3 items from 2016
With the advent and huge success of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), studios were quick to hop aboard the killer train. Out were the outsized monsters of the ’50s, in were mama’s boys and socially maligned women dealing with sins of the past. Dementia 13 (’63) and No Way to Treat a Lady (’67) are just a sample of the ’60s horror films that focused on smaller scale, human dilemmas, regardless of how twisted they may be. One film that seems to have been misplaced in the schizoid shuffle is Freddie Francis’ The Psychopath (1966), a lean little thriller that acts as a gateway for one of the most revered European horror sub-genres: the giallo.
Of course, Psycho plays a major part in this association; the Italian-originated giallo wallowing in mysteries of the mind shot through with a razor-sharp emphasis on the visceral, stemming from a psychological need, a desire, to fix wrongs, »
- Scott Drebit
From the mid sixties to the mid seventies, omnibus (or anthology, or portmanteau if you’re really fancy) horror films were big business. And Amicus Productions ruled the roost. Between ’65 and ’74 they released seven such films, starting with Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (not to be confused with Dr. Tongue’s Evil House of Pancakes) and culminating with From Beyond the Grave. Today’s film lands in the middle, The House that Dripped Blood (1971) showcasing a company just starting to hit their stride with anthologies.
Popularity of the omnibus format has ebbed and flowed throughout the last 50 years; after Amicus stopped making them, George Romero and Stephen King collaborated on one of the finest, Creepshow (1982), which didn’t so much kick start a revival as have everyone afraid to compete. Throughout the late ‘80s and ‘90s there were pockets of inspiration, Tales from the Hood (1995) and of course HBO »
- Scott Drebit
The icon-establishing performances Marilyn Monroe gave in Howard Hawks’ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and in Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot (1959) are ones for the ages, touchstone works that endure because of the undeniable comic energy and desperation that sparked them from within even as the ravenous public became ever more enraptured by the surface of Monroe’s seductive image of beauty and glamour. Several generations now probably know her only from these films, or perhaps 1955’s The Seven-Year Itch, a more famous probably for the skirt-swirling pose it generated than anything in the movie itself, one of director Wilder’s sourest pictures, or her final completed film, The Misfits (1961), directed by John Huston, written by Arthur Miller and costarring Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift.
But in Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) she delivers a powerful dramatic performance as Nell, a psychologically devastated, delusional, perhaps psychotic young woman apparently on »
- Dennis Cozzalio
3 items from 2016
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