A Brief History of Occult and Folk Horror.

Article originally published in New Empress Magazine. Being old and generally more battered, silent horror has the unnerving sense of being a genuine piece of documentation.  No doubt unaware of it at the time, Benjamin Christensen’s Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages (1922) is a film that so embodies this accidental aspect that viewing it perhaps recalls the feeling of Ash’s discovery of The Book of the … Continue reading A Brief History of Occult and Folk Horror.

The Fall Of The House Of Usher – Roger Corman (1960)

Roger Corman’s work has been often been described as schlock film; a pulpy mass of horror, sci-fi and B-movie nonsense of only vague merit and achievement.  Excluding his actual films for a minute, looking at the number of people who have developed under the man’s wing, whether as a producer or director, is quite astounding.  On the director’s side, he’s nurtured and helped the likes … Continue reading The Fall Of The House Of Usher – Roger Corman (1960)

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)

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 Horror Score Rebellion Part 2 – Night Of The Living Dead And The Electronic Score.

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.

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)

Dracula: Prince of Darkness – Terence Fisher (1966)

Having taken a break for the sequel to 1958’s Dracula, the Count returned to Hammer after having left all the hard work to Baron Meinster in 1960’s Brides of Dracula.  1966’s Dracula Prince of Darkness is missing only one element that would allow it to become the strongest in Hammer’s canon.  Christopher Lee returns as the count but sadly missing from the film is Peter … Continue reading Dracula: Prince of Darkness – Terence Fisher (1966)

A Beginner’s Guide to Hammer Horror.

As mentioned in the vintage horror article, here is a guide to the best of Hammer Horror films.  It’s a name that isn’t as familiar as it should be in film circles, mainly because critical overviews often find the more snobbish of film reviewer calling them too tongue in cheek or camp.  Hammer Horror films are so much more than this though and I hope … Continue reading A Beginner’s Guide to Hammer Horror.