The ghost story has had a resurgence lately in film and television. Perhaps the increasing reliance on distancing technology and social media has lead to a desire to retread older forms that now seem prescient but there’s no doubt that the genre as a whole is alive and well, especially for commercially minded lower budget film; the blueprint set up by Hammer’s adaptation of Susan … Continue reading Blackwood (2013) – Adam Wimpenny.
Part 1. Part 2. The Freudian Dream Corman’s Poe films have become famous for their dream sequences. The source literature revels in the possibilities of nightmares taking over the psyche so they seem an apt distraction for a medium that already adores the possibilities of dreams. The Masque of the Red Death perhaps contains Corman’s most effective and disturbing sequence; one of the few to … Continue reading The Masque of the Red Death, Roger Corman (Part 3) – The Freudian Dream.
Part 1. The Levels of the Aesthetic Stage Through Castle Rooms and Colour. Corman’s beautiful excess of colour in the film has already been mentioned but colour plays a vital role within the film’s narrative too. Its narrative focus however does not chime well with the Kierkegaard reading when considering the unevenness and ambiguity as to the death creatures and their colours at the end … Continue reading The Masque of the Red Death (1964) – Kierkegaard’s Aesthetic Phase and Inverted Freudian Pleasure Principle (Part 2).
Roger Corman may be better known for pulpy B-movies but his work adapting Edgar Allen Poe for the big screen is uncharacteristically layered and has a depth that far outstrips films of a far more serious ilk. Almost all his Poe adaptations (excluding the fun but overall light The Raven) take Poe’s original structure for stories and adds questioning elements to them, largely built around … Continue reading The Masque of the Red Death (Roger Corman, 1964) – Kierkegaard’s Aesthetic Phase and Inverted Freudian Pleasure Principle (Part 1).
Its geography is stark, rugged and eerily inviting, its characters are sickly happy and lying through their teeth and its narrative is immersive and questioning to the point where its finale is deeply affecting and horrifying. It’s a crying shame that viewers of The Wicker Man (1973) will never fully see the film as its director intended. Having been slashed to bits by the studio … Continue reading The Wicker Man (1973) – Defining Of The Folk Horror.
Hammer’s historical films aren’t famed for their period accuracies or epic expanses, yet for all their faults, there is something extremely watchable about them. Though the pre-historic films have the obvious draw of a scantily clad cast and dinosaurs, 1966’s Rasputin The Mad Monk appears to have little to bring in the crowds other than the presence of Christopher Lee. Yet behind its confused genre … Continue reading Rasputin The Mad Monk – Don Sharp (1966)
INTRODUCTION 1968 was the year that horror cinema sought to change the way in which it scored its films and began to develop alternatives to the increasingly cliched sounds that had become a staple of the genre since the silent era. David Raskin, who had scored the first two Basil Rathbone-starring Sherlock Holmes films in the early thirties, as well as a number of film … Continue reading The Horror Film Score Rebellion Part 1 – Classic Horror
Jacques Tourneur is perhaps more famous these days for creating the atmosphere behind many of Val Lewton’s best psychological horrors but his work outside the stewardship of the creator of Cat People and I Walked with a Zombie is something of a rare treasure waiting to be uncovered. His 1957 occult masterpiece Night of the Demon should by all accounts be far more famous though … Continue reading Night of the Demon – Jacques Tourneur (1957)
There was a time when Universal held the monopoly on horror film. The Universal cycle of monster films is possibly the most influential in all off horror and easily one of the most iconoclastic in the whole of cinema. Striding comfortably ahead of the rest of this pack that consists of groundbreaking films such as Tod Browning’s Dracula and Karl Freund’s The Mummy, James Whale’s … Continue reading Bride of Frankenstein – James Whale (1935)
Last week saw the passing away of one of Japan’s greatest and most forward thinking directors to appear in the country’s golden age of cinema. At the age of 100 Kaneto Shindo was still going strong having only made his last film in 2010 as well as his much overdue retrospective starting at BFI Southbank being mere days later, it seems his life was one … Continue reading Onibaba – Kaneto Shindo (1964)