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A History of screen monsters

26 May 2009

     werewolf.jpg Werewolf image by Conspiracy-

  Film monsters have been frightening us for years. People love the shock that film can give them. Film makers realised this even in 1890s, when films first began to appear. The Frenchman George Melies produced The Devil’s Castle in 1986. In this three-minute film you see ghosts, skeletons, witches and the Devil. Melies was one of the first people who experimented with special effects. Audiences loved it.

      When films really became popular even more people cam to see the screen monsters. The great classic monsters. The Werewolf came out in 1913. A werewolf is a person who changes into a wolf at the full moon. This was originally an American Indian legend. The first Frankenstein was in 1910 and the first Dracula film was Nosferatu from Germany. Dinosaurs were an early favourite too, beginning with The Dinosaur and the Baboon (1917).

      Actors played the part of werewolves, vampires and Frankenstein’s monster, but with dinosaurs it was different. Special effects artists made these from rubber, and they became more and more popular. Monstermaking became an art.

      In the 1930s, Hollywood produced some of the most famous of its monster films. Dracula (1931) was the first American vampire film. In the film, Count Dracula lives in a castel in  Transylvania. He is a vampire- he lives on blood, can turn into a bat and can only come out at night.

     Frankenstein appeared in 1931. Dr.Frankenstein builds his own human being. The famous “bolts” in the monster’s neck are not real bolts at all. They are electric plugs!

      Probably the most famous rubber monster of all time is King Kong. This fifteen-metre-tall gorilla came to the screen in 1933 and King Kong is still a classic film. At the time the special effects in this film were amazing.

      Special effects have been improving all the time, of course, and often they can be very dramatic. Modern film werewolves change from humans to wolves very realistically. “Rubber” monsters have been becoming more and more realistic. The Star Wars films and other science fiction films have given some of the most amazing monsters of recent years. Screen monsters are very much alive!


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