If Florida State University believed in cinematic monster scholarship, I would have written the books that David J. Skal wrote. The great thing is that he wrote these books with the same passion that academic eggheads write about William Shakespeare or Emily Bronte. At least Skal's writing is not as pretentious.
"Dark Carnival" was published in the 1990s and presents an eerie relationship with the turn of the century 1800s with turn of the century 1900s. The one constant in both of these historical periods is which the obsession of the Goth culture.
Huckster Tod Browning accepted these dark undercurrents of culture and became a major influence in horror cinema. Browining worked with Lon Chaney Senior and Bela Lugosi. Browning's career flumoxed with his production of "Freaks," which was essentially band until the advent of video.