Trying to establish small cycles of trends in cinema is a key discipline in understanding the medium. When a theme can be seen to traverse genre but be defined by era, it perhaps states more of a sociological argument than simply an aesthetic or a narrative one. A particular group of films recently began to collect together in my own memory but the reason as … Continue reading The Ravenous Poor in Heath Era British Cinema.
Part 1. Thematic Material of the Folk Horror Chain. “Grendel was the name of this grim demon, haunting the marches, marauding round the heath and the desolate fens; he had dwelt for a time in misery among the banished monsters, Cain’s clan, whom the creator had outlawed and condemned as outcasts.” (Heaney, p.6, 1999). Though the historic and cultural factors around why folk horror was … Continue reading The Music of Folk Horror – Part 2 (Folk Horror Chain and Witchfinder General).
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).
Cry of the Banshee (1970) makes no qualms as to what its aims are. Looking at its promotional poster, it would be natural to associate it with Roger Corman’s Poe films; it’s emblazoned with Edgar Allen Poe references, its main star is Vincent Price and its design is a technocolour nightmare. The film itself is about as far from Corman’s dreamlike fantasies as possible in … Continue reading Cry Of The Banshee – Gordon Hessler (1970)
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.
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)
With its rather ominous opening, the viewer would perhaps be forgiven for thinking that Roger Corman’s adaptation of Poe’s The Raven would be in similar ilk to his other dark Poe films. What at first seems like yet another gothic retelling of a Poe classic turns out to be a swiftly delivered curve ball that has, at its core, a desire for fun and mischief … Continue reading The Raven – Roger Corman (1963)
Roger Corman’s adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories are just as vital to the classic horror canon as the films by Hammer and Amicus productions. Their influence is vast and the number of big names to come out from under Corman’s wing is monumental. Having set up a distinctive style to filming Poe’s work by shooting them all on soundstages, Corman sort to go … Continue reading The Tomb of Ligeia – Roger Corman (1964)