The horror genre has long been a common form of box office hits, popular with both film producers and audiences alike. But what makes this genre so appealing, and are the horror films of today fundamentally the same as they were fifty years ago?.
It is true to say that in the last fifty years society, as a whole, has undergone a dramatic shift in ideologies, morals and perspectives. Naturally, this has led to an evolution of all cultural art forms as they reflect and react to these changes. Therefore, the question arises as to whether an audience is still gratified by the horror movie of years past, or whether this genre also displays fundamental differences. How far has this affected the end product, and are horror movies any more successful now then they were in the 1960s? .
As the film industry grows from strength to strength there have been numerous innovations and advances in the special effects field, which has revolutionised on-screen images and has allowed directors a much greater freedom in believable visuals. Along with these innovations, audiences have also advanced, and have come to expect the infinitely deceiving, seamless computer graphics to give them the ultimate visual experience, forfeiting the need for imagination. This in itself brings a marked difference between Psycho and Scream. .
When Hitchcock produced Psycho in 1960 censorship played a major role in all film production, and by today's standards, was very restrictive about what could and could not be portrayed on screen. Therefore, graphic violence and bloody corpses are not features of the film. The effect is therefore a lot less disturbing, and any attempts at portraying a high level of violence appear almost comic to modern audiences, due to the basic special effects that seem inauthentic. Instead, what Psycho does is to imply the action through the suggestion of montage and silhouette. Take, for example, the famous shower scene.