Pt 1: Universal Studios: The golden era of American horror, Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, et al. The 'Universal Monsters', as they've come to be collectively known, reflected society's needs at the time. It examines the stories in a social context, exploring why scares that stopped when credits rolled were both thrilling and calming for different reasons. The episode contains mini-biopics of each actor, interviews with surviving cast members or their descendants, and an occasional rummage through the archives and props of the day.
Pt 2: Horror Europa: The second episode crosses the waters to focus primarily on the British horror industry, of which Hammer Productions were the most prolific. After Universal had run their Monsters into the ground with increasingly-weakening sequels and diminishing returns they allowed Hammer to have a go, expecting them to fail just as hard. But Hammer dug up the sleeping corpses and gave them new life in glorious Technicolor. It was within that framework that Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing emerged as genre greats.
The X Certificate promised danger and cleavage, so Hammer delivered. For a time, at least. The same waning of interest happened to them years later, but they carved out a well-deserved place in history right alongside Universal.
Pt 3: New Wave USA: Episode three returns to the States for a look at films by the likes of George Romero, Tobe Hooper and John Carpenter, men who pushed the genre further than ever before into realms of dubious acceptability. It gives the Independent films the credit they deserve while acknowledging that the Majors were also doing their bit to herald change with films like The Exorcist (1973) and The Omen (1976) hitting mainstream theatres.
3 episodes, approx 60 minutes each.
4 suggestive shadows out of 5