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Having mentioned Peeping Tom in my post in the music thread this morning, I got to thinking about my statement there that it, Psycho and Les Yeux sans Visage were the best horror films of 1960. I pulled up my database to look over the 70 horror films I have in my collection from that year. Yes, I've been acquiring horror movies long enough to have that many for just one year, and over 3500 in all formats for all the years I'm interested in, dating back to 1896. Someday I'll tell y'all about the first VCR I ever saw, back in 1977, and how it wasn't long after that I began accumulating scary pictures.
Anyhow, there are others on my list that belong in that rarified stratum, beyond those three. I would say that Mario Bava's Black Sunday belongs, as does Village of the Damned. You could make a case for House of Usher and Brides of Dracula, and for Cocteau's Le Testament d'Orphee. Assuming you consider Orpheus' descent into the Underworld to rescue his lost bride Euridice to be frightening enough a topic, of course. Or was Cocteau just so monumentally skilled a film-maker that anything he did was good enough for any category? Maybe. You could say the same of the master Indian director, Satyavit Ray, but his Deva was more of a refutation of the supernatural than an examination of it. Great film, but I can't really include it among horror films, as much as I'd love to have a director of Ray's stature included among the scaremongers.
There were some in my collection I had not yet gotten around to watching. I quickly disposed of the marginally tolerable Italian picture, Atom-Age Vampire. Nope, not in the top tier. Several others didn't make the cut. Then, I took my first look at El Esqueleto de la Señora Morales, AKA, The Skeleton of Mrs. Morales.
What an unexpected delight! A Mexican adaptation of The Inverness Mystery by horror grand-master Arthur Machen, it contains one of the best performances of the year by its protagonist, a taxidermist and manufacturer of fertilizer who is suspected of murdering his shrewish wife and articulating her skeleton to sell to a medical school. However...
Oh, no. You can't trick me into giving the plot away. We're in a no spoiler zone. Track it down, watch it, and see if you don't agree that this is a forgotten treasure of the genre. Highly recommended.
Last Edit: Feb 3, 2020 17:56:36 GMT -5 by sirotter
Post by Admin Kbatz on Feb 7, 2020 19:25:05 GMT -5
I was surprised when I got some new bookshelves and reorganized my movies that I actually have some space on my horror allotted shelf! I also still have a VCR and VHS tapes on my shelf, too. It's like a new display for all the 'old' media.
Not horror per se but I just watched The Comedy of Terrors. Vincent Price, Basil Rathbone, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff. I love it. I like the Abel Salazar movies I've seen, but a lot of them don't seem available now, pity.
I've reviewed a few of the films you've mentioned, either on my own blog or at HorrorAddicts.net. Let me find the links:
You're kinder to Atom-Age Vampire than I felt any compulsion to be. Your link to Brides of Dracula seems to have expired. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. It is an ex-link. I kind of agree with you on that one. Odd that the generally most highly regarded Hammer Dracula has neither Christopher Lee nor Dracula in it!
I got one of those doo-hickey's that enables one to transfer VCR tapes to digital. Still working through hundreds of blank tapes I filled up back in the 80s and 90s with all manner of wonderful stuff, plus stacks of ones I bought. Including dozens of serials from the 30s, 40s and 50s. There were about 235 cliffhangers produced during the sound period, and I think, counting the ones I've found on YouTube, I've got between 180 and 200 of them. Alas, most of the silent ones have vanished. Still, new ones turn up every so often.
While looking through my list of 1960 horror films, I realized I couldn't remember if I'd seen Roger Vadim's Blood and Roses, which is a loose (very loose) adaptation of J. Sheridan le Fanu's Carmilla. So I watched it. It was nice, beautifully shot, a little languid in its pace and not very clear on whether or not there actually was a vampire in it, but not a terrible film at all. My copy was in French with English subtitles, but the title and end credits were in German. Very odd, but no big deal. I can still read it well enough to manage. I was amused by the change of the title to ...Und vor Lust zu Sterben (..and to Die for Desire, more or less). Very a propo, I thought.
The Brides of Dracula – Peter Cushing returns- without the titular Big D- for this 1960 Hammer sequel directed by Terence Fisher (also of the precursor Horror of Dracula). Here the once again young, suave, taking names and staking dames Van Helsing puts the cross to Yvonne Monlaur (Circus of Horrors), Martita Hunt (Great Expectations, Anastasia) and Andree Melly (The Belles of St. Trinian’s). Though the Hammer sets are a little familiar, naturally; the scary sound effects, Goth Victorian dressings, lots of candles, and plenty of red velvet work toward a great, old fashioned, classy atmosphere. This chick spin on Bram Stoker’s plotting is unique, juicy, and dangerous-all these sexy women with secrets, screams, and fangy hysteria! This probably wasn’t the first of the Hammer Dracula series that I saw growing up, but it’s the one that sticks in my mind best- mostly because of a sweet climatic finale. Granted the inconsistencies are iffy, but that windmill of danger, doom, and retribution is classic awesome.
I have a DVD/VCR recorder too and up until maybe 6 years ago, I still taped things onto VHS. It's the DVD component of the device that actually acts up and ironically, they do make vcr/blu-ray combos.
Blood and Roses I think I spoke on the Horror Addicts podcast. I liked it! Recently I find my reviews are much more scathing. I can't tell if I've seen too much or the stuff is just that bad.
It's been a long time since I've watched The Belles of St. Trinian's, so I pulled it up and there she was, the adolescent Andree Melly. A few items of interest about the estimable Miss Melly:
She's a day younger than my father. She co-starred with Pat Boone in The Horror of it All, a 1964 virtual remake of the William Castle version of The Old Dark House of a year before. The Castle film is a lot better, which is damning with faint praise, indeed. In 1964, Milton Bradley put out the Monster Old Maid card game. Andree was the Old Maid, identified as 'Dracula's Daughter', with an image of her from Brides of Dracula. I think I still have that one and a few other cards from that set around here, somewhere.
I know what you mean about recent opinions being less kind than in years past. I've been watching movies for roughly 56 years, and have seen probably 10,000 in my lifetime. A lot of my viewing the last decade or so has included truly great films from all over the world. My tastes have probably elevated somewhat, so I suspect I might be less tolerant of the more mundane and less technically proficient films I enjoyed in my misspent youth. Tastes do evolve.
I still love Clue, though!
Last Edit: Feb 11, 2020 11:21:12 GMT -5 by sirotter
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