I'm back again, having missed a week of these to bring you ten more great horror films you might not have seen before. Some of these are cult classics, others have escaped the notice of most critics. For the right kind of fans all of these will provide a great and novel viewing experience. In no particular order, this week's ten more great horror films you might not have seen.
Similar and perhaps the equal to the classic London thriller the Lodger, Bluebeard is the story of a french puppeteer (John Carradine) who is suspected of murdering several women. Directed by the great noir/expressionist director Edgar Ulmer, Bluebeard is a wonderfully atmospheric forties chiller and Carradine's performance is excellent.
2. A Bucket of Blood
From Roger Corman and Writer Charles Griffith came this classic about a depressed outcast janitor among beatniks who accidentally kills a cat and then entombs it in plaster as a sculpture. The sculpture is a huge hit, widely praised by all the freaky beatniks around him and he needs to move onto bigger, better, bloodier things. Character actor Dick Miller who those uninitiated with the horror genre might know from Gremlins shines as the lead. As commentary on the cult of cool goes, few other movies hit as close to home and remain as timely.
Mario Bava (who I brought up last week as the director of Black Sabbath) directed this vampire classic. For the time it was transgressive, but now it just stands as an eerie testament to the atmospheric genius of a great Italian director. Barbara Steele shines in a duel role as a witch and her possessed and tortured descendant. She's dark, sultry, gorgeous and menacing as few others manage to be. Beautifully shot and the equal of any Universal classic.
4.The Seventh Victim
This might not be for everyone and not everyone will consider it a horror film, but in my opinion, this is the best horror film from producer Val Lewton. A satanic cult is not so much the antagonist as a feeling of overwhelming existential dread and confusion. Fans of David Lynch will like the intangible fear and bizarre interactions, while Noir buffs will enjoy the dark scenery and following an existential mystery, while your Jason loving teenager will faint from boredom.
For awhile, this H.G Lewis gore classic was considered the be-all and end-all of cinematic repugnance. Now, it stands as a camp masterwork with hillariously inept dialogue and over-the-top silly gore. The acting is bad, the gore is tomato soupy and the plot is virtually nonexistent, but it can't be beat if you have friends who don't mind excessive violence and want to gather round and enjoy something truly crazy at a Halloween party.
6. The Funhouse
Most people remember Tobe Hooper for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist, but in 1980 Hooper made an underappreciated classic of modern, more commercial horror. For fans of Freddy, Jason and Leatherface this story of kids menaced by a freak and a homicidal barker is almost as harsh as TCM but with a stronger element of fun. A good Halloween movie, though obviously not for kids.
7.Invaders from Mars
Paranoia. Social apocalypse. Brainwashing. All of this, seen through the eyes of a child makes for a real 50s sci fi scare. The acting might be hokey, but the threat is readily apparent, the landscape is surreal and a child's innocence is threatened by aliens who undermine the social order.There are claims that most fifties sci fi is anti-communist paranoia, but for the most part, these films are more about fear of the other and more about the things that lurk in human nature. Invaders from Mars is shocking, dreamlike and unique.
It's sick, perhaps a bit oversexed and very gory, but for sci-fi/horror splatstick fun, Stuart Gordon's Reanimator is one of the greatest. Jeffrey Combs creates a green goo that brings the dead back to life, much to the chagrin of his hapless roommate. As far as the results? Let's just say Frankenstein had it easy. A demented, grownup gore comedy that will slake any thirst for exploitation.
One of the original mad scientist classics. Peter Lorre plays the lovelorn and obsessed Dr. Gogol who pines for the wife of Colin "Dr. Frankenstein" Clive. Clive is a pianist whose hands are crushed in an accident and must be replaced by the good doctor. The doctor gives Clive the hands of a killer knifethrower which might have some odd muscle memories. And that's not the most exciting part. Lorre's acting is superb and Clive manages to reel himself in enough to play a man whose torment seems real.
10. Night Creatures
Not too horrific, but a fun rousing tale set in 18th century in which the great Peter Cushing plays a village priest who has been leading a smuggling operation to outwit his majesty's military and provide food to an overtaxed town. A stuffy admiral comes to investigate and hears tales of phantoms on the marshes that might bear investigating. While looking into this and the notorious pirate who is buried in the town, secrets come to the light in a rousing adventure also starring Oliver Reed. Visually appealing and fun for all ages.
I'll be back next week with more.