Hope you didn’t think we were done with Halloween! Like all good horror fans, TSFI is ensconced in horror movie marathon. So here’s what has been watched so far…. Do I have to mention here there be discreet linkage? Be sure to explore. If you haven’t been during the 31 posts blog to Halloween, there are many treats hidden there.
Instead of going for the obvious Hammer Horror choices like The Horror of Dracula, I tried to mix it up a little.
Though I was fascinated by Christopher Lee’s feral agressive sexualized Dracula as a teen, I find myself becoming drawn more and more to Peter Cushing’s amoral deluded Doctor Frankenstein as I get older. The evil that he represents in the Frankenstein cycle of films is so much more real. Well, in a pulpy over the top way. But in the colorful atmosphere of Hammer Films that’s close enough for me.
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, the 5th film in the cycle, takes the spirit of the original novel and runs it through the early 70s shock combine. In alot of ways this is one is pretty gruesome and, in one scene, sleazy. Cushing pretty much dominates this cast, though George Pravda’s portrayal as Dr. Brandt is memorable as well. Veronica Carlson’s turn as the gothic horror honey of the piece is merely okay. A good start to the fest.
How was I to know I was going to be doing a Veronica Carlson double feature? Dracula Has Risen from The Grave was a surprise in several ways. It actually has continuity with previous installments in a clever way. The prologue fits around the time of The Horror of Dracula and the movie starts proper around the time following Dracula Prince of Darkness. While not having Van Helsing or vampire hunting monks, it has a decent cast of supporting characters. I enjoyed the turns of Ewan Hooper as the tormented priest and Michael Ripper as tavern owner Max. Just wish I could get the appeal of Barry Andrews. Not that he’s bad just compared to Lee’s Dracula, he’s a really trivial hero. That said, he’s sudden conversion from atheist to true believer is handled pretty succinctly in this most overtly religious of the Dracula cycle. Some obvious plotting flubs keep this from being my favorite but it had that flavor I crave!
Then the fest jumped from Hammer to 1953’s House of Wax. What can I say? It is a movie that seems to bridge two eras of horror. Vincent Price is great as usual. But the more I watch this one, I am more freaked out by Carolyn Jones’s portrayal of Sue’s friend. Did people like her really exist? Yes it is a campy movie but there are many effective bits. I really enjoy the bit when Professor Jerrod is giving the tour of the museum. And the chase through the rainy fog shrouded streets. And the elevator murder. And the part where Professor Jerrod…uh…loses face with Sue. I wish there were more horror villains like Professor Jerrod than Jason. I mean there is always room for one more knife wielding psychotic but could we get some classy monsters too?
Due to Tim Lucas’s awesome commentary on the latest DVD of Baron Blood, House of Wax lead me to this Bava shocker. Baron Blood is not the best Bava but damn it sure finds its way back to the player a lot. It sends my brain back to a time when late night was ruled by horror films and not info-mercials. The atmosphere is mesmerizing. I also enjoy the way that Bava uses the Baron Blood character to make commentary on his obsessions. Very meta for its time. While it does resound in proximity to House of Wax, it seems more personal. Before I start to babble..Here’s to shutting up!
Not to be confused with….
Okay that’s it for now. This fest will end sometime tomorrow as the world stumbles through All Saint’s Day like the undead! Don’t forget to set your clocks back!