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The horror film genre seems to kick out fascinating twists to shock and unsettle audiences by fitting the culture of the time. Our fears of that era are reflected in the films.


The fear: The worries of the nuclear age pushed aside the feelings of classic gothic horror, producing multiple species of radioactive monster movies.

The films: “Godzilla,” “The Blob,” “Creature From the Black Lagoon,” “Tarantula” and “Them” were best in breed.


The fear: Violent assassinations showed how sinister men and women could become, even in daylight.

The films: “Psycho,” “Cape Fear,” “Peeping Tom,” “Targets” and “Repulsion” added to the cultural anxiety.


The fear: As the baby boom cooled, films wrestled with child-focused nightmares.

The films: “Halloween,” “The Shining,” “The Omen,” “The Exorcist” and “Carrie” featured weird, possessed kids, while “Alien” introduced gross, chest-bursting childbirth.


The fear: AIDS pushed body horror past the emergency room and onto the screen.

The films: “The Thing,” “Scanners,” “Re-Animator,” “Videodrome” and “The Fly.”


The fear: A focus on manipulative sociopaths delivered a hearse full of chills.

The films: “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Misery,” “Natural Born Killers,” “Se7en,” “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” and “Single White Female.”


The fear: The new century favored films about people fighting their own war on terror to survive.

The films: “28 Days Later,” “Saw,” “The Descent,” “The Mist” and “Shaun of the Dead.”


The fear: Worries about technology have gone viral.

The films: “Unfriended,” “Ex Machina,” “Smiley,” “The Den” and “Untraceable,” where every game of Chatroulette moved from live-streaming to dead-streaming.