All posts tagged: the island of the lost souls

What Lies Within: The Grotesque in Early Horror and the Fear of the Other Side of Humanity

Given the nature and form of the modern horror film, such antique fare as Frankenstein, The Island of Lost Souls, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde fail to invoke the same reactions as they once did—in fact, they seem quite every day in comparison. And yet, these films once held captive the minds of audiences around the country and stood boldly in the face of a censor board who were utterly appalled by the monsters at their door. While it is true that for a time they managed to tame the beasts, it seems rather strange to the modern viewer that such an act was even needed—and yet, there was clearly something about these films that flew in the face of everything that the Production Code deemed lawful and good. Skimming through the production notes of a long-lost era offers clues as to what warning signs each film bore: usually, fear of the film being too frightful or grotesque, or scenes that were deemed too violent or sexual—or, as the case may be, profane by …

Katherine Purvin is currently a Cinema Studies major a Oakland University, and hopes to someday work in the film industry as an animator. She can often be found at meetings of the Oakland University Filmmaker's Guild.