In The Hollywood Horror Film, 1931-1941: Madness in a Social Landscape, Reynold Humphries analyzes representative films of this era and discusses their impact upon audiences at the time. He evaluates what their success says about the society that consumed them and about the filmmakers who produced them_particularly the unconscious dimension of the films and their ideological ramifications. According to Humphries, prejudices of a social, racial, and sexual nature on the part of Hollywood's censors and the press went hand in hand with a sense of growing unease at what was being portrayed on the screen. Concentrating on abnormal and often sadistic acts, on an unbridled striving after power, and on the mad doctor/scientist's indifference to others, horror films of the era act out society's division along lines of class and economics. Brutal exploitation went beyond the monstrous acts of an individual to assume a social dimension where collective interests come to the fore by the way they are trampled on.
Reynold Humphries is Professor of Film Studies at the University of Lille 3 in Northern France. He is the author of Fritz Lang: Cineaste Americain (1982), Fritz Lang: Genre and Representation in His American Films (1989) and The American Horror Film: An Introduction (2002).
Part 1 Acknowledgements Part 2 Introduction Chapter 3 1. Curse of the Superstitious Script Chapter 4 2. Mad Doctors in Love Chapter 5 3. The Road to (Dis)enchantment Chapter 6 4. History is Made at Night Chapter 7 5. Conclusion Part 8 Filmography Part 9 Bibliography Part 10 Index Part 11 About the Author