The Haunting and the Power of Suggestion: Why Robert Wises Continues to Deliver the Goods to Modern Audiences
Wise is a master filmmaker, and his unique and dynamic style is apparent from the beginning. From the victims eye-view of the upset carriage that killed Hugh Craines first wife, her hand falling lifeless across the screen, to the tumbling camerawork that gives us the vision of his second wifes final moments, to the visual descent of the spiral staircase after the companions suicide, Wise establishes the camera itself as the primary tool in his cache of special effects. Click here for the rest of the story.
Of all the cinematic genres, the one that most celebrates the allure of the villaintheir intelligence, imagination, malevolence, pro-activity, and stylehas to be the James Bond series. The 1962 production of Dr. No (produced Albert R. Broccoli & Harry Saltzman, directed Terence Young, written Richard Maibaum and Johanna Harwood) from Ian Flemings novel set the stage for the 23 (and climbing) subsequent films: exotic locals, devious devices, incredible stunts, a debonair hero, and a diabolical villain. In many ways, the films have established the markers of the first-rate villain, infusing other genres villains with their imagery, attitude, determination, and even fashion sense. A white Persian cat and an eye patch automatically transforms an otherwise blasé character into another Ernst Stavro Blofeld or Emilio Largo, wringing his hands as he prepares to carve up the globe. Click here for the rest of the story.
Forrys diary just goes to show, theres no rest for the father of fandom! Click here for the rest of the story.
Dirt cheap, hurried, clumsy, these old cheapies can still charm us with their goofy enthusiasm. Those 1950s guys in their dapper suits and snap-brim hats, so earnest and serious, lighting up their cigarettes and tossing back their whiskeys, jumping into a Chevy for another chase or leaping boyishly into a round of fisticuffs or gunplay. Those 1950s women, anxious high-haired helpmates teetering atop high heels, lugging around clipboards if theyre scientists or clutch purses if theyre not, dangerously inquisitive but armed only with piercing screams. Those clunky endearing monsters, teasing us with radiation and flashing lights, then waddling out of the shadows, full of rubbery menace, ready to take over the planet. The doddering scientists, the pea-brained caretakers and gas-station attendants, the cynical cops, the wisecracking reporters, the precocious children, the foolhardy family dogsthe monsters are no match for these forces of goodness. Click here for the rest of the story.
When I was young, I can recall Vincent Price films being a staple of the Saturday afternoon and late night creature feature TV programming. With the advent and popularization of DVD, many of the actors films have been resurfacing, and Ive had the pleasure of reliving some films that I hadnt seen in 15 or so years and discovering those that I had missed. MGM, with its Midnite Movies series, for example, has recently released a couple classic Price films that he did in the 1960s. Click here for the rest of the story.
Me, I dont think Fiend Without a Face is a genre masterpiece, maybe not even the best British horror of the period. It is, however, a good monster movie, important not so much for its enduring impact but for a few significant innovations: an original mix of notions about psychic power and atomic energy, an original monster, and a grotesque climax that foreshadows splatter movies to come. Knowing that bloody finish paved the way for such epics as The Gore-Gore Girls and Friday the 13th does not reflect well on Fiend, but on its own terms, Fiend is respectable enough. Click here for the rest of the story.
There have been numerous books about Boris Karloff and his films, several of them quite good. But the indispensable volume is Scott Allen Nollens Boris Karloff: A Critical Account of His Screen, Stage, Radio, Television, and Recording Work. Click here for the rest of the story.
Dario Argento is famous in Italy, a cult figure in the United States. His reputation here rests on a series of 1970s and 1980s horror films, shockers marked virtuoso directorial flourishes and disturbing brutality. His best known film here is probably Suspiria, a 1977 production that pushed the genres limits on sadism and surrealism. Suspiria is ostensibly about a young American woman lured to a ballet school where she gradually discovers an infestation of witches. Its real subject is not dance, or witches, but Argentos own grotesque imagination, his lovingly detailed depictions of murder and weird visual asides punctuated blasts of hard rock music. Tremendously influential in its time among horror fans and filmmakers, its still a memorable experience, if the shocks are somewhat dated. Click here for the rest of the story.
Here sonny, the relic cackled,
Drop that supernatural thriller.
What you need is an 80s horror flick
Where the plot is nothing but filler. Click here for the rest of the story.