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Hollywood horror : from gothic to cosmic
Vieira, Mark A.
Adult Nonfiction PN1995.9.H6 V58 2003

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Horror films are an escape valve for the American psyche. "No matter what was happening in the world outside... the moviegoer could snuggle into a theater seat and travel to a place where screaming felt good," notes film historian Vieira, who charts these journeys with smart prose and a loving attention to detail. He maps the genre from its genesis in 1923 through 1968, relating how world events infused its style and substance. Whether the scare technique relied on the power of suggestion or played on fears of Communist infiltration, horror movies reflected the mood of the country. To add spice, Vieira skillfully intertwines plots of the films with anecdotes by actors, writers and producers. Telling details, such as the grotesque make-up fashioned by actor Lon Chaney or the influence of German Expressionism, provides insight into the craft of filmmaking. In addition, the painstaking work patterns of Alfred Hitchcock and Roman Polanski are contrasted with the expediency required by William Castle and Roger Corman. All, contends Vieira, were adept at raising goosebumps without slathering the screen with the gore that defined later offerings, such as Night of the Living Dead. The inclusion of rare onset photographs caps this well-researched book. The publicity shots, particularly of early works, demonstrate an astounding mastery of lighting and composition. Ironically, many of these stills depicted scenes that never appeared in films. But they remain artistic gems enhanced by the sharp quality of the reproductions. Vieira's enthralling behind-the-scenes take reveals the insider secrets that brought this shadow world to light. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

The popularity of horror films has spanned eight decades, so it is not surprising that many books have been written on the genre, each offering a different approach. This is the first to focus entirely on American films. Similar in content and layout to Dennis Gifford's Pictorial History of Horror Films, film historian Vieira's work traces the chronology of 160 important horror films. The text is organized into four main categories, beginning with the "Gothic" terror of Frankenstein and Dracula. "Psychic" focuses on thrillers like Val Lewton's classic Cat People. "Atomic" reflects the attitudes of the 1950s, from the giant ants in Them to the campy Plan Nine from Outer Space. Finally, "Cosmic" conveys the modern horror of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby, and other well-known films. Vieira (Hollywood Portraits; Sin in Soft Focus) uses information garnered from people connected to making the films. A concise, readable text is complemented by over 260 black-and-white stills, many of which have never before been published. The lavish layout, great photos, and interesting text combine to make this an excellent addition to any horror collection. Recommended.-Rosalind Dayen, South Regional Lib., Broward Cty., FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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