13 items from 2014
It may be more true in horror than in any other genre that certain subgenres ebb and flow in popularity over time. Vampires were hot in the mid-’90s when you had Interview with the Vampire, From Dusk Till Dawn, Blade and the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Then, vampires sat out of popular discourse for the next ten years or so, until the double whammy of Twilight and True Blood hitting in 2008, causing a tidal wave of vampiric fiction from the arty (Only Lovers Left Alive, Byzantium) to the schlocky (Dracula Untold, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter) that hasn’t slowed down since.
Witches are now in the middle of an uncertain period, neither in ebb or flow. When Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages was released in 1922, witchcraft and the occult were still deeply feared in modern society. In the decades that followed, interest waned and they became more »
- Jake Pitre
We’ll be celebrating the 5th year anniversary of Super-8 Movie Madness at The Way Out Club in St. Louis on Tuesday October 7th with an encore performance of our most popular show. It’s Super-8 Vincent Price Movie Madness in 3D, the show that we took on the road to promote Vincentennial back in 2011. We’ll be honoring the hometown horror hero by showing condensed (average length: 15 minutes) versions of several of Price’s greatest films on Super-8 sound film projected on a big screen. They are: Master Of The World, War-gods Of The Deep, Pit And The Pendulum, The Raven, Witchfinder General, Tim Burton’s Vincent, Two Vincent Price Trailer Reels, Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein and The Mad Magician in 3D (We’ll have plenty of 3D Glasses for everyone)
- Tom Stockman
Mark of the Devil, 1970.
Directed by Michael Armstrong.
A notorious folk horror film from the golden era of post-Witchfinder General movies that relished in showing medieval practises for what they really were, Mark of the Devil was notable for being the first movie that was “Rated V for Violence” – or so the advertising campaign claimed – and for Us cinemas supplying vomit bags to accompany the “Positively the Most Horrifying Film Ever Made” tagline.
- Gary Collinson
Stars: Udo Kier, Herbert Lom, Olivera Katrina, Reggie Nalder, Herbert Fux, Johannes Buzalski, Michael Maien, Gaby Fuchs, Ingeborg Schöner, Günter Clemens, Doris von Danwitz | Written by Michael Armstrong, Adrian Hoven | Directed by Michael Armstrong
My first experience with Mark of the Devil was to receive a DVD review copy from America which included a barf bag, written on the side was a warning that this movie would make me sick…of course it didn’t. I like novelties like that though, it adds to the fun of cult movies and gives it an over the top feeling. These gimmicks may never live up to what they promise but that’s hardly the point. Mark of the Devil is a surprisingly extreme film for its time, which is probably why it took so long to make its way to the UK, then to finally be released uncut. Now Arrow Video have »
- Phil Wheat
The troubled young British director Michael Reeves was credited with only three films and then, just as his star was ascending, died at the age 25. But the James Dean comparison doesn’t end there; Reeves’ signature work, Witchfinder General (released in the Us as The Conqueror Worm) is a cry for justice from an angry young rebel, a howl so intense it feels like an assault on the viewer.
To work with such a miscreant as Reeves must have been a shock to the system of the affable Vincent Price and it shows; his fierce performance as the corrupt "witchfinder" Matthew Hopkins feels like it was formed in a blast furnace, his usual florid filigrees burned away leaving a rock-hard, pitiless surface.
Hopkins is the ringmaster of a series of brutal murders carried out in the name of religious purification and though Reeves frames these horrors in the most inartful manner possible, »
- Charlie Largent
Although it stirred little notice on its Us release in 1968, the late Michael Reeves’ final film (of three and a half) has attained deservedly classic status as one of the darkest, most bleak historical treatments of human ignorance and misery on film. Price plays a true historical character, although the real one was much younger. We prefer the faux-Poe Us version only for the devastating poem Price reads at the end: “The play is the tragedy, Man. And its hero, The Conqueror Worm.” Get out the sleeping pills! »
- Trailers From Hell
Although it stirred little notice on its Us release in 1968, the late Michael Reeves' final film (of three and a half) has attained deservedly classic status as one of the darkest, most bleak historical treatments of human ignorance and misery on film. Price plays a true historical character, although the real one was much younger. We prefer the faux-Poe Us version only for the devastating poem Price reads at the end: "The play is the tragedy, Man. And its hero, The Conqueror Worm." Get out the sleeping pills!
- TFH Team
By Dave Worrall
One of the most sought-after film scores in the last 40 years has finally been released on CD. When released in 1968, Michael Reeves’ classic Witchfinder General (released in America as The Conqueror Worm) , starring Vincent Price (in arguably his finest role) featured an equally impressive score by Paul Ferris. At the time of the film's initial release a 45rpm record of the love theme was issued in England, but not a complete soundtrack. Thought to be have been lost forever, the original 1/4-inch master tapes were found in the vaults of recording studio De Wolfe Ltd in 2013.
Recently-discovered box containing reels of the original score.
The tapes, which are the original recordings, and not a copy, include every cue used in the film, and are now available on a CD for fans of this film (and the music) to enjoy at long last. Released by De Wolfe Ltd, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
As the undisputed king of American gothic, Vincent Price holds a unique position regarding his association with British horror. From the mid sixties, nearly all his films were made in the UK, and while not as distinguished as The House of Usher (1960), Tales of Terror (1962) and The Raven (1963), they are not without interest. As an actor perfectly suited to English gothic, Price’s output includes two career-defining performances. In a nutshell, he had the best of both worlds.
Masque of the Red Death (1964)
The British phase of his career began with a bang. After directing all of Price’s Poe chillers for American International Pictures, Roger Corman wanted to give the formula a fresh approach by making his next film in England. Aip’s Samuel Z Arkoff and James H Nicholson had already produced several European films, so the next step was to establish a London base with Louis M Heyward in charge. »
Chicago – I can’t recommend this more. “A Field in England” is a flashback and a flash forward all at once. It’s impossible to watch without thinking of great counter culture cinema. In fact when I saw it at Fantastic Fest 2013 it played as part of a double bill with Ken Russell’s “The Devils” (1971). They made perfect cinematic companion pieces. Russell’s film concerned a wayward priest desperate to protect his 17th century city from corruption in the Church only to fall victim to group hysteria when he is, ironically, accused of witchcraft by a jealous nun.
Ben Wheatley’s film is about a 17th century group of war deserters inexplicably taken hostage by a would be alchemist who forces them to aid in the search for treasure. The group is torn asunder by infighting and paranoia as their first meal, of tainted mushrooms, leaves them vulnerable to »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Reviewed by Kevin Scott, MoreHorror.com
She Beast (1966)
Written and Directed by: Michael Reeves
This week I’m going really old school with a British Italian horror classic, “The She Beast”. There’s the strong possibility that I have seen this movie in the past maybe on a local channel from back in the day, but I don’t recall it if I did. I should have though, because, it’s definitely an important film in the history of horror. It won’t change your life if you watch it now, but I bet it inspired some horror filmmakers early on, whose work we enjoy today.
“The She Beast” tells the story of the evil witch Vardella, who is terrorizing villagers in 18th century Transylvania. Finally, the townspeople have had enough, »
Although Hammer Films will always be associated with British horror, the studio did have stiff competition. Amicus specialised in the successful horror anthologies and Us counterparts American International Pictures established a permanent UK base in the mid sixties. Other smaller independents took their own bite from the cherry tree of horror with some success, the best known being Tigon Films.
Tigon has received some belated recognition in recent years. Andy Boot’s book on British horror Fragments of Fear devotes a chapter to the company while John Hamilton’s excellent book Beast in the Cellar covers the varied career of Tigon’s charismatic founder Tony Tenser.
Like Hammer’s Sir James Carreras, Tenser was one of the British Film Industry’s great entrepreneurs. Born in London to poor Lithuanian immigrants and a movie fan since childhood, he was an ambitious man with a natural talent for showmanship. Combining shrewd business »
This past week, I attended a private screening of the hard-to-find British folk horror, Blood on Satan’s Claw. This film has become the stuff of legend. Though it is a well-known horror film in the United Kingdom, it never had a DVD release stateside and was only privy to a very limited VHS run. Once every few years, it will play at off-hours on MGM’s movie channel. But unless you happen to be aimlessly flipping channels at 2a.m. on a random Tuesday, this film is hard to see, making it the perfect inclusion for this week’s The Unseen.
Tigon Film Productions never got quite the attention that Hammer or Amicus garnered, but they produced some greats in their own right, most notably Witchfinder General and Blood on Satan’s Claw. Both of these fall under the small sub-genre of “folk horror,” a group of films united »
- Rebekah McKendry
13 items from 2014
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