Monster Movies From 1965-1991
Monster movies after 1965 changed radically. Research papers on this genre of film can be custom written to focus on any specific monster movie or the entire genre from 1965 to 1991. Experts in the field will explain the popularity of the films or explicate their cinematography.
The monster film changed radically after censorship was lifted in the 1960s, and that lifting was part of larger social changes with respect to explicit depictions of sex and violence. It can be argued that the changes of the 1960s caused monster films to become less formulaic and more individuated. It is a certainty that monster films became more sexy. Fay Wray’s performance as the object of Kong’s desire, itself a product of a permissive, pre-code age, was surpassed by the much more provocative performance given by Jessica Lange in the same role in 1976. The period 1965-1990 also witnessed a re-targeting of the monster films; in the 1950s these films had sought out the young audience. Hughes notes that Alien, first released in 1979, was one of the first science fiction films to be aimed at adult audiences. Some examples of monster movies aimed at adults include the following:
- Halloween (1978)
- The Shining (1980)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
- Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Many monsters became “humanized” during the period under discussion. That is, a reduction in scale occurred. The vast Godzilla-type dragon wandering through a city and wreaking havoc by virtue of pure size fell into disuse in American film making. In its place was a monster of human dimensions. Freddy Krueger, protagonist of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (first in the series 1984, last in 1991) group of films, was an example of a monster on a human scale. He was capable of a kind of super-natural “shape shifting”, and he was utterly lethal in his destructiveness, but he was not ten stories tall.
Silence of the Lambs (1991) might be considered to be a monster film. If it is so considered, then it constituted a breakthrough in the genre for Hannibal Lector was not physically deformed (except for possessing six fingers) in any obvious way. He was however monstrous in a spiritual sense, one so psychically malformed as to make him extraordinarily dangerous. Freeland states, “Each of the psychotic killers in The Silence of the Lambs is linked to numerous horror-film predecessors or monsters by certain not-so-subtle devices.” She goes on to point out that Lector resembled a typical film vampire. The Lector-like moral monster, the monster of the spirit rather than the monster of the costume, constituted a new dimension in the genre.