I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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ChrisStockslager

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I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostMon Jun 25, 2018 12:04 am

Hello, all! I’ve been given the opportunity to teach a class at The University of Utah for those 50+ and I’ve decided to create my own course! I’m calling it “Silent Screams: The Dawning of the Horror Motion Picture”!! I’ve made a rough outline of what I want to cover but thought I’d run it by you all and the MonsterKids in case I miss something! All classes are 2.5 hours and I plan to lecture for a bit and show a film. Films are in parentheses.

1. Méliès and Edison (Frankenstein)
2. Robert Wiene (Caligari)
3. F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu)
4. Fritz Lang (Metropolis)
5. U.S. - (Cat and Canary / Jekyll and Hyde??)
6. Lon Chaney (Phantom)

I’m undecided which was more influential— Hyde vs. Canary. Opinions? Anything I should nix / add?
Thank you all!

Also, if you live in Utah and are that demographic, come take my class!
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Mike Gebert

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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostMon Jun 25, 2018 9:55 am

I’m undecided which was more influential— Hyde vs. Canary.


That's a tough one. Obviously the old dark house as the setting for mysterious goings-on is the classic trope of horror films, used to this day, but at the same time, I feel like Stevenson's tale, as a poetic version of the Freudian notions in the air (of the outwardly civilized conscious man and the beastly subconscious man) is ultimately the psychological root of so many horror and crime films, so I'd go with that.
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telical

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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostMon Jun 25, 2018 11:04 am

I would go with Jekyll and Hyde. It's extremely well known, and people like that. Not everyone is keen on expanding their repertoire of obscure films. Also, I see it as more a tale of the dubious quest to find superhuman abilities from substance abuse. As we know, opium, cocaine, and hemp was used for that purpose, as alcohol always was as well.
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wich2

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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostMon Jun 25, 2018 11:05 am

Agreed, as I said at CHFB.

CAT may be the more fluid cinematically, but J & H is the more iconic tale, and I think was the more widely effective film.

Break one, Chris!

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Dave Pitts

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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostTue Jun 26, 2018 8:34 am

Another possibility is Paul Leni's Waxworks (1924) which avoids a lot of horror/fantasy cliches and tells an absorbing 3-part story. I'm not sure which of your class themes it would best suit, but it's imaginative and a solid example of German silent cinema -- not to mention Emil Jannings and Conrad Veidt in the same film.
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Rick Lanham

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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostTue Jun 26, 2018 8:39 am

I would take out Metropolis and substitute Waxworks, The Golem, or The Man Who Laughs…

Rick
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Mike Gebert

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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostTue Jun 26, 2018 10:48 am

The Man Who Laughs is so good and of course you can relate it to other films, from the Joker in Batman to The Elephant Man.
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Arndt

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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostTue Jun 26, 2018 3:38 pm

How about HÄXAN?
"The greatest cinematic experience is the human face and it seems to me that silent films can teach us to read it anew." - Wim Wenders
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ChrisStockslager

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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostWed Jun 27, 2018 12:15 am

Thanks for all the advice, folks! Metropolis isn’t a horror flick after all.
So far, the list is:

1. Méliès, Edison, early U.S. (Haunted Castle [3 min.] & Frankenstein [10] & Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [80])
2. Robert Wiene (Caligari [75])
3. F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu [94])
4. U.S. - (Cat and Canary [82])
5. U.S. II - (The Man who Laughs [110]
6. Lon Chaney and prelude to Dracula (Phantom [108])

If I can weasel my way into showing Phantom at the last in a theater, I might try to smuggle in one more Lon film for class 6 because I just adore him so. Maybe The Monster? I don’t really consider The Unknown nor Hunchback horror pictures.
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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostWed Jun 27, 2018 2:57 am

Chris, three or four years ago, I mentioned that a friend's son asked me about the roots of horror movies and I reprinted my answer here. Some Nitratevillains were kind enough to contribute. I can't recall any unique details to make it searchable at the moment -- I'm about to have my first cup of coffee -- but perhaps some one else can.

Three hours and six cups of coffee later: I found the thread; here's the link. Hope it's of some use.

http://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.p ... or#p154548" target="_blank

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostWed Jun 27, 2018 6:15 am

Hello, I think you should include "The Student of Prague" (either the 1913 version starring Paul Wegener or the 1926 version starring Conrad Veidt) as well as "The Hands of Orlac", starring Veidt. "The Student of Prague" deals with a Doppelgänger. The premise of an evil copy of oneself has served as an inspiration to several books, films and episodes of TV series.
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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostWed Jun 27, 2018 7:06 am

boblipton wrote:a friend's son asked me about the roots of horror movies


Image
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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostWed Jun 27, 2018 7:57 am

Have you seen THE MONSTER? It's really not horror, but mainly played for comedy with some "old dark house" type elements. I wouldn't call MAN WHO LAUGHS horror either; the main character is a grotesque, but sympathetic, very much in the HUNCHBACK vein. Perhaps that should be no surprise, both coming from the same author.

You might think about Murnau's FAUST. I wouldn't really consider that as horror either, but it does have many horror/fantasy elements.
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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostWed Jun 27, 2018 8:25 am

You may want to consider Rex Ingram's The Magician (1926). It is an MGM feature, but it contains many prototypes of the horror motifs that Universal will use in the 30's. Plus Paul Wegener in a real creepy performance!

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telical

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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostWed Jun 27, 2018 10:48 am

You might alert them to the intrigue surrounding the major lost silent horror films, like London After Midnight. This would turn them on to the great excitement that surrounds finding lost silent films.
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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostWed Jun 27, 2018 11:18 am

Agreed on THE MAGICIAN - I didn't think of that one. BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, in particular, owes much to it.
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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostThu Jun 28, 2018 3:40 pm

I’m undecided which was more influential— Hyde vs. Canary.


Well, "The Cat and the Canary" is essentially a comedy, where the only horror, might come from the heirs, when they first learned they had to wait twenty years before the Will would be read.
Barrymore's "Hyde" is shown to be a pedophile early on in the story when he lures children away, paying off the townsfolk who protest.
The 'Still Reconstruction' of Chaney's "London After Midnight" is equally frightening, perhaps even more than Canary.

With Edison's "Frankenstein," if you can slow the recording down a bit, it might seem much more dramatic. Watched closely, the monster seems to prance about, and when Herr Frankenstein lets a paper fall to the floor, it drops like a rock. At a slower speed, the monster seems to be stomping throughout the scenes. Very likely it should have been recorded slower.
Edison's "Frankenstein" would be a good pick since it can easily be debated that the monster only existed in Herr Frankenstein's mind.
No one else has seen it, and when the monster appears in the mirror (at the end), the image vanishes, replaced by Herr Frankenstein's.
I have the original scenario that was printed in Fred Wiebel's book, "Edison's Frankenstein."
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ChrisStockslager

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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostThu Jun 28, 2018 5:02 pm

Rest assured, I will give more than a passing mention of LAM! Yes, The Monster is a sort of farce, but as mentioned above, Horror wasn’t even a genre till post-1931. I know Quasi is obviously more iconic that Dr. Ziska, but the former film teeters into boring, save for Chaney and the amazing visuals. Otherwise, it feels like a stagey 1910s film (looking at you, Brandon Hurst.....). I really love both movies in different ways, but I am somewhat reticent about showing them Hunchback because of such.
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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostMon Jul 02, 2018 4:49 pm

Off hand some considerations.
Maciste in Hell
The Lost World
Faust
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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostTue Jul 17, 2018 7:39 am

Maybe you could consider Victor Sjostrom's "Korkarlen" (The Phantom Carriage) ? It's an authentic horror film, from a famous novel by Selma Lägerlof, itself inspired by a Breton legend ! It also had two remakes - in France by Julien Duvivier, and in Sweden by Arne Mattsson, so I suppose it's a well-known movie.
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ChrisStockslager

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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostWed Jul 18, 2018 7:32 pm

todmichel wrote:Maybe you could consider Victor Sjostrom's "Korkarlen" (The Phantom Carriage) ? It's an authentic horror film, from a famous novel by Selma Lägerlof, itself inspired by a Breton legend ! It also had two remakes - in France by Julien Duvivier, and in Sweden by Arne Mattsson, so I suppose it's a well-known movie.


I should probably review that film again – the first and so far only time I saw was with live Wurlitzer and I still fell asleep out of boredom. Oops!
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ChrisStockslager

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Re: I’m teaching a class on silent horror!!

PostWed Jul 18, 2018 7:37 pm

In case anyone was interested, here’s the final syllabus!

Course Syllabus [Subject to change]
Week I: George Méliès, Thomas Edison, and early U.S. Pioneers
[Screenings: The Haunted Castle (1896), Frankenstein (1910), and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)]

Week II: German Expressionism - Part I
[Screening: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)]

Week III: German Expressionsim - Part II
[Screening: Nosferatu (1922)]

Week IV: Old Dark Houses
[Screening: The Cat and the Canary (1927)]

Week V: The Misunderstood Outsider
[Screening: The Man Who Laughs (1928)]

Week VI: The Man of a Thousand Faces and What Was to Come
[Screenings: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and Dracula (1931) trailer]

Class Finale: The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

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