“The Finest Examples of Motion Picture Art”: Prestige, Stardom and Gender in the Reception of Silent and Early Sound Horror

Mark Jancovich, Shane Lee Brown

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An examination of the reception of horror films during the silent and early sound period. While academic acounts of the horror genre often present it as a disreputable genre, this article suggests that, during this period, the genre actually enjoyed a high cultural status, and was even seen as an “artistic" genre that confirmed the potential of cinema as a medium. Consequently, during this period, horror films were regularly identified as some of the most artistically significant films by prestigeous cultural tastemakers such as the New York Times. The genre's status is also indicated through its ability to attract top directors and stars. Finally, the industrial strategies of the major Hollywood studios meant that they identified middle class women as one of their key tar
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Jan 2023

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