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How Face of Fire Brought Social Horror to the 1950s

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1959’s little-seen Face of Fireplace was an early try to inject social commentary and themes of prejudice into the horror style. It was a real rarity at a time when the overwhelming majority of horror movies had been thought of second fee B-movie fare at finest, and the large studios had been extra involved on the market threats coming from the tv units that had been showing in dwelling rooms throughout the nation.

The civil rights motion was main information in 1959. Brown v. Board of schooling had desegregated American colleges in 1954. The Montgomery bus boycotts had occurred barely three years earlier, and nonviolent sit-ins had been happening throughout the south. Confronting prejudice was the predominant American theme of the period, however most would not know by having a look on the films of the late 1950s. The foremost studios had been waging a conflict for his or her very survival, trying to counter the audiences being misplaced to tv with slates of star-studded widescreen historic epics and musicals. Themes of prejudice and social justice, if on the radar of film studios in any respect, had been few and much between and had been nearly solely relegated to smaller releases from predominantly unbiased studios.

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All the time the stuff of decrease budgets and low-cost manufacturing values, horror was no completely different. The small studios that specialised in horror movies had been getting loads of mileage out of monster footage with Chilly Warfare themes, although there have been occasional movies similar to Invasion Of The Physique Snatchers that took mentioned themes a step or two additional. Even the standard movies of the style had been considered B-movies at finest. George Romero‘s breakthrough Evening of the Dwelling Useless, that includes a black main man and an incredibly controversial ending, was nonetheless almost a decade away. In 1959, to court docket social commentary was to court docket controversy, and to court docket controversy was decidedly not one thing studios had been focused on.

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Face Of Fireplace Introduced Social Horror To The 1950s

Although marketed and introduced as such, Face of Fireplace solely nominally a horror movie. Directed by Albert Band for Allied Artists Footage, Face of Fireplace stars James Whitemore (Brooks Hatlen in The Shawshank Redemption) as handyman Monk Johnson, who’s horribly disfigured and inflicted with mind injury while saving the younger son of a health care provider from a raging laboratory hearth. Beforehand widespread and well-liked in his small, turn-of-the century rural city, Monk is considered as a terrifying monster after the accident, and is reviled as a freak by everybody besides the physician whose son he saved. Even Monk’s fiancee screams in terror on the sight of him.

Although it took a number of extra years for mainstream Hollywood to earnestly discover social themes, the studios’ then-nemesis tv proved to be much less hesitant to discover the themes of prejudice and discrimination. Barely three months after Face of Fireplace‘s August 1959 launch, The Twilight Zone premiered on CBS. The legendary Rod Serling sequence stays extremely widespread and influential to today, and is very remembered for its exploration of social themes.

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About The Creator

Like most children of his technology, Daniel grew up watching far an excessive amount of tv and flicks, and it warped his thoughts to an irreversible diploma. He has written horror options for Lionsgate and 20th Century Fox, is an Emmy-winning broadcast producer, and loves massive mushy pretzels. He has an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Movie Institute Conservatory.

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