Distant Voices, Still Lives – Terence Davies (1988)

Terence Davies is perhaps the most important creative force to emerge from Liverpool since The Beatles.  The veteran filmmaker, who only has a handful of films to his name, is the quintessential art cinema director who mixes art house visuals with kitchen sink realism and autobiographical narratives.  His first full length film is an exercise in storytelling and makes a relatively straightforward drama seem something … Continue reading Distant Voices, Still Lives – Terence Davies (1988)

BBC Ghost Stories Volume 4 (The Signalman, Stigma, The Ice House) – BFI

Volume 4 of the BBC Ghost Stories At Christmas is a mixed bag of the eerie and the spooky.  Housing the last three instalments of the classic series before it ceased until its revival in 2005, it’s a must buy for one of the stories but its other two instalments wobble its consistency.  The most appealing aspect of this release is that it contains possibly … Continue reading BBC Ghost Stories Volume 4 (The Signalman, Stigma, The Ice House) – BFI

BBC Ghost Stories Volume 3 (Lost Hearts, The Ash Tree, The Treasure Of Abbot Thomas) – BFI

The third volume of the BBC Ghost Stories, restored and released by the BFI, is perhaps the darkest set of stories to come out of television adaptations yet.  This release sees the last of Lawrence Gordon Clark’s screen transformations of the stories of M.R James before the director went on to adapt stories by the likes of Charles Dickens and even commission entirely new tales … Continue reading BBC Ghost Stories Volume 3 (Lost Hearts, The Ash Tree, The Treasure Of Abbot Thomas) – BFI

Night Of The Eagle – Sidney Hayers (1962)

If Alfred Hitchcock were to have made an occult horror film, it’s not beyond the realms of fantasy to believe that it would look something like Sidney Hayers’ 1962 film Night of the Eagle.  Mixing up all sorts of clean cut imagery and marvellously juicy language, the film is one of the more Freudian in the horror canon and a far more subtle affair than … Continue reading Night Of The Eagle – Sidney Hayers (1962)

X The Unknown – Leslie Norman (1956)

Following on from Hammer’s The Quatermass Xperiment, the company continued their desire for rating incorporated titles with 1956’s X The Unknown. It may perhaps hold the most unimaginative of Hammer’s titles but the film itself has some surprisingly good moments. The story follows an extremely similar route to its predecessor but certain tweaks allow more paranoia to build specifically around the radiation that clearly obsessed … Continue reading X The Unknown – Leslie Norman (1956)

BBC Ghost Stories – The Stalls of Barchester/A Warning To The Curious (1971/1972)

This review contains spoilers. The second release of the BBC Christmas ghost stories finds the real birth of it as a staple of the wintery Christmas nights of the 1970s and showcases the first two of five serials by Lawrence Gordon Clark.  Though both of the stories are again M.R James adaptations the connecting factor here, apart from being chronologically accurate, is the inclusion in … Continue reading BBC Ghost Stories – The Stalls of Barchester/A Warning To The Curious (1971/1972)

The Wolf Man – George Waggner (1941)

One of Universal’s best efforts within the gothic tradition, 1941’s The Wolf Man is one of the studio’s best horror films from its golden era. Though its director isn’t well known for his horror, the success of this feature is no doubt down to borrowing certain stylistic elements from Universal’s most innovative horror director, James Whale. George Waggner’s film could easily be a Whale film, … Continue reading The Wolf Man – George Waggner (1941)

The Trouble With Harry – Alfred Hitchcock (1955)

Hitchcock’s obsession with the macabre and murder seem to take over the majority of his work and often produced spellbinding and suspenseful results.  In 1954 though, Hitchcock produced a film that put on a different viewing filter on his dark vision.  Though a death lies at the very heart of The Trouble With Harry, never before has Hitchcock been so jovial and comedic about the … Continue reading The Trouble With Harry – Alfred Hitchcock (1955)

Das Kabinett Des Doktor Caligari – Robert Weine (1920)

Film is at its best when the subject in hand is presented through the obvious visual elements of the medium rather than outside factors such as sound, dialogue etc.  The lure of silent cinema is an exotic one, one perhaps of curiosity as well as nostalgia for a time when cinema’s aims seemed in line with that of the artistic being parallel to the entertaining. … Continue reading Das Kabinett Des Doktor Caligari – Robert Weine (1920)

The Omen – Richard Donner (1976)

There’s a natural progression of “Devil child” films, born in the 1960s and culminating in three of the biggest horror films of all time, two of them being Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and The Exorcist (1973).  The best of this apparent trilogy though is the British entry into the sub-genre that uses its budget to give some of the finest set pieces to the whole of … Continue reading The Omen – Richard Donner (1976)