How did Victorian mansions become a horror movie icon? | art

With the economic collapse (1929) the grand Victorian mansions fell into disrepair, including the surrounding gardens. It turned from a symbol of wealth into a haunting and terrifying reminder of the past.

When we think of the location of a horror movie, we often imagine a palace surrounded by a large garden or a large mansion in the middle of a forest, where bats fly around, while the full moon sky lit up, and maybe in the background there is the sound of a thunderstorm with rain falling. These terrifying palaces did not inhabit your imagination alone, but came through works that connected horror films and those palaces, but how did these ancient palaces become an icon of horror films in the world?

The eerie presence of the Victorian mansion dates back to American artist Edward Hopper’s painting “House on a Railway Road” which he painted in 1925. Hooper’s work was known for isolation and feelings of loneliness, and in that painting he depicted the Victorian mansion in a frightening way that made it a symbol of fear.

The mansion in Hopper’s painting influenced the filming locations of famous horror films, such as the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film “Psycho”, the 1964 episodes of “The Addams Family” and the 1964 film “Beetlejuice”. ) from 1988, and the movie “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” from 1974.

History of Victorian mansions

The Victorian era is known as the reign of Queen Victoria, who ruled England from June 20, 1837 until her death on January 22, 1901, that is, about 64 years. During Victorian rule, classic horror writers such as Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley and Arthur Conan Doyle imagined terrifying horrors taking place in Victorian mansions, many of which would later become the basis for many scary films.

Victorian mansions moved to the United States between 1870 and 1900. This was not scary at first, as the new rich wanted to show off their status and material wealth, and chose to build their houses in a complex way that was difficult to maintain without excessive financial costs. Palace architecture also played a major role in determining the status of the home owner. The more towers, great spaces, music rooms, billiards and libraries the house includes, the greater evidence of wealth it becomes.

By the early 20th century, with the economic collapse (1929), the massive Victorian mansions fell into disrepair, including the surrounding gardens. It turned from a symbol of wealth into a haunting and terrifying reminder of the past. That’s why these palaces are associated with horror films in American cinema, but why do these Victorian houses and mansions look so scary?

Sarah Burns, professor emeritus at Indiana University, attributes this to the architecture of those mansions and townhouses, as well as popular mass culture. As Adam Lowenstein, author of “Horror Movies” and professor of English and film at the University of Pittsburgh, says, the effect of the houses is like an infinite maze that the large spaces of rooms, made mainly for luxury, can transform , into “a terrifying version of the beautiful idea.” .

At the level of filmmaking and photography, the corners and long corridors in those houses form a cluster of potential and unexpected fears and threats. Behind the Gothic arches there is always enough space for someone to hide.

The building materials of these houses help create an eerie atmosphere, such as dark wood, stained glass and shades, and thick curtains originally made to protect the furniture and elaborate decor.

The Palace That Was Witness to the Filming of the Adams Family Movie (Social Networking Sites)

Simon Cook, senior editor of the Victorian Era website, notes that the speed of construction and lack of legal regulations led to poor craftsmanship being misunderstood and reduced to the supernatural. For example, the mysterious groaning inside the walls could be nothing but poorly fastened drainage pipes, the creaking of the floorboards could be due to the expansion and contraction of wood, and the doors that open by themselves are just doors that don’t fit . their frames properly.

There are many horror films that have dedicated the iconic image to these Victorian mansions, perhaps the most important of which is: “The Haunting” from 1963. The film is set in the old Victorian Gothic mansion, which is now a famous hotel in Warwickshire, England and is known as “Ettington Park” (Ettington Park) Ettington Park). A mansion consisting of 48 bedrooms on an area of ​​40 hectares, it is said to be a “haunted” hotel in which the ghosts of many of its former residents appear, including a woman dressed in Victorian dress near the garden, and another woman dressed in gray clothes, in addition to a monk, an army officer and children who drowned in the water. The river near the palace.

“The Exorcist” 1973

The movie “The Exorcist” is one of the scariest movies of all time, and it has been scaring children and adults for over 4 decades with its frightening scenes based on real events that took place in St. Louis, Missouri, in America took place. The real house in which the movie was filmed is located in Georgetown, Washington, DC It is a popular tourist attraction in the city and is decorated with a plaque to connect it with the movie. Although there are no scary rumors around the house, many participants and horror movie addicts re-enact the scary movie scenes in it, and there are many photos of people in various scene positions scattered throughout the house, especially on and under the stairs.

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