Friday, October 5, 2012

Old School Horror, 17th Century Old School

I am of the considered opinion that woodcuts from the 18th century depicting witchcraft in the 17th century did a better, spookier, creepier job of depicting the supernatural than most movies I've ever seen.  That isn't to say there aren't scores of great horror movies out there, just that the level of pure malevolence on display in some old woodcuts takes Hollywood to task and makes them look rather meek in the process.  Behold:


Not even modern werewolf movies get quite as hardcore as this cut from 1794.   At least The Howling and American Werewolf in London made the creature resemble that but the level of viciousness wasn't as up front and personal, more off-camera and made up of blood spatters.  But where the woodcuts really take off is in the depiction of witchcraft and demonology.






I'd love to see a horror movie that takes it for granted that goblins and demons and naked, haggard, ghastly witches existed in the 14, 15 and 1600s and portray a story as such.  Not a modern retelling, not a witch or demon transplanted to our time but a story about demons, goblins and witches terrorizing villages in the days of old.   While there have been plenty of witch movies and Hammer has had many forays into historical horror, no one has quite given the full treatment to something like this.

Probably wouldn't make a nickel.  Still...

2 comments:

Pierre Fournier said...

I can think of only one movie that gives us the “full treatment” of nasty demons and nekkid witches in the middle ages: The glorious HAXAN.

Greg F. said...

It's true, HAXAN has it but not the linear type story plotting that I'd love to see a filmmaker do. If only someone could take the feel of the woodcuts and HAXAN and build a story around it.