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Studying Horror Cinema$
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Bryan Turnock

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325895

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325895.001.0001

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Early European Horror

Early European Horror

(p.15) Chapter 1 Early European Horror
Studying Horror Cinema

Bryan Turnock

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses early European horror, identifying elements that would go on to become 'monster movie' convention. It looks at Paul Wegener and Carl Boese's Der Golem: Wie er in Die Welt Kam (The Golem: How He Came into the World, 1920). Most discussions of German Expressionism's influence on the horror genre tend to concentrate on stylistic traits such as the distinctive lighting and camerawork, and the break from traditionalist modes of visualisation and representation. Whilst this is certainly an important area, one must not neglect the thematic concerns of films such as Der Golem, Das Kabinett des Dr Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Robert Wiene, 1919), and Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922), which bind them both to the Expressionist movement and to the horror genre as it would later develop. The movement's pre-occupation with unpredictability, irrationality, chaos and instability found voice in tales of fatalism, alienation, ambiguity, and loss of personal control or identity.

Keywords:   early European horror, monster movies, Paul Wegener, Carl Boese, Der Golem, German Expressionism, horror genre, horror cinema

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