Caligari's Children: The Film as Tale of Terror
”The terror film, with puzzling, disturbing, multivalent images, often leads us into regions that are strange, disorienting, yet somehow familiar; and for all the crude and melodramatic and morally questionable forms in which we so often encounter it, it does speak of something true and important, and offers us encounters with hidden aspects of ourselves and our world.” So writes S. S. Prawer in his concise and penetrating study of the horror film—from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Frankenstein, to Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Omen. After a brief history of the horror genre in film, Prawer offers detailed analyses of specific sequences from various films, such as Murnau’s Nosferatu. He discusses continuities between literary and cinematic tales, and shows what happens when one is transformed into the other. Unpatronizing and scholarly, Prawer draws on a wide range of sources in order to better situate a genre that is both enormously popular with contemporary audiences and of increasing critical importance.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
S.S. Prawer's Caligari's Children may be considered something of a classic, but part of the reason for that is the dearth of easily accessible material available on the topic of horror in film. The book is immensely readable and covered a wide range of important films, with special emphasis on some of the early European classics such as the German Cabinet of Dr. Caligari from 1921 and 1922's ground breaking Nosferatu. I come at horror from the persepective of someone who is not actually scared or horrified by any of the pre 1960s horror films. I remember as a young boy seeing Frankenstein at our local cinema and finding it amusing and interesting but nothing more. Horrified? Well, films such as Alien actually scar me - the whole scenario of being trapped, in the dark, with a monster around the next corner ready to rip my lungs out is the thing that makes me squirm when it is presented on the screan. Prawer's book discusses such things, but also brings a uniquely European persepctive to his subject. And an academic perspective. As such the book is heavy going at times, but well worth the effort. It is informative, entertaining and thoughtful, though also dry and dense in parts.
Review: Caligari's Children: The Film As Tale Of TerrorUser Review - Goodreads
Stephen King recommended book in Chapter 5 of Berkley's 1983 paperback edition of Danse Macabre.
List of Plates
The Fascination of Fear
Mamoulians Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
An Image and its Context