Horror in the 1940s

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The 1940s are rarely seen as a distinct period within the history of the English-language horror film, but merely as the decadent tail-end of the 1930s production. If the 1940s horror films start to look very different when one begins to work with definitions of horror current at the time rather than definitions that are imposed retrospectively, these films also look very different when one acknowledges that they constituted a separate and distinct cycle of production. By 1943, then, Variety was openly commenting on a new period in the horror film, and the title of one article, “Creepy Pix Cleaning Up,” captured the key issues through the use of a pun. This chapter refers to Paramount's ghost story, <I>The Uninvited</I>, but it also identified other films with this trend, many of which have become disassociated from horror.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to the Horror Film
EditorsHarry Benshoff
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781118883648
ISBN (Print)9780470672600
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • 1940s horror films
  • Creepy Pix Cleaning Up
  • film noir
  • Gothic
  • mystery
  • psychological film
  • realism
  • thriller
  • woman's film

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