Doc Manson here with a brief trailer for my other horror movie podcast, Horrid! If you've enjoyed listening to Sounds Scary and would like to hear me talk more about the history of horror movies, you can check out Horrid on your favorite podcast apps. Listen and subscribe . . . if you dare!
The final episode of season one of Horrid is about the spiritual successor to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, namely Robert Weine's follow up film, Genuine. First released at the end of 1920, Genuine continues and escalated the expressionist art aesthetic from the earlier film. The titular role of Genuine is played by Fern Andra, an American actress that found great success in the German film industry. A summary of the film is given, and the life of Fern Andra is recounted. Also discussed are Cesar Klein's contributions to the expressionist sets and costumes found in the film. Finally, contrary to many popular opinions, Doc Manson finds evidence that the seductive Genuine may be more vampire than vamp.
As this is the last episode of season one, there will be an extended break before new episodes of Horrid are released later this year. In the meantime, keep watching horror. Until next time, stay scared.
The quintessential cinematic work of German Expressionism, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), is explored. Doc Manson recounts the history of the company that made the film in post-war Germany, and gives a thorough summary of the movie’s story. Film theories about the socio-political themes of Caligari are considered, and an original interpretation of the film’s twist ending is offered. Along the way, Doc debunks some common online claims, including that Caligari is the first expressionist film, has the first twist ending, and is the first true horror film.
The development of the horror movie genre continues with the history of German expressionism. This artistic movement affected all of the arts, but especially cinema where its use of shadows and physical distortion to convey mood and atmosphere was particularly effective. Doc discusses The Student of Prague and The Golem: How He Came into the World, two surviving films from one of the forefathers of modern horror, Paul Wegener.
The very first full-length feature films are discussed, including The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906), and Les Miserables (1909). Then, it is on to the topic of the first feature length horror movies. The first in the world is the Italian film L'Inferno (1911), and a full summary is given. Doc talks about the first example of nudity in a horror movie, and then moves on to discuss the first American horror movie, The Avenging Conscience (1914). This latter film was directed by D.W. Griffith, often called the greatest director of his generation, and is based on literary works written by Edgar Allen Poe.
In the early 1910s, the film medium began its expansion into feature length films. Doc Manson explores this transition by comparing the 1912 adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (first discussed on episode seven of Horrid) to a version from the following year that is twice as long in runtime. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1913) was directed by Herbert Brenon and starred King Baggot. Also discussed is luminary film producer Carl Laemmle.
William Brodie was a cabinetmaker and the deacon of the wrights in Edinburgh during the later 18th century. He is also the real life inspiration for one of horror's all-time great villains, first brought to life in Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Doc Manson recounts the history of the first movie adaptation, which is a lost film from 1908. Also presented here is the the first surviving adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from 1912.
The first film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was produced by Edison Studios and released in 1910. Doc Manson provides background on the director and actors, and narrates a scene by scene summary of the movie. Although the film is widely known to alter the original story, Doc gives his own interpretation of the final scenes of the film, and comments on the methods by which Frankenstein gives life to his creation.
The career of Georges Melies comes to an end, as new terrors begin to arise in the world of film. In this first part of a two part episode, Doc Manson delves into the life and history of Mary Wollstonecroft Godwin, or Mary Shelley as she would come to be known. Also discussed is the German ghost story The Family Portraits, by Johann August Apel. Is this the story which prompted the writing of Frankenstein?
This episode explores the history of horror movies with an overview of the first collection of films about haunted houses. Or, more specifically, haunted hotels. Doc Manson covers some of the real world inspiration for films of this type, namely the spiritualism movement of the late 19th century. A deep dive is performed of James Stuart Blackton’s special effects masterpiece, The Haunted Hotel. Other filmmakers mentioned include Georges Melies, Edwin S. Porter, and Segundo de Chomon.