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.

Some women refuse to be thrown away


Revenge (2017)
Dir- Coralie Fargeat 

One of the most controversial subjects in horror is rape-revenge, with movies like I Spit on Your Grave and Ms.45 being some of the more infamous titles that venture into exploitation and graphic rape imagery. Films of this type were popular in the late 1970's and occupied sleazy grindhouse theaters that often kept the more mainstream fans away. French director Coralie Fargeat redefines this controversial and sometimes taboo area with her 2017 movie Revenge. Jen (Matilda Lutz) is spending a romantic weekend with her wealthy boyfriend until two of his friends show up for an unannounced hunting trip. Jen is creeped out by their leering glances and when she refuses the advances of one of the friends her world is abruptly shaken as she is assaulted sexually and left for dead after her boyfriend shows his true colors of indifference toward her. Her will to survive pushes her to seek out her own justice as she uses her skills and wits to survive in the punishing heat of the desert that she is left alone to die. Her fight for survival leads her to seek vengeance against these men, and unlike the more infamous exploitation films mentioned earlier, she does not use her sexuality to lure these men to her. Revenge is a violent and graphic film that follows the style of other French extreme films like Martyrs and Frontiers while inserting a strong sense of female power. Revenge is a film that pushes the boundaries toward exploitation yet wisely veers into a more feminist driven narrative that allows the viewer to cheer on the protagonist without having her display the level of depravity that her attackers show toward her. Despite its content Revenge has received excellent reviews and high praise for the skillful way its troubling subject matter was handled. Matilda Lutz deserves special recognition for her strong performance and genre-bending portrayal of a victim who fights back. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

48 Days to Halloween- 1971 The Abominable Dr Phibes

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 1971 English horror dark comedy "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" starring Vincent Price, Joseph Cotten, Virginia North and directed by Robert Fuest.

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
Dir- Robert Fuest

Vincent Price takes charge once again in one of his most memorable roles as Dr. Anton Phibes. Dr. Phibes is a horribly disfigured musical genius and biblical scholar, not unlike Erik in Phantom of the Opera, the disfigurement the result of a car crash. His wife was killed by a team of surgeons who he felt let her die. He then avenges the death of his wife by inflicting Old Testament curses on the doctors responsible. The grisly methods used against the surgeons are very ceremonial and all well staged. The style of the movie is spectacular, the setting is the 1920's, and the use of art deco style is prominent, yet a few erroneous anachronisms pop up (Sinatra record?). The campy feel of the movie balances the gore with plenty of humor in a role that many consider being Mr. Prices best work.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

49 Days to Halloween- 1970 The Bird With the Crystal Plumage

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 Italian Giallo horror film "The Bird With the Crystal Plumage" starring Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Enrico Maria Salerno, Eva Renzi and directed by Dario Argento.

The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1970)
Dir- Dario Argento

An American author named Sam is on vacation in Italy and witnesses an attack on a woman by a black-gloved assailant in a raincoat and suspects a serial killer may be at work. Guilt-ridden by what he witnessed, Sam assists police as the serial killer targets those close to him. When Sam is then harassed by menacing phone calls, a vital clue is potentially revealed. The Bird With the Crystal Plumage was the directorial debut of Italian horror maestro Dario Argento. Considered a landmark film in the genre known as Italian Giallo, the film would be praised by critics and usher in a new generation of horror films from Italy with Argento being the most celebrated and famous director.

50 Days to Halloween- 1969 El Libro de Piedra

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 1969 Mexican fantasy horror movie  "El Libro de Piedra" starring Marga Lopez, Joaquin Cordero, Norma Lazareno and Lucy Buj and directed by Carlos Enrique Taboada.


El Libro de Piedra (1969)
Dir- Carlos Enrique Taboada

A governess bonds with the young daughter of a wealthy family and discovers that the young girl has a friend named Hugo that she insists on playing with that no one else can see. Yet as strange events begin to occur the little statue in the courtyard that happens to be named Hugo may me more than an imaginary friend. This movie was written and filmed in Mexico by director Carlos Enrique Taboada and starred Marga Lopez, Joaquin Cordero, Norma Lazareno and Lucy Buj.

Monday, September 10, 2018

51 Days to Halloween- 1968 Rosemary's Baby

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 1968 psychological thriller "Rosemary's Baby" starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Ralph Bellamy and directed by Rosemary's Baby.


Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Dir- Roman Polanski

What price is someone willing to pay for fame and glory in the film industry. Well, it seems that Guy is ready to give up the soul of his firstborn. A young and pre-Woody Mia Farrow plays a lovely homemaker who finds her hubby hanging around a spooky collection of people who are awaiting her baby's arrival. Rosemary does a little research and is shocked to discover that her child is wanted for a dark purpose. Gimmick filmmaker William Castle produced this film based on the novel by Ira Levin and directed by Roman Polanski. Ruth Gordon won an Oscar for her role as one of the coven members. A classic that predates the more gore infested Omen and Exorcist in the demonic possession genre.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

52 Days to Halloween- 1967 Wait Until Dark

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 1967 thriller "Wait Until Dark" starring AudreyHepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, Efrem Zimbalist Jr, and directed by Terence Young.


Wait Until Dark (1967)
Dir- Terence Young

A blind woman named Suzy (Hepburn) and her husband Sam (Zimbalist Jr) find themselves to be the targets of a group of criminals after the husband is given a doll that contains small bags of heroin. The group of criminals attempts to con Suzy by winning her over until one of the members named Harry Roat (Arkin) decides to kill the others after Suzy learns of their plot. His attempt to terrorize her fails as she fights back using her disability as an advantage along with some traps she sets in her apartment. The movie Wait Until Dark is based on a stage play of the same name by Frederick Knott and excels with the excellent performance of Ms. Hepburn as well as Mr. Arkin whose portrayal of Harry Roat is not only loathsome but diabolical. Wait Until Dark is not a pure horror film but does have enough suspense to make it one of the scariest movies of the day with the thrilling climax being expertly portrayed and regarded as one of the best helpless fights back moments.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

53 Days to Halloween- 1966 Dracula: Prince of Darkness

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 1966 Hammer horror movie "Dracula: Prince of Darkness" starring Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Andrew Keir, and directed by Terence Fisher


Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
Dir- Terence Fisher 

A priest warns some English travelers to stay away from the town of Karlsbad, despite the warning the four people travel to a castle where they meet a servant who advises them that his master awaits their presence. From there the couple's lives are at risk as the castle belongs to Dracula and he is in need of blood. The second Hammer film with Christopher Lee in the role of Count Dracula. The movie was filmed along with some other films that would be released as a double bill with Dracula in different markets. The movie was well received and Christopher Lee shows why he is the Dracula of the 1960's.

Friday, September 7, 2018

54 Days to Halloween- 1965 Repulsion

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 1965 psychological thriller "Repulsion" starring Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Yvonne Furneaux and directed by Roman Polanski.


Repulsion (1965)
Dir- Roman Polanski

The first English-language film by Roman Polanski and it would be a memorable one at that. The story is a unique and compelling tale of isolation and intense sexual repression. A woman is left alone in her flat, and the paranoia that develops leads to massive delusions and psychotic tendencies. Her hallucinations are marked with paranoid fantasies that lead her to homicidal tendencies. When visited by friends her fear transpires into actions that are quite shocking. Repulsion is a cinematic triumph for director Roman Polanski; the movie is stylish and creative in its portrayal of a maddening paranoia. The result is one of shock and utter terror. Considered by many to be the best psychological horror film next to Psycho.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

55 Days till Halloween- 1964 Kwaidan

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 1964 Japanese ghost thriller "Kwaidan" directed by Masaki Kobayashi.


Kwaidan (1964) Japan
Dir- Masaki Kobayashi

With a title translated as "Ghost Story," this Japanese production made use of traditional folktales to spin visions of terror and fear. Kwaidan presents four stories featuring ghosts and spirits of Japanese lore. The first an impoverished samurai leaves his house and wife to serve a wealthy warlord only to come back and find his wife waiting as he had left her. The second a blind minstrel recounts an epic battle before ghostly audience just to have his life force being drained. The monks who care for him paint incantations on him as a protective measure but forget one crucial detail. The third a woodcutter meets death and must keep her secret or face instant death. Finally, a man sees a face in a bowl and cannot avoid its terrible message. Each film gives a great feel of the supernatural and makes excellent use of atmosphere and setting to bring the viewer a true feeling tale of terror and shock. Although a flop in Japan, the movie would later attain cult and critical success outside of Asia. In its American release, they left one story out to cut down on time, as this is a long movie, pity that they cut a film that is such a masterpiece of horror. Thanks to the Cannes film festival and an excellent video release we can admire this movie in its glory.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

56 Day to Halloween- 1963 The Birds

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 1963 horror thriller "The Birds" starring Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette, and Veronica Cartwright directed by Alfred Hitchcock.


The Birds (1963)
Dir- Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock had a thing for finding new talent, a young blonde named Tippi Hedren can thank Hitch for putting her in the role that would forever shake our belief in man's superiority on Earth. The Birds is a unique story; it starts out as a simple chance meeting between a man and woman. Her curiosity in this handsome stranger would lead to her following him home to a sleepy port city of Bodega Bay. With her arrival begins the real story, a strange series of bird attacks that are sudden and strangely seem deliberate. The two do meet up, and the chemistry between them is quite funny at times. When a birthday party is suddenly interrupted by a series of attacks the real action unfolds. The whole town is held hostage by millions of attacking birds who appear out of nowhere and unleash a hell of fury. With the family trapped in the house and held up as prisoners, we see the love develop between the two as their guard is dropped and emotions flare. Tippi Hedren is the breakthrough star of the film as the beautiful Melanie in her film debut; she is supported by Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette, and Veronica Cartwright.  The bird attacks are a real treat, and one can revel in the fear caused by seemingly harmless animals. Hitchcock had a way of taking ordinary people and having them encounter strange situations.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

57 Days to Halloween- 1962 Carnival of Souls

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 1962 independent horror film "Carnival of Souls" starring Candice Hilligoss and directed by Herk Harvey.


Carnival of Souls (1962) 
Dir- Herk Harvey

A Church organist survives a car crash and finds herself followed from Kansas to Utah by a pale-faced stranger. The woman arrives at her destination and shacks up at a boarding house, and soon enough she encounters some of the locals. She has a hard time relating to people around her and is strangely drawn to a crumbling lakeside pavilion. Once there the woman encounters dancing couples that may or may not be living. Is this lady facing actual ghosts or is she among the living dead? The Carnival of Souls is both haunting and influential, being a low budget film shot by an amateur director makes it even more of a horror treasure. Although it was lost in obscurity, it has found a whole new audience with showings at art house festivals, late-night TV, and video. A unique and genuinely creepy film that is best known as the inspiration for George Romero's all-time class terror classic Night of The Living Dead.

Monday, September 3, 2018

There is a new face of terror and his name is Art the Clown


Terrifier (2017)
Dir- Damien Leone

Coulrophobia is the irrational fear of clowns, and in recent years we have had some films released with scary clowns as well as seeing clowns featured in haunted house attractions. 2013's All Hallow's Eve featured a menacing looking killer by the name Art the Clown who appears in some segments in the anthology and the finale. This time around in the Terrifier we find a disfigured woman being interviewed about the events of her near death at the hands of Art the Clown. We then see two young ladies enjoying a carefree night of Halloween fun until they attract the attention of the killer clown. His menacing and silent stare will soon give way to his bloody and sadistic nature as Art targets these women and some strangers who are in the wrong place on the worst night of their lives. Terrifier is a gory movie with a sadistic killer clown that revels in mutilating his victims in creative ways and willing to use any kind of improvised weapon as well as one not often seen in slasher movies. The movie makes effective use of practical effects, and the gory murders are graphic enough to make you know this movie means business. David Howard Thornton stars as Art the Clown and his portrayal are devilishly effective as a villain who is mute and must use facial gestures to express himself in his ghoulish clown makeup. The story is the usual cat and mouse variety, but this film is more about watching Art capture, torture and mutilate his victims. Terrifier is an effective and bloody slasher film that follows the usual formula of 1980's horror films and has crowned Art the Clown as one of the new faces of horror.   

58 Days to Halloween- 1961 The Innocents

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 1961 ghost thriller "The Innocents" starring Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave and directed by Jack Clayton.


The Innocents (1961)
Dir- Jack Clayton

A first-rate thriller based on Henry James' novel "The Turn of the Screw", with Kerr as a young governess haunted by specters that may or may not be real. The apparitions invading the house result in her terrorizing the children in what she believes are made up stories. Unlike The Haunting, The Innocents shows apparitions to avoid possible conflicts with actual ghosts and those of a psychological nature. Script by William Archibald and Truman Capote brilliantly realized on film.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

59 Days to Halloween- 1960 Psycho

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 1960 horror classic "Psycho"  starring Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam and directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Psycho (1960)
Dir- Alfred Hitchcock

A whole library had been written about this film and even after nearly 60 years it continues to shock and entertain just as much as it did when Alfred Hitchcock first spoke of the Bates Motel. Everyone knows the story, a beautiful young woman named Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) has just embezzled a large sum of money. She drives away and stops at an off the road motel where she meets the shy Norman. In the short time after we meet Norman we notice him be a bit weird, speaking of his mother. To many viewers, this was a standard crime story but were they ever in for a shock! In what has to be the most infamous and eventful 60 seconds in cinema history we see the main character go down with the quick flash of a blade and a scream that would run down our spines. The movie then shows its true colors, is Norman the killer or is it his mother? The sister of the Marion pays a visit to determine what happens, and we then encounter the second gruesome murder, as an investigator wanders too far into the house. The final climax would forever leave an impression of fear and shock to audiences of all ages. Psycho was such a dramatic film that Hitchcock refused to let critics review it for fear of giving away its climax, and he even went as far to demand viewers not to divulge it. This was very much the same technique used a decade before on Diabolique, which was an inspiration for Psycho. One thing was for certain; Psycho was both a critical and financial success. Spawning so many imitators and a few decent sequels in the 80's. Curiously, Robert Bloch wrote the story based on the accounts of serial murderer Ed Gein, which was also the inspiration for Tobe Hopper's classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and another film named Deranged. Either way, we can thank Hitchcock for giving us one of the best horror movies ever.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

60 Days to Halloween- 1959 The House on Haunted Hill

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 1959 haunted house movie "The House on Haunted Hill" starring Vincent Price, Richard Long, Carolyn Craig, Alan Marshal and directed by William Castle.


House on Haunted Hill- (1958)
Dir- William Castle

William Castle is to gimmicks what John Waters is to sleaze, and his horror film The House on Haunted Hill would be one of his best. Vincent Price plays an eccentric millionaire who invites a group of people to a haunted mansion and wagers them $10,000 to spend the night. The house is rumored to have resulted in the deaths of seven people, so far. Using many of the classic haunted house tricks, we are witnessed to falling chandeliers, walls that drip blood, severed limbs, senior citizens on roller skates and a vat of acid. We later learn his reasons are meant for revenge as Price suspects he is about to be murdered by someone in the party. The real charm of the movie was its gimmick, called "Emergo"; it employed a skeleton that was released from a box at the climax and flew over the audience. "Emergo" was meant to be the ultimate in thrills, pushing beyond conventional 3-D. What is certain was that Castle did indeed turn out a great film with many scary moments and as for the gimmick. Well, I guess that is the only real letdown as you can't see the skeleton fly over your head, not on home video.