diversified attempts to target specialized group audiences, and this diversification affected the map of film production quite radically. Since the middle range for the general viewer that had once been
Lit 155H Intro to the Horror Film Leicester Fall 2018 the solid ground of Hollywood production-- the programmers and B-pictures -- had been taken over by TV, the studios themselves pursued new courses, like leasing their huge film libraries to television in packages such as the Shock Theatre that Warren mentions. Since they were themselves banned from distributing their own products, they turned their production facilities and personnel – for a fee – over to those who could, renting them to television producers like Desilu, the parent company of I Love Lucy , or making programs for TV themselves (the made-for-TV movie was relatively slow to develop). Psycho , released in 1960, was made by the production company that Hitchcock had assembled to produce the half-hour episodes of his TV program, Alfred Hitchcock Presents . When the company to whom he was contracted, Paramount, under whose logo the movie was released but which did not want it made, limited his budget to a puny $800,000, and refused to let him use their lot for filming, the director took his TV crew to Universal’s lot and brought in what
Lit 155H Intro to the Horror Film Leicester Fall 2018 was thus in a weird way one of the first TV movies. At the other end of the financial spectrum, the studios began to concentrate on the features of movie production that would most differentiate what they had to sell from television: blockbusters and spectaculars such as Cecil B. DeMille’s biblical epic Samson and Delilah (Paramount, 1949), a precursor to his even more spectacular The Ten Commandments (Paramount, 1956), and already present on the marquee of the small- town movie in War of the Worlds as the kind of thing that shows at the local theater. The film, for all the piety it offers a family audience, shares with many of the other exploitation films of the period a willingness to linger over the sparsely draped sleek curves and rippling muscles of its eponymous male and female protagonists, played by Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr respectively, and a destruction of the Temple of Dagon which anticipates Hammer in vivid color and gore by nearly ten years. The industry also tried out special processes, which TV could not
Lit 155H Intro to the Horror Film Leicester Fall 2018 reproduce. There was 3-D, which never caught on, but had a vogue in the early- to mid-fifties, producing at least two good horror films, The Maze (William Cameron Menzies, Allied Artists:1953), and House of Wax the same year. The major innovation in this line, which is still with us, was the introduction of wide-screen processes such as the three-projector system Cinerama, premiered by Fox in 1952 (almost its last gasp was Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968) and the cheaper and less elaborate Cinemascope (which premiered with another biblical epic starring Mature, The Robe , in 1953) and Paramount’s
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