The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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therewillbeblus
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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2001 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:52 am

zedz wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:12 am
Great to see this little poisoned bonbon has some fans. When I saw it on TV as a kid, it was probably the scariest thing I’d ever seen. The author of the original story was (not THE) Elizabeth Taylor, but I never tracked it down. Anybody know her work? I can’t remember any other episodes of the series being non-Dahl sources.
A quick google search tracked it down It's a very short read!

Colin, I'll second you on George's Marvellous Medicine, but I remember Boy (and to a lesser extent the follow up Going Solo) making quite an intense impact on me as a kid, especially the stuff involving physical abuse and warfare.

I agree domino, I can't think of (m)any others that carry that acute doomed sensation (I watched this again immediately after) and this one has the benefit of cutting to black immediately after without any room to breathe, or internally hyperventilate in unison with the screen, so we must do it alone after the program abandons us!

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therewillbeblus
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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2002 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:44 pm

I realize that even by my own metric it’s a stretch, but suddenly I feel compelled to place Contagion at the top of my list, where life becomes transparent as horror. Though I suppose that would make me need to consider Outbreak which I don’t want to do.

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2003 Post by rawlinson » Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:06 pm

colinr0380 wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 4:01 am
Speaking of poisoned bonbons, my favourite Roald Dahl story as a kid (along with The Twits and Matilda) was the likely unadaptable due to Health & Safety issues George's Marvellous Medicine, just because it made mixing lots of common household ingredients together into a 'magical potion' and feeding it to an obnoxious relative seem like the most wonderful fun! Its quite close to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in structure and the way that the 'bad guy' kind of deserves their punishment for quaffing various foodstuffs unthinkingly!

But I did like the 'Blue Peter' way that it suggested that all the things you need to transform your world into something much more fun were just lying around the house and it was just the way that they were mixed together that could make everything (relatively) better! Much like the books in Matilda provide the grounded form of escapism in a slightly more benign way!
There was a legendary Jackanory adaptation of the story. For those unfamiliar with Jackanory, it was a BBC children's show where an actor would read a children's book over the course of several episodes and it kind of had this reputation as respectable, enriching television. Then they allowed Rik Mayall to do George's Marvellous Medicine and children all over the UK tried making their own medicine.

Elizabeth Taylor also wrote Poor Girl, a ghost story which was adapted for television in the 70s. It's not as grim and nasty as Flypaper though.

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2004 Post by Rayon Vert » Sat Mar 14, 2020 11:21 pm

The Shadow of the Cat (Gilling 1961). (1st viewing) Another company used Bray’s studios and some of Hammer’s personnel to make this movie, so it definitely feels a little different than Hammer’s usual films, including the 1.33 rather than 1.66-and-beyond aspect ratios (IMDB says it’s 1.33, so I’m assuming, perhaps wrongly, that my unauthorized DVD hasn’t been cropped). More of a crime thriller with a Gothic feel, despite the “avenging cat”. The deceitful murderers’ story doesn’t have all the twists and turns of Sangster’s films and as spectators we’re in on who’s doing what from the start, so the film relies more on the silly but fun premise of the cat that saw the killers doing the deed and their desperate attempts to catch it. Able direction, with some nicely measured little touches of humor, helps create a mood that makes it, along with the photography, an enjoyable if not a great film.


The Dead (Ford brothers 2010).
(rewatch) I wanted to revisit this because it’s stayed vaguely in my memory as standing out among the standard zombie fare. This definitely has some interesting elements, starting with the fact that it’s set and shot in West Africa. I kind of like also that it’s got the barest of plots, and almost as little dialogue, as pretty much the whole film is just being with these two solitary figures trying to make it across the arid, bushy landscape that’s crawling with the undead. They’re the slow kind, which I like best, but they’re everywhere. The tone and look is grimly serious and realistic and joke-free (part of why it feels fresh), and occasionally it looks pretty beautiful, but this is still almost a video game turned into a movie, with a single-minded focus on the tension of trying to survive with no food and water and your ammo running low (and what do you do when you have to sleep?), and kills and gore galore. Despite all that, in the end it’s missing just a bit more story, and/or originality, to make the genuinely good film cut in my book, but it’s really not that far from it either. I can easily imagine one viewer finding this a little tedious, and another finding it one of the best zombie films since Romero’s. Somehow I’m left feeling both things.


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I Spit on Your Grave (Zarchi 1978). (rewatch) I basically had the same experience as on previous viewings. When they come, the rape sequences are so elaborate and lengthy, and both at the same time brutal and veering on the ridiculous, that it’s hard not to be put off, but the before and after of the film are enough to my liking that I again find myself able to digest and excuse those excesses. (Something I don’t do with Craven’s The Last House on the Left, which always leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth – although I remember liking the 2009 remake in terms of an effective, suspenseful thriller that also didn’t feel as morally repulsive, and Stephen King apparently liked it a fair amount too). I don’t want to defend this film as feminist because I don’t invest in it emotionally in desperately wanting the revenge to happen – it certainly contains both progressive and exploitative elements so that a case can be made either way. The things I like about it have more to do with various other things – surprisingly artful compositions at times, a classic lake-and-woods horror setting (possibly influencing a lot of slashers that followed in this way?) that’s very pleasing (the absence of a score possibly helps here, giving it more realism), Keaton and Tabor despite the awkwardness of the acting at times, and the style and spirit of the thing when it comes to the staging of the revenge killings. During and immediately following the forest rape scene, Jennifer’s bloodied face in agony with her long hair across her face almost gives her a Christ on the cross aura (later on she attends church before the revenge, and she dresses at times in virginal white, which further that imagery), and there are certain framings as she crawls out of that horror afterwards, all covered in blood and dirt, that evoke a kind of mythic quality. So the film definitely has moments of power. It’s not a film that’s in any danger of making my list, and I don’t have a particular fondness for vigilante films, but with reservations and to a certain degree I’m a fan of this one.


The Last Man on Earth (Ragona & Salkow 1964).
(rewatch) The beginning of this, with that montage of shots of deserted streets in Rome, feels like it’s the continuation of L’Eclisse, and if that isn’t enough the EUR water tower shows up prominently later. This just happened to be on my rewatch list among several on the Vincent Price Collection blu-rays and it’s a bit eerie how this speaks to the current situation in Italy – a deadly airborne virus, the desperate search for a vaccine, the government asking people not to assemble. It’s interesting to reflect on the central role of the theme of contagion in the myths of vampires, werewolves and zombies, and how they possibly relate to mankind’s previous with contagious disease. The zombie-like behavior of the vampiric undead here are definitely a step in the development of the zombie genre in film (the fact that so many deadly viruses have been bat-borne also resonates here particularly – Dracula’s revenge indeed), but ultimately it’s more the virus, and the hero’s existential aloneness, that’s the focus. The grimness, as well as the setting, makes it an interesting film, but it’s a bit lacking in terms of direction and vitality to make it a truly good one.


I Saw What You Did (Castle 1965). (1st viewing) A couple of teenage girls get their kicks making prank calls while their parents are away for the evening, but get more than they bargained for when they raise the suspicion and ire of a murderer. After the disappointing Night Walker, this was surprisingly good. Simple premise but very well-done. Castle did a number of comedy horrors but even with the kids here taking central place and the cute music at the beginning and end, this is in no way a comedy and doesn’t hold back much with the horror. The young actresses, especially Andi Garrett as Libby, draw you in with their performances and the quite wicked nature of their fun. John Ireland is effectively scary as the pissed-off victim of the pranks, and of course there’s Joan Crawford in the mix, but there are definitely some surprising events that are part of the fun. Not in the class of Strait-Jacket, but a close enough second-best Castle for me.


Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (Fisher 1969). (rewatch) I loved Created Woman and this is equally good but in such a different way. Cushing’s baron was almost in a hero in the previous film, here he’s back to being bent on his brain transplant research without any moral restraint whatsoever. The fact that the writer of the film throws in a gratuitous rape to the baron’s actions has zero necessity narrative-wise, but it does considerably add to effectively darkening his character. These changes are paralleled with a strong difference in look – the previous film was all bright colors and lighting and some more stylish shots, this one is much more classic-looking and a Victorian study of dark greens, browns and burgundies. When the poor Brandt wakes up in a new body, we can really imagine the revulsion of finding ourselves suddenly in a foreign skin. And his sad story also reveals to him whether his wife loved him for his personality or his face! This is A-list Hammer in all departments: story, actors, rich-looking sets, etc.


Straight on Till Morning (Collinson 1972).
(1st viewing) A pretty far cry from Terence Fisher, or even Jimmy Sangster. One of Hammer’s last psycho thrillers, this story of a guileless and “ugly duckling” Liverpool girl off to London to get a baby fathered is a kind of very contemporary, kitchen sinky realist piece turned quasi-giallo. The plain, needy girl about to get suckered into torture theme feels a bit repellent at first, and the girl is definitely too naïve to be more than a figure of pity, but the way the screenplay develops it’s played with more subtlety than that sounds, and there’s something a bit interesting in the way both the girl and her abductor are childlike and inhabit their own fantasy worlds. It helps that the film, apart from the overly frenetic editing in some parts, is directed with a lot of competence. Nothing looks or is performed cheaply here, helping the material in this respect.

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2005 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Mar 15, 2020 12:20 am

I don’t recall much of I Spit on Your Grave but I suppose I should give it another watch- Oddly enough, even though I don’t like most rape revenge films, I remember finding the parents’ methodology for revenge in The Last House on the Left absolutely insane in ways I admired (with discomfort) for being so nonchalantly unprecedented in their creative measurements sans formulated plan or expected emotional reactivity. The actual rape scenes in both really upset me (obviously, but I think they’re particularly drawn out, exploitative, and unnecessary here).

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domino harvey
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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2006 Post by domino harvey » Sun Mar 15, 2020 12:32 am

My thoughts on both from earlier in the thread
domino harvey wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:10 pm
I Spit On Your Grave (Meir Zarchi 1978) I'm not sure why the feminist reclamation of horror has decided to expend so much energy on this, but I remain unconvinced of the defenders' arguments. Zarchi never hesitates in showing his alleged heroine in stages of undress, which while understandable (though not necessarily defensible) in its first half becomes increasingly leering during the "revenge" segments. Take the pre-castration sequence, wherein Keaton poses fully nude in front of a full-length mirror while primping herself. There are numerous ways to present this strained idea without giving the audience the same lecherous vantage. But it can hardly be surprising in a film that furiously thrusts the audience into an imagined series of rapes, all perfectly lit and framed and set apart with just enough time for the raincoat brigade to get it back up again.

Like most film lovers, for better or worse I've been exposed to countless onscreen rapes at this point, but the film's chorus of apologists do it no favor when they use the worthless personas of the attackers as evidence that the film doesn't side with them. Oh sure, not outwardly and not personality-wise. But the film does everything but show actual penetration of its actress, forces her to endure countless indignities and violations on-screen in full view of the camera, and then claims to be "feminist" by giving her the upper-hand in her summary executions, half of which also involve her getting naked and/or having sex. Take the sick joke of the first murder, that of the mentally retarded delivery boy, where she gifts him the experience of ejaculating in her before hanging him so that she can crudely allude to the act later in conversation with her next victim. This is all progressive how?

Last House on the Left (Wes Craven 1972) Craven surprised me here (in part due to low expectations following I Spit On Your Grave) by presenting what could have been a rote rape-revenge film and instilling in it a bizarre tone bordering on comic that makes the periodic sequences of sexual menace and violence all the more brazen and unnerving. Craven's motley gang of convicts are given distinct personalities and behaviors and this humanization infuses their later actions with more weight and interest than the generic hillbilly ciphers of ISOYG. The film suffers from many of the aesthetic blights of early seventies' cinema, but it also addresses the era's fears of rampant bohemianism and "free love" without ever exploiting the rapes themselves for possible arousal purposes. It's a grimy, low-rent film, but it thankfully lacks Zarchi's "Who, Me?" prurience.

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2007 Post by Rayon Vert » Sun Mar 15, 2020 12:58 am

domino harvey wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 12:32 am
Zarchi never hesitates in showing his alleged heroine in stages of undress, which while understandable (though not necessarily defensible) in its first half becomes increasingly leering during the "revenge" segments.
I won't dispute anything you wrote in your review, but, for whatever it's worth, it did strike me this time how much male nudity there is also in the film. The film at times takes on a prehistoric feeling, in more ways than one!

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2008 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Mar 15, 2020 7:18 am

In a way the iffy nature of I Spit on Your Grave is less about the horrific gang rape, which is really multiple rapes because it keeps stopping and starting in different locations with different members of the gang (including the, um, 'mentally challenged' member of the gang enthusiastically joining in), but really the way that the post-assault section of the film rather falls apart structurally. Joe Bob Briggs covers a lot of this very thoroughly in his commentary track on the Elite disc but for one thing why would you send the mentally challenged gang member to murder Jennifer and then after he returns with a bloody knife take that as all the proof that you need that he has done the deed? Surely even if the gang leader was wanting to distance himself from the murder (though really after the gang rape things have gone beyond plausible deniability and getting a fall guy into full shared culpability for all involved) then he would get one of the other two more competent members of the gang to have done the deed instead? (Though maybe even he was afraid of what the more sadistic member of the gang, who concluded the assault in Jennifer's own home by beating her and symbolically destroying her book too, would do if left alone)

And then the revenge section sort of muddles up the 'satisfying' order of revenge by killing the mentally challenged guy in the most drawn out fashion (i.e. seducing him then hanging him in the middle of his climax) and then killing the 'most responsible' gang leader guy with the bathtub scene (turning the Psycho murder into a male nightmarish one?) and playing classical music loudly to cover the screams whilst becoming the angel of vengeance in a rocking chair that feels like the much better climax to the film than following it up with offing to the two in between guys with their motorboat out on that lake, even if it does bring events full circle in some fashion.

And it is tonally a bit bizarre because whilst it takes Jennifer's experience and ordeal (and rehabilitation in the moment of piecing together the bits of her destroyed novel and beginning to write again) deadly seriously, really after their gang rape the four guys feel like they become more like goofballs, or overgrown children a little bit ashamed of what they did on the spur of the moment and not really wanting to hang out as a gang together any more. Which may be the point, I guess, but they did not really need to have emphasised the mentally challenged guy's childishness by having him order an ice cream sundae with cherry on top in the scene where they all meet up at the diner to debate going back to check out Jennifer's home to see if she is really dead!

Really it is that complete lack of underscore (outside of the church) which keeps a lot of the tone feeling serious, and weirdly kind of situates Jennifer's ordeal as being very close to the natural world surrounding her, not least because much of the assault takes place in the woods. It's kind of a very, very light ecological horror film in that sense (or really another 70s film about urbanites going to the rural suburbs and being unprepared for what they encounter there to match Long Weekend, The Stepford Wives, etc. Or Deliverance, which I suspect a lot of these films bear a considerable debt to), and probably is why the order of revenge is turned around too, since that lets Jennifer drive off in the motorboat down the river, hand firmly back at the tiller now after having been put at the mercy of others for the first half of the film.

(But yes, I'd be less inclined to defend I Spit On Your Grave against criticism than I would be something much more powerfully psychologically difficult and socially complex such as Straw Dogs, though its still deserving of consideration. I am also coming to the feeling that Night Train Murders is the essential companion piece to Last House On The Left as well, which somehow is able to be even more brutal in its conclusions about how society 'covers up' for those able to act like members of the respectable class!)

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2009 Post by Finch » Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:03 pm

I hope this is okay to cross post here (I figured, why not, since youtube shorts have been included in this thread).

POOR JOE is a 7 minute short I wrote, directed, edited and did the sound design for over the last month or so. Genre is Suspense/Mystery/Psychological Horror

Plot: It’s Saturday and Joe Rosand is looking forward to some quality time off. But as the day goes on, a series of strange incidents makes Joe question his sanity.

I wanted to do a little suspense piece with no dialogue and instead place emphasis on visuals and sound. Hopefully some of you get something out of it. Be sure to watch in 1080p (we shot in 2048x1080 originally).

Poor Joe on Youtube

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2010 Post by Orlac » Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:48 am

I haven't seen SHADOW OF THE CAT, but know it as the film where FX wiz Les Bowie tried to get a cat to jump over a wall with an electric shock...and got covered in cat diarhea!

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2011 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:07 am

The Red Letter Media guys have done a timely review of Cabin Fever!

One of the things those guys seem to miss is that Roth also appears to be doing a bit of a riff on The Blob in the 'patient zero' moment, only instead of taking the person to the doctor they just set him on fire! (Perhaps in the manner of The Burning! And when we eventually get to the hospital in the end, its not that useful anyway!). That 'rapey moment' is also shot in very much the same way as the way one of the supporting cast in the remake of The Blob meets their end whilst parked up at makeout point.

I quite like the ending that they have issues over, since it smacks of running the issue across state lines to become somebody else's problem but of course streams do not respect state boundaries! (There is also the possibility that everything in that last section of the film is a bit of a hallucination of the final dying teen character, who may have never reached the hospital at all)

(The Eli Roth commentary track has probably the best commentary track anecdote ever, about his role as an extra on The Mirror Has Two Faces, where he was in a group of Barbara Streisand's students who were apparently told to get incredibly over enthusiatic about Puccini!)

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2012 Post by Rayon Vert » Sun Apr 05, 2020 10:57 pm

Dr. Phibes Rises Again (Fuest 1972). (1st viewing) The thing with the original is that the main premise about the murders and their raison d'être was so key, so this whole other artificial story just doesn’t carry any of the same weight. Add to that an inferior sense of design and a general lack of inspiration, except maybe for some of the imaginative kills even if they’re a bit belabored, and there isn’t much here.


Sisters (De Palma 1973). (rewatch) I’d only seen it once before quite a while back and I didn’t remember much. The nods to three Hitchcock films in particular are quite obvious, but the thing that struck me, especially because of the Bernard Hermann score, is how much this actually feels like a Hitchcock film. The inclusion of bits of comedy also contribute in that respect. It’s interesting to see in the starting scenes with the satirical Peeping Toms section, and the whole camera-as-gaze perspective that infuses the film and De Palma’s work in general, how the connection with the director's early work is still quite strong. In terms of total impact, though, I’ve got to say that even though all the bits are interesting, especially that twin body horror business, in the end it was a little underwhelming for me.


Deathdream (aka Dead of Night) (Clark 1974). (1st viewing) So this is very much like Born on the Fourth of July, except the Vietnam soldier who comes back home to his folks isn’t paralyzed – he died and became a zombie. The (psychological and social) trauma metaphor is obvious but definitely potent – at first there aren’t any obvious signs of his malady, except a severe withdrawing and dark mood. And the comparison with the Stone film is also apt because this a domestic drama before anything else. It’s a slow burn but it works, especially with John Marley and Lynn Carlin as the parents, reprising their onscreen marriage from Cassevetes’ Faces. Meanwhile the zombie son ends up looking like a dead ringer for 1974 Lou Reed. Quirky and interesting, and definitely worth a watch.
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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2013 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Apr 05, 2020 11:18 pm

I don’t love Sisters either but that final shot with Durning continuing the voyeuristic prowl always makes me grin

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2014 Post by nitin » Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:15 am

The two setpieces in Sisters are for the ages though, especially the second one with the 'flashback'.

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2015 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:36 am

Wait Until Dark

I never considered this one a horror growing up, probably because both my parents loved it and neither of them like the genre, but it fits the bill of a home invasion thriller which transforms into horror if we are to align as expected with Hepburn’s handicapped wrong-woman victim. The film begs us to do this and as it attempts to trap us in her subjectivity (as much as we can be since we have the ability to see, we are watching a movie after all) and I would have loved to be in the theatre at the time of release as they implemented the trick of slowly dimming the lights to subliminally transfix us into blindness.

The film racks up tension with gradual menace, and the thrill at the end shouldn’t be spoiled for anyone. Did this film invent the jump scare? If not, it’s likely responsible for popularizing it, and should be considered for qualification in the horror genre based on just that. Hepburn’s innocent demeanor helps us make the jump into the deep end of sympathy and blending with naive fear, even though we already know the plot having spent time without her in the first part. If there’s a fault it’s in our forced objectivity that bars a more intimate surrogate experience, though this is a small qualm. The gaslighting manipulative effect from the criminals definitely makes us squirm with her rather than feel exploitative itself, and the jarring score aids the tension when it hits.

It’s a stretch for me to place it in the genre category and I’m not sure it would make my list anyways - unfortunately the replay value isn’t as great, with the criminals especially Arkin exhibiting cartoonish perfs, but it’s a nice small film that is a worthy precursor for the ideas that would become canonized in the framework of many horror movies to come.

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2016 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:25 pm

I was sold on Stuart Gordon's Dolls by the trailer (a giant teddy bear!). I'm a sucker for creepy doll movies. I even liked The Boy - Bishop Brennan from Father Ted's the dad of course! An arsehole dad and stepmum treat his daughter badly and their car gets stuck outside the creepiest house imaginable in the English countryside, then they go to the house...

...needless to say you know where this is going and it's a rather fun 80 mins.

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2017 Post by Feego » Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:01 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:36 am
Wait Until Dark

Did this film invent the jump scare? If not, it’s likely responsible for popularizing it, and should be considered for qualification in the horror genre based on just that.
Films had been employing the jump scare since arguably the silent era (the unmasking in the Lon Chaney Phantom of the Opera being one of the earliest examples I can think of), but it was something that by the 1960s was more commonly used in B-movies. Val Lewton and William Castle used jump scares in several films, though sparingly. This is a particularly famous one from House on Haunted Hill. I believe that it was rare for a Hollywood film that would have been considered A-list, adult entertainment to feature such a moment. Thus, Wait Until Dark helped bring jump scares to a wider, more sophisticated audience who wouldn't normally go see monster movies.

Regarding the cartoonishness of Arkin's performance, I think that is actually one of the things that makes him even scarier as the film progresses. He seems at first like a rather goofy thug (although we know he has murdered already), and that gives us some comfort in that we assume his interaction with Hepburn will be more a battle of wits and strategy. But the dark turn he takes at the climax, going from lightly menacing to his masochistic taunting with the scarf and finally to attempted sexual assault, is much more disturbing when contrasted with his sitcom baddie persona.

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2018 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:21 pm

Good points Feego, and yeah I realize some iteration of jump scares were used prior, especially in B-horrors, though this one seems much more jarring and in line with what we get today. I know that’s all relative, but I wouldn’t be surprised if - like you say - this indicated that the trick had mass appeal and could be utilized in ways that could a film could be built around.

Arkin’s character does go off the rails into horrific territory, and I guess my issue is that his hammy ‘mastermind’ and particularly silly characters in the scheme (next to the more grounded inspector and wartime buddy) don’t establish that extent of menace, so he seems more like a weird dude who didn’t actually think this through (though he has no way of knowing it, it’s his error that exploits the plan in the first place). Of course this bizarre behavior is in step with his unpredictability and psychopathic tendencies later so I can’t say that there would be a better way to sketch us out. Next time I watch it I’ll keep that reading in mind.

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2019 Post by Feego » Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:42 pm

Oh yes, I definitely agree that this jump scare feels much more like one we would see today than my earlier examples.
SpoilerShow
It also looks ahead to the slasher genre in making us think the villain is dead, only to have him jump out when we least expect it.

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2020 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:17 pm

Feego wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:42 pm
SpoilerShow
It also looks ahead to the slasher genre in making us think the villain is dead, only to have him jump out when we least expect it.
Exactly, which is why it feels almost necessary to include in this genre even though so many elements throughout the narrative fit in more of a simmering thriller camp

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2021 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 06, 2020 11:15 pm

Back when the IMDB boards were a thing, there was a great thread from people who saw the film in its first theatrical run and shared their experiences on the infamous jump scare: they were adamant that they'd never experienced anything like it before. I remember it being a wonderful read. I think regardless of whether it was the technical first, it was the most memorable first example and I personally don't think it would be possible to engineer a more effective iteration. Worth remembering that theatres actually were instructed to turn off even the small guiding interior lights during the finale, so it was pitch black for the finale and you couldn't see anything but the screen.

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2022 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:36 pm

I found a few more horrors on my hard drive from college, and thought ten or so years was a good time to revisit. I had recalled holding Joe Dante's original Piranha in higher esteem, but I got next to nothing out of a return trip to this Jaws parody. I didn't care much that it was self-aware of its B-status and though I got a kick out of the ending that channeled the most disturbing part of the lone boy's death in the Spielberg by taking no prisoners on the whole beach, the rest was tiresome. I don't think I ever really liked this, but I thought it was more interesting back then, and Joe Dante's mostly strong oeuvre undoubtedly affected my expectations.

Thankfully Braindead/Dead Alive still held up, but how could it not? If you've seen it, time isn't going to change whether you're on board with this complete nosedive into the possibilities of body horror. My girlfriend yelled at me enough times from the other room at the disgusting sound design for me to take notice, and man is it nasty! I've always thought of this as a visual film, but the sound is arguably more grotesque. I'm sure the information is out there somewhere on how exactly Jackson used various household items to create these sickening noises, considering he's been transparent around this creative process for his other early works too. Definitely seek out the 97-minute director's cut if you can. I probably won't revisit Bad Taste but while messy I remember finding some amusement in that debut too.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2023 Post by domino harvey » Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:42 pm

Coming across Dead Alive unawares on Sundance or IFC back when they were a movie channel at 2 AM was one of the best film watching experiences of my life— at that point in my life I don’t know that anything had ever made me laugh as loud and as hard as the back half of the film. And then whatever station I was watching followed it with Microcosmos and I ended up staying up til like 6 and saw two majestic and radical movies / had my mind blown without incurring the cost of drugs! I revisited Dead Alive a few years ago and it’s still deeply enjoyable, though nothing could replicate the experience of seeing it the first time. Also, when you try to tell people IRL that it’s the goriest film ever made, no one ever believes you but that’s not a bet you’ll lose!

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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2024 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:20 pm

Yeah I can't imagine what it would be like to go into it blind. I always think of this as what Evil Dead II tried to do, but completely unhinged and resting entirely on the creative process of regurgitating stylized visual gags rather than trying to build a film around a more diverse set of tools. It must have been a blast to make too, and the body horror is so inspired there would be no point in trying to make another exaggerated genre-take after this one. All ideas are spoken for, and while it's impossible to pick a favorite I'm partial to
SpoilerShow
the woman's head impaled on a lightbulb, turning into a Jack-O-Lantern

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domino harvey
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Re: The Horror List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#2025 Post by domino harvey » Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:23 pm

Gotta go with
SpoilerShow
The woman screaming, who then has the fist of one of the zombies pounded through the back of her head and out her mouth.
Pure cartoon logic gore that you laugh twice at: once because the timing and execution is so funny, and again because of the audacity of what you just saw. The whole last thirty minutes is just wall to wall double coupons for laughs in that fashion

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