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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween

It's one of my favorite times of year.  This holy day allows us to explore our dark sides just as Christmas allows us to explore our capacity for love and benevolence.  You can't advance as a human being without the exploration into the duality found in the human heart. A continuing dialectic toward true humanity, if you will.  While you chew on that here are some little known and underrated horror movies to check out.      

Carnival of Souls-A creepy independent film that came out years before Night of the Living Dead.  A detached, emotionless young woman takes a job as a church organist and begins to have strange hallucinations.  It has an ending that doesn't quite follow the rest of the film, but still worth watching. 

The Innocents- Based on the greatest "ghost" story ever written, Turn of the Screw (Unless you count the Masque of the Red Death as a ghost story). Personally like this film better The Haunting (1964). But both are great movies based on great source material.

Eyes Without a Face-This film had the misfortune of coming out the same year as Psycho. It involves a doctor who uses grisly means to help restore his daughter's disfigured face.

The Devil's Reject-I could catch hell for this one (no pun intended).  This movie is certainly not for everybody, and it is one of those movies that I have seen once with no intentions to see it again.  But of all the torture films of the past decade this is the best one.  Unlike the Saw and Hostel films the torture is psychological.  A dark film that has a war on terror subtext about how we can become just as evil as those murderous psychopaths we pursue.

Repulsion - A film I have never seen. But I heard of this film making a top ten horror list, and they really like it on Rotten Tomatoes. A psychological thriller that delves deep into the mind of an insane woman.  Directed by Roman Polanski.

Martin -A Vampire movie without a vampire. Directed by George Romero?  Yes. A young man believes himself to be vampire. A hard one to find and I haven't seen it (Available on Amazon--I don't have that kind of money).  I wonder if he sparkles like the vampires in Twilight.

The Changling- What Actor can convince you he's a legendary-but-crazy general, then a few years later be equally convincing as a grieving professor and classical composer? George C. Scott is that actor.  A haunted house story with a chilling mystery at its center.

REC- I've never seen Quarantine but this is the one to watch.  Like many bit-and-get-infected movies it has it's inconsistencies: some change into zombies the minute after they get bitten, others change after a few hours.  What makes this movie work is the POV shot. The shaky handheld camera never allows you to gain any sense of stability or security. Not ashamed to admit that this movie scared the hell out of me.  

Freaks- If you don't know about this movie by now...God help you. Just in case you haven't:  CGI can never replace authentic circus freaks.  Directed by the legendary Todd Browning. A failure the time of its release, it  has now become a cult classic.

The Body Snatcher-Another movie I don't think belongs here.  Great movie that belongs with the other horror classics of the 30's and 40's.  Karloff and Lugosi together again. One scene from this movie illustrates  how chilling and jolting a horror movie can be without showing any gore or mutilation. I won't give it away but it involves a young woman singing for alms. 

Madhouse -Vincent Price and Peter Cushing in a horror mystery that is a tribute to the great horror career of a Mr. Price. Can't really go without a Vincent Price film, can we?

So crank up some Misfits and watch some of these gems.  For a full spectrum of horror film reviews check out Cinemassacre. That Angry Video Game Nerd knows his horror. Warning: he's doesn't skimp on gory details and his language is nowhere near wholesome.

For the next week I will discuss an even scarier subject: Politics.

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