Sunday, October 24, 2010

Favorite Movies IV: Scary Movies

With only one more week left before Halloween, I am writing my last "scary movies" post.  If you have read my previous posts, you know I have covered classic "terror tales", comedies and suspense. 
HalloweenMore modern day horror flicks seem to be more about gore than anything but I think I have found a few with a happy medium between blood and fear.  Of course no Halloween would be complete without John Carpenter's 1978 Halloween starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasance and P.J. Soles.  (I have not seen the remake).  Michael Myers has broken free from an institution he has been in since childhood, when he killed his older sister.  Now he wants the younger sister (Curtis) he never knew.  Of course he mindlessly kills her friends while he's at it.  Full of jumps, slashing and a creepy piano tune that constantly plays throughout the film, this is a must see!
Trick 'r Treat
The most recent movie I have seen pertaining to  the Halloween season is Trick or Treat  (2007) starring Anna Paquin, Dylan Baker and Lauren Lee Smith.  The movie weaves four  stories that occur on Halloween: "An everyday high school principal has a secret life; a college virgin might have just met the one guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband."  Oh and a creepy little guy keeps showing up! 

The Orphanage (El orfanato) 2007 is filmed in Spain.  A former orphan Laura (Belen Rueda) raises her adopted son Simón with her husband Carlos(Fernando Cayo)  in an old house and former orphanage where she was raised. Simón tells Laura that he has five invisible friends, and she believes they are fruit of his imagination. Laura decides to reopen an orphanage for handicapped children in the location and during the opening party, the busy Laura does not give much attention to her son; then she sees a mysterious masked boy and Simón vanishes.  This movie has great twists and turns.  I highly recommend it!  In Spanish with English subtitles.

These three movies will make for a great movie marathon come Halloween night!  Enjoy and as always, I would love your recommendations!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Favorite Movies III: Classic Terror Tales

Bedlam  The Devil Bat

I love these classic films.  I am reminded of late nights curled up on the couch  with my older sisters.  I wasn't supposed to be watching for I would get nightmares.  It sounds stupid now that I would get creeped out by these films but I was  just a kid after all.

Boris Karloff preferred the term "Terror Tales" to Horror Films.  One of my most favorite B.K. films is the The Body Snatcher 1945.  No, it has nothing to with aliens taking over humans bodies.   Set in Edinburgh in 1831, Dr. MacFarlane (Henry Daniell) runs a medical school where a young student, Fettes, is interested in helping a young girl who has lost the use of her legs. He is certain that MacFarlane's surgical skills could be put to great use but MacFarlane needs to do more studies.  The good Dr. MacFarlane  has been paying a local cab driver (Karloff), to supply him with dead bodies for anatomical research.  Has his position of grave robber become even more sinister?  Also on the Boris Karloff list: The Mummy 1932, it stills gives me the creeps when he comes back to life.  The Old Dark House 1932, Frankenstein 1931 and Bedlam 1941.

Bela Lugosi is known mostly for his portrayal of Count Dracula in 1931's Dracula.  I have to see this movie every Halloween. He plays side kick to the doctor in  The Body Snatcher,  and evil doctor in The Devil Bat 1940.  "A mad scientist develops an aftershave lotion that causes his gigantic bats to kill anyone who wears it".
House on Haunted Hill

One day on TCM, the whole day was dedicated to Vincent Price.  What a great day that was!  Just looking at this guy gives a chill up and down the spine.  House of Wax, 1953, is the story of a horribly disfigured sculptor who opens up the House of Wax in New York, using the wax-covered bodies of his victims as his displays. A young Charles Bronson gives an appearance.  Other faves included are: The House on Haunted Hill1959, The Fly1958, The Bat 1959. 

Lon Cheney Jr. is wonderful as The Wolfman 1941A  man returns to his home, is attacked by a creature of folklore, and infected with a horrific disease.   Even though he tries to fight it he cannot.

I Walked with a Zombie PosterOther greats not to miss include: 
I Walked with a Zombie 1943,
A young nurse comes to Haiti to care for Jessica, the wife of a plantation manager (Paul Holland). Jessica seems to be suffering from a kind of mental paralysis as a result of fever. When the nurse falls in love with Paul, she is determined to cure Jessica even if she needs to use a voodoo ceremony. 
The Haunting 1963, An insecure young woman finds she cannot leave this mysterious mansion.
The Devil Doll 1936, with Lionel Barrymore in drag.
Nosferatu 1929, silent but scary.

This whole month on TCM you can see most of these wonderful movies!