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A horror film is a movie that seeks to elicit a physiological reaction, such as an elevated heartbeat, through the use of fear and shocking one’s audiences.
Initially often inspired by literature from authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley, horror has existed as a film genre for more than a century.
The trend of inserting an element of macabre into American pre-horror melodramas continued into the 1920s.
Directors known for relying on macabre in their films during the 1920s were Maurice Tourneur, Rex Ingram, and Tod Browning.
The Mummy (1932) introduced Egyptology as a theme; Make-up artist Jack Pierce was responsible for the iconic image of the monster, and others in the series.
Universal's horror cycle continued into the 1940s with B movies including The Wolf Man (1941), as well as a number of films uniting several of the most common monsters. The once controversial Freaks (1932), based on the short story "Spurs", was made by MGM, though the studio disowned the completed film, and it remained banned, in the United Kingdom, for thirty years.
Ingram's The Magician (1926) contains one of the first examples of a "mad doctor" and is said to have had a large influence on James Whale's version of Frankenstein.
Frankenstein was the first in a series of remakes which lasted for years.Horror films often aim to evoke viewers' nightmares, fears, revulsions and terror of the unknown.Plots within the horror genre often involve the intrusion of an evil force, event, or personage into the everyday world.Christopher Lee starred in numerous British horror films of the era, produced by Hammer Films. It was Lee who fixed the image of the fanged vampire in popular culture.
Low-budget productions featured humanity overcoming threats such as alien invasions and deadly mutations to people, plants and insects.Other European countries also, contributed to the genre during this period.