Friday, October 31, 2014

The Killing Kind

The Killing Kind is a 1973 horror film of the serial killer type and has a heavy element of unhealthy mother/son relationship. The convicted rapist (played by John Savage) returns home to his mother (played by Ann Sothern) after a 2-year prison stay, and bad things happen. Cindy Williams, Luana Anders, Ruth Roman (who was in Hitchcock's Stranger on a Train), Marjorie Eaton (who had small parts in many well-known films and TV shows and who was also a painter), and Peter Brocco (who has a Star Trek connection and Superman credits)  also star. Curtis Harrington directs.

This is worth watching, a very sad movie.

via youtube:


1000 Misspent Hours says, "it really is a highly effective and often genuinely disturbing film." DVD Talk has a positive review. Gore Girl's Dungeon calls it "more of a psychological drama with some horror elements" and highly recommends it.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

We Have Always Lived in the Castle


We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a 1962 novel by Shirley Jackson, her last novel. It was published 2 years before her death from heart failure at age 48. It's hard to call it "horror" and yet I often see it categorized that way. I'd call it Gothic. It focuses on the treatment of those who are "other" in small communities and explores what families do to each other when they do too much for each other.

from the back of the book:
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is Jackson's most subtle work, a studied and compelling rendering of insanity that achieves its effect in part by drawing readers into the strangely routine world of its heroines before revealing the full horror of their existence.
There's not actually much in the way of reviews or analysis online. The narrator is unreliable, and the true tale of what has led up to the present moment is revealed slowly. This is an eerie, sad tale. People are evil and stupid, and bad things happen. Maybe the road to Hell really is paved with good intentions.

My favorite quote:
The last time I glanced at the library books on the kitchen shelf they were more than five months overdue, and I wondered whether I would have chosen differently if I had known that these were the last books, the ones which would stand forever on our kitchen shelf.

The image at the top of the post is  from Wikispaces and is of a house that brought to my mind the house in this book.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Missing Guest

The Missing Guest, a Universal film, is a 1938 horror/mystery starring Paul Kelly and Constance Moore. It opens at the morgue, and is a traditional haunted house mystery. There's a nicely handled sense of humor. I enjoyed this. It's nice to see some of the older horror movies.

via youtube:



"The only spirits in this house are in the wine cellar, and they are very good, too."

TCM has an overview.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Tea Chronicles

This is the last T(ea) Tuesday in October, but I've enjoyed finding tea and coffee in some seasonal videos. The Tea Chronicles is a comedy/psychological horror short directed by Charlie McDonnell and Khyan Mansley.

via youtube:



Comedy TV Is Dead discusses McDonnell's career, says this film is "damn good" and says,
The humour is dark, clever, and extremely entertaining. McDonnell’s own charm and niceness are used then subverted in a very smart way, and he himself proves to be a very capable actor. I’m loath to describe anything as flawless, but I can’t find anything negative to say about this short film.

Please join the T(ea) Tuesday party over at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog, where Elizabeth has photos of a beautiful botanic garden.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Bride

The Bride (or A Noiva) is a 2007 horror short directed by Ana Almeida. This plot synopsis is from imdb:
Deep in the Douro river there is a legend about the ghost of a dead bride, who haunts the area. Regardless, a couple of lovers goes to an abandoned house near the river, where they are attacked by the undying bride.

via youtube:


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Night of the Demon

Night of the Demon is a 1957 horror film directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Dana Andrews (always a draw), Peggy Cummins, Niall MacGinnis, Maurice Denham, Athene Seyler, Liam Redmond (who was in an Elvis movie), Reginald Beckwith, Ewan Roberts (who was in The Man in the White Suit and The Day of the Triffids), Rosamund Greenwood (who was in Village of the Damned in 1960 and The Witches in 1990), Brian Wilde (who was "Foggy" Dewhurst in Last of the Summer Wine), and Percy Herbet (whose many films include One Million Years B.C.). Cut to 83 minutes (or maybe 81?), it was released in the U.S. as Curse of the Demon.

This is a classic eerie-not-gory horror film and well worth watching:




DVD Talk has a review of a disc that includes both versions and says, "Night of the Demon is the version to watch". DVD Journal says it's considered a classic and that it belongs "on any list of Top 10 Favorite Understated Scary Movies". Time Out calls it "One of the finest thrillers made in England during the '50s" and describes it as "immensely gripping". Empire Online gives it 4 out of 5 stars and says,
Even now there is little doubt that Night Of The Demon packs a powerful punch despite featuring no gore or, demon excepted, much in the way of special effects. Actually, it is the film's atmosphere of calm, almost twee, post-war British normality which works so well. Tourneur cranks up the tension as Holden — and, in turn, the audience — comes to realise that horror can lurk in the most unlikely places.
Rotten Tomatoes has a 100% critics score.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Everville


Everville is a 1994 horror novel by Clive Barker. A stand-alone novel, it's also 2nd in The Art Trilogy. I've read the 1st book, but the 3rd hasn't been written. I think it's safe to consider this a stand-alone. It makes perfect sense by itself. I like Barker's writing and enjoyed this. Reality & imagination combine to explore the depths of human emotion.

from the publisher:
On the borderland between this world and the world of Quiddity, the sea of our dreams, sits Everville. For years it has lived in ignorance of the gleaming shore on which it lies. But its ignorance is not bliss. Opening the door between worlds, Clive Barker delivers his characters into the heart of the human mystery; into a place of revelation, where the forces which have shaped our past —and are ready to destroy our future— are at work.

Quotes that struck me:
...patience was easy if it was all you had; and it was.
...
"I think sometimes there's two different people in the world. The people who understand and the people who don't. And if they don't, it's no use trying to explain, 'cause it's just beyond them, and it always will be."
...
"What's the big deal about stories?" she said.
"You love them," he said, his gaze leaving her face and slipping down to the water. The glowing forms she'd seen rising from below were within a few fathjoms of the surface now. The water was beginning to simmer with their presence. "You do, don't you? he said.
"I suppose I do," she said.
That's what the connections are, Tesla."
"Stories?"
"Stories. And every life, however short, however meaningless it seems, is a leaf-"
"A leaf."
"Yes, a leaf." He looked up at her again, and waited, unspeaking, until she grasped the sense of what he was saying.
"On the story tree," she said. He smiled. "Lives are leaves on the story tree.
Kirkus Reviews has a scathingly negative review. Publishers Weekly says, " this novel confirms the author's position not only as one of horror's most potent and fertile minds but also as one of modern fiction's premier metaphysicians."

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Brood

The Brood is a 1979 David Cronenberg horror film. It stars Oliver Reed (who died of a heart attack during the filming of Gladiator), Samantha Eggar, and Art Hindle. Madness and strange goings-on with children. I see the word "disturbing" used in reviews, and it does have some moments....

trailer:



with Spanish subtitles:



"I could look you in the eye if I wanted to, Daddy, but I don't want to."

Moria says, "The Brood was David Cronenberg’s first great film, the point where he can be identified as someone who is not merely an interestingly perverse B-movie director but someone whose movies bristle with a dazzling intelligence." 1000 Misspent Hours calls it "a real masterpiece" and says, "If you like your movies queasy and disturbing, The Brood is one of the great highlights of 70’s horror." Empire Online gives it 4 out of 5 stars and calls it "Genuinely disturbing horror but with Cronenberg producing a slightly deeper edge in his portrait of a troubled family." Time Out says it's "worth seeing for its latently political story and its gory special effects." The Terror Trap calls it "A horror version of Kramer Vs. Kramer". Roger Ebert calls it " a particularly nasty little number. ...an el sleazo exploitation film, camouflaged by the presence of several well-known stars but guaranteed to nauseate you all the same." Rotten Tomatoes has an 80% critics score.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Toy for Juliette


A Toy for Juliette is a horror short story by Robert Bloch. It's in the collection Dangerous Visions, which is around here somewhere, but is also online here to give you a taste of his writing. In it, Jack the Ripper is brought into a future post-apocalypse by Juliette (a sadistic young woman named after the Marquis de Sade's Juliette) and her mysterious grandfather. The story begins with this:
Juliette entered her bedroom, smiling, and a thousand Juliettes smiled back at her. For all the walls were paneled with mirrors, and the ceiling was set with inlaid panes that reflected her image.
It is quite short and well worth reading, and then you'll want to seek out more by him.

The photo at the top of the post is from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Possession (film)

Possession is a 1981 French/West German horror film starring Isabelle Adjani (Adele Hugo in The Story of Adele H.) and Sam Neill (Captain Vasily Borodin in The Hunt for Red October, The Piano). Andrzej Żuławski directs. It's the story of a marriage gone horribly, horribly wrong. There is an awful lot of screaming.

via youtube:



"I'm the maker of my own evil."

Moria gives it 1 sad star, opening its review with this:
This bizarre oddity was a film that nobody knew what to make of it when it came out but one that has steadily been gaining ground as a weird headspace cult classic ever since. Exactly what it is about could be anybody’s guess. It is filled with bizarre events that are delivered at a pitch of histrionic melodramatics.
Slant Magazine gives it 4 out of 4 stars and says,
Divisiveness and duplicity are at the heart of Żuławski's notorious cult film, and Possession's dramatic structure is almost as schizoid as its protagonists, married couple Mark (Sam Neill) and Anna (Isabelle Adjani), whose relationship inexplicably comes apart
1000 Misspent Hours calls it "two hours’ worth of an incoherent and often ludicrous mess". 366 Weird Movies says, "This movie is long on style and short on decipherable substance, suitable for the LSD crowd, though with it’s schizophrenic script and cinematography, Possession on top of a dose of LSD would be redundant." Michał Oleszczyk's review at RogerEbert.com says, "It's all like a fast-forwarded Ingmar Bergman film on bad acid; "Scenes from a Marriage" as played in a home-made abattoir." Rotten Tomatoes has an 81% critics score.