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)
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 pointlessness of war and the slaughter of men at the word of fools at the top of the hill has been a poignant and depressingly timeless subject of war films since their very inception. One of the most powerful of these films is Stanley Kubrick’s Paths Of Glory(1955) which portrays the most infuriating yet believable tales of injustice. The film deliberately accentuates the contrasts between … Continue reading Paths Of Glory – Stanley Kubrick (1955)
This article contains spoilers. As a companion piece to John Gilling’s other big Hammer success The Plague of Zombies, 1966’s other Cornish based horror is an entirely different film even though shot relatively back to back. The Reptile focuses far more on the individual effects of a creature on the loose rather than a general view on the chaos, though obviously the villages where both … Continue reading The Reptile – John Gilling (1966)
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)
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)
The first of the two BFI releases due out on the 20th of August, this double bill of the classic BBC ghost story adaptations sets the tone for the future releases while also justifying the detail and time put into them. This release contains both adaptations of perhaps M.R. James’ most famous short tale and the release plays wonderfully on the natural juxtaposition of the two … Continue reading BBC Ghost Stories – Whistle And I’ll Come To You (1968 & 2010).
Horror films were slow on the upkeep when it came to electronic music. Though elements of it were being used in other genres before 1968, electronic music didn’t really reach horror until the late sixties. The exact date of the first use of electronic score has been attributed to various films; largely Cold War fare such as The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and Invasion of the … Continue reading The Horror Score Rebellion Part 2 – Night Of The Living Dead And The Electronic Score.
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)
When watching the first half an hour of The Lady Vanishes, it may perhaps be surprising that nothing whatsoever to do with a lady vanishing graces the screen. This however allows the film to throw many a surprise over the viewer in the typical Hitchcock manner. The film opens in the disgruntled happenings of a hotel, somewhere around Switzerland. Instead of concentrating on the main … Continue reading The Lady Vanishes – Alfred Hitchcock (1938)