise the film face challenges in countries all over the world. The BBFC had it banned although limitied screenings were made anyway. The country of Sweeden wanted it banned and it's release was delayed in many countries. It never saw the light of day in Australia until 1980. A copy of the film would be purchased by the Museum of Modern Art. Despite Chainsaw's sucess, the slasher genre did not get a major jumpstart.

Horror audiences would not be given a rest as Spielberg began work on a film based upon a popular novel "Jaws"

"Jaws" takes place in the small island community of Amity, where a Shark begins terrorizing the local beaches, something which the authorities refuse to acknowledge, leaving a select few to go out and destroy the shark themselves.

Initialy production was awful. Weeks went by with barely any useable footage and no matter how hard they tried, they could not get the mechanical shark to work right. They finally gave up and decided to film it without showing the shark. The cast blamed Spielberg, calling him an incompetent director and would never be anything in Hollywood. Spileberg caved in as well, expecting the film to be a flop and possibly the end of his film career. At a test screening Spielberg was nervous, made more so when one man ran out during the scene where a boy was eaten. However he found the man in the bathroom throwing up and realized he had a classic film on his hands.

Not being able to show the shark proved to be a blessing. Much like "Duel"(1971) not being able to see the antagonist raised the fear factor, although in Jaws it wasn't originaly planned like that. "Jaws" was a major box office smash and a critical one as well. Reviews were estatic, proclaiming it one of the most effective thrillers ever created. Spielberg had now taken yet another giant leap forward and became a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood after only two feature films. Spielberg however would not return to the horror genre for seven years.

Next Chapter:"Alice Sweet Alice" attempts to further the slasher genre while sequels to "The Exorcist", "Jaws" and "Night of the Living Dead" came out and restarted a trend from the 40's and 50's that would live with the horror genre for the rest of it's existence.
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Senior Member
Chapter 4:Take Two and ACTION!

With the Giallo genre allready a juggernaut in European horror, the slasher genre in America was still in it's most infant stage. The Failiure of "Black Christmas"(1974) and the overwhelming success of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"(1974) leaft the genre at one and one in terms of success and failiure. Now another attempt was going to be made at the slasher genre.

"Alice Sweet Alice"(1976) or "Communion" as it is als known, is the story of a young girl who is brutaly murdered, with the main suspect being her older sister, a neglected and withdrawn girl named Alice. Suspicion of her becomes stronger and stronger as more people die.

Today it is hailed as a cult classic of the slasher genre however much like the title character, this film was neglected mostly at the box office and the critical reaction was barely even mediocre. This film marked the second failiure of the slasher genre, with Texas Chainsaw the only successful film of the genre. Much like "Black Christmas"(1974) it would not be appreciated until in later years. This would ensure it would be another two years before we saw another slasher film and it looked like the genre would die well before the 1980's came along.

In the meantime another popular trend in the horror genre was about to come back in the form of franchising. Box office goldmines like "Dracula"(1931) ,"Frankenstein"(1931) and "The Wolf Man"(1941) all saw sequels and crossovers that dominated the box office for nearly a decade. Since then, the majority of horror films were stand lones with few if any sequels. The first major horror film to be hit with a sequel in the 70's was "The Exorcist"(1973) The original cast and crew outright refused a sequel. Director William Friedkin had at one point discussed ideas of a sequel but it never came into fruition. Linda Blair consistently refused a role until she saw a script that she considered quite good. Whether that script was good or not, it would be rewritten several times until it became the script used in the film, by which time Linda Blair was contractually bound to the film no matter how bad it may have been. To add onto that, it was being directed by John Boorman, who hated the original film.

"Exorcist II:The Heretic"(1977) sees the return of Reagan who's supernatural troubles are not over. Now a new priest sent to investigate why the demon, revealed as Pasuzu, possesed Reagan, reaching her telepathicly by a hypnosis machine Reagan has been hooked up to by a psychoanalyst.

Despite turning up a profit, the critical reaction was so bad ideas of a third film were dropped. The film was literally laughed off the screen in many theaters, the absoloute opposite reaction towards the original where people were scared beyond belief. Critics absoloutely buried it with no positive reviews to be seen. Not only was the idea of a hypnosis machine ludicrous, but the plot made no sense to anyone. The majority of people had no idea what was going on because the story was so poorly conveyed. Also, by revealing more about the demon up to it's actual name, it no longer appeared as frightening. It is with this reason this sequel has been largely forgotten with "Exorcist III"(1990) being considered the true sequel.

A year afterwards, Spielberg was approached concerning a possible sequel to "Jaws"(1975) Spielberg declined to take part in the sequel, but this did not deter the studios who went forth with the film anyway. In place of Spielberg, it would instead be directed by Jeannot Szwarch (who would replace John D. Hancock) who would go on to direct other obscure movies like "Super Girl"(1984) and "Santa Clause:The Move"(1985) Despite the failiure of "Exorcist II:The Heteric"(1977), the studio went ahead with the film.

In "Jaws 2"(1978) the town of Ammity is trying to recover from the losses suffered from the first film before another string of shark attacks occur. Police Chief Brody tries to warn everyone but he is largely ignored and must find a way to stop the shark before it can claim anymore victims.

Production problems plagued this film much like the first one. As mentioned before, the original director was fired which would see the film get shut down for a bit. Spielberg even considered coming back to direct despite having refused before but his work on "Close Encounters of the Third King"(1977) prevented him from doing that. Weather conditions forced them to film elsewhere and the script was rewritten numerous times.

One thing that this film did different was the featuring of the shark. In the first film, the shark was leaft for the imagination for the majority of the film, only at the end any of the shark being visible. Jeanot however wanted to feature the shark prominently, citing that it was seen in the first film so there would be no point in hiding it.

The film was a smash hit in the box office, the highest grossing sequel in 1978 and and among the 25 great box office hits for two decades. It made appoximently 40 percent of what the original made, which pleased the studios.

Reviews were initialy mixed, most agreeing it couldn't touch the original film. However today it is considered the best Jaws sequel. After Jaws 2, the franchise would self destruct with two abomidable sequels with Jaws 3-D(1983) which took advantage of the short lived 3-D horror film trend, and finally Jaws 4:The Revenge(1987) This would make Jaws among the shortest famous horror franchises with only four films next to the "Evil Dead" trilogy.

The same year that "Black Christmas" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" were giving birth to the slasher genre, a visit to the Monroeville Mall would plant the seeds of one of the most successful sequels to a horror film franchise. That man would be none other then George Romero, who saw little success after "Night of the Living Dead"(1968) with films like "Season of the Withc"(1972) and "Martin(1977) Due to their failiures in the box office, Romero had trouble securing any investors, and meanwhile had only a half done script which he sent out. Luckily for Romero, Argetino was a huge fan of the original and invited him out to Rome Italy in order to finish the script. Argetino would help finance the film and give Romero the chance to create his sequel.

With zombies now becoming an epidemic throughout the world, those who are still alive are desperate to survive in "Dawn of the Dead"(1978) Two swat members, a television executive and her traffic reporting boyfriend hide themselves away in a mall, trying to stay alive through the zombie epidemic.

Despite some initial difficulty and filming in the mall, Romero comepleted his film with few other troubles. This film would be aided by the special effects prowees of Tom Savini, one of the most famous special effectsmen in the world of horror Much like the original film, "Dawn of the Dead'(1978) raised the standards of gore. The gore in Dawn of the Dead was unbelievably high, while the running time was very long, most versions running close to and over two hours. Due to his share of the rights, Argetino edited the film to varying degrees depending on where he released it, resulting in several different versions.

The MPAA, in actions it would take late in the 1980's and have in modern day, threatened "Dawn of the Dead" with an X rating. Although the X rating and NC-17 rating were made for films thought too strong for an R rating, the ratings have become nothing more then tools by the MPAA to force censorship upon films, especialy horror films. Romero refused to cut it, and instead convinced the distributors to release it without a rating, persuading them instead to put a warning in trailers and advertisements that overwhelming violence would be present although there would be no sex.

"Dawn of the Dead" surpassed the original in box office intake despite the lack of rating. Romero had done what Hitchcock had done and beat the censors, however Romero did it not by fooling them but by releasing their film unedited, without a rating, and still making a profit. In short, attempts to censor the film failed. The censors be it in England or in America were failing constantly in their attempts to censor these films.

Criticaly, the film was fairly mixed once again, but today is considered to be the beast of the Dead trilogy, surpassing even the original. This time the social satire was more intentional, particuarly on consumers. Also, unlike the original of which distributors failed to gain a copyright, Romero got a copyright this time and made signifigant income from the film. The film helped Tom Savini find even more work, and ultimately, further cemented the success of franchising horror films. Despite "Exorcist II:The Heretic"(1977) failing, "Jaws 2"(1978) and "Dawn of the Dead" proved major successes with the later surpassing the previous film. However it had only planted the seed. Not until the 1980's would franchising begin playing a bigger role in the horror genre.

Meanwhile remakes were being tested with the remake of "Nosferatu" in 1979, although it failed to leave the impact of the original film and did nothing to jumpstart remakes, which today have dominated the box office(more on that in later chapters) In the meantime however, the 1970's was not going to go out with a whimper, and before it was over, the horror genre would take it's next step in evolution.

Next Chapter: "Halloween"(1978) ultimately brings the slasher genre out of the darkness and immortalizes it forever, with many copycats following. Meanwhile Ridlye Scott brings horror into space with "Alien"(1979) while "Ammityville(1979) took advantage of a supposedly true story and "Friday the 13th"(1980) writes the rules for the slasher genre
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Chapter 5:Moving Strong, Moving Fast

The horror genre was taking many changes as the 1970's was coming to an end. While the PG rating had dominated horror movies before, the success of films like "The Exorcist"(1973) "The Texas Chainsaw Maasacre"(1974) among others made it clear R rated films were not only highly profitable, they were becoming mandatory to survive. After this decade very few PG rated horror films were successful, notable exceptions including "Poltergeist(1982) and 'Gremlins"(1984) One of the reasons for this was the trend that was about to be born. While 1978 saw the success of sequels to "Jaws 2" and "Dawn of the Dead", an original film was about to spawn it's own success.

John Carpenter had saw some success with his cult classic "Assault on Precient 13"(1976) It only took two years for him to get another directing job. He was called and told simply to make a movie about a man murdering teens with the main one being a babysitter. It was clearly intended to be a quick cash grabber by the studios, reflected in it's extremely low budget. Carpenter drew inspiraitons from such films as "Psycho"(1960) and "Black Christmas"(1974) both in direction and writing along with Debra Hill, who would work with Carpenter on future films.

At age 10, Michale Myers murdered his older sister, locked away in a mental institution. Many years later, Michale is fully grown and has escaped, going on a murderous rampage through haddonfield with the eccentric Dr Loomis after him.

Carpenter brought many techniques that "Black Christmas"(1974) had brought to the table and immortalizing them, while also bringning in his own style to distinguish itself. Unlike the slashers that were to follow, Halloween featured no blood and very little nudity, much like earlier slasher films. Today this has become something Halloween has been praised for in comparison to future slashers. Also, once again, the cast consisted of teens.

When Carpenter first showed this unfinished product, missing the soundtrack among other things, the producer laughed it off, telling Carpenter there was nothing scary at all about the film. Fourtanately for Carpenter, the musical score, when used, turned out to be a highlight of the film and had producers thoughroughly satisfied.

Reaction to "Halloween" was rather unique. At the box office it was a box office juggernaut. The film attracted hordes and hordes of movie goers, becoming an instant phenomenon among audiences. Among critics however, it was somewhat mixed at first with very few positive reviews. High profile critic Tom Allen was the first truely glowing review that praised the film as a masterpiece. After this review, more reviews came in praising it as well, and before long the overwhelming majority of critics praised the film to no end.

Not only in America but all over the world "Halloween" was a huge success that set the horror movie world abalze. It would only take a year before Halloween's success would be taken advantage of. In 1979,many slasher films came out, among the earlier efforts "Savage Weekend" and "The Demon" The first one,"Savage Weekend" saw a group of teens going to oversee the building of a boat only to be stalked and killed by a killer wearing a ghoulish mask. "The Demon" had an overly complex plot that ultimately was connected to a killer in a mask with blade wielding gloves that suffocated his victims. The latter was actually an African film. Neither were successful either criticaly or financialy however the fact "Halloween" was being mimmicked all over the world showed the impact it was to have. That same year, another phenomenon was going to be taken advantage of.

"The Ammityville Horror"(1979) is based on the book of the supposedly true incident of a house in Ammityville haunted by Santon that haunted the Lutz family and drove them out. Although the Lutz claim to this day the incident happened, public opinion seems moderately split with more and more believing it to be a hoax. The only portion that is known to be true is the murder shown at the beggining of the film where a teen murders his entire family.

Regardless of the authenticity of the story, it's controversy had studios ready to adapt from the book. The studio did not adapt the book too faithfully, mostly twisting or ignoring events in the book. This hardly seemed to matter to audiences, as the film made over 86 million in the box office. Reviews for Amityville were not mixed, with most critics giving it decidedly poor reviews, labelling it, among other things, as depressing and tedious. Critical response has only improved slightly, it's now regarded in mixed regards despite being one of the more successful santon themed horror films to follow "The Exorcist"(1973) It spawned a franchise totalling over ten films, most direct to video releases with part 3 being the last one to hit theaters.

So many classics and blockbusters were coming out all over, not just the horror genre, it didn't take long for another to come out from Ridley Scott. He had been directed mostly TV shows with the only major film under him being "The Duellists"(1977)

With inspirations from many sources, "Alien"(1979) was a simple story set in the future. A crew on the Nosotromos making a delivery recieve a distress call and go to the source to investigate. A mutant creature manages to sneak on board and begins killing the crew off one by one.

It was actually Dan O' Bannon coming off "Dark Star"(1974) who first wanted to make such a film but he did not have the resources nor the pull to do so, although his ideas would be used in many other films. During pre-production Ridley Scott took charge and changed many aspects of the film. Designs of the Alien were done by H.R Giger. At first the film wasn't seen as much, but after the success of "Star Wars"(1977), Fox gave Alien an 8 million dollar budget, much higher then originaly anticipated.

With the script and sets redone, Fox stepped in and changed the original ending which would've seen the Alien kill everyone and head off with the ship. Although at first it looked like the studio changing a horror film to sugarcoat it, it turned out to be a wise move for Fox when "Alien" ended up becoming a box office hit, fuffilling, even somewhat surpassed Fox's expectations. Unlike many classic horror films, "Alien" immidiately gained critical acclaim upon it's release.

The film is also credited with making large strides concerning the role of females in sci-fi films. Ripley would become the heroine in subsequent Alien films, taking center stage even over all the male characters. The Alien itself has been analyzed as a symbol of female sexuality.

As the horror genre approached the next decade, R rated films had dominated the box office once again, the slasher genre began taking off, and the censors were losing their battles against horror movies with attempts to censor films like "Psycho"(1960) and 'Dawn of the Dead"(1978) among others met with failiure. However with the coming of a new decade, the plain field was about to change once more.

"Friday the 13th"(1980) concerned teens attending Camp Crystal lake, where years before negligent counsellors allowed a young boy named Jason to drown. When teens and counsellors at the camp begin getting killed off one by one, is it Jason back from the dead?

"Friday the 13th" was just another film riding the success of "Halloween" There was nothing special about it's production at all, directed by Sean S. Cunningham who before had worked with Wes Craven on "Last House on the Left"(1972)(which we will talk about later) Tom Savini would come back to produce the gore effects, further cementing his status as one of the greats in creation gore effects. He may have been too good. When the film was taken to the MPAA, the MPAA threatened the film with an X rating. The film makers quickly relented, cutting out much of the gore and was released with an R rating.

After all the years of successful horror film makers battiling and winning against the censors, Sean S. Cunningham gave up without a fight. He certainly wasn't the first however it was the first of this high profile to surrender to the censors. Although calling it directly responsible would be jumping to conclusions, it was at the very least a foreshadowing of what was to come.

"Friday the 13th"(1980) demonstrated the division between box office and critical success well. The film was a huge hit with audiences, critics however hated the film. The response was even harsher then against Amittyville, with the film being labelled mysogynystic, overly violent trash.

The success of "Friday the 13th"(1980) would not only cement the status of the slasher genre, but would redefine it. "Friday the 13th" 's focus on teen sex/nudity and (despite edits) violence and gore would be duplicated in slasher films to come.

Next Chapter:Canada jumps on the slasher train with "Prom Night"(1980), "Terror Train"(1980) and "Happy Birthday to Me"(1981) while both "Halloween"(1978) and "Friday the 13th"(1980) would see a 2nd installment. As the slasher continues to rise, Sam Raimi follows in Romero's foot steps by producing another low budget gore classic "The Evil Dead"(1981) while Spielberg and Tobe Hooper make their return to the horror genre with "Poltergeist"(1982)


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Chapter 6:Let There Be Blood

"Halloween"(1978) had done what "Black Christmas"(1974) "Texas Chainsaw Massacre(1974) and "Alice, Sweet alice(1976) had failed to do and made everyone take a good strong look at the slasher genre. Now with "Friday the 13th"(1980) finishing the job Halloween had started, now the slasher genre was becoming more popular then ever.

1980 saw two cult classic slashers released, "Prom Night" and "Terror Train"

"Prom Night" begins with a bunch of kids playing inside a large, abandoned building. The cruel game however results in one of them plunging to their death, the remaining kids promising to never tell what happened. Many years later, these kids have grown up and are going to the prom. However many creepy clues indicate someone's out for them, and at the Prom the killing begins.

"Prom Night" was a great success upon it's release, garnering moderate reviews while financialy it was a hit in both Canada and the United States. However despite it's initial success, over time "Prom Night" has garnered negative reaction. One problem many find is the film's pace. The first hour is spent supposedly building characters even though the characterazation and development is lacking as is typical in slasher films, and the disco sequence is now seen as outdated and useless. However it's initial success did further prove the marketbility of the slasher genre.

"Prom Night" had also taken a more "Friday the 13th" route. Although it's gore paled in comparison to it, Prom Night still had quite a bit comebined with sex. However if "Prm Night" took a "Friday the 13th" route, then the next film would be more simalar to "Halloween"(1978)

"Terror Train" comes about from a prank gone wrong years ago. Years later, the students involved in that prank board a train for a costume party, someone killing the teens and taking bits of their costume.

Not only would the film take a similar style to Halloween with emphasis on atmosphere and suspense over gore, it would even have it's leading lady Jamie Lee Curtis at the forefront again. However, despite recieving some positive critical reaction, the film was was financial failiure. In retrospect, some of it may have been due to overexposure from Jamie Lee Curtis who was becoming a star. However this film's failiure along with Prom Night's success in Canada seemed to display a preference to the edgier and sleazier slashers of "Prom Night" as opposed to the stylistic and tame "Terror Train".

Other slasher films were released in 1980 as well. In fact, the number of slasher films coming out was beggining to overwhelm the horror genre, something that would not merely go away as displayed by the ever growing nature of the slasher genre the next year which saw the release of another canadian cult classic.

"Happy Birthday to Me"(1981) was and still is a fairly unique slasher film. The film's protagonist was in a terrible car accident with her mother years ago. Her mother died, but she was saved by an operation. This operation comes into effect when her friends die during her black outs, making her wonder if she might be doing to killings during these black outs.

"Happy Birthday to Me" was unique in that it had more characterazation and plot then most slashers. However, also of note is it's ending. The studios wanted a twist ending, but the script had not written one, only putting in an ending that fit in. However studios tinkered until they finally had a twist ending to slap on. As a result, there is no real build up to the ending, and many have commented on how out of the left field the ending is.

"Happy Birthday to Me" was sort of a blend of the two slasher routes. It had signifigantly more gore then "Halloween"(1978) and "Terror Train"(1980) but also used their formula for building tension and suspense. However unique it was at the time or even now for that matter, the film still wasn't quite the success that was hoped for. It wasn't a box office bomb by any means, but it certainly didn't reach "Prom Night" or "Friday the 13th" in box office success. The battle of the two slasher routes was coming to an end, and the winner was becoming increasingly obvious.

While the slasher genre was becoming a box office dominator, Sam Raimi wasn't interested in that. Little more then " a kid" like Romero was and a miniscule budget, Sam Raimi and friends were out to make a horror film of their own. They raised the money for the film themselves, including releasing a bunch of short films. They began work on "Book of the Dead"

Miniscule budget was nothing new for horror films, especialy not classics. In fact, it was almost becoming a staple of classic horror films so it did not deter them. Production was difficult, with much of the cast walking out many times through the four year production and needing to be replaced, one of the exceptions being Bruce Campell. Also the film's violence was unbelievable, once more maiking a distributor hard to find, mostly due to how shockingly violent the film was. When the film finally was released, the distributors didn't like the title of the film being a literary reference, so they changed the title to "The Evil Dead"

Five friends go to a cabin in the woods. There, they find a book of the dead and recite the words in it, releasing spirits that begin attacking these teens through many means, including using the teens themselves.

This would be the film that helped establish actor Bruce Campell as a cult icon. Although the film is not known for it's great acting, Campell's acting is a cut above the rest of the cast. Also the movie is praised for it's use of camera angles mixed in with over the top gore. The film today is still rated NC-17 due to it's violence, one of the few with that rating to be successful. However, upon release it wasn't so much, only having a modest box office intake and decidedly mixed reviews. Over time however it's reputation would continue to grow and is now one of the most popular horror franchises. "The Evil Dead'(1981) however at the time simply could not comepete with the oncoming truckload of slasher films.

That same year saw the release of sequels to the two films that gave the slasher genre a jump start, "Halloween"(1978) and "Friday the 13th"(1980)

"Halloween II"(1981) picked up right where the first film leaft off with Michael Myers out on the loose. Lorie Strode is taken to a hospital, unfortunately Michael Myers is heading towards that hospital to finish Strode off. This film is known for giving Myers a motive, wanting to kill his now revealed sister Laurie Strode. This was a move that even John Carpenter now admits was a mistake.

The sequel to the classic slasher had a considerable box office gain, albeit not to the extent of the original, but the same could not be said for it's critical reaction. Critis for the most part called it over violent trash among other things. While the sequel did not have much gore, the violence was considerably stronger with Myers using more brutal methods to slay his victims. Now even the sequel to Halloween was deviating from the original's formula a bit.

In retrospect, after several sequels have followed, "Halloween II" is looked upon as a worthy companion piece to the original and of all the Halloween sequels has recieved the least amount of panning among fans.

"Friday the 13th Part 2"(1981) takes place after the original as well, though not as soon. Alice from the first film is immidiately killed off, followed by more killings at Camp Crystal Lake, this time the killer being the supposedly dead son of the first film's killer, Jason Voorhes.

However there was no hockey mask or black suit that is known to be with Jason. He was a somewhat slimmer man in overalls with a sack over his head. To many, this actually looked scarier as his eyes gave off a terrifying menace. However this look would never be used again.

Unlike Halloween's sequel, this one pretty much matched the original. The box office intake was grand and the reviews were as bad as the first, with critics still in unison that the film was as trashy as the first. Many criticise it for copying the formula of the original.

Fast forward one year later. The slasher genre is still dominating and the PG rated horror films are no longer taking over. Many were coming out before but were failing against these R rated juggernauts. Now fewer and fewer were being released. It would take the return of the man who made perhaps the most famous PG rated horror film of all time, along with a man who had attempted and failed to make a PG rated horror film, to come together to release another sucessful PG horror film, "Poltergeist" Spielberg would co write and produce with Hooper in the director's chair.

Spielberg had not done much beyond "Close Encounters of the Third King(1977) while Hooper was failing miserably since Texas Chainsaw.

"Poltergeist" centers around a typical suburban family that is being haunted by a Poltergeist. At first the antics seem lighthearted, almost comical, but when little Carole Ann is sucked inside the television, the family now realizes they have a serious matter on their hands.

"Poltergeist" was plagued with production problems, many of which some claim are caused by the supernatural, especialy since such problems would plague future installments. It didn't help that Spielberg was working on "ET"(1982) at the very same time this film was being made.

Worse yet, the film was thretened with an R rating before release. An R rating was foreign to Spielberg, he never even touched it, and Hooper once again was faced with difficulty in securing a PG rating. However Spielberg made many efforts to change the rating and at last they did. Spielberg's refusal to make R rated films would continue until the early 90's when "Schindler's List"(1993) was released.

"Poltergeist" was a box office smash that helped both Spielberg's and Hooper's careers. The critical praise was exceptional as well, many critics noting the focus on the family in the film. The film's reputation has remained the same since, the film having many moments and lines which have been spoofed over the years. In a sea of bloody R rated slasher films, "Poltergeist"(1982) was still a huge success. It would prove the temporary saviour of PG rated horror films, however the slight rise in PG rated horror films would fall along with another short lived trend.

Next Time:Amittyville becomes more crowded with 2 more sequels, "Amittyville II:The Possesion"(1982) and "Amittyville 3-D"(1983) which cashed in on the short lived 3-D horror film trend along with "Friday the 13th Part 3-D"(1982) and "Jaws 3-D"(1983)
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Chapter 7:A New Dimension of Horror

The financial success of "Amittyville Horror"(1979) combined with the ongoing success of sequels came together to ensure another Amittyville came out. So in 1982, the second film of the franchise "Amittyville II:The Possesion" was released.

This sequel is actualy a prequel. Loosely based on the real life case where a young teenaged boy murders his entire family. However the film chronicles these events with a motive of demonic possesion, with a priest battiling to free the boy from possesion.

Many were put off and even offended by the satonic possesion angle as they felt it gave the killer an excuse for what he did. Other things were added in for shock value including an incest angle. Although the first hour has by some been applauded by people, most agree afterwards the film becomes a ludicrous rip off of "The Exorcist'(1973) The critics trashed this film, labelling it as violent, ugly and stupid. Financialy the film did not do nearly as well as the original, although was still a financial success. The sequel did well enough that the studios were preparing for another sequel. In the meantime however, another franchise would be coming out with a new installment,an installment very different from the others.

At this point, a short lived trend was spawned for 3-D movies. Movie goers would get 3-D glasses at the theater, and the film would look like it was coming out at you. The first major horror film to cash in on this was "Friday the 13th Part 3-D"(1982)

Jason is back, now donning his known hockey mask and black suit, going on another rampage at Camp Crystal Lake.

The first fourty minutes or so were spent taking advantage of the 3-D, such as the yo-yo scene. Only after would the fare fans were used to would begin. Besides that, there were some production difficulties involving the leading actress. She refused to pose neud, wanted the gore trimmed down, and refused the scripted ending of her getting killed off and Jason walking away from the Camp victorious. The studio gave in to these demands, rewriting the ending to an up beat one.

The film was another box office smash, nearly doubiling the intake of the second installment. As usual, the critics trashed the film, sighting it as garbage as they would with every installment to follow. Friday the 13th is the only major horror franchise to not have even one criticaly acclaimed installment.

At the time the success seemed to indicate that the 3-D route was the path to go. Soon after the success of Friday the 13th Part 2, more 3-D films would come, however not too many.

Jaws saw it's third sequel a year later in 1983, "Jaws 3-D" where this time around a mother and daughter pair of sharks are terrorizing a sea world resort. As the name suggests, the film would be another 3-D adventure. Several spots, much like in "Friday the 13th Part 3"(1982) were filmed solely to take advantage of the 3-D effect, including the destruction of the shark.

The script was written by Carl Gottlieb and Richard Mattheson. The former revised the first two installment's scripts while the later had written the script for "Duel"(1971) On paper this looked like the makings of a great "Jaws" script but unfortunately several revisions were done by self proclaimed "script doctors", which almost comepletely changed the entire script.

The film was financialy a huge dissapointment, borderline box office bomb. The film did not recieve much help from critics either who unlike Jaws 2 showed some liking, comepletely trashed this film, refering to it as tepid. As opposed to the major financial success of "Friday the 13th Part 3-D"(1982), "Jaws 3-D"(1983) made much less then the second installment. Some blamed the ongoing trend of slashers, however the 3-D franchise followng "Poltergeist"(1982) had actually given other kinds of films a much greater chance of making a come back. In addition to being 3-D, the film was also rated PG which would mean more people are allowed to come in, and it was a sequel to one of the most famous horror films ever made, it seemed like a box office juggernaut in the making. In truth, the 3-D was now seen as an attempt to cover up the film's faults, which may have been one of the reasons the 3-D trend failed.

Even after the failiure of "Jaws 3-D", the studios went ahead with the third installment of the amittyville franchise, "Amittyville 3-d"(1983) It's worth to note that all of these 3-D films have been 3rd installments to popular horror franchises.

John Baxter dosen't believe in any of the happenings surrounding the Amittyville houses, staying there to disprove it with his family. Predictably enough, he finds out the hard way how real the hauntings are.

This film was a departure from the first two in many ways besides being in 3-D. It was the only Amittyville to garnet a PG rating. The film lost the santonic roots of the first two, becoming more of a ghost story Once again the film took full advantage of 3-D, making specific scenes and shots purely for the use of 3-D. However, like Jaws, Amittyville's venture into the third dimension would be a disaster.

Financialy the third was dwarfed by the second installment, bordering on box office bomb. The critical reaction was once again negative, calling the film tedious and dull. The failiure of this film would doom the franchise to made for TV and direct to video films. It also had helped seal the fate of the 3-D trend. However, one more thing would seal the fate.

With movies being released on video, the 3-D effect could not be recreated on video. This meant that scenes made to use the 3-D effects meant nothing to those viewing it on video. The experience was lost on the home viewer. This was the final nail in the coffin for the 3-D franchise, but it also proved to be another nail in the coffin for non slasher films. In the same year as Poltergeist, "The Thing"(1982), a film about an alien creature in an antartic base capable of taking over humans, had failed at the box office as well, beat out by Spielberg's "E.T"(1982) which was out at the same time. However "The Thing"(1982 is now renound as a classic film along the lines of "Alien"(1979)

The non slasher horror was beggining to die out, overome by the unstoppable beast, the slasher genre. The fact that "Friday the 13th Part 3-D" was the only really successful of 3-D horror cemented this only further. Not only that, but the Halloween style of slasher was all but dead, with every slasher coming out modeling itself aftet Friday the 13th now. Slasher films now had high doses of sex, nudity combined with plentiful gore and despite negative critical reaction, continued to dominate.

Next Chapter:"Halloween III:Season of the Witch"(1982) fails in taking the genre out of it's slasher roots while "Sleepaway Camp"(1983) becomes a suprise cult classic. Wes Craven makes his mark in history with "A Nightmare on Elm Street"(1984) while "Friday the 13th:The Final Chapter"(1984)fails to conclude the ongoing series. Spielberg strikes horror gold again with "Gremlins"(1984) starting a whole new sub genre of horror while controversy is raised over the seasonal slasher "Silent Night, Deadly Night"(1984)


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Chapter 8:Time to Make Your Mark

An investigation is launched after the mysterious murder of a typical store owner. What is revealed is a conspiracy involving silver Shamrock masks, which when the children wearing it are watching the commercial, will be killed. They must be stopped before it is played on Halloween night.

This is the basic premise of "Halloween III:Season of the Witch"(1982) It was a rather shocking move and both back then and now is considered to be one of the worst moves the studios could've made. Their idea was that the Halloween franchise was getting old, so decided to shake things up a bit. John Carpenter is not on board for this one and wouldn't return to the franchise for sixteen years. The whole plot was meant to be a satire of commercialism. Unfortunately for them, neither the movie going public nor the critics were amused.

The box office numbers for this Halloween installment would seem like cheap handovers compared to every other horror movie from that year, and the critics certainly did not think anything of it, calling the film a third rate thriller and a mess. In comparison with films like "Friday the 13th Part 3", "Poltergeist", and "Creepshow" from the same year, "Halloween III:Season of the Witch" was an abomidable failiure.

The last mentioned "Creepshow" was a horror anthology much akin to "Tales of the Crypt" and while not entirely signifigant in the history of horror, is very well known and was one of the most successful non slashers from the 80's. However no matter how successful movies like "Creepshow" and "Poltergeist" proved to be, slashers still dominated the horror movie market. Even successful werewolf films like "The Howling"(1981)(which will be discussed later) and "An American Werewolf in London"(1981)(discussed briefly later) seemed to give a start up to the werewofl genre, but bombs like "The Beast Within"(1982) immidiately sunk it while failing slasher films failed to deter the studios.

With more and more slashers released, one that stood out in 1983 was "Sleep Away Camp" It was a typical camp based slasher in almost every way. The plot could be summed up as a killer killing teens at a camp, much like many slashers. Stylisticaly, thematicly, the film had almost nothing to distinguish itself from other slashers.The main reason it became a cult classic of the slasher genre was then unusual ending involving the gender of the killer. Even with only this ending as it's distinguishing feature, the film proved a box office success. Certainly not a smash, but a cut above the rest. Criticaly it was panned as were most slashers of the time however it hardly seemed to matter what the critics thought. From the beggining with the likes of "Psycho"(1960) audiences seemed to adore it even when critics hated it and rarely agreeing. This happens in all genres but was much more apparent in the horror genre and especialy the slasher. However "Sleep Away" camp certainly could not comepete with the likes of the Halloween and Friday the 13th franchises. However this next film certainly could.

Director Wes Craven already had a decent career on him with "The Last House on the Left"(1972)(will be discussed later), "The Hills Have Eyes"(1977)(will be discussed later) and "Deadly Blessing"(1981) Craven got the idea for his next film from a set of articles where children had died in their dreams. With this, Craven set to work on his latest project, "A Nightmare on Elm Street"(1984)

Child murderer Fred Krueger was burned alive by a mob of angry mothers. However Fred now has a way to exact revenge from beyond the grave, by killing their children in their dreams. Nancy is the only one aware of this but no one will believe her and her friends have no chance.

Filmed on a low budget, Craven had a very hard time finding a willing distributor. It wasn't due to the film's violence, rather studios believed no one would be interested in a film about dreams. Afterall, 1984 was a pretty big year for movies, with competition like "Gremlins", "The Karate Kid" and "The Terminator" among others out there. Craven was lucky enough to find a desperate company on the verge of banktruptcy that was counting on this film as their saving grace, a small distribution company called New Line Cinema.

"Nightmare on Elm Street"'s ride in the box office was a wild one. It started to a luke warm reaction. It had very little advertising beyond a simple word of mouth and on it's initial weekend barely got back it's budget. Many critics at first dismissed the film however some of them acknowledged the originality of it, particuarly with it's blur of reality and the dream world. More and more critics began praising it although some still cited the film's violence as a turn off. Closer to the end of it's run, the film was gaining word of mouth and had gained over 25 million dollars. The eventual rentals and sales became overwhelming, marking the film as a success. Despite not being the instant success slashers like "Halloween"(1978) and "Friday the 13th"(1980) were, by the end of it's run it had now joined those two in terms of sheer franchise power. Almost immidiately after the rentals and sales went up, work on a sequel began. In a meantime, another sequel was set to come out for "Friday the 13th"

In "The Final Chapter", Jason escapes a mortuary and continues his rampage, going after a group of teens partying near the house of a young boy named Tommy Jarvis.

Tom Savini came on board so he could kill off the franchise he had helped create. Paramount felt that it had milked the franchise for all it's worth and was time to cut it off. The first three films had to make cuts to avoid an X rating however part four was the worst victim yet, with many of the film's gore effects being so strong that the film's gore factor was nearly cut in half. Once again the directors did not have enough passion to fight the censors as previous directors had been willing to do. This would help set the horror genre for a fall towards the end.

"Friday the 13th Part 4:The Final Chapter" grossed over 33 million at the box office. This intake changed Paramount's mind immidiately, so they decided to continue with the series despite what the title said and continue on with the franchise anyway. The franchise had already four films under it, more then any other major horror film franchise at the time. So now the battle stood as thus: "Friday the 13th" with four films and still fresh enough to go, "A Nightmare on Elm Street" a brand new franchise with all the potential, and "Halloween" in last with it's latest sequel two years back and a major failiure.

While the slasher genre was going through it's stages, the begginings of another sub genre would be spawned by Stephen Spielberg with his latest film "Gremlins"(1984) Working with him was Joe Dante who had worked on "The Howling"(1981) and would be responsible for "Small Soldiers"(1998)

"Gremlins" starts in an old pawn shop where a salesmen finds a mysterious creature. The owner refuses to sell it but the boy sells it behind his back. The salesmen gives it to his son as a pet, but he must follow three rules: No exposing it to bright lights, never give it water, and don't feed it after midnight. Eventualy however he slips up, resulting in the spwaning of Gremlins who run amuck of the town.

Although Gremlins was a box office success and even a critical one, not all went without a hitch. There were complaints concerning some of the film's more violent scenes. Now Gremlins, in comparison with the slasher films of the time or even Spielberg's earlier horror efforts like "Duel"(1971), "Jaws"(1975) and "Poltergeist"(1982), Gremlins was clearly more light hearted and family oriented. However there were still complaints and this along with simalar complaints in other movies would bring about the PG-13 rating.

The PG-13 rating would all but destroy PG rated horror. As if the success of all these R rated powerhouse horror films wasn't enough, now an entirely new rating had formed that allowed film makers to put more intense and violent situations without having to have an R rating. Now film makers didn't have to tone down as much if they wanted a non R rating, so PG became almost obselete for horror films. Not to say they never came out but now they were rarer and being replaced by the PG-13 level horror which would prove much more successful in comparison with the R rated, although still not surpass due to the still strong popularity of the slasher genre.

While Gremlins was only a step in the direction of the PG-13 rating, it was the sole film responsible for a new sub genre of films featuring groups of smaller creatures on the attack. Among the more successful ones were "Critters"(1986) which were all PG-13 and was simalar to Gremlins only more violent and a less satirical humor. "Ghoulies"(1985) was another, an odd franchise where no film was simalar. Part one didn't have the Ghoulies for all but a couple snippets with mostly other creatures used to attack, "Ghoulies 2"(1987) using the Ghoulies only, "Ghoulies 3:Ghoulies Go to College"(1990) taking a comedy route with the Ghoulies able to talk, and "Ghoulies 4" featuring the Ghoulies as protagonists. Other less sucessful ones would include "Hobgoblins"(1988) which would be best known for being featured in "Mystery Science Theater 3000"(1989) "Munchies"(1987) which spawned a more kid friendly sequel and "Kamillions"(1989) which spawned nothing. However the genre would fall and fade by the early 90's due both to the fading out of horror films and due to, despite some of them becoming cult classics, failiures of these other films.

Gremlins was also odd in that it was a christmas themed horror film, however it would not be the only one that year, as it would be joined by the controversial seasonal slasher "Silent Night, Deadly Night"(1984)

Little Billy became traumatized when he sees a man in a Santa suit murder his father, then rape and murder his mother. Years later as an adult, he get's a job as a store santa. However soon the rape of his mother comes back to him, and he realizes that he has the power to punish, which he fully intends on doing.

The film was extremely controversial, mostly for featuring a killer wearing a santa outfit, and also for being released so close to Christmas time. There was a movement to have the film removed, with many popular critics like Siskel, Elbert and Leonard Maltin bashing the film and even went so far as to shame every person who worked on it. Large crowds formed outside the theater in protest, the PTA trying to get the film removed from theaters. All advertisements were removed and eventualy the film was pulled but then released later. Due to this the film was not a box office success and the critics were on the side of Elbert and crew.

Although the film technicaly won out in the end since it was released again, it still showed another example of a studio bowing down to censorship, this time from people. This was common thing in England which was going through it's "Video Nasties" phase but in America not so much. This would not however stop the string of sequels that were to follow. Nothing was to stop the strings of sequels to come out:

Next time:Sequels are now taking over the genre. Paramount relentlessly release one after another "Friday the 13th Part 5:A New Beggining"(1985) and "Friday the 13th Part 6:Jason Lives"(1986) while "Nightmare on Elm Street 2:Freddy's Revenge"(1985) attempts to take the series into an unpopular direction. Romero releases the least successful of the trilogy, "Day of the Dead"(1985) while a desperate Hooper releases "Texas Chainsaw Maasacre 2"(1986) and even 'The Howling"(1981) sees it's own sequel while James Cameron gives us "Aliens"(1986) and Cronenburg reinvents "The Fly"(1986) all the while stand alone slasher films like "April Fool's Day"(1986) and "Slaughter High"(1986) are lost in the shuffle
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Chapter 9:No Originals Allowed

"The Howling"(1981) and "An American Werewolf in London"(1981) are both cult classics in the world of horror and the land marks in werewolf films. However the latter would not see a sequel for over 16 years. "The Howling" however had only to wait four years before a sequel came out for it.

"Howling II:Your Sister is a Werewolf"(1985) takes place after the original Howling with a young woman teaming up with an investigator to track down werewolves throughout America and even into Europe.

While "The Howling"(1981) was overall a financialy successful film with mixed critical reaction, "Howling II" comepletely bombed both financialy and criticaly. Now while this isn't really a signifigant piece in the world of horror, it is an example of one of the may oddities of the movie world, as five sequels would follow, four of them released into theaters and every single one becoming a comeplete critical and financial bomb. The horror movie industry was the biggest perpretator of this oddity. Some franchises would have many bombs and never continue on, while some franchises had one failiure and never continue on, or at least not for awhile. This next sequel is the perfect example of that.

"Night of the Living Dead"(1968) and "Dawn of the Dead"(1978) were both hugely successful films despite controversies over their level of violence. Now only seven years after Dawn, Romero would come out with his completion of the trilogy, "Day of the Dead"

Leaving off where the last film let off, the third installment takes place in an underground military base where many officers and scientists are struggiling to survive with the above world run over by zombies. It's the final showdown, will the zombies take over, or can the humans wipe them out?

"Day of the Dead"(1985) went back to the grim, relentless roots of the first as opposed to the sequel which had a satirical undertone to lighten the mood. The original script by Romero was somewhat simalar only with a group of zombies controlled by the humans. However, this time the studio stepped in this time. Romero's original script was about as violent as Dawn of the Dead, possibly more so. However despite the overwhelming success of "Dawn of the Dead"(1978), the studio wanted the film released with an R rating. Romero however stood his ground firm, so the studio let him film all the gore he wanted but cut the budget down. Now the same Romero who had fought tooth and nail to keep his films uncompromised was now being compromised, as the lowered budget forced him to change his script. Romero had to deal with censorship not from the MPAA like before, not from the public like "Silent Night, Deadly Night"(1984) but from his very own studio. With the Friday the 13th creators giving in without much of a fight and the makers of the previously mentioned christmas slasher giving into the public, censors were now beggining to gain more power in America.

"Day of the Dead"(1985) was a major dissapointment. Financialy the film couldn't even hold a candle to the original two films, and the critical reaction was quite underwhelming. It's reputation hasn't gotten much better, considered to be the weakest of all the films in the Dead series. The only thing the film was praised for was it's make up, even winning an award for it. Romero had now failed even with a Dead movie. The sequel to two of the most successful horror films had failed, it was hard to accept. The Dead franchise would stay dead for twenty years to come.

Meanwhile "A Nightmare on Elm Street"(1984) had established itself among the big three. The Halloween franchise was still on long hiatus so in the slasher world it's only competiution was the Friday the 13th franchise. However Craven had no desire to make a sequel to Nightmare, but rather "The Hills Have Eyes"(1977) with "The Hills Have Eyes Part II"(1985)(which will be discussed later) To replace him was a mostly no name director named Jack Sholder.

Five years after the original film, a boy named Jesse is having dreams about Freddy. During these dreams he finds himself sleep walking, at one point almost murdering his sister. This time around Freddy isn't interested in killing teens in their dreams, but rather coming out to the real world. No matter what Jesse does, he can't seem to stop Freddy from taking over.

The film had proved to be a bigger box office success then the original, taking in over 30 million at the box office early. However after that the money stopped raking in. While the critical reaction to the original turned out overall positive, the critics were merciless against this film, and fans were the same. The first criticism is levetated against the homoerotic subtext which was considered heavy handed and not belongning in a horror film. Fans were also preplexed by Freddy wanting to come to the real world when he had much more power in the dream world. Combined with a "power of love' climax and an ending that was a redoing of the first film's, the film did not sit right with criticis and viewers alike. Even today the film's reputation has remained as dismal as when it was released. However studios hardly seemed to care as the film had made the money they were hoping for, guarenteeing to keep the franchise alive. Meanwhile, it's rival franchise was still going strong.

1985 was not proving a good year for horror sequels and "Friday the 13th Part 5:A New Beggining" would not break the trend. Taking place several years after the fourth, Tommy Jarvis is now at a resort, a troubled teen who has hallucinations and breakdowns about Jason Voorhes. When a new string of murders crops up, Tommy believes Jason to be back.

Well to the dissapointment of fans, it wasn't Jason, rather a disgruntled paramedic who's son was killed. Paramount had tried to go into a new direction with the series, as the ending implied Tommy would take over as Jason. Despite the box office success of the film, backlash from the fans prompted studios to turn away from this however. So when 1986 came, the ending of part 5 was comepletely ignored and Paramount decided to bring Jason.

"Jason Lives" starts with Tommy and his friend going to Jason's grave to see if he's really dead. A bolt of lightning later and Jason rises from the grave to continue his slaughter. Tommy however can do nothing as he is arrested and spends the majority of the film in prison while Jason plucks off anyone in his path.

"Jason Lives" remains one of the more popular entires. Like previous films, this film had to cut out content to avoid an X rating, and like part 4, there were more signifigant cuts. The censors in America were now beggining to come out victorious with the MPAA coming down on violence and it certainly didn't help that the studios were not willing to fight back, especialy considering the popularity of their franchise. The truth was that the Hitchcock's were gone, this new string of directors were unwilling to stand up to the studios, to the censors, they backed down. This resulted in a change from a balancing of teen nudity/sex with gore to less emphasis on gore and more on teen sex/nudity and appeal.

"Friday the 13th Part 6:Jason Lives"(1986) was a fine balance inbetween the two periods of slasher, which is probaly what makes it so popular today. Even critics of the time were less harsh on it then previous entires, though by no means were they positive. The film financialy made far less then the previous two entries despite resurecting Jason. This lowered intake was probaly why the next film didn't come out until 88 while except for part 4, all of them had been coming out a year after the last.

While Friday the 13th was tearing through sequels, a sequel to the scifi-horror phenomenon "Alien"(1979) had been planned since the release of the first one. The question was what was it going to be about, who was to direct? Many, many scripts were sent it but most were being rejected. Ridley Scott was not coming back so they needed someone new. Along comes James Cameron, who had done only two films before hand, "Pirahna II"(1981) and the box office smash "The Terminator"(1984) It was probaly this which made fox go with Cameron. Not only was Cameron responsible for making the film, but was responsible for getting Signourey Weaver to come back for her role as Ripley. Apparently there was trouble getting in contact with Ripley's agents, so Cameron decided to call Arnold Schwarzenegger's agents to see if he would be interested. However Fox refused to do it without Ripley so they finally got in contact with the actress and she came on board.

"Aliens" takes place 57 years after the original, Ripley frozen for that amount of time. Waking up, her family is gone, and her stories of the Alien attacking get her labelled as insane. However the Company starts recieving information concerning Alien attacks, so Ripley is sent as an advisor to the marines sent down there. On the alien infested planet, they find a young girl named Newt who has survived the Alien infestation on her own. No longer is there one Alien but many, many, many Aliens, this time against a much more heavily equipped set of opponents.

James Cameron had expanded on the Alien mythos started in the original, establishing many of the inner workings of the Alien universe. However Cameron had done more then that:he had changed the very direction of the series. The first film was pure horror/suspense. "Aliens"(1986) had some scenes of suspense but was much more action oriented as well.

"Aliens" was a box office and critical phenomenon. Critics showered it with praise while the box office intake was more then flattering, rivalling possibly surpassing Cameron's earlier effort "The Terminator"(1984) Many consider this a sequel that equates "Alien", some even saying it surpasses the original. The suspense combined with adreniline pumping action scenes and strong characterazation combined with amazing special effects have been what the film has been praised for among other things. This film further established Cameron as a big time director and further convinced studios of the profitability of sequels. If 1985 was a bad year for sequels, then 1986 was the exact opposite. However the next successful film to discuss wasn't a sequel, but a remake.

David Cronenburg's "The Fly" concerns a scientist trying to make it big with a new teleportation invention. As he continues experimenting, a fly get's into the other pod, fusing the fly with the scientist, starting a slow and hideous transformation.

Cronenburg wasn't new to the movie scene, many films under his belt including "Shivers"(1975), "Rabid"(1977) and "Scanners"(1981) The original fly was a moderately successful sci-fi horror so Cronenburg believed he could do more with it.

"The Fly" was a box office and critical success, unlike previous remake of the 80's "The Thing"(1982) It has been parodied many times and when people think of the Fly, they think of the remake, not the original. At this time remakes were uncommon and weren't really successful most of the time with remakes like "The Bad Seed"(1988) failing miserably. "The Fly" would have a sequel 3 years later, "The Fly II"(1989) about the son of the original's main character. It did fairly well in the box office but was panned by critics as being an inferior film.

In the meantime, a desperate Tobe Hooper was continuing to fail after "Poltergeist"(1982) so decided to make a sequel to his infamous slasher, "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"(1974)

This sequel takes place after the original with the cannibalistic family murdering town's people left and right. Eventually, a radio disc jockey plays the tape of two of their dieing victims, making her their target. Now the only one with a chance against the family is an insane Lietenant played by Dennis Hopper.

This film is very, very different from the original. Gone is the documentary like feel, this one feels more like a real movie. The gore quota is extremely high, and there is a ton of black humor, the film was the polar opposite of the original almost. Hooper couldn't get his film through without an X rating so he released it with no rating. Despite this, the film was still a box office smash although the critics initially trashed it, citing it as a disgrace to the original. Today it's usually looked upon as one of the better sequels.

While these reamkes and sequels were coming out, other stand alone films were released.

"Slaughter High" is a cult classic of sorts concerninga prank gone wrong years ago on an unpopular student. Years later, those involved are invited back for a highschool reunion. It was originaly entitled "April Fool's Day" but the name was changed when another slasher with that name came out the same year about teens at a mystery theme mansion weekend turns into murder and mayhem. The film would become famous for it's ending where it was revealed it was all a joke. The original ending called for real murders but Paramount perfered this happier ending.

Neither film performed well at the box office. These are just two examples. It was becoming harder and harder for a film without a franchise attached to it to be successful. The independant movies that were being released in the 70's and early 80's were fading to franchising, and gore was fading in the face of censorship.

Next Chapter:"Hellraiser"(1987) becomes a hit in both America and England. However despite being the success it was with the violence it had, censorship problems continue in both countries. Sam Raimi struggles with the MPAA over "Evil Dead 2:Dead by Dawn"(1987) Down in England, the video nasties craze takes over, seeing the censoring and banning of many horror films including "Twitch of Death Nerve"(1971), "Last House on the Left"(1972), "I Spit on Your Grave"(1978), "Maniac"(1980)"The Burning"(1981) "Slumber Party Massacre"(1982) as well as it's sequel "Slumber Party Massacre II"(1987)
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Chapter 10:The Inmates Are Running The Asylum

It was the late 80's and it was becoming increasingly harder to make a successful horror movie that didn't have somekind of name attached to it. If you wanted to succeed in the world of horror films, you needed a franchisable product. Fortunately for Clive Barker, he was about to do that exactly.

Based on the novella "The Hellbound Heart", the film opens with a man named Frank buying a Puzzle Box, promising it will bring him experiences like none he has ever seen. However when Frank is dragged into the underworld by beings known as The Cenobites, Angels to some and demons to others, Frank is overwhelmed. He get's his chance for escape when his brother Larry and old lover Julia move into his old home and when Larry cuts his hand, blood spills, enough for Frank to rise up in a zombie form. He enlists the aid of Julia who wants Frank back for more loving, lures men into the attic and kills them, allowing Frank to take their blood and slowly restore himself. When Kirsty finds out and runs off with the puzzle box, she unleashes the Cenobites onto the world.

Like the novella, the gore was graphic but also necessary to convey the brutal sadism of the story as was the sex. The film's themes of lust and death combined with it's onscreen happenings made it much stronger then the majority of horror films out there. As a result, the MPAA made several cuts, but suprisingly insignifigant cuts, simply lowering the number of hammer shots, removing the spanking scene and some of the thrusts during the sex scene. Other then that, the film was released comepletely intact. In England the film was surprisingly released uncut, likely do to the film being released in that country(at this time English made horror movies tended to have an easier time getting by the censors)

"Hellraiser" was a financial success in both England and America. While certainly not at the level of the big slasher franchises, it still was big enough to gain the studio's attention and forever bind Doug Bradley to the role of Lead Cenobite, who would later get the name "Pinhead" from fans even though his name is never officialy spoken. This was quite an accomplishment considering the Cenobites had less then 10 minutes of screen time which was unheared of. A similar case would happen 4 years later with "Silence of the Lambs"(1991)(which we will discuss later) The film also cemented Clive Barker in the world of Hollywood with his drectorial debut, a big bounce from the fialiure of "Rawhead Rex"(1986), another film based on a Clive Barker story.

Criticaly the film was decdedly mixed, many critics turned off by the grisly violence and donwbeat tone. Today it is generally considered to be a classic of the horror genre and remains one of the most unique horror films to ever be created.

"Hellraiser"(1987) was lucky enough to escape the censors without too much struggle. Other films however would not be so lucky.

Sam Raimi was back on the scene with Bruce Campell to make "Evil Dead 2:Dead By Dawn"(1987) This film would begin right after the end of the first one, Ash still trapped in the woods by these demonic spirits, and is soon joined by some locals who only make things worse as these demons go on the attack.

The idea of a sequel was discussed when shooting the first, but Raimi wouldn't actually do it until continued failiures in other endeavors finally made him decide to do a sequel. However he could not get legal rights to recap events from the first film, and keeping in mind the luke warm reaciton to the first, he felt people might not remember so he did a quick recap and re shot some key scenes from the first. Although this has made it mistaken for a remake, it is by all means and intentions, a sequel.

Raimi was detirmined to get an R rating as he feared the worst for "Evil Dead 2:Dead By Dawn"(1987) The MPAA were viscous, forcing Raimi to change many aspects of the film. He made the blood green, toned down the tree rape(which originaly would've been more violent then the one shown in the first) He also decided both to be original and to help get an R rating, to make this film a horror comedy hybrid as opposed to the dead seriousness of the first. However the MPAA slapped it with an X rating anyway upon release. Distraught, Raimi kept fighting and editing until finally the MPAA granted an R rating, much too late though, almost like a cruel joke.

"Evil Dead 2:Dead By Dawn"(1987) did no better or no worse then the original had faired. The reviews were just as mixed, and it looked like Raimi had been screwed over from all directions. Raimi was more fortunate then some, such as the makers of "Robocop"(1987) who were constantly editing the film. Reportedly, they were hit with an X rating about 11 times.

The MPAA would continue their unbeneficial assault on violent films with the Friday the 13th series. Although we will discuss those sequels later, we should discuss that by this point MPAA influence over the series was in full effect. More and more violent scenes were being edited. Part 7 was a nightmare to edit. This would force film makers to tone everything down for part 8, which would lead to it's failiure. While what the MPAA was doing was cruel, what England was doing was far, far worse.

England was in the midst of the "Video Nasties" era. It began in the 70's with the release of films like "A Clockwork Orange"(1971) and "Straw Dogs"(1971). At the time, these films were seen as the upmost violent and sexually explicit films, although today they are considered somewhat tame. However this outrage prompted the BBFC to take charge. Laws and bills were passed by the English Goverment that, although not directly, gave the BBFC the power to edit or ban any film they wished. The majority of targets would end up being horror films.

Around this time, Wes Craven was making his first film along with Sean S. Cunningham, who would become famous through the 'Friday the 13th" films. Carven in particular was sick of all the violence in America, particuarly in Vietnam, so made a film to show how ugly violence was.

"Last House on The Left"(1972) begins with two girls going out for a birthday celebration, a night on the town so to speak. However they encounter and are kidnapped by a gang of psychopaths led by Krug. They proceed to torture and degrade this girls in increasingly sickening ways until they are both dead. They arrive at a house to stay, a house they don't know is owned by the parents of one of the girls. When the parents find out, it's payback time.

Craven's initial struggle was with the MPAA. He kept bringning the film in, editing it more and more but it still got an X rating. Not one to be beaten, Craven put all the footage back in and got one of his friends on the board to politick, getting the film released with an R rating. Unfortunately Craven didn't have any influential friends in England.

In 1974, two years after the film's initial release, it was outright banned from the UK. However this nitial ban didn't prove too powerful as it would be released on home video. However in 1984, when the "Video Nasties" list came into effect, the film was banned again, this time from home video as well. Many years later it was released again only to be banned in 2001. It would be 30 years before the film was finally released with only 30 seconds cut.

Despite all this, the film developed a cult following in England while in America the film become a massive box office success. Despite the success, Craven would not be propelled into stardom until "A Nightmare on Elm Street'(1984) One year earlier, there was a film with many translated titles, one of them being "Last House on the Left Two" despite the film being made a year earlier and having nothing to do with Craven's film. This film was "Bay of Blood"(1971)

"Bay of Blood" revolves around the struggle over ownership of a land, with people murdering anyone who gains possesion of it, taking possesion of it and then getting murdered with the cycle continuing, all the while naive teens are camping around near by.

The film was an italian film directed by Mario Bava, one of the greats in Italian Horror films. This film would pioneer the slasher films as well as techniques in low budget film making, however due to it's relative failiure, it never recieved credit and never actually inspired any of the slasher films in America that would come out. The film was released in England with the title "Blood Bath" and was inevitably banned in England. However these films combined would not spawn the controversy this next film would.

"I Spit on Your Grave" begins with a female novelist going out to write her latest book. However she is caught by four men, who proceed to gang rape her and leave her for dead. Still well alive, the woman decides to extract vengance against her rapists in gruesome fashion.

The film spawned immiediate controversy. It's near half hour rape scene combined with brutal death scenes saw it banned or censored in many, many countries. In England, the film was one of the first to be put on the "Video Nasties" list, which would make the BBFC's power to ban films effective. The public for the most part was supportive of this movement, being led to believe that these films were responsible for the corruption of youth. Attempts to fight these ridicolous acts were not met with success. Even movies that weren't even that violent by the standards of the day such as "Driller Killer"(1979) about a depressed man who snaps and goes on a killing spree, was put on the list for only one violent scene.

This insane movement would continue well into the 80's, another prominent target being the hit slasher "Slumber Party Massacre"(1982) about a girl leaft home alone who decides to hold a slumber party where a killer comes to predictably begin murdering these girls.

Like many early 80's slashers, the film balanced scenes of sex and nudity with over the top gore. The film was scripted by Rita Mae Brown, a known feminist. The film was a moderate enough success in the U.S, but in England it's title(The English did not like the use of the word "Massacre" in a title) combined with what they saw as Mysygonystic violence got the film heavily cut. Of course as far as mysogynystic violence, one film did not get criticised for such more then a film from two years previously, "Maniac"(1980)

Frank Zito is a middle aged, overweight serial killer. At night he likes to go out finding pretty young woman to murder. All the meanwhile he develops a friendship with a female british photographer and speaks with his dead mother. As things progress, Zito's world begins to cave in on him.

The film had been a moderate box office success in the U.S, but in England was attacked for being mysogynystic as most of Zito's victims were female. Ironicaly, the one member who opted to release the film uncut was a female, who thought the movie served a purpose as it depicted a more realistic killer then the slashers of Freddy, Jason and Myers. However this did not stop them from severely editing the film before release.

The Video Nasties craze would continue, many, many horror films becoming censored or outright banned such as "Slumber Party Massacre II"(1987) which was a unique hybrid of musical slasher that was banned for it's gross out special effects. The Video Nasties Craze was never stopped, no voice of reason catching anyone's ears, rather it just died out. The BBFC started to become more laid back, their standards becoming less absurd then before. However by the time it stopped at around the early 90's, it was too late. Horror films had seen death after death in England, which saw very few horror films released from it's country. England would go on a similar craze against Anime several years later after the UK release of big name hentais like "Legend of Overfiend"(1989) and "La Blue Girl"(1989) To this day in fact, anime is more restricted in the UK.

Next Time:In America, the sequel craze continues with "Nightmare on Elm Street 3:Dream Warriors"(1987) "Nightmare on ElmStreet 4:Dream Master"(1988) and "Nightmare on Elm Street 5:The Dream Child"(1989) which sent the series into decline. Meanwhile the Halloween franchise makes a comeback with "Halloween 4:The Return of Michael Myers"(1988) and "Halloween 5:The Revenge of Michael Myers"(1989) while "Friday the 13th Part 7:The New Blood(1988) and "Friday the 13th part 8:Jason Takes Manhattan"(1989) are released along with "Hellbound:Hellraiser II"(1988)Even Prom Night get sequels with "Hello Mary Lour:prom Night II"(1987) and "Promi Night III"(1989) all while Wes Craven fails to create another franchise with "Shocker"(1989) Unfortunately, the decline of these sequels leads to a mortal wound in the horror genre.