Although early cinema has long been a key area of research in film studies, the origin and development of the horror film has been a neglected subject for what is arguably one of the world's most popular film genres. Using thousands of primary sources and long-unseen illustrations, The Birth of the American Horror Film examines a history that begins in colonial Salem, taking an interdisciplinary approach to explore the influence of horror-themed literature, theatre and visual culture in America, and how that context established an amorphous structural foundation for films produced between 1895 and 1915. Exhaustively researched, bridging scholarship on Horror Studies and Early Cinema, The Birth of the American Horror Film is the first major study dedicated to this vital but often overlooked subject.
Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D., currently serves as Postgraduate Director for Film Studies at the Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is the author of Lugosi (1997), White Zombie: Anatomy of a Horror Film (2002), Emerald Illusions: The Irish in Early American Cinema (2012) and The Perils of Moviegoing in America (2012). Rhodes is also the writer-director of the documentary films Lugosi: Hollywood's Dracula (1997) and Banned in Oklahoma (2004). Currently he is at work on a history of the American horror film to 1915, as well as a biography of William Fox.
Acknowledgements Introduction Chapter 1: Literature Chapter 2: Theatre Chapter 3: Visual Culture Chapter 4: Moving Pictures Chapter 5: Devils Chapter 6: Witches Chapter 7: Ghosts Chapter 8: Supernatural Creatures Chapter 9: Death, Murder, and Execution Chapter 10: Evolution and Devolution Chapter 11: The Other(s) Chapter 12: The Powers of the Mind Chapter 13: Mad Scientists Chapter 14: American Literature Onscreen Chapter 15: Exhibition and Reception