S.S. Prawer: Caligari's Children - The Film as Tale of Terror


S.S. Prawer: Caligari’s Children – The Film as Tale of Terror


„The terror film, with puzzling, disturbing, multivalent images, often leads us into regions that are strange, disorienting, yet somehow familiar; and for all the crude and melodramatic and morally questionable forms in which we so often encounter it, it does speak of something true and important, and offers us encounters with hidden aspects of ourselves and our world.“ So writes S.S. Prawer in his concise and penetrating study of the horror film – from THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI and FRANKENSTEIN to INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and THE OMEN. After a brief history of the horror genre in film, Prawer offers detailed analyses of specific sequences from various films, such as Murnau’s NOSFERATU. He discusses continuities between literary and cinematic tales, and shows waht happens when one is transformed into the other. Unpatronizing and scholarly, Prawer draws on wide range of sources in order to better situate a genre that is both enormously popular with contemporary audiences and of increasing critical importance.

„A blend of impressive scholarship and a fan’s enthusiasm. After a history of the horror genre, Prawer discusses the literary and cinematics motifs and devices that generate fear, scrupulously analyzes specific films and their interconnecting influences, and delights as with such quotes as the brief exposition on why SUNSET BOULEVARD is the ultimate horror movie.“
Los Angeles Times

„A thoughtful analysis of what drives us to pay good money to be scared out of our wits.“
Washington Post

„As befits an Oxford Professor of German Language and Literature, Prawer is hugely persuasive and erudite when invoking the literary originals of horror myths and showing how they are sea-changed in the passage from page to screen.“
The Financial Times


S.S. Prawer is Taylor Professor of German Language and Literature at Oxford University, and a fellow of the Queen’s College. His books includes studies of Heinrich Heine and Karl Marx.

Da Capo Press – ISBN: 3-306-80347-X

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