Topic: Classic Horror Tales
As the title suggests I'd like to discuss the influence and adaptations of classic tales of terror. There is some obvious choices which have been remade dozens of times, Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Phantom of the Opera, The raven, The Black Cat etc. what makes these stories translate so well onto film? Which is your favourite and why, and which is the best adaptation? Is there any classic tales you would like to see made into a movie, or made again as a new movie?
I know it's a cheap one, but I have to go with Dracula as the best horror story to be translated into a movie. It's been done so many times, and much of the time with great success. Starting with it's first (I think), and my personal favourite adaptation, Nosferatu. A very creepy and dark shadow filled movie. Followed by Browning's Dracula, which romanticised the Dracula character, removing him from the creature like presence in Nosferatu and portrayed moreso in the book. The Hammer Horror flicks with Christopher Lee, and the Jess Franco with Lee are all excellent. The story is simple yet creepy, and can be conveyed in so many different ways. I've seen ballets of the book, which were also very well done (though at some parts silly), and a play which was OK, but not much more. It was a little too goofy, but even then had some great visual displays of Dracula drinking the blood of his victims or they of his blood. Oddly enough the book itself, at least in my estimation, is not that good. Stoker's characters are all pretty much the same, all pleasantries and galantry. It does have some creepy and gory parts in the book, but it often feels more like a soap opera than a horror novel. I do like the idea of the journals from multiple characters pooint of view, but it would have worked much better if the characters felt more realistic. Nonetheless it translates tremendously onto film and other visual arts.
Lovecraft's works have not had the best of receptions as far as film. Re-Animator, though excellent, works more on slapstick gore and outrageous characters than any true frights. Lovecraft's writing is all about the unseen, quite the opposite of film. And often does not translate well. I think a silent expressionist adaptation of one of his stories, maybe the Shadow over Innsmouth (I believe that's the name), would have made a truly creepy movie. It's too bad it never came to fruition. With todays special effects it might be more doable to create some of the mind breaking imagery conveyed (or implied) in his works, but it would still have to be done tastefully. Carpenter's The Thing is I think the closest we will get to a great Lovecraft adaptation, though it's not even based one of his stories, it's clearly influenced by them and conveys the dark unknowable terror that only Lovecraft can achieve.
I think part of the reason older tales work so well with the horror film genre is the lack of technology. The further we advance the harder it is to suspend belief. It's also harder to escape a killer or call a police when you have no cell phone, or car. It's hard to track down and convict a killer when there is no forensic science. Another reason might simply be that many of the great ideas are already done, so what else is there to do but tell them again.
Last edited by Theli (2012-10-12 16:54:01)