Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Pain in the Q...

Alright, Q has given me extra headaches. Do you realize how unusual it is to find this letter in english? I could always try other languages but I don't think you'd appreciate that, so I'll resort to a fun game of horror trivia. Remember the old Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? Well, this is the A to Z version of it. The point is to go through the history of horror (my theme for the challenge) connecting one link to another (times six) with the particularity that all of the events have to be a 'first' at something (that would be the trivia part of the game). Let's see if I can pull this off...


SIX DEGREES OF Q


  • Quasimodo has the dubious honor of being the first monster in a movie. He is a fictional character who first saw the light as a character in the novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831) by Victor Hugo. Quasimodo, who was born with a hunchback, was feared by the townspeople as a sort of monster until he finds sanctuary in an unlikely love that is never corresponded and fulfilled only in death. The role of Quasimodo has been played by many actors of all trades, from Lon Chaney Sr. in 1923, to a Disney animated adaptation in 1996. In recent times, evidence has been found suggesting the existence of a real-life hunchbacked stone carver who worked at Notre Dame during the period when Victor Hugo was writing. They might even have known one another.

  • Lon Chaney is widely known as a fixture of early horror films and he is consider the first horror movie star ever. Less widely known is the fact that among Chaney's rich filmography--162 films!!--he only starred in five horror movies: The Penalty (1920), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), The Monster (1925), London After Midnight (1927), and The Unknown (1927), the last one being one of his most praised performances.

  • Tod Browning, director of The Unknown, is better remembered by horror fans for his harsh, creepy, and scary movie Freaks (1932) about a circus group of deformed outcasts and their dark secrets. However, it is in his film The Unknown where he first featured carnival life in a harsh, crude light. The film has being labeled by critics as his most intense and demented and was part of what is now known to horror historians as the Universal Horror Cycle.

  • Universal Studios started its fateful journey as 'Independent Movies Company' which only horror film was Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1913). After the company adopted its present iconic name and during the 1920's, 1930's, and 1940's, the studio filmed a series of horror flicks that would become the essence of horror. The first movie considered part of the Universal Horror Cycle featuring monsters was The Hunchback of Notre Dame starring the aforementioned Lon Chaney, and last one was Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein (1948). As part of the cycle, Universal adapted three of Poe's stories: Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), The Raven (1935), and The Black Cat (1941).

  • But it was Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum the one that would grab the honor of being the first story written by the author to be turned into a movie in the english language. The movie of the same title was directed in 1913 by the first female director in the motion picture industry, french-born Alice Guy-Blanche. She is considered to be the first director to systematically develop narrative filmmaking, and was known to employ especial effects in a time when no one else was. Along with her husband, they created the biggest pre-Hollywood studio in America, located in Flushing New York. After their divorce and given the trend of filming in the more cost-effective tempered weather of California, the studio closed its doors and she never filmed again but dedicated herself to give lectures and write books. Among the more than 700 films in which she was involved is La Esmeralda in 1905.
  • La Esmeralda was the first non-english adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the first time Quasimodo appeared on film.


Yay! I did it! It was a lot of work but it was fun. I hope you enjoy it as much as i did. Don't forget to leave your comments.

9 comments:

Lynn Proctor said...

great job--it was fun!

A. K. Fotinos-Hoyer said...

Wow, that does look like it was a lot of work! But I love it - what a fun idea :)

Frances Pauli said...

Amazing! What a fun post and a cool path to follow through Q. I love Lon Chaney as well. So props and thanks for a great post!

Gina said...

Thanks Lynn. It was hard but I enjoyed myself. Thanks for commenting!

A.K., thanks for reading. All the work feels even better if there is others to share it with. =)

Hey there, fellow Chaney lover! I'm happy to entertain people, so thanks for reading!

James R Tate said...

You did a lot of work here. What have you got planned for R? Somehow I think it will be very informative. Good job and thanks for visiting Texas.
Tate's Other Side

Gina said...

I'm afraid Q drained all my knowledge and energy. R will go back to boring reviews of horror books and movies. The books and movies are actually nice, it's me the one who's boring. Sometimes. =)

Thanks for commenting, James!

Tamara Narayan said...

Wow, that was cool. I don't watch horror movies near as much as I used to, but they are still near and dear to my heart. Cool blog!

Mina Burrows said...

Wow! Even though Q was a challenge, you did a awesome job. Great post!

Gina said...

Thanks Tamara. Since my girls were born, I don't have much time to watch horror as I used to. They're still too young to be around when I watch those and I'm way too tired to watch movies by the time they fall asleep. So I know your pain, but still horror has a way to steal your heart and never giving it back =). Thanks for commenting!

Mina, thanks for your kind words! I'm glad you liked it.