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Bright Darkness

Lost Art of the Supernatural Horror Film
A non fiction book by

This well-written book about black-and-white horror films covers the period from the earliest Universal talkies to Val Lewton's B movies produced for RKO in the 1940s, and concludes with a chapter on Robert Wise's The Haunting (1963). Jeremy Dyson shares his admiration for the sense of conviction that's at work in the old masterpieces such as Frankenstein and I Walked with a Zombie. His fascinating observations include the debt of Citizen Kane to earlier genre films, specifics about set design and sound (he reveals how Elsa Lanchester created those eerie cries for Bride of Frankenstein), and the evocation of atmosphere achieved by the "softly glowing silver shadows" of monochrome film. As Peter Crowther writes in the foreword, "In this immensely readable book, Jeremy treads assuredly the fine line which separates the high ground of research from the obsessive. Most of the great movies are here, covered in great and loving depth. Jeremy has combined extensive original research with numerous quotes and comments from a barrage of biographies, autobiographies and other film books, each of them cross-referenced for those who wish to delve further." One quibble: the footnotes for chapter 8 are missing.

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