Man's Dark Nature in Film

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From the beginning of cinema to the present day, Hollywood has had a morbid fascination with the dark, shadowy side of society. This is reflected in many films of the past, inherently most evident in the German expressionistic films of the 1920’s and 30’s. In a sense, society’s fascination with the macabre stems from their fears and anxieties. Thus, allowing filmmakers and storytellers to toy with their fears and horrify them like a terrible nightmare that comes to life. Most people in today’s society have a fear of the unknown, this can stem from natural factors like growing old and dying to such terrifying abnormal factors that may be real or not. The boogeyman is one figure that haunts our children’s minds and nightmares, this mythical imaginary creature has no real appearance, thus the imagination takes hold and our fears and anxieties are placed onto the images of the unknown. Many directors have scared the living daylights out of us with films that make us a spectator of macabre stories and images. We decode the images that the director encodes into the mise-en-scene and this lets our imagination go wild and thus, allowing our psyche to be penetrated in various uncomfortable ways. M (1931) and Frankenstein (1931) are two such films that do exactly this; they are filled with images of: shadow and darkness; death and fear; good and evil, and the monstrous id inherent in all of us. I will talk about these two absolutely classic and influential films that take their roots from German expressionism and Freudian psychoanalysis to present us with an unnerving comment about the dark side of humanity.

M (1931) was directed by Fritz Lang, who is a German born-émigré working in the German-expressionism movement at the time. He is n...

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...t that in every corner lurks death and so that toys with our fears and anxieties and yet it suggests in Freudian typology, that within our own recesses of our minds is where true evil is hidden at. Alfred Hitchcock and John Carpenter were influenced by Frankenstein and M, as this film rightly ask us what lurks behind every corner and asks, us, just like one of the characters in Carpenter’s film, Halloween (1978), “Was It the boogeyman”. Indeed it was and this figurative creature is embedded into our imaginations and psyche and so for as long as horror movies are popular, it will never stop fascinating the curious spectator within us.

Works Cited

Spadoni, Robert. Uncanny Bodies-The Coming of Sound Film and the Origins of the Horror Film. Berkeley University of California Press, 2007.

Various. Wikipedia. 4, 12,2010. .
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