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White Zombie (1932)
It shares a similar feel with another horror movie from its era, The Mummy - both could have worked as silent movies and blend the silent and talkie forms together beautifully. Like The Mummy, the pacing is almost lyrical - the scenes linger, and fade away as a musical note does.
Bela Lugosi delivers a magnificent performance - his presence is undeniable. And you gotta admit, he looks pretty damn stylin' in that goatee. The
camerawork, lighting, and set design are also incredibly well done, and contribute heavily to the atmosphere of dread. Really a fantastic job considering they were working on no budget.
All in all, a well-made, genuinely creepy and fascinating movie.
I Bury the Living (1958)
A hidden gem
* may contain spoilers *
Not too much to add to what others have written here; it's one of those great little suspense/thriller films that rises far above its B-movie origins. Although I wouldn't really call it scary, it was engrossing, well-acted, and had great atmosphere. Did anyone else notice that the more the film focuses on the map, the more it starts to look like an abstract drawing of a face glaring out at the viewer? I also thought comparisons to a map of the brain were quite apt.
I was quite intrigued by an earlier comment that claims the ending as written in the original script has Boone's character locked inside the caretaker's shed with the re- animated corpses of his victims (caused by his switching the black pins with white) calling for him from outside, causing him to die of fright. This would have been a much more frightening ending, worthy of the excellent buildup, and could have also functioned as a "did it really happen or did he just go insane?" puzzler. The plot seems to hint that he is exhausted and possibly overwhelmed by his business concerns, which could lead to his mental breakdown.
One point I noticed that lends credence to the alternate ending and is never explained in the real ending is that during the night he replaces the black pins with white, there are several close-ups on the graves of the deceased that clearly show the ground rising from underneath as if a corpse was rising. Since Boone isn't present, these scenes can't represent his point of view. Maybe the test audience didn't like the original ending. ;^)
Night of the Dark Full Moon (1972)
Great low-budget horror
It's not perfect, but this movie has a lot going for it. Some very creepy imagery and sound work throughout, and it functions well as both a horror film and a mystery. The first axe murder is incredibly well done, much better than today's fancy special effects. Great characters, too, and solid acting throughout.
As mentioned by many other commentors, the best part of the film is the extended flashback scene near the end of the movie. This is one of the creepier scenes I've seen in a horror film, and I've seen quite a few. Did anyone else notice that this section of the film appears to have heavily influenced The Ring? Particularly the shots where it goes to a jumpy dissolve to the wallpapered room with the traumatized little girl? Even the theme has some similiarities.
I won't bother to say anything about the production values, except to say that the insufficient lighting never bothered me - it seemed to add to the atmosphere.
Only two real flaws - one, the opening and closing scenes with Mary Woronov really bleed tension out of the whole business, and could have been left out completely; they don't add anything to the film. The other is that it's pretty hard to swallow the conceit that the escaped lunatics were able to take over all of the town's positions of power (i.e. mayor, police chief, etc.), let alone that nobody else in the town seemed to be the wiser. In the end, though, who cares? This is a stylish and imaginative horror (as opposed to "slasher") film that has had lasting influence on the genre.
DVD note - I got this in a "4-pack" compilation of older horror movies (!for $5) called "Horror Classics" put out by Platinum. Great deal if you're into the older horror movies, although the contents of the disc can vary from what's advertised on the cover.
Midnight Madness (1980)
My wife is a die-hard TV kid from the 80's and when we saw this one in the cheap DVD rack she forced me to buy it for her. I will be eternally grateful.
Never saw this as a kid, only as an adult, and I was blown away. This movie is frickin' hysterical. The plot is transparent, but that's kind of the point - a better plot would have distracted from the supremely goofy situations and characters. I totally lose it anytime the fat twins are on screen, especially the scene where they stop for just a moment in front of the carnival and boom! they're gone. Priceless. (Great to see that one of the sisters wrote in here as well.) And any movie wise enough to cast Eddie Deezen is a guaranteed hit.
My favorite part was how they got Tim Burton to play Leon.
Fagabeefe! Fagabeefe! Fagabeefe!