Hosted by Dr. James Yates and Darrin Riley
Brought to you by Community Education at Mahony Family Library and South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society
The Universal Pictures horror cycle of the 1930s remains one of the high points of American film and the Horror genre’s existence. Over and over, the studio — One of Hollywood’s oldest — tackled classic works of gothic and horror literature to produce vivid, stylish, wondrous, scary, humorous films which were destined to become classics themselves. This cycle of films – actually begun in the 1920s – would dominate Universal Pictures’ output to the 1950s was instrumental in the shaping of horror cinema. With their often B-grade production values and hammy shocks, it’s tempting to view the studio’s horror films as unsophisticated relics. Yet at their best they brim with wit, invention and atmosphere, including depictions of gothic icons such as Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster that are definitively ingrained in the cultural psyche.
This course will examine this cycle by focusing on four specific classics – Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, and The Wolfman – and discussing how these films were made and the impact they had on the studio and popular culture, and analyzing themes and key scenes. Each week, a film will be introduced and discussed, screened, and analyzed.