The Phantom Of The Opera

For many American film lovers, it is 1925's The Phantom of the Opera that defines horror in the silent film era. Lon Chaney's Erik may not have modern moviegoers fainting as legend says they did when Christine reveals his deformed skeleton-like face, but there's no doubt he holds a special place in horror fans' hearts to this day. The Phantom Of The Opera Synopsis - Spoilers Included The new owners of the Paris Opera House refuse to believe the previous owners' warnings about the holder of box 5--a "phantom of the opera"--even though the phantom's presence is well-known and openly discussed among the opera's performers. The mysterious phantom has eyes that are just "ghastly beads", compared to holes in a grinning skull, explains stagehand Joseph Boquet, who claims to have actually seen the phantom. Over that skull, he continues, is stretched tight yellow skin with only two large holes where his nose should be. Meanwhile, the opera's

Horror Films Of The 1920s

 The 1920s ushered in a significant change in movies and the way movies were made, scored and acted.

Lisa Barger looks at horror films of the 1920s
Horror Films Of The 1920s

No longer content to produce simple, short films depicting brief slice-of-life moments, filmmakers around the world unleashed a tidal wave of creativity upon a ravenous public. Movie theaters, which were typically owned by the production studios, became larger and the films they showed grew longer. Experimental films--many of them from Europe--came fully into vogue.

Right on cue, the stories told in films began to grow more complex and less focused on a single actor. Secondary characters began to feel realer and better developed--less like props for the hero. Backstories and subplots were routinely included. The finished product felt less like a stage play that had simply been captured on film and more like a new, and fresh, art form.

The horror genre, especially, came into its own in the decade. Dr. Caligari, which was released in early 1920, is widely regarded as the first real horror film but it was by no means the only one. Nosferatu, based on Bram Stoker's Dracula, introduced us to the vampire, Wolf Blood explored the existence of werewolves and The Hands Of Orlac terrified us with the idea that our very bodies might turn on us. Truly, it was easier than ever for an audience to collectively dream the fictive dream.

The 1920s were a magical time for film buffs.