The Change Within the Genre of Horror Shown Through the Sub-Genre of Vampires

Topics: Horror film, Dracula, Vampire Pages: 8 (3217 words) Published: May 25, 2013
The genre of horror was created in 1896 and set out to frighten the audience with induced feelings of terror and horror. The sub-genre of Vampires does this, but the way it induces these feelings has changed over time, with the two features of Male Vampires and Female Victims representing this change. Three movies that exemplify the aspect of change within the two features are, Dracula (1931) directed by Tod Browning, Fright Night (1985) directed Tom Holland and Twilight (2008) directed by Katherine Hardwicke. These three movies represent the change in the genre and society itself.

The film Dracula directed by Tod Browning is the story of legendary vampire Dracula. Dracula was the first ever vampire film and therefore the audience of 1931 was not desensitised to the idea of vampires being real, so Tod Browning had to be careful, with the strict laws on what violence was allowed to be shown on the screen, Browning had to induce feelings of horror without creating out cry. Browning did this through make Dracula a vampire of folklore, the epitome of evil that lived far away, in Draculas case it was Transylvania a country only really known by the public to be foreign. This not only subconsciously connected to the audiences annoyance at foreigners, for taking jobs and space, and therefore gave them an escape to actually dislike them through Dracula, but also created fear within them with the idea that vampires may be real, but did not push so far over the edge of fear into distress because Dracula was foreign, and not in their own backyard. Also the fact that Dracula was injured by religion and the cross and there being Van Helsing who knew exactly how to kill a vampire meant that Browning had another safety netting in case audiences started to distress to much over the idea of being vampires. Dracula being injured by religion also gave the, majority religious, audiences of 1931 another subconscious reason to stay religious, or even become it. But even with these everyday protections just the idea of Dracula being real was enough to frighten audiences, with people said to have fainted while Dracula was first on screen. This although changes with Fright Night and Twilight, with not as much protection for the audience needed. Dracula as a character though also taps into the audiences Xenophobia, with his character being foreign adding to the horror. Also the way Dracula is able to lure in his victims who seem powerless adds to the horror as they are like fly’s caught in a spiders web, which is shown metaphorically by Dracula passing through the web without disturbing it while Renfield gets caught. The thought of being powerless against Dracula would create fear within the audience as everyone fears death. Although Draculas violence is never shown only hinted at, with the biting of his victims never being shown, but his leaning in towards the neck to bite telling the audience what is going on and the idea of it happening was enough to frighten the audience as they were not desensitised to the idea of vampires. Even the death of Dracula, him being stabbed in the heart by Van Helsing, is not shown as it would be against the law and even though the violence is for good, with the audience not desensitised to violence it would be shocking for them rather than relieving since Dracula is dead, unlike in Fright Night and Twilight. As Dracula was the first ever vampire on sliver screen the fact that he existed frightened the audience as the majority were superstitious and would be extremely afraid of Dracula, audiences at the time enjoyed this fear and made Dracula a huge hit that sold 50,000 tickets sold in the first 48hours of release. The implications of Dracula’s success was that it paved the way for other horror movies to be created with Frankenstein being released the same year and desensitised the audience of the time to the idea that vampires were real and gave a new option for audiences to escape through, through concentrating...
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