Continuing on with our ghoulish venture into the history of haunted cinema, we head straight into the 1920s. Film had changed drastically since the last blog. No longer where films restricted to being merely a couple of minutes long, but had since become even more lavish. The US was enjoying an economic boom which helped build up the big Hollywood studios, but elsewhere budget restrictions were giving way to some of the most beautiful, artistic and jaw-droppingly awesome films, especially with the German Expressionist movement including Metropolis (1927).
German Expressionist films like Nosferatu and The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari were being celebrated like crazy. Whilst short lived, the movement’s influence can still be seen today (hello Tim Burton!) and many of these directors would be encouraged to come to Hollywood in later years and create some truly impressive masterpieces (mainly Film Noir). Following quickly on the German’s heels were the swedes. There’s more to Sweden than ABBA, meatballs and women – much more! In fact, one of the great films of the 1920s was the ghost film, The Phantom Carriage. Directed by Victor Sjöström in 1921, The Phantom Carriage (orig. Körkarlen ) tells the terrifying tale of a hooded coachman (think ol’ Grim Reaper) who is cursed to take the souls of the dead.
Based upon a book of the same German title and recently released on DVD & Blu-ray , this film has become a classic! The legendary Ingmar Bergman was a huge fan of this film and reportedly watched it at least every year. Take a look at this clip from the film too. Spot anything it may have influenced?
Yep, that’s right! Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining!
Besides this and the brilliant original The Cat And The Cannary (remade a few years later with the hilarious Bob Hope) and several more (!) Christmas Carol movie adaptations, ghost films of the 20s were quite quiet, which is no wonder really since the term ‘horror genre’ had yet to be defined. When Universal’s instant hit, Dracula burst onto the screens, scared eager audiences and gave birth to the Horror Film officially, it wasn’t long until ghosts joined in the spooking fun. A whole array of titles quickly followed, most of which were low budget. Included here is Supernatural, The Ghost Walks, The Ghost Goes West and several others.
Join us tomorrow for one of the greatest classic Haunted House films of all time…
Break-out horror movie smash of the year that has been electrifying hardened genre fans and non-horror fans alike, “The Pact” combines the supernatural terrors of “Paranormal Activity” with the tense atmospherics of a serial killer thriller to create a unique, modern-day take on the classic ghost story.
And it’s out on October 1st! Pre-order yours here.
- Part I: Things That Stay Silent In The Night!
- Part II: The Terrifying Twenties
- Part III: The Uninvited
- Part IV: House On Haunted Hill
- Part V: Ghoulish Gimmicks & Shocking Spookshows
- Part VI: The Innocents – Classic British Chills
- Part VII: The Haunting
- Part VIII: Low Budget Terrors – Let’s Scare Jessica To Death!
- Part IX: The Amityville Horror
- Part X: There’s Something In The Fog!
- Part XI: The Shining
- Part XII: The Changeling