For Halloween and all that.
The following are a boutique* choice of movies tinged with a touch of the old horrorshow that have not been given their due for one reason or another over the years, be it poor reviews, bad distribution, poor box office, short memory spans etc.
*The use of this word has become widespread in the Emerald Isle to signify something that has or suggests a unique or special, enhanced quality from clothing stores, music festivals to bus shelters and sandwiches. If you can’t (literally) beat them, join them! I hope your reading of this petty personal rant won’t affect your reading of the article in part or in full. enjoy.
‘An environmentally conscious horror film from the director of Woodstock, written by a guy who claims to have been molested by aliens with Brit sex dynamo Albert Finney portraying a streetwise Noo Yawk cop as your lead? I can’t wait no longer! Where are my movie tickets?’ – Anonymous American moviegoer, July 1981, probably.
Not quite a werewolf movie though it most definitely features some wolves and not quite a police procedural and not quite a pro-nature, anti-capitalism polemic, Wolfen is a strange beast but one that lingers in the imagination thanks to the then innovative, elegant wolf pov photography of Gerry Fisher, gritty New York atmosphere, gruesome violence, a chilling score by a young James Horner and Finney’s steamy love scenes with Diane Venora. Well maybe not the last part though Finney is – accent aside – suitably crumpled and charismatic throughout.
Summer’s End. All Hallow’s Eve. Samhain. Yes, Halloween is upon us going and yet again, as a sensible grown adult (supposedly) I am denied the right to dress up in a ridiculous costume and get drunk. This is mostly due to a lack of long-term planning and general poverty thus I can only blame myself. But rather than flagellate myself with a leather belt or piss and moan like a little girly-man – my usual default mode when I don’t get my way- I will instead spend an evening appreciating cinema that is mainly horrific in tone.
What is it that is making French actress Jacqueline Pierreux (pictured above) gasp in terror? That would be telling now wouldn’t it? I suddenly feel a sadistic compulsion to withhold this information from you dear reader and instead will direct you to the origin of said image, namely from a supremely creepy morality story entitled ‘The Drop of Water’ which features in the 1963 horror anthology Black Sabbath from the great genre master, Italy’s Mario Bava.
The film is composed of three horror stories and features horror icon Boris Karloff as a narrator – he also portrays a character in the middle chapter film ‘The Wurdulak’- and is a stylish, superbly atmospheric collection of spine tingling tales with the ‘The Drop of Water’ being the pick of the ghoulish bunch which sustains a level of old school creepiness throughout and where the source of Miss Pierreux’s terror is fully revealed.
As luck would have it, Black Sabbath is available to view in its entireity on You Tube in Italian . If you want to get into the spirit of the evening, ‘I Tre Volte Della Paura ‘ can be viewed by clicking here.