October Horrorshow: Suspiria

A viewer would hard-pressed to find a more beautifully shot, atmospheric horror film than Dario Argento’s Suspiria. Argento’s, and cinematographer Luciano Tovoli’s, vivid production has become legend among horror fans, and for good reason. The film exists within a reality all its own, shifting back and forth between dreamlike and nightmarish, soft and menacing, as the situation requires. No study of horror films, and film in general, is complete without seeing this classic. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Suspiria”

October Horrorshow: The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll

Before I began watching The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, I thought that the film was probably going to be analogous to one of Hammer’s Frankenstein films, only the monster and his creator never share screen time. If one were to describe this film with broad strokes, such a description is accurate, to a point. Hammer horror films are all kin to one another. They were made quickly, cheaply, and often back to back. Developing an overarching style that applies from one film to the next was an outgrowth of that. So, yes, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll does bear similarity to any of the Frankenstein films, as do those films to the Dracula films, et cetera, et cetera. It’s in the details where each of these films, including today’s entry, are given the opportunity to stand out. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll”

October Horrorshow: Maniac (1980)

[This is where a trailer for the film would normally be, but the trailer spoils a shocking moment in the film that I think is best experienced without firsthand knowledge. Seek it out elsewhere if one must see it.]

 

This is not a horror movie for those looking for traditional scares. This is a horror movie for those who have become accustomed to the sight of a specter in a mirror or a zombie just around the corner. This is a horror movie with a killer of no less eccentricity than a vampire or a werewolf, only the killer in this film blends in. He’s a next-door neighbor or a familiar face at the neighborhood grocer’s. He’s one of us. And when he’s explored he’s not shown as some unholy or supernatural freak. He is, just like the title, a maniac.

Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Maniac (1980)”

October Horrorshow: Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, or, Underboob: The Movie

Hammer, in a wise decision, jettisoned much of the tropes they had used in their previous Mummy films. For three consecutive productions, they had made basically the same film. British archaeologists discover ancient Egyptian tomb, said tomb has a curse on it, ancient Egyptian mummy resurrects and kills those who dared desecrate the tomb. It really was the same thing again and again. That was all well and good when they did it the first time, but by the last film, The Mummy’s Shroud, the plot was too familiar, and everyone involved seemed to be just going through the paces. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, or, Underboob: The Movie”

October Horrorshow: Alien: Covenant, or, An Endless String of Stupid Decisions: The Movie

Every artist reaches, and then passes, their creative peak. It happens to everyone involved in creative endeavors should they survive long enough. Bands grow stale, the words of authors lose their ferocity, and auteurs show their viewers passable films where once there were epics. Declaring an artist as being past their prime is a bit like writing an obituary while a person is still alive, but those are the feelings that are evoked by watching a film like Alien: Covenant. It’s gorgeous to look at, and is still obviously the construction of a master filmmaker, but the deft touch and tight focus that made Alien a classic is all gone. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Alien: Covenant, or, An Endless String of Stupid Decisions: The Movie”

October Horrorshow: Frankenstein Created Woman

Baron Victor Frankenstein is back. At the end of the previous film, The Evil of Frankenstein, the series’ antihero was dispatched along with his box-headed creation. It was a scene of ultimate finality, even if there wasn’t a shot of a dead Frankenstein putting an exclamation point on his story. But death is never permanent in film should the producers wish it. I don’t just mean the death of a character, either, but the actor who plays the part. This film’s star, Peter Cushing, finds his character resurrected for further use in this film, but Cushing himself was resurrected digitally, more than twenty years after his death, to make an appearance in the latest Star Wars flick. It won’t be much longer before actors find themselves under the same threat of obsolescence as the rest of us in the workforce. But I digress… Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Frankenstein Created Woman”

October Horrorshow: Cold Prey

Cold Prey, the 2006 debut feature film from Norwegian filmmaker Roar Uthaug (whose excellent film, The Wave, led to his being hired to direct the Tomb Raider reboot), is a paint-by-numbers slasher flick. From beginning to end, there isn’t a moment that won’t be familiar to fans of horror films. And that’s okay. Cold Prey is a case study of the maxim that as long as a film does old ideas well, it’s still a good film. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Cold Prey”

October Horrorshow: Dracula Has Risen from the Grave

It is now the halfway point of this year’s Horrorshow, and I’m enjoying watching all these classic Hammer horror flicks. But, watching them all close together like this means I’m more aware of when they are repeating themselves compared to watching them on a normal release schedule. For example, the three Mummy flicks I’ve reviewed so far this month have basically been the same film. There is still a good film to be made from the idea, but by The Mummy’s Shroud, I’m not sure the filmmakers were trying. Today’s film, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, suffers from some of the same sort of creative malaise that doomed The Mummy’s Shroud. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Dracula Has Risen from the Grave”