Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, May 31, 2010

I Bury the Living (1958)





Don't let the movie poster fool you.  I Bury the Living is more Twilight Zone than it is Creepshow.  The basic premise for the movie is a clever one.  The recent supervisor of a cemetery is convinced that he is causing people's deaths by inserting a black pin into a wall size map of the cemetery.  Richard Boone, who is a distinguished actor with a long resume, gives the main character emotional depth and believability.  He definitely carries the film and commands center stage in every scene.
My only negative criticism of the film is that I think it's too long.  I Bury the Living would have been better suited as a half hour episode on a show like Alfred Hitchcock Presents than a feature length film.  There is really not enough material here to justify the length.  That being said, I still found the film well made and quite enjoyable.
This movie is in the public domain and can be viewed online at Google Video.  Just type the title in the search engine.
RATING: Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Just For Fun

Here is my first Motifake poster.  I hope to do more that utilize images from Vintage Horror Films.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Psycho (1960)

"A boy's best friend is his mother." says Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece Psycho.  Now that's a mouthful or maybe a knife-full!  Much has been written about this film.  Simply stated, Psycho is the perfect horror film.  Every scene is lit and edited beautifully.  Hitchcock chose to do Psycho in black and white instead of color because he thought the blood would look more realistic.  He also had trouble with the censors who swore that during the shower scene they saw Janet Leigh's breasts as well as the knife plunging into her.  Hitchcock made them look at the scene again and upon closer examination they realized their own minds had filled in the details.  Brilliant!  
As a side note, Steven Spielberg followed Hitchcock's lead while filming Jaws (1975).  They were having problems making the mechanical shark look realistic.  So Speilberg showed very little of the shark during much of the film, allowing the audience to fill in all the gory details. This same filmmaking technique was also used to great effect in The Blair Witch Project (1999) where the "witch" is never seen on camera.
Anthony Perkin's portrayal of Norman Bates in Psycho is iconic.  Everyone else in the cast is great as well.  The musical score by Bernard Herrmann [who worked extensively with Hitchcock] greatly enhances the viewer's experience of the film.  I think it's one of the greatest horror scores ever!  I was lucky enough to come across the two DVD special edition set of Psycho [Universal Legacy Series] at a local used Book, CD and DVD store.  The digitally remastered version is pure eye candy and the documentaries that accompany it are excellent and insightful.
I will not summarize the plot because if you haven't seen it, it will ruin your experience of the film.  Don't read any more reviews.  Just rent it or buy it and enjoy watching a director who is at the peak of his creative power.  Pure genius.  
RATING: Excellent.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Frankenstein (1931)

Frankenstein is, without a doubt, one of the greatest horror films of all time.  It is also one of the greatest films period.  What director James Whale did with this film is nothing short of perfection.  As you watch it, notice the angles and forced perspectives of the graveyard, the tower and the final chase scenes.  There is hardly a perpendicular line to be found anywhere.  Furthermore, the stage backdrops with their dark backlit clouds set an ominous tone that enhances the film greatly.  In contrast to these scenes the "normal" places are shot on location and everything is neat and clean: The town, the lake, Baron Frankenstein's mansion.  Amazing cinematography for 1931 or any year for that matter.
Boris Karloff's Monster is sheer perfection.  The make-up is flawlessand his ability to make that heavy costume come to life is astonishing. In the documentary that accompanies the film they said that Karloff suffered back problems because of the sheer weight of the Monster's costume.  When he was  on break he had to sit in a special reclining chair in order to get some relief.  Colin Clive is perfect as Henry Frankenstein.  He embodies his character with touches of brilliance, ego and insanity all rolled up into one.  Edward Van Sloan as Dr. Waldman also gives a knockout performance [Is it just me or does he provide the inspiration for the Criminologist in Rocky Horror Picture Show?] as does Dr. Frankenstein's side kick, Dwight Frye as Fritz [not Egor!!!].
I've seen every remake and incarnation of Frankenstein and none of them can light a candle to the original.  It has inspired countless filmmakers and fans alike.  If you've never seen it, put this one on the top of your list.  Furthermore, if you're a fan of Frankenstein and you've never seen Bill Condon's Gods and Monsters (1998) I consider it to be a fitting tribute to one of the greatest directors of all time.  I don't believe that Frankenstein is available to view legally online for free, but you can watch it instantly on Netflix.  If you know differently, let me know.  I own Frankenstein: The Legacy Collection which includes not only the original film but the four sequels that followed.  It's well worth the purchase price.  Personally, to see this film online with poor resolution is a crime.  See it on the best screen possible.
RATING: Excellent.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.