::UNKOWN (YET GREAT) THRILLERS::

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1.
“ Classic locked-room mystery. Creaky direction - it was, after all, one of the first films with sound in France - but the plotting is so engrossing that you remain hooked from beginning to end. The final revelation is a jaw-dropping surprise, even by today's standards. I defy you to guess it.

Remade a few more times but this one is the best, in my opinion (tho the 2003 version comes close).

DVD in Europe.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
2.
The Ninth Guest (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Eight strangers are invited by a mysterious unknown host to spend the night in a penthouse apartment... (65 mins.)
“ From underrated director Roy William Neill (who did the twisty Noir "Black Angel" and a host of Sherlock Holmes films with Basil Rathborne), whodunits may have been a dime-a-dozen back in the 30s but this one worked much better than most given a plot that truly keeps you guessing until the end and its claustrophobic setting of being trapped in a penthouse with no escape. True, the plot steals much from Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" but it steals with an eye for solid craftsmanship.

Never released anywhere as far as I am aware though it's on TCM from time to time.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
3.
Doomed Cargo (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A wise cracking American P.I. traveling abroad with his love interest and sidekick, stumbles on to a dead body. After it disappears again, he starts to unravel a devious crime ring. (67 mins.)
“ Crackerjack British thriller by the writers of "The Lady Vanishes" and "Night Train to Munich" (Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder). It features a detective perusing a secret network of criminals whose leader's identity is a startling surprise by the film's end. Only available in the UK.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
4.
The Phantom Strikes (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A suspense thriller with virtually the entire cast under suspicion of murder. In this, the third of... (73 mins.)
Director: Walter Forde
“ Written by Sidney Gilliat (writer and director of the phenomenal thriller "Green For Danger") based on a novel by Edgar Wallace, this is a deliciously entertaining thriller concerning a master criminal - "The Ringer" - who may or not exist and who may or may not be dead and who may just be about anybody, if he is real and if he isn't dead, that is. Of course, it has a surprise revelation at the end, which is difficult to guess if only because everyone in the film is under suspicion. Reminiscent of "The Usual Suspects" in how a master criminal could seemingly be anyone but it reminded me more of Krimi films.

Alpha Video released this on DVD at one point but I believe it is now out of print.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
5.
Inspector Hornleigh (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Inspector Hornleigh and his assistant Sergeant Bingham are called in to investigate a murder that involves the theft of government secrets. (87 mins.)
Director: Eugene Forde
“ Entertaining comedic detective film featuring Inspector Hornleigh, but it is his sidekick Sergeant Bingham played by the wonderful Alastair Sim that steals the show. Perhaps not entirely unique, but it's all great fun and the revelation of the killer at the end is quite a surprise.

Followed by two sequels - "Inspector Hornleigh on Holiday" and "Inspector Hornleigh Goes to It" - which both are comparable to the first.

There is no official DVD release but there are some DVD-R on demand companies producing all three movies.

6 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
6.
The Murderer Lives at Number 21 (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Inspector Wens moves into a Paris boarding house to catch a serial killer. (84 mins.)
“ From the French master of suspense Henri-Georges Clouzot, the film features Inspector Wens on the hunt for the serial killer "M. Durand" - a murderer who leaves his calling card after each killing. Climaxes with a knock-out surprise ending. Only available on DVD in Europe.

You may wish to also check out "The Last One Of The Six" - a prequel, or sorts, also scripted by Clouzot.

Update - Apparently Criterion released this exclusively on Hulu Plus, but there is still no DVD as of yet.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
7.
High Wall (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
After a brain-damaged man confesses to murder and is committed, Dr. Ann Lorrison tries to prove his innocence. (99 mins.)
“ Comments coming soon... ” - Schwenkstar
 
8.
The October Man (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Jim Ackland, who suffers from a head injury sustained in a bus crash, is the chief suspect in a murder hunt... (110 mins.)
Director: Roy Baker
“ Comments coming soon... ” - Schwenkstar
 
9.
They Won't Believe Me (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
During courtroom drama, philandering California stockbroker Larry Balantine, on trial for murdering his wife and girlfriend, takes the stand to explain those deaths as simply being accidents. (95 mins.)
Director: Irving Pichel
“ Comments coming soon... ” - Schwenkstar
 
10.
So Long at the Fair (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A young woman visits Paris with her brother only to discover the following morning he has gone missing and the hotel staff have no recollection of his presence. (86 mins.)
“ Comments coming soon... ” - Schwenkstar
 
11.
Murder on Monday (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
David Preston, a bank official goes missing for 24 hours and has no memory of the lost time, but when... (85 mins.)
“ A bank clerk returns home after a long day at work and is startled by his frantic wife who claims that he has been gone for 24 hours! Sure enough, it's the day *after* he thought it was! How could he not remember a whole day? What's worse is that an acquaintance of his was murdered during his blackout. Did he do it? High concept thriller that answers its predicament satisfactorily even if it can't always remain as gripping as its opening - but what can with that knock out of an opener?!

DVD in the UK.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
12.
The Detective (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Works of art are disappearing, stolen by a master thief, a master of disguise. Father Brown has two goals: to catch the thief and to save his soul. (91 mins.)
Director: Robert Hamer
“ From the director of the macabre classic "Kind Hearts and Coronets" comes an excellent adaptation of GK Chesterton's short stories that feature his ingenious detective Father Brown. Alec Guiness is pitch-perfect as the priestly sleuth and the gamesmanship between the cleric and the master thief Flambeau is delightful to behold.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
13.
Three Cases of Murder (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Three stories of murder and the supernatural. In the first, a museum worker is introduced to a world behind the pictures he sees every day... (99 mins.)
“ A horror anthology that, like most horror anthologies, is wildly uneven. The opening segment is crown jewel of this film - a delightfully macabre tale of fantasy that is startlingly original and demands a viewing. The second tale is rather routine and the last would also have been dismissed altogether if it didn't star the legendary Orson Welles. However, the strength of the first tale alone makes this a must-see.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
14.
23 Paces to Baker Street (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A blind American writer living in London stumbles upon a criminal conspiracy involving kidnapping and extortion. (103 mins.)
Director: Henry Hathaway
“ Comments coming soon... ” - Schwenkstar
 
15.
Run for the Sun (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
In Central America, an action-adventure novelist and a journalist for a magazine find themselves at the mercy of Nazi war criminals. (99 mins.)
Director: Roy Boulting
“ Adventure thriller that is actually a very loose adaptation of "The Most Dangerous Game" as it concerns a Hemingway-esque novelist who is hunted by fugitive Nazis in Central America. Its initial start may be slow but once the man-hunt begins you are hooked to the end.

Not on DVD but airs on TCM from time to time.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
16.
The Devil Strikes at Night (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A serial killer strikes again during WWII in Germany. The wrong man is arrested and a detective hunts down the real killer. But justice in Nazi Germany is not so easily administered. (105 mins.)
Director: Robert Siodmak
“ Robert Siodmak directs this murder mystery about a serial killer in Berlin during WWII. Sadly, not available in America.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
17.
Cairo Station (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Kinawi, a physically challenged peddler who makes his living selling newspapers in the central Cairo train station... (77 mins.)
Director: Youssef Chahine
“ Now hailed as a masterpiece by critics after its re-discovery, this Hitchcockian thriller from Egypt is still not available in America! However, once again, Europe has this on DVD.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
18.
It Happened in Broad Daylight (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Having doubts about the guilt of the obvious suspect in the murder of an eight year old girl, a police detective decides to investigate the case on his own. (100 mins.)
Director: Ladislao Vajda
“ This film's source book was later adapted twice as "The Cold Light of Day" (1996 - also unavailable) and "The Pledge" (2001 - widely available). This is the first adaptation - the screenplay written by the author himself - and easily the best.

A DVD exists in Europe.

9 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
19.
Lake of the Dead (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A group of friends travel to a cabin in the Norwegian forest. It's a rumor that at night a crazy man can be heard screaming at a lake nearby the cabin. (76 mins.)
“ A delightfully creepy ghost story from Norway with twists, turns, and beautifully black & white cinematography in glorious widescreen! On DVD in Europe.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
20.
The Gazebo (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
TV writer Elliott Nash buries a blackmailer under the new gazebo in his suburban backyard. But the nervous man can't let the body rest there. (100 mins.)
Director: George Marshall
“ Delightful dark comedy concerning a man who accidentally kills another and has to hide the body from his wife... but something seems to always happen to threaten exposing the body.

On TCM from time to time but no DVD.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
21.
Inspector Palmu's Error (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A closed room mystery begins when an infamous tycoon is found dead in his bath tub. The famous police lieutenant Palmu is summoned to investigate. (109 mins.)
Director: Matti Kassila
“ A clever locked-room mystery from Finland, followed by three sequels - "Gas, Inspector Palmu!", "The Stars Will Tell, Inspector Palmu!", and "Vodka, Mr. Palmu!" - all of which are unavailable in America. Just a note on the sequels - avoid the last one, but the other two are great.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
22.
Faces in the Dark (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
When Richard Hammond is blinded by an explosion, his wife Christiane is forced to reconsider her plan to leave him for another man. (84 mins.)
Director: David Eady
“ From the writers of "Vertigo", "Diabolique", and "Eyes Without A Face" comes another psychological thriller concerning a rich man blinded by an experiment. When his wife brings him home from the hospital, something doesn't seem right. The place seems... different. The terrific plotting keeps you engaged even if the directing is less than inspired.

On DVD in the UK.

6 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
23.
Piccadilly Third Stop (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A Playboy tries to recruit a gang, who include an American who needs cash to satisfy his wife's expensive tastes... (90 mins.)
Director: Wolf Rilla
“ This heist thriller does have some admittedly conventional plotting but its low budget aesthetics - including its on-location shooting - gives it a wonderfully raw intensity and at a mere 78 minutes the pacing is delightfully brisk. However, the highlight is certainly the climax, which is composed of the heist, the obligatory double cross, and the violent confrontation in the London underground. A rough gem.

On DVD in the UK.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
24.
A Matter of WHO (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
(1962) Terry-Thomas, Alex Nicol, Honor Blackman. A man's death of smallpox at London airport sends officials into a panic as they conduct a frantic search for the carrier. Nice performances and a good script. 35mm. (90 mins.)
Director: Don Chaffey
“ Fascinatingly unique thriller with some comedic undertones and not simply because it stars the comedian Terry Thomas - his role is surprisingly serious. What sets it apart is that the thriller plot concerns a "germ detective" in search of how a rich man contracted small pox and the many plot twists he encounters as random people seem to be contracting the disease as well - what is the common link?

Sinister Cinema has it on DVD but whether or not that is an official release I do not know.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
25.
The Secret Partner (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A wealthy London-based shipping magnate is blackmailed by an evil dentist which threatens to reveal an old case of fraud, while the dentist himself is threaten by a mysterious masked man. (91 mins.)
Director: Basil Dearden
“ From Basil Dearden (who directed the wonderful heist thriller "The League of Gentlemen" and the controversial classic "Victim") comes this tricky thriller concerning a business man framed for a theft by a masked man who speaks only through a voice changer. Who is this mysterious man? The revelation is a knock-out.

No DVD but it plays on TCM from time to tim.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
26.
I Promised to Pay (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A vicious gang of crooks plan to steal the wages of a local factory, but their carefully laid plans go wrong... (117 mins.)
Director: Sidney Hayers
“ A cracker-jack heist thriller that makes up for its lack of overt originality with lean direction, tight pacing, brooding black-and-white cinematography, and a nihilistic tone that turns this into one of the most hard-boiled of British Noir.

DVD in the UK.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
27.
Burn, Witch, Burn (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A skeptical college professor discovers that his wife has been practicing magic for years. Like the learned... (90 mins.)
Director: Sidney Hayers
“ Comments coming soon... ” - Schwenkstar
 
28.
A King Without Distraction (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A policeman and a serial killer play cat and mouse in an isolated mountain village in Nineteenth century France. (85 mins.)
“ Haunting, existentialistic, nihilistic, contemplative, and metaphysical psychological thriller set in the lonely and isolated snowbound village of an arctic wasteland - cold, chilling, and unavailable in America. France has a DVD release with English subtitles, though.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
29.
Unearthly Stranger (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Dr. Mark Davidson (John Neville), government scientist, meets a mysterious woman and is married quickly... (78 mins.)
Director: John Krish
“ A low-budget science fiction film from the UK that uses ideas to thrill its viewers rather than special effects. The plot concerns aliens that are able to possess humans by way of mental projection. As a result, you are never sure who is a genuine human and who is being used by the aliens. The paranoia it develops reminded me of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". An under appreciated gem.

DVD in the UK.

7 our of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
30.
Signpost to Murder (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Alex Forrester, convicted of murdering his wife, fails to gain his release after spending 10 years in a British asylum for the criminally insane... (78 mins.)
Director: George Englund
“ Beautiful black and white widescreen cinematography adds wonderful atmospherics to a psychological thriller concerning a man escaped from an insane asylum. The surprise ending took me by... well, surprise.

No DVD ever released but it's on TCM from time to time.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
31.
The Fool Killer (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
After the Civil War, a Southern boy aged 12 runs away from his foster home, wanders the countryside and meets various odd characters along the way. (99 mins.)
“ More southern-gothic crime drama than a thriller, this excellent piece of expressionism - with its noteworthy tent revival sequence that's both beautiful yet harrowing - is sadly not available on DVD (though an out-of-print VHS copy is available).

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
32.
Libido (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A young man goes with his wife to a spooky house, an inheritance from his father. (90 mins.)
“ Early giallo. Ingeniously constructed mystery. Never released in America but available on VHS in other countries. No DVD release anywhere as of yet.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
33.
Once a Thief (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Eddie Pedak, a convicted criminal, has a steady job, a wife and daughter and he puts a down payment on a boat... (107 mins.)
Director: Ralph Nelson
“ Comments coming soon... ” - Schwenkstar
 
34.
The Possessed (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A visitor arrives in a small Italian village looking for a woman. Residents tell him that she committed suicide but there's more to the mystery than they're letting on. Meanwhile, a strange woman walks by the lake. (95 mins.)
“ Another early giallo directed by the nephew of Roberto Rossellini! Beautifully stark black and white cinematography. Surreal and dream like atmosphere. Never released on DVD here in America - tough you can find a DVD copy over in Europe.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
35.
Games (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A young couple who are into kinky "mind games" get more than they bargained for when a mysterious woman comes into their lives. (100 mins.)
 
36.
The Incident (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Late one night, two young toughs hold hostage the passengers in one car of a New York subway train. (107 mins.)
Director: Larry Peerce
“ Gritty crime drama that surprisingly remains shocking even after all these years. See a very young Martin Sheen as one of the two hoodlums that terrorize a subway car full of passengers and a very young Beau Bridges who reaches his breaking point. Dramatically intense.

Released on VHS but no DVD yet.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
37.
A Quiet Place in the Country (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A popular painter, plagued by nightmares that he and his lover/sales agent are engaging in bizarre, ritualistic, sadistic sexual acts, seeks to escape the city and rent a house in the country. (106 mins.)
Director: Elio Petri
“ Surreal horror film from Elio Petri - director of "Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion". Released on DVD over in Europe but only a VHS release for us within the states.

Update - Released in America on DVD!

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
38.
Omnibus (1967 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A university professor, confident that everything which occurs in life has a rational explanation, finds his beliefs severely challenged when...
“ MR James was one of the greatest horror writers ever and this is the film that best captures his ear for ominous dread. Chilling black and white cinematography, haunting dream sequences that still manage to unnerve, and a sensitive performance by Michael Hordern to anchor it all with emotional weight. A work of art.

On DVD in the UK.

9 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
39.
Deadlock (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
In a deserted mining town at the end of nowhere three desperate men fight over a suitcase full of cash. (85 mins.)
Director: Roland Klick
“ A German Spaghetti Western that's in English with a electronic soundtrack by the experimental rock band Can? Sounds too good to be true! Unfortunately, America is deprived from such a wonderful offering while Europe revels in having an uncut DVD release!

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
40.
Das Millionenspiel (1970 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A candidate in a game show is hunted by three men. He will get a Million DMark, if he survives for a week; the hunters will get the money... (96 mins.)
Director: Tom Toelle
“ Scathingly satirical thriller that plays out like a game show on television - it even has fake commercial breaks to boot! Written by Robert Sheckley, who seemingly just reworked his other man-hunt short story "Seventh Victim" into a new (tho better) setting, it is quite shocking how much Stephen King lifted from this tale of hunting men for a reality game show for "The Running Man". I am surprised no one ever called foul.

Remade as the French film "The Prize Of Peril" which has a higher budget but lacks the raw aesthetics and razor sharp commentary of this picture.

DVD in Europe.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
41.
Max and the Junkmen (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Max is a Paris detective, aloof, independently wealthy, and frustrated by gangs of robbers whom he cannot catch... (112 mins.)
Director: Claude Sautet
“ Comments coming soon... ” - Schwenkstar
 
42.
Sans mobile apparent (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A strange series of murders are being committed in Nice on the French riviera. The commissionaire Carella... (100 mins.)
Director: Philippe Labro
“ French thriller concerning an assassin seemingly killing random people... how are they connected? Terrific score by Ennio Morricone with a terrific chase sequence at the middle mark. DVD is available in Europe.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
43.
Unman, Wittering and Zigo (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A new school teacher learns that the previous teacher was killed by his pupils, and he fears the same will happen to him. (102 mins.)
Director: John Mackenzie
“ From the director of the cult classic "The Long Good Friday" and the also unknown-and-unavailable prison drama "A Sense of Freedom", this is arguably his best. A psychological thriller about class mates playing mind games with their new teacher... claiming that they may have had something to do with their previous teacher's death!

Never released on DVD anywhere, though a VHS copy floats around the US and UK.

9 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
44.
The Phone Box (1972 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A man gets trapped inside a telephone box and nobody is able to free him. (35 mins.)
Director: Antonio Mercero
“ Like a long-lost episode of "The Twilight Zone", this Spanish tale of macabre humor and apocalyptic horror is a delight from beginning to end. Often imitated but never equaled.

Never released on DVD or VHS in America... but if you look around on Google you may be able to find something for online viewing... hint, hint.

9 out of 10. ” - Schwenkstar
 
45.
A Warning to the Curious (1972 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An archeologist goes treasure hunting along the English coast in search of a lost, fabled crown that supposedly helps protect Great Britain against invasion. (50 mins.)
“ The BBC made a series of short films based on the horror stories of MR James. This one is probably the best with a haunting atmosphere and a terrifying sense of dread that looms over every scene. However, you should certainly check out the other shorts the BBC produced - namely "Lost Hearts", "The Treasure of Abbot Thomas", "The Stalls of Barchester", and (even though it's not MR James) "The Signalman".

A few of these are on DVD in the UK but none in the USA.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
46.
The Castle of Sand (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Detectives investigate the murder of an old man found in a Tokyo rail yard. (143 mins.)
“ Yoshitaro Nomura's magnum opus. Some of his other works - "Zero Focus" and "The Demon" - are available in America on DVD, but sadly his masterpiece is absent from out shores. A DVD - of rather poor quality - is available overseas in Asia.

9 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
47.
Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
At Kimberley Prescott's villa, a stranger shows-up and claims he is her brother who supposedly died the previous year in a car accident. (88 mins.)
“ Comments coming soon... ” - Schwenkstar
 
48.
The Gravy Train (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Two rural West Virginia brothers leave home, rob an armored car and become fugitives. (94 mins.)
Director: Jack Starrett
“ Co-written by Terrence Malick - yes, *that* Terrence Malick - this action-buddy-comedy may not be entirely unique in terms of plotting, but the performances of Stacey Keach and Frederic Forrest make their relationship have real emotional weight, and the climatic shootout amongst a building be demolished is a sight to behold - truly, it is one of the most iconic gun battles you will see in cinema.

No DVD as of yet...

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
49.
Le orme (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A woman is tormented by strange dreams of astronauts on the moon. She visits a deserted seaside town whose inhabitants know her even though she does not know them. (96 mins.)
Director: Luigi Bazzoni
“ Comments coming soon... ” - Schwenkstar
 
50.
End Play (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
(114 mins.)
Director: Tim Burstall
“ A film from "down under" that so desperately wants to be Australia's answer to Anthony Shaffer's masterpiece "Sleuth". Naturally it falls short in such a comparison, but it still remains effective on its own terms with a tricky plot and solid performances from its two leads.

DVD in Australia.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
51.
The Inugami Family (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
(146 mins.)
Director: Kon Ichikawa
“ "The Inugami Family" is a delicious blending of old-school Agatha Christie plotting with giallo-like aesthetics. Never released here in America but a DVD is available over in Asia.

Followed by "The Devil's Ballad", "Hell's Gate Island", "Queen Bee", and "The House of Hanging" and a remake of "The Inugami Family" in the year 2006 - all directed by Kon Ichikawa and starring Kôji Ishizaka.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
52.
One of My Wives Is Missing (1976 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Daniel Corban's wife Elizabeth disappeared after they had a fight. Then she shows up, yet he insists that the woman isn't actually his wife. (93 mins.)
Director: Glenn Jordan
“ From Peter Stone, the writer of such diabolically clever thrillers as "Charade" and "Mirage". Ingenious "vanishing person" thriller that will have you guessing until the end. Only complaint is that the direction is incredibly flat, but it was made for television after all.

There was a DVD released once upon a time but it's long since disappeared from circulation.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
53.
Village of Eight Gravestones (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The heir to a family fortune discovers that a curse has been placed on it, put there centuries before by a band of samurai warriors. (151 mins.)
“ Comments coming soon... ” - Schwenkstar
 
54.
The Big Fix (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
An ex-'60s radical now working as a private eye is hired by an old flame to investigate a political smear campaign. The case becomes more dangerous as it unfolds. (108 mins.)
“ Comments coming soon... ” - Schwenkstar
 
55.
I as in Icarus (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
After the recently re-elected President of a fictitious state has been assassinated, one of the members... (120 mins.)
Director: Henri Verneuil
“ A conspiracy thriller modeled after the JFK assassination involving multiple shooters, disappearing witnesses, and government corruption all set to an Ennio Morricone score! Available in Europe on DVD but not here in the states.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
56.
Murder by Natural Causes (1979 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Allison, the unfaithful wife of a famous mentalist with a heart problem, wants her lover to try to kill her husband by scaring him to death, but the whole thing goes downhill. (100 mins.)
Director: Robert Day
“ Diabolically clever thriller from writing duo Richard Levinson and William Link (creators of "Columbo" and "Murder, She Wrote") that throws every twist, turn, and herring imaginable... and somehow continues to shock and surprise throughout it all. Admittedly it lifts much from other thrillers, but few do it with such unrestrained glee to trick its viewers. A gem.

Released on VHS in America many years ago.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
57.
Savage Hunt of King Stakh (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A mystical drama based on a story by V. Korotkevich. The film is set in out-of-the-way Belarusian woodlands at the end of the 19th century. A young ethnographer, Andrej Bielarecki, comes here to research local folk legends. (134 mins.)
“ A strange, dream-like film that is part gothic melodrama, part surreal fantasy, part folk horror, and part adventure thriller. It's glacial pacing may diffuse some of the suspense for some but it mysteriously weaves a spell that lulls you into a hypnotic trance. Some of the imagery is quite striking, with its barren winter wastelands making you feel so terribly cold. The chase of the horse riders with animal heads is a beautifully bizarre highlight.

DVD in Europe.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
58.
Next of Kin (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
In a rest home for elderly people, a daughter reads her mother's diary. Soon events that are mentioned in the mother's diary begin to happen to the daughter. (89 mins.)
Director: Tony Williams
“ Australian haunted-house/psycho-slasher hybrid that is surprisingly restrained, tasteful, and elegant. It never goes for cheap thrills - everything is very well calculated and efficiently executed.

Available on DVD in Australia but nothing for the USA

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
59.
O-Bi, O-Ba - The End of Civilization (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Set in an underground dungeon inhabited by bundled, ragged human beings, after the nuclear holocaust... (88 mins.)
Director: Piotr Szulkin
“ A dystopian cyber-punk thriller from Poland, beautifully awashed in cobalt blue. This is the second film in director Piotr Szulkin's trilogy of cyber-punk films (the other two being "Golem" and "Ga, Ga - Chwala bohaterom" - both of which are unavailable in America). This, in my opinion, is the best. However, it is only available on DVD in Europe.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
60.
Mort un dimanche de pluie (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Thriller about a psycho looking for revenge. Bronsky is a paraplegic because of an accident at a construction... (109 mins.)
Director: Joël Santoni
“ A sort of precursor to all those domestic thrillers that seemed to be all the rage in the early 90s. This French film demonstrates admirable restraint for most of its running time until it (gleefully) opens up the floodgates of terror at the end. A slick, glossy thriller that cares more for character, mood, and suspense than shock, which is always good in my book.

DVD in Europe.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
61.
Helsinki-Naples All Night Long (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Alex is Finlander married to an Italian who works as a taxi driver in Berlin. One night in his taxi come two men with a briefcase full of money... (105 mins.)
“ A dark comedy from Finland about a taxi driver stuck with a suitcase full of stolen cash and two dead bodies he now has to dispose of... On DVD in Euope.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
62.
White of the Eye (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
In a wealthy and isolated desert community, a sound expert is targeted as the prime suspect of a series... (110 mins.)
Director: Donald Cammell
“ Donald Cammell's magnum opus. A work of art. Released only on VHS within America but never on DVD (though it is available in Europe).

9 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
63.
Compartiment tueurs (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Six people travel in a railroad sleeping car from Marseilles to Paris. Upon their arrival, a woman is found dead in one of the berths... (95 mins.)
Director: Costa-Gavras
“ Comments coming soon... ” - Schwenkstar
 
64.
The Big Heat (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Inspector Waipong Wong has to put his life and resignation from the Hong Kong police department on hold... (98 mins.)
 
65.
Cohen and Tate (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A boy kidnapped by two mismatched hitmen puts them at each other's throats while being driven to their employers... (86 mins.)
Director: Eric Red
“ Comments coming soon... ” - Schwenkstar
 
66.
Closet Land (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In an drab police state, a children's book writer is interrogated by a sadistic secret policeman under suspicion of embedding anti-government messages in her stories. (89 mins.)
Director: Radha Bharadwaj
“ Martin McDonagh's "The Pillowman" steals liberally from this film... so much so that I am surprised no credit is even mentioned anywhere when the similarities are so striking as to suppose the later is a remake of this film!

Rant aside, this is a fun two-hander concerning a woman interrogated by a government official in a totalitarian society. Mind games ensue.

On DVD in the UK.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
67.
Ghostwatch (1992 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The BBC gives over a whole evening to an 'investigation into the supernatural'. Four respected presenters... (91 mins.)
Director: Lesley Manning
“ A classic of British horror, it's amazing how it still manages to terrorize after all these years! Its unrelentingly intense climax featuring a night vision camera searching basement foreshadows and predates the ending of [REC] by almost two decades! A creepy gem!

On DVD in the UK.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
68.
Head Above Water (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Einar and Bjørn leave Lene on the island for a fishing trip. Then her former lover, Gaute, drops by unexpectedly... (97 mins.)
Director: Nils Gaup
“ A wonderfully tricky thriller - with doses of black comedy - from the oscar-nominated director of "Pathfinder" (1987). This crowd-pleaser was never released on DVD or VHS due to New Line buying the rights and promptly re-making it (horribly, I might add, with Cameron Diaz) - thus locking-up the original. It is on DVD - but only in Europe.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
69.
Angel Dust (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Every Monday at 6 pm a young woman is murdered in the subway. The psychiatrist Setsuko Suma is called in to assist the police... (116 mins.)
Director: Sogo Ishii
“ Sogo Ishii's magnum opus. Released on VHS within America but never on DVD (though it is available overseas... on a VHS to DVD transfer!).

9 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
70.
Felidae (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A cat must investigate brutal murders of other cats in a neighborhood he has moved into with his owner. (82 mins.)
Director: Michael Schaack
“ An animated murder mystery starring cats that involve a serial feline killer, genetic cleansing, ancient cults and rituals, and enigmatic nightmares. Truly one of a kind. Available in Europe on DVD with an English dub.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
71.
Arcane Sorcerer (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A seminary student, Giacomo Vigetti, is convicted by the Papal State of seducing a young girl. He is... (96 mins.)
Director: Pupi Avati
“ Pupi Avati - the director of the complex and terrifying mystery "The House With Laughing Windows" - directs this Gothic mystery film, with dashes of the supernatural and the horrific to ensure the chills. Available on VHS and DVD but only in Europe.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
72.
Moebius (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A train on the Buenos Aires subway system suddenly vanishes. (88 mins.)
“ A brainy, high-concept thriller similar to the likes of "Pi", "Primer", and other heady excursions into the science fiction realm. Sadly never released in America, though a DVD is available in Europe.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
73.
Come Sweet Death (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Ex-detective Brenner wants to keep himself out of trouble but several murder cases and his ex-girlfriend Klara finally get him involved... (107 mins.)
“ A cracker-jack neo-noir in the Hammett and Chandler vein, with a healthy dose of dark comedy for good measure. This is a first of three movies starring the character P.I. Simon Brenner, but this is easily the best of the trio (the other two being "Silentium" and "The Bone Man"). Sadly, this gem is not available outside of a DVD release in Europe.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
74.
Jakarta (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
(92 mins.)
Director: Cho Sin Jung
“ Heist/kidnapping/con thriller from Korea that, while incredible implausible, is admittedly surprisingly and unpredictable. The twists may not lend credence to anything, but it does make it a hoot to watch.

DVD in Asia.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
75.
The Birthday (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Norman, a young man very much in love with his girlfriend, attends her father's birthday party, held in a hotel where a sect happens to be preparing for the birth of the god it worships. (100 mins.)
Director: Eugenio Mira
“ Incredibly bizarre comedy-horror film that has a distinct Lynchian aesthetic. I must admit that I always dismissed Corey Feldman as a has-been, but this film is that put me to shame and showed me he is a man of considerable talent. The ending's utter absurdity reminded of Brian Yuzna's "Society" (without the exploitative sleeze). Think "Rosemary's Baby" meets "Twin Peaks" and you will get a good sense of what to expect.

DVD in Europe but none in the USA.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
76.
Lakeside Murder Case (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Three couples are staying at a lakeside cottage with their children. They want them to prepare intensely... (118 mins.)
Director: Shinji Aoyama
“ Hitchcockian thriller concerning a group of parents who try to hide a dead body to protect the chances of their children being able to enter an elite private school. Razor sharp social commentary married with a handful of delicious suspense sequences and a tricky plot where nothing is what is seems.

DVD in Asia but nothing in the USA.

7 out of 10. ” - Schwenkstar
 
77.
Survive Style 5+ (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Five bizarre stories with no apparent connection to one and other eventually become intertwined, resulting in surreal circumstances. (120 mins.)
Director: Gen Sekiguchi
“ A kinetic and frenzy exercise in stylish zaniness! Entertaining, but also crafty and clever. A crowd-pleaser... one that is not available in America but pretty much everywhere else on DVD.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
78.
Murk (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The psychological thriller "Murk" tells the story of Jacob, who is investigating into the circumstances surrounding his sister's death on her wedding night. (124 mins.)
Director: Jannik Johansen
“ Somber and bleak psychological thriller that is utterly haunting and chilling. Again, never released in America, tho a DVD is available in Europe.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
79.
Gritos en el pasillo (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A prestigious fairytale illustrator is hired by the psychiatric hospital director. His job there will... (75 mins.)
“ Quite possibly the only film you ever see about an artist hired by an insane asylum to decorate the walls of its institution... and that it stars peanuts! Yes, live-action peanuts! The most shocking part is that the plot is actually not that bad and even musters up some genuine suspense... with peanuts! Live-action peanuts! Who knew I could care what happened to a nut!

DVD in Europe.

6 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
80.
Manorama Six Feet Under (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Rajasthan-based Satyaveer Singh Randhawa works as a Junior Engineer with Lahkot Municipality's Public... (137 mins.)
Director: Navdeep Singh
“ A Hindi film with no singing or dancing? It's true. This is an artful and serious excursion into the neo-noir territory in the Hammett & Chandler vein. Unfairly buried underneath all the other more higher-profiled Hindi imports - and never even released in America. However, Europe's got it on DVD (as always).

Update - Released in America on DVD!

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
81.
Paradise Murdered (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Off the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula, an island of 17 inhabitants exists. The so-called Paradise... (112 mins.)
Director: Han-min Kim
“ Deliciously atmospheric mystery-thriller-horror hybrid concerning a group of policemen who arrive at an island after being unable to contact its inhabitants for several weeks. When they arrive, they find traces of blood, buildings destroyed, and no one around. What happened to the entire population of the island?

DVD in Asia.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
82.
The Ghost (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A novelist struggling with writer's block enlists the aid of an assassin for some inspiration -- fully unaware that he is being set up to take the blame for a murder. (104 mins.)
Director: Karen Oganesyan
“ DON'T READ THE ABOVE SYNOPSIS! It gives away a plot twist that doesn't arrive until the final act!

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
83.
Loft (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Five close friends, all of them married, share a loft to meet their mistresses. One day they find the body of a young woman in the loft. Since there are only five keys to the loft, the five men begin to suspect each other of murder. (118 mins.)
Director: Erik Van Looy
“ A tricky, complex Dutch thriller that is being remade by Hollywood as we speak. As such, the original is being buried and unreleased here in America.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
84.
Suspect X (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
It's another battle of the wits for the brilliant but eccentric physicist, Yukawa, and detective, Kaoru. (128 mins.)
“ It may first appear that the film is just another slick, studio thriller about a killer playing cat-and-mouse with an investigator, and I suppose that description may be true to a degree, but it's just the surface. It is surprising how much complexity and detail is present within both the plot as well as in the characters which populate it. There are no real villains in this picture, only victims. You actually want the killer to stay one step ahead yet at the same time you know there must be justice. A chess match of wits where the pieces are real people and the players don't want to sacrifice anyone - they just want to get the other in check. This is what studio film-making should be - stylish, thrilling, intelligent, and emotional.

DVD in Asia.

8 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar
 
85.
4th Period Mystery (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
High school guys must find the killer of their classmate before the next class start, in 40 minutes. (86 mins.)
Director: Sang-yong Lee
“ A high school student finds a murdered student during his fourth period class with all the evidence pointing to him as the murderer. Now he has only 40 minutes to find the real killer until the next class comes into the room and discovers the body. A high concept thriller that actually doesn't buckle under the weight of its own tricky premise. Sure, blatant red herrings and implausibilities abound, but it's all in good fun and it does the job of keeping you guessing until the end.

DVD in Asia.

7 out of 10 ” - Schwenkstar