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Classic horror movies have many things in common with noir films. Common sense dictates that, in a world that is getting irreversibly worse by the hour, older works of art have greater prestige and value than contemporary ones. Due to it having been created in a hypothetical better world, by potentially better persons.
If we follow the reasoning of the previous paragraph, we could conclude that vintage cinema should be highly popular with audiences. In the case of horror, the few conversations I found it wasn’t the case, far from it.
The arguments hoisted against the reasoning of the first paragraph are few and far between. For instance, one of them being that any contemporary movies featuring realistic special effects are much more enjoyable.
Personally, I’ve seen how millennials/Z-gens and other people around that age have a hard time getting into old movies. Their arguments for not watching old movies are trivial, unjustified things like:
- The oldness of the material
- The black and white colors
- The worn-out stories
Black and White Horror
Happily, I also have seen the opposite kind of millennials react to their pleasure-impaired peers in maturer, more well-adjusted ways.
I’ve seen millennials that like to watch old movies contest the arguments of those that don’t. They use arguments and manners that don’t allow for any kind of valid counter-arguments.
Still, millennials are just a group, the one I had the opportunity to witness. I’m letting out all the other people from the baby boomers up to now that moved on and don’t care about vintage horror works.
I’d like to be counted out from those crowds because I love all things vintage beside horror.
There’s no consensus on what is noir film concisely, so it follows too that to define clearly noir will be a prerequisite to a definition of proto-noir horror and horror noir.
Crime Novels and Film Noir
Film noir ain’t cinema for the millennial chatty-Katy or complaining-Cochise.
I’ve found that, for some of the noir movies, you need a power of intellect and a capacity for attention way above average.
They’re movies from an age when entertainment was scarce, and seldom very cheap or free.
Maybe because of this, the pinnacle of noir cinema was creating movies based on successful crime novels (also known as black novels) that, as I myself see it, were the nineteen-forties versions of role-playing games and video-game interactivity.
First I was kind of baffled and slightly annoyed by this quality that many noir movies have. Then I realized what was going on. Simply put, these movies put you to think, and very hard at that.
This ain’t easy entertainment, but a hard-boiled atmospheric universe where the authors/film-makers rather lose those of the audience that can’t keep up with the laborious, kneaded, tough plots, rather than compromising the highly complex stories and worlds particular to the style.
This hard-to-follow, talkie, dark style isn’t something that’s relegated to a few directors. If I remember correctly, I’d wager to say more than half of the noir movies I watched were dense like I just described.
Personally, before watching film noir movies, I fell in love with horror noir. But how do you call the movies on the genre that were made even before the noir film started to become defined?
I couldn’t come up with anything more logical to call this classic horror movies than proto-noir horror.
For me it all started with The Mummy, that was definitely proto-noir horror. What other movies I think should be analyzed to see if they could be called proto-noir?
Its crude locations and painted backgrounds can put you off. It did put me off and I think I stopped watching it halfway through.
It could be debatable that Metropolis, a seminal science fiction work, would fit into proto-noir-horror, but I do think it is, because the story is about a mad scientist.
Don’t fancy yourself a true horror fan if this movie doesn’t occupy a special place in your heart.
A rather poetical, dreamy silent movie with a lot of sinister imagery.
- “Dracula (Spanish Version)” (Spanish Version)
- “Dracula’s Daughter”
- “Bride of Frankenstein”
- “Son of Frankenstein”
- “Mark of The Vampire”
- “The Invisible Ray”
- “The Black Cat”
- “Black Friday”
- “The Monstrous Man”
- “The Fatal Hour”
- “The Invisible Man”
- “The Old Dark House”
- “Reefer Madness”
- “The Mummy’s Hand”
- “Murders in the Rue Morgue”
These are just the ones of the 1930s that I watched, and I’m sure I’m letting many out from that decade.
What are Your Favorite Classic Horror Movies?
Are you one of those that cannot enjoy antique horror movies? As I see it, it sucks to be you, sorry…
Are you a lover of old black and white horror movies, like me? Did you watch a lot of them? If so, which ones? Please list the ones you liked and the ones you did not like in the comments,
Classic Horror Movies Photo/Image Credits
© Bholenath Valsan 2021 – Classic Horror Movies