I think the reason I saved this first quotation was that I hadn’t thought about movies being made by the most surgically altered and self-mutilated people around. I liked thinking about horror movies reflecting the horror of Hollywood culture, not only of wider American culture.
p.167, On Arlene Francis, star of Murders in the Rue Morgue:
Her real shudders came after the film was completed when other producers, eager to discuss her future in films, began wielding scalpels shaper than those of Dr. Mirakle. They would offer her riches, it appeared, but only if she would consent to give up a portion of her nose. Rhinoplasty was all the rage in a Hollywood that now placed a premium on robotic, standardized glamor in the Busby Berkeley mold. Dorothy Tree, for example, was a highly regarded Broadway actress of the late 1920s, but her strong profile relegated her to bit parts in films, shuffling around in a shroud, for instance, as one of Bela Lugosi’s vampire wives. Finally, after leaving her original nose behind her in the vaults of Dracula, she began to get speaking parts and billing. Producers and casting directors were eager to prescribe and preside over surgical rearrangements of the female body, an obsession beginning to be weirdly echoed, or perhaps weirdly magnified, in horror movies and popular literature. Indeed, the persistent, essential connection between plastic surgery, self-mutilation, and horror had only begun.
And this next one just made me curious about what this proposed link is.
p.191, on incest and vampires…
[In Mark of the Vampire, 1935, Tod] Browning and his screenwriter Guy Endor likely took some inspiration from Ernest Jones’ pioneering psychoanalytic study On The Nightmare (1931), which explicitly linked vampire fantasies to incest guilt.