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"Welcome to my (Picture)house": Dracula & co at City Screen

12th October 2016

Monsters

Horror author Jon Towlson of Starburst magazine will be launching a special season celebrating the monstrous cinematic creations that haunt the vaults of Universal Pictures comes to the big screen for a Universal Monsters season at York City Screen Picturehouse from 20 October to 1 December, as well as launching his book The Turn To Gruesomeness In American Horror Films 1931-1936.

Dracula (1931) to The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Horror lies at the heart of Universal Pictures. The cinema of fear is a dark art the studio has been practising for over a century, with a hoard of the genre’s greatest creations haunting the vaults at Universal City. Now, in association with Park Circus, those vaults have been opened and the monsters are stirring once again, as the classic canon is restored in 2K.

The list of screening dates and times for York City Screen Picturehouse are as follows:

Dracula (1931) – Thursday October 20th at 8.50pm

Frankenstein (1931) – Thursday October 27th at 8.50pm

The Mummy (1932) – Thursday November 3rd at 8.50pm

The Invisible Man (1933) – Thursday November 10th at 8.50pm

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) – Thursday November 17th at 8.50pm

The Wolf Man (1941) – Thursday November 24th at 8.50pm

The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) – Thursday December 1st at 8.50pm

Screenings of Dracula, Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein are introduced by Starburst’s very own Jon Towlson, author of The Turn to Gruesomeness in American Horror Films, 1931-1936 (McFarland, 2016).

Book

About the book: critics have traditionally characterised classic horror by its use of shadow and suggestion. Yet the graphic nature of early 1930s films only came to light in the home video/DVD era. Along with gangster movies and "sex pictures," horror films drew audiences during the Great Depression with sensational screen content. Exploiting a loophole in the Hays Code, which made no provision for on-screen "gruesomeness," studios produced remarkably explicit films that were recut when the Code was more rigidly enforced from 1934. This lead to a modern misperception that classic horror was intended to be safe and reassuring to audiences. Taking a fresh look at the genre from 1931 through 1936, this critical study examines "happy ending" horror in relation to industry practices and censorship. Early works like Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) The Raven (1935) may be more akin to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (2003) and Saw (2004) than many critics believe.

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