U.K. documentary. An exploration of European horror cinema. Horror fan and historian Mark Gatiss tours the capitals of Europe to give us a history of European horror cinema. Locations include: Belgium, Slovakia, Germany, France, Italy and Spain; and along the way he interviews several of the major players in the genre. Horror Europa asserts that horror cinema can be seen as a response to social and economic turmoil. In the after effects of World War I, the German horror cinema coming into prominence as directors and producers tried to re-establish the country as an artistic powerhouse after a crippling war.
Films such as The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920) and Nosferatu (1922) are seen as responses to the then-current sociocultural environment, as well as being influenced by artistic movements such as Expressionism. Similarly in the post-1945 period French horror cinema was fashioned by the fallout from four years of Nazi occupation as well as the extremes of the Vichy government; films such as Les Diaboliques (1955) dramatized fears of moral and social breakdown.
In the 1960s, Italian horror cinema came into its own as a result of the work of Mario Bava, who developed a style all his own combining thriller and horror elements, all filmed in a lurid color palette in which individual sequences assumed more significance than plot-coherence. Even today these films are quite disturbing to watch for their creep factor and shock value. In more recent years, Spanish horror cinema has set the tone for much of Euro-horror.
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