Thursday, September 20, 2018

41 Days to Halloween- 1978 Halloween

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is 1978 slasher movie "Halloween" starring Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, PJ Soles, Nancy Loomis and directed by John Carpenter


Halloween (1978)
Dir- John Carpenter

What most slasher flicks lack is the classic elements of horror; suspense, terror and the sheer emotion of fright. Taking this in mind John Carpenter presents what may be one the best slasher movies ever made. The movie starts with a flashback, a boy finds a mask and walks over to his sister's room and commits a brutal murder. We soon see him unmasked and the shock that such a young boy committed this sets the tone for the movie. After many years, he escapes the asylum and returns home to commit even more murders. His psychiatrist who wishes to put him away once and for all stalks him. What makes Halloween so great and original is that the movie makes excellent use of the Boogeyman Theme that we all find scary. We also have a great score and good use of the widescreen in what is a low budget movie. Making over 80 million when it was released and with it came the sudden rush of even cheaper imitations.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

42 Days to Halloween- 1977 Suspiria

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is 1977 Italian supernatural horror "Suspiria" starring Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bose, Udo Kier and directed by Dario Argento.


Suspiria (1977)
Dir- Dario Argento

One of the biggest outrages in the horror genre is that the genius of Dario Argento has gone mostly unnoticed in this country, what a shame. Dario Argento injects a unique style into his movies, using great camera angles and some powerful elements to create movies that are very scary and stylish in their look. Set in Germany at an exclusive ballet academy, Suspiria is the story of a young American dance student who arrives and discovers a series of brutal murders that befalling on her fellow students. With a little investigation, she realizes that the school is the haven for a witches coven, led by the mysterious Black Queen. As with most Argento movies, Suspiria is not so much a horror movie but an exercise in style. The unique Argento touch is highlighted with a great rock and roll score by his favorite band Goblin. What we expect from Argento is very graphic violence, incredible camera work, stylish settings and titles that are meaningless. This movie delivers all of this from the intense double murder in the opening scene to the fiery showdown we have what has to be Argento's masterpiece. I highly recommend this film as well as many others by the Italian Hitchcock; you will not be disappointed

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

43 Days to Halloween- 1976 The Omen

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is 1976 supernatural horror "The Omen" starring Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner and directed by Richard Donner.


The Omen (1976)
Dir- Richard Donner

We all know that little kids can be real devils, but what if your child was the Anti-Christ! A woman births a child and then dies mysteriously the same night that the US Ambassador's wife delivers her child. A switch occurs, and the happy couple raises their child Damien without knowing that they have the Anti-Christ in their mists. A series of brutal and unique murders follow the child as he ages, and we discover a strange assortment of characters who seem to be interested in young Damien. With the talents of great actors like Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, and David Warner we have what has to be one of the best demon movies since The Exorcist. Little Damien is neither cute nor innocent, and when the father is dispatched, we see his sinister smile at the funeral, knowing that there is more to come. The Omen boasted a fantastic score and some brutally graphic murders, including a beheading, impalement by a cross and a swan dive into an ambulance. Followed by three sequels and a mediocre remake.

Monday, September 17, 2018

44 Days to Halloween- 1975 Jaws

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is 1975 thriller "Jaws" starring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Murray Hamilton, Lorraine Gary and directed by Steven Spielberg.

Jaws (1975)
Dir- Steven Spielberg

As a child, the drive-in was a blessing in the ultimate cinematic sense. One of my best memories was that of the chilling sound of the John William's Oscar-winning Jaws theme. Steven Spielberg's adaptation of a rather mediocre Peter Benchley novel is a return to the major elements of fear and the use of suspense in telling a story. A large man-eating shark besieges a small coastal town during its vacation season. The local town officials wish to downplay the danger in the hope of increasing tourism, but the local sheriff knows better and makes it his goal to prove it. Enlisting the aid of a marine biologist and a salty fisherman, the three men go out to confront the ultimate sea predator. Spielberg takes cues from such great sea films as Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Old Man and The Sea and Moby Dick to craft a genuinely scary tale that reaches into peoples fears and emotions, never before has one man made so many people fear the ocean. After 40 years the fear of the depths and sharks is still very much in the hearts of most people, and with a dramatic decline in numbers, the shark may well face extinction at the hands of those who fear it most. A commercial and critical success, Jaws is one of the all-time highest grossing horror movies, and unfortunately, we ended up with three rather horrible sequels and a whole school of cheap copycats.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

45 days to Halloween- 1974 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is 1974 horror film "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" starring Marilyn Burns, Paul Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, Gunnar Hansen and directed by Tobe Hooper.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Dir- Tobe Hooper

In the history of movies, we have yet to see another film that so shocked and horrified audiences since the days of Hitchcock. Today this movie would rate about as well as any slasher film, but in its day it was not what you call a family film. A group of hippies picks up a weird guy who babbles on about his family; he is soon kicked out when he slashes one of the hippies. They then make a few turns, run out of gas and end up at a house occupied by the weirdest family on record. The family has a knack for furniture made of bones and taste for human flesh. They soon make hamburger meat out of the group one at a time. Although many critics overplayed the movie's gore it was indeed a graphic movie, the chilling atmosphere and the constant whir of the chainsaw make it more appetizing. Followed by a couple of very stupid sequels and an untold number of crappy copycats. Surprisingly this movie was based on the same story that Hitchcock used in his classic Psycho a generation before.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

46 Days to Halloween- 1973 The Exorcist

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is 1973 supernatural horror "The Exorcist" starring Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, Jason Miller and directed by William Friedkin.


The Exorcist (1973)
Dir- William Friedkin

A generation before Psycho proved that a horror movie could be very serious and intense, William Peter Blatty wrote the story from which this shocking classic is based. A young girl played by Linda Blair is taken ill and when conventional treatment fails the mother turns to the church. Two priests are dispatched, one an old man of firm belief and the other a troubled young soul who have lost faith. It is up to them to combat the demonic forces that inhabit the poor girl. The film is best known for the head-spinning FX and vomiting scenes. Such a groundbreaking movie in the field of horror that it reinvented the genre by introducing the concept of Demonic possession. In effect, the Exorcist put three companies out of business, AIP, Amicus, and Hammer. A shocking film, which even to this day, still frightens the audience of all ages. Followed by two sequels, two prequels and a whole slew of quickie imitations.

Friday, September 14, 2018

47 Days to Halloween- 1972 The Last House on the Left

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the 1972 exploitation horror film "The Last House on the Left" starring Sandra Peabody, Lucy Grantham, David Hess, Fred Lincoln, Jeramie Rain and directed by Wes Craven.
The Last House on the Left (1972)
Dir- Wes Craven 

Wes Craven made a name for himself as a leading director in the horror genre with such notable films as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, and The Serpent and the Rainbow. His directorial debut will always remain one of the most perverse and vile films to be seen as a horror classic. Joined by Sean Cunningham (Friday the 13th), Craven used Ingmar Bergman's Virgin Spring as a loose guide in this film that has two young girls out for a good time meeting up with a trio of murderers. The gang brutalizes, rapes and murders both girls. Afterward, the trio somehow finds their way back to the house of one of the girls and when caught face wrath far worse than anything committed by the trio. This film is a compelling look at revenge and the day-to-day violence with which we have become blind to. What also adds to the movie's shock value is that it was a shoestring budget with a cast of unknown actors, making it feel more like a documentary than an exploitation slasher flick. Usually, a piece of cheap exploitation like this would be hidden away or fall into the abyss of rental hell, yet with Craven's reputation and a surprisingly positive review by none other than Roger Ebert (I kid you not, this is a personal favorite of the critic). The Last House on the Left has found itself to be a milestone of splatter flicks and as one of the most disturbing revenge films made.