The Horror People by John Brosnan

By John Brosnan

Profiles of major British and American horror movie personalities, together with Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Vincent fee, Lon Chaney, Jr., James Whale, Val Lewton, Roger Corman, Richard Matheson, and extra.

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By John Brosnan

Profiles of major British and American horror movie personalities, together with Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Vincent fee, Lon Chaney, Jr., James Whale, Val Lewton, Roger Corman, Richard Matheson, and extra.

Show description

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Extra resources for The Horror People

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Criminals may adopt the facade of a respectable identity, a famous personage may travel incognito, two individuals may exchange identities, or characters may disguise themselves as someone else, whether by way of masks, disguises, or disciplined transformations of their personality. The second category—of involuntary transformations—includes the horror transformations into werewolf, vampire, or other monster, Dr. Jekylls into Mr. Hydes, and the eugenic determination of a suppressed aspect of one’s personality, but also those involuntary transformations due to memory loss or other traumatic event.

67). 58). It is noticeable that the role of millionaire in these fairytale scenarios is curiously devoid of commercial context. There is seldom any sense that the wealthy have actually earned their wealth by financial or industrial activities. Indeed, as we will see, involvement in commercial activity was more likely, in the thirties, to have extremely negative connotations, with bankers, financiers, and industrialists suffering the most consistently unfavorable representation. In this sense, the millionaire of early-thirties fairytales is close to the aristocrat in that he or she inherits a largely decontextualized and dehistoricized status.

But it is the comic genres that most frequently deploy narrative mechanisms foregrounding identity, relying for their effect on such procedures as mistaken identities, assumed identities, aristocrats pretending to be servants or swapping roles with their servants with amorous intent, people with the same name or appearance as one another, and people who have constructed a false or fictional identity for themselves, perhaps subsequently being trapped into living up to it. Finally, though they were never common in the French classic cinema, horror films, with their literal transfigurations of the self into something other, splitting of the self into doubles, and selling of the self to the devil, make explicit what is often only implicit in less generic films.

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