How did the 1930s Great Depression influence the horror genre?
History influences horror. And more specifically, global events influence horror.
The 1930s were a difficult time for many people. In 1929, the stock market crashed, and global panic ensued, causing the infamous Great Depression.
The Great Depression led to mass unemployment and poverty, and people wanted to escape. One way they did this was through horror movies. The harsh circumstances made escapist entertainment an enticing way to forget about your problems for a few hours, as tickets were merely cents. It created a sense of escapism. Popular films like Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932) and King Kong (1933), which took place in exotic lands and featured supernatural creatures, were massive hits, even to this day.
Horror movies at the time reflected the fears and anxieties of the time. The Depression led to a rise in crime, and people were worried about being able to provide for their families. This led to a fascination with stories about monsters and murderers.
Horror was reborn in the 1930s. They were cheap and easy to make and turned around massive profits. The Great Depression significantly impacted the horror genre, and it continues to be felt today. Many of the fears and concerns that arose during that time are still relevant, and they continue to influence how we tell stories about monsters and mayhem.
“Horror” before this time was just starting to be used as a generic term, albeit a rare one. These popular films in this decade changed how we talked about horror and defined this genre.
Eggertsen, Chris. “100 Years of Horror: Culture Shock: The Influence of History on Horror.” Bloody Disgusting!, 9 July 2010, https://bloody-disgusting.com/editorials/20853/100-years-of-horror-culture-shock-the-influence-of-history-on-horror/.
Khairy, Posted byWael. “The Roots and History of The Horror Film.” The Cinephile Fix, 11 Mar. 2010, https://cinephilefix.com/2009/12/07/the-roots-and-history-of-the-horror-film/.
Washington, Paul. “How The Great Depression Inspired Hollywood’S Golden Age.” Independent, 26 Nov. 2012, www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/how-the-great-depression-inspired-hollywoods-golden-age-26481978.html.
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