Films tend to spotlight society. So the movies reflected the decade as life reflected the prosperity of the time. The world had came out of a world war that was suppose to end all wars, while technology seemed to advance at a rate never before seen. With new technology, people had more leasure time. The times looked as if a new understanding and brotherhood were now the norm. So civilization went from a grim facade to one of happiness and hope. So too did the movies become more adventureous and risky in the stories they told. This decade holds some of my favorite films. So lets go over some of the greatest horror films from the roaring 20‘s.
Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses somnambulist(sleepwalkers), to commit murders. This is one of the best known surrealist films ever made. The movie uses a dream or altered reality to reflect the world of Dr. Caligari. We see the world through the insane eyes of the deranged Dr.
Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself. John Barrymore is excellent as Dr. Jekyll. He transforms with little makeup into the brutish Mr. Hyde. This is the first full movie role of Brandon Hurst.
Fictionalized documentary showing the evolution of witchcraft, from its pagan roots to its confusion with hysteria in modern Europe. Considered “absolutely unfit for public exhibition”, the world (except for Scandinavian countries) never saw the full version til 1941.
Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a Weisberg, Germany residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife. The very first Dracula film. But Stoker’s estate did not allow it so all prints were destroyed. But some copies were not destroyed in other countries. This is the film where sunlight is deadly to vampires, and has been part of the myth ever since(that’s right kids, Dracula is really a day-walker).
In fifteenth century Paris, the brother of the archdeacon plots with the gypsy king to foment a peasant revolt. Meanwhile, a freakish hunchback falls in love with the gypsy queen. The first of Lon Chaney horror classics. Before this Cheney was considered a bit player. If you know sign language, Chaney is signing throughout the film. Both parents were deaf so he was signing to them.
A meek store clerk who doubles as an amateur detective investigates some very strange goings-on at a remote mental sanitarium. This is an antecedental Old Dark House movies. Chaney is very charming and frighting as the Dr. Ziska.
At the Opera of Paris, a mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer. This is by some the best preformance of Lon Chaney. The buildup to the revealing of his face is one of the biggest shockers in movie history. Universal did not release any pictures of Chaney in makeup. So when revealed, some people in the audience actually fainted and had to be taking out of the theatre.
Relatives of an eccentric millionaire gather in his spooky mansion on the 20th anniversary of his death for the reading of his will. The Cat and the Canary became the most influential in the old dark house genre of films popular from the 1930s through the 1950s.
Guests at an old English manor house are stalked by a mysterious killer known only as The Terror. Some say this is the original slasher film, but what isn’t debatable is that it is the first horror film with sound. Unfortunately it is lost, the only thing we have is the sound and a few screen shots from the film.