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.