Ghouls, Gimmicks, and Gold: Horror Films and the American Movie Business, 1953-1968 (Hardback)
  • Ghouls, Gimmicks, and Gold: Horror Films and the American Movie Business, 1953-1968 (Hardback)
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Ghouls, Gimmicks, and Gold: Horror Films and the American Movie Business, 1953-1968 (Hardback)

(author)
£90.00
Hardback 336 Pages / Published: 25/03/2004
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The Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Tingler, the Mole People-they stalked and oozed into audiences' minds during the era that followed Boris Karloff's Frankenstein and preceded terrors like Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Chucky (Child's Play). Ghouls, Gimmicks, and Gold pulls off the masks and wipes away the slime to reveal how the monsters that frightened audiences in the 1950s and 1960s-and the movies they crawled and staggered through-reflected fundamental changes in the film industry. Providing the first economic history of the horror film, Kevin Heffernan shows how the production, distribution, and exhibition of horror movies changed as the studio era gave way to the conglomeration of New Hollywood.

Heffernan argues that major cultural and economic shifts in the production and reception of horror films began at the time of the 3-d film cycle of 1953-54 and ended with the 1968 adoption of the Motion Picture Association of America's ratings system and the subsequent development of the adult horror movie-epitomized by Rosemary's Baby. He describes how this period presented a number of daunting challenges for movie exhibitors: the high costs of technological upgrade, competition with television, declining movie attendance, and a diminishing number of annual releases from the major movie studios. He explains that the production and distribution branches of the movie industry responded to these trends by cultivating a youth audience, co-producing features with the film industries of Europe and Asia, selling films to television, and intensifying representations of sex and violence. Shining through Ghouls, Gimmicks, and Gold is the delight of the true horror movie buff, the fan thrilled to find The Brain that Wouldn't Die on television at 3 am.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822332022
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 644 g
Dimensions: 235 x 154 x 27 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"As someone who grew up watching late-night chiller feature series on television, reading Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, listening to haunted house sound effects records, and making my own super-8 monster movies, I read Kevin Heffernan's book with nostalgia and delight. He provides the historical, cultural, and economic context for many of the texts and artifacts of my own misbegotten youth."-Henry Jenkins, coeditor of Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture
"This is the kind of book on horror films that I've been waiting years to read. Combining a historian's rigor and a fan's enthusiasm, Kevin Heffernan shows us how industrial considerations shaped the genre and how the marginalized horror film has in fact been at the center of changes in the American movie business for the past fifty years."-Eric Schaefer, author of "Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!": A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959
"Thoroughly researched and well-written. . . . This is an important study that deserves the attention of film scholars." -- Gregory D. Black * American Historical Review *
"Brimming with plot synopses and including an appendix, this text serves as reference guide as well as a critical work. . . . This text achieves its goals in giving a detailed account of major changes, and reasons for them, in horror films and the American film industry during the 1950s and 1960s." -- Rebecca Janicker * Scope *

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