I watched a few of these earlier in the year. Have been saving the reviews for October. As always, my ratings are what I think the films should be rated on IMDb.
The Wicker Man (1973)
Rewatch. Often cited as a cult horror film, controversial at the time. I remember thinking it was a bit overrated, when I first saw it as a teenager. This time, I appreciated the layers of the film a bit more, and was surprised that it was almost like a musical, especially the first half of the film. The final scene is iconic, and I got the eerie feeling that this island scenario could actually take place for real(at least in those days when there were no mobile phones). It has a narrative that rewards a rewatch(events seem pre-planned), and as with many cult films, it exists in several versions.
You could say the film was partly aimed at the counter culture of the 1960s, wanting to rebel from the norm, with its depiction of a group taking law and order into their own hands. Also about religion and the dangers of brainwashing.
Cristi B at To The Movies and Back, shared one of the most haunting songs from the soundtrack, Willow's Song by Rachel Verney & Paul Giovanni
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
The ending, performances, and the bizarre dream sequences are what stayed with me. A bit overlong, yet the sense of unease throughout the film keeps you on edge. Pretty spooky to watch, if you live in an apartment. Every horror fan should see it.
Interview with the Vampire (1994)
Rewatch. Was a big deal when it premiered that year, not least because the Anne Rice books the film is based on are popular, and Tom Cruise, the world’s biggest movie star, played against type as a vampire.
I hadn’t seen it since the 90s, so my memory of it had faded. It’s not a film that is talked much about anymore.
It looks great, recapturing the past, especially the sets, the scene burning the mansion down was impressive. Surprisingly tongue-in-cheek, I didn’t remember it was campy.
The only complaint is the story could do with bit more variation, does repeat itself a bit, going from one kill to the next, and from one fire to another.
The interesting thing about vampires is the guilt issue of having to kill to survive, which encourages a selfish lifestyle, and this story is about that. Killing animals as the second option might be pointing a finger at the meat industry, how animals are killed for our consumption.
You could also look at the meat industry not just as food, but as the pursuit of aimless sexual conquests in the movie. But if it goes on forever, what is the point of living? There has to be meaning beyond these physical needs. Should you follow your nature, if it causes suffering to others? That is the big question for Louis (Brad Pitt).
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Rewatch. A highly quotable horror/comedy, with violent moments. Screenplay by Quentin Tarantino, who also has a supporting role. Considered by many to be among Robert Rodriguez’s best films.
Salma Hayek as the dancer might just be the scene stealer. She was never more attractive than in that bikini outfit. Best to go in to this movie knowing as little as possible.
Based on the classic Daphne du Maurier novel. I liked the film, didn’t love it. It’s a bit of a stretch to call it horror, a different kind of horror I suppose. A film of its time in regards to the acting style and music score. I haven't read the book, but the blossoming romance didn't feel particularly romantic. From my perspective, Maxim de Winter is not especially likeable, yet due to circumstance Rebecca is naively drawn to him. Perhaps she is in love with being in love.
Favorite quote: “Beauty wit and intelligence, all the things that are so important in a woman. You have qualities that are just as important, more important if I may say so, kindness, sincerity, and if you forgive me, modesty. Mean more to a husband than all the wit and beauty in the world.”
Village of the damned (1960)
Feels like a long version of a twilight zone episode. I liked it, and the children sure are creepy.
Considering it was 1960, the special effects to make their eyes glow was impressive.
The Phantom Carriage (1921)
Early Swedish horror silent. Intent on telling its story through visuals and flash backs. It took a second viewing of several scenes, and a look at Wikipedia, to better understand the narrative whole. Maybe due to I’m not used to watching silent films, or maybe because I sometimes have trouble telling faces apart.
Deserves respect for the special effects, which are amazing for a movie of its time.
I suppose the message is the good old, don’t be a drunkard.
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
A ghost with a sense-of-humor, he is like an imaginary friend for a grown-up. The film was later turned into a tv-series (1968-1970).
I really enjoyed it, and cared about what would happen to the characters. Thanks for the recommendation, Delving Eye.
Favorite quote: “If you insist on haunting me, you might at least be more agreeable about it!”
“Hard to imagine you being an ordinary anything”
The Mummy (1932)
The story is a bit far-fetched and tough to take seriously, about a man laughing himself crazy, a mummy rising from the dead, people becoming cursed, and the like. Boris Karloff’s performance is the stand-out, but it’s not a particularly memorable film.
Also known as Zombi, a cult horror film by Italian director Lucio Fulci. Set on an island, the zombies are presumed to have been infected by voodoo and witch doctors. For me, most impressive is the underwater scene. Not as gory as I expected. Brilliant main theme
City of the Living Dead (1980)
Gore horror, the first installment of Lucio Fulci’s atmospheric Gates of Hell trilogy. (the sequel The Beyond (1981), I watched last October).
The woman waking up in the coffin, and the other woman who pukes her own guts, were the stand-out scenes. Don’t know how they did that drill scene, looks very realistic. The storm of maggots was also creepy.
The special effects during the ending looked a bit cheap, though.
Favorite quote: “I don’t see why people hate him so? His mother is what you would call a woman of easy virtue. No husband, no morals. Here in Dunwich anyone like that is also branded a witch”
The House by the Cemetery (1981)
Third installement of Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy. For me the weakest of the three films. There’s a scene with a bat, which is quite scary. However it bothered me the characters behave in a stupid way by continuously venturing down into the basement.
A particular scene where Lucy walks in on the babysitter cleaning a load of blood off the floor, and doesn't comment on it, makes no sense. But most of the time does a fine job of concealing the unknown entity in the house, though a little silly towards the end, once the evil is revealed.
I recommend watching The Beyond (1981) instead, which is regarded as the best of the trilogy.
Agree or disagree? Have you watched any of the above? Which horror films do you plan to watch this October?
Next week, I'll blog about horror again, Sisters (1973), Child’s Play (1988), Tremors (1990), The Fog (1980), and others, stay tuned!