Archive for alfred hitchcock

Who Is Your Favourite HORROR Director Of The 60s? RESULTS!

Posted in horror, movies with tags , , , , , on November 27, 2012 by goregirl

Last week I asked you who your favourite 1960s horror film director was. There were 33 votes and a real mixed bag too. Only four directors of the nineteen I listed received no votes. The winner with six votes was Mario Bava right behind him was George A. Romero with five votes and Alfred Hitchcock rounded out the top three with four votes. Here is how the rest of the votes came in…

Mario Bava 18.18% (6 votes)
George A. Romero 15.15% (5 votes)
Alfred Hitchcock 12.12% (4 votes)
William Castle 9.09% (3 votes)
Robert Wise 9.09% (3 votes)
Roman Polanski 6.06% (2 votes)
Terence Fisher 6.06% (2 votes)
Roger Corman 3.03% (1 vote)
Jess Franco 3.03% (1 vote)
Sidney Hayers 3.03% (1 vote)
Ishirô Honda 3.03% (1 vote)
Herschell Gordon Lewis 3.03% (1 vote)
José Mojica Marins 3.03% (1 vote)
Michael Reeves 3.03% (1 vote)
Kaneto Shindô 3.03% (1 vote)
Freddie Francis 0% (0 votes)
John Gilling 0% (0 votes)
Antonio Margheriti 0% (0 votes)
John Llewellyn Moxey 0% (0 votes)

Tomorrow I will post my Top 10 Favourite Horror Films from 1969; the final year of the decade!

Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1960

Posted in horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2012 by goregirl

IMDB listed 139 titles for 1960, but once I dug into the list I discovered only 61 were actually full-length feature films. As is my modus operandi when doing these features, I do not include shorts, documentaries, made for TV movies or TV series. IMDB lists every individual episode of the television shows which accounted for a goodly number of the 139 titles. There were several episodes of the excellent Twilight Zone series along with two shows I had never heard of Thriller and The Unforeseen. I saw 47 of the 61 films from 1960. Ranking these was practically impossible. For starters my entire top five are films I ranked 5/5. How do you rank films you rated identically? Numbers 6 and 7 were films I rated 4.5/5 so they were easy enough to place. The bigger problem came when trying to decide which 3 films would round out the list when I had 8 films I ranked 4/5! What a colossal headache! The films I left off are all well worth a viewing; The Brides of Dracula, Circus of Horrors, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll and The Secret of the Telgian.

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#10 THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS

Directed By: John Gilling

The Flesh and the Fiends is the story of infamous corpse peddlers William Burke and William Hare and their business transactions with Professor Dr. Robert Knox. The lead performances are absolutely top notch; Peter Cushing as Dr. Knox, Donald Pleasence as Hare and George Rose as Burke are perfectly cast. Some of the supporting character subplots felt redundant but it’s a small complaint in an otherwise outstanding film. The Flesh and the Fiends beautifully captures the dark shadows of 19th Century Edinburgh. It’s a fantastic looking film with an excellent grim and eerie vibe. The deaths are not graphic but they are cold-hearted, well-executed and effectively chilling. I foolishly assumed being a 1960 British film starring Peter Cushing and directed by John Gilling (who directed the fantastic Hammer film Plague of the Zombies) that this was a Hammer film. It was in fact made at Shepperton Studios and was produced by Triad Productions. I was particularly torn between Circus of Horrors and The Flesh and the Fiends. In the end John Gilling’s excellent The Flesh and the Fiends won out in a large part thanks to the performances of Cushing, Pleasance and Rose.

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#9 MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN

Directed By: Giorgio Ferroni

Mill of the Stone Women is about a reporter writing a story on a reclusive sculptor who lives in an old mill. The mill houses a strange tourist attraction created by the sculptor; a carousel-esque contraption that features statues of historical women including some famous murderesses. The sculptor is hiding a secret in the form of a beautiful daughter suffering from some mysterious illness. Add to the mix an eccentric doctor and you’ve got one entertaining story. They give away too much information too soon yet the finale is none the lesser for it. The film’s finale is an absolute utter treat! Mill of the Stone Women is an imaginatively filmed lush affair with some seriously trippy scenes. The performances are good; particularly strong are Herbert Boehme as Professor Gregorius Wahl and Wolfgang Preiss as Dr. Loren Bohlem. It is a slow-moving but hypnotic watch with utterly fantastic set pieces, especially that lady carousel; that thing was freaking awesome! Giorgio Ferroni’s Mill of the Stone Women is a stylish, atmospheric horror film that comes highly recommended.

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#8 JIGOKU (aka THE SINNERS OF HELL)

Directed By: Nobuo Nakagawa

Jigoku or The Sinners of Hell is a bit of a bitch to give a short summary for. It is a story about a student named Shiro who is engaged to his professor’s daughter Yukiko. Shiro is the passenger in a hit and run, but there is a witness who wants revenge, Yukiko dies in a car accident, and Shiro is called home to see his dying mother. Shiro’s father runs a shoddy retirement home and openly flaunts his mistress and his mother’s caretaker is a dead ringer for his recently deceased fiancé. For reasons I will not divulge everyone ends up in hell. Hell! Rivers of blood, endless tortures, and demons await you! Jigoku is one of the earliest films to feature graphic gore. There is a flaying and a decapitation among other goodies. Jigoku is an exceptional film visually that is as beautiful as it is bizarre. To check out my photo review for Jigoku click here. Jigoku is an exceptionally unique Japanese horror film…and it has gore!

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#7 HOUSE OF USHER

Directed By: Roger Corman

Roger Corman directed several films based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe starring horror legend Vincent Price. Expect to see more of these on the top ten lists as they are some of the best the decade has to offer! Vincent Price plays Roderick Usher who opposes the marriage of his sister Madeline due to their cursed family bloodline. Price, of course is brilliant as Roderick Usher and he gets strong support from Myrna Fahey who plays Madeline Usher, Harry Ellerbe as Bristol and Mark Damon as Philip Winthrop; Madeline’s intended. The visuals are first class all the way. House of Usher’s great costumes, fantastic sets, superb performances and well-paced plotting assures you are entertained every single second of its 80ish minute runtime.

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#6 CITY OF THE DEAD

Directed By: John Llewellyn Moxey

City of the Dead was on my list of favourite witchcraft films I posted last week and it easily qualified as one of the best of 1960. City of the Dead is about a college student prompted by her professor to do research in the tiny village of Whitewood where much to her horror she discovers she is a target for a coven of witches. The performances are good particularly from Patricia Jessel who plays dual roles and Christopher Lee who has a memorable supporting turn. City of the Dead is a great atmospheric horror films with excellent suspense, beautifully gothic visuals and an engrossing story with one hell of a finale.

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#5 VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED

Directed By: Wolf Rilla

Village of the Damned has been a favourite since I was a kid. An entire town rendered unconscious and protected by an invisible force field even the military can not breach. After a while the force field disappears and the townsfolk begin waking up seemingly unharmed. A few weeks later however the women of child-bearing age discover they are pregnant and all deliver on the same day. The children grow at an alarming rate and bare a striking resemblance to one another. The creepy, emotionless blonde haired children also possess supernatural powers! Filmed in beautiful black and white with a perfect sense of paranoia and an eerie menacing vibe that is completely engrossing. Village of the Damned is well-written and the performances are perfect; especially excellent is George Sanders as the affable Gordon Zellaby, and the talented Barbara Shelley as his charming wife Anthea. Beware the glowing eyes of the children! Why haven’t you seen this film? Village of the Damned is one of the great classics of sci-fi horror.

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#4 BLACK SUNDAY

Directed By: Mario Bava

I warned you it would not be the last time you would see Mario Bava’s Black Sunday on a list! There is no movie on this list I have seen more than Black Sunday! My childhood viewing of Black Sunday terrified me! These days I appreciate it more for its beautiful, gothic, hypnotizing cinematography. But that scene of the mask of Satan being pounded into Barbara Steele’s face still has some sting! It is the story of a witch put to death by her own brother who returns 200 years later to seek revenge on her descendants. Black Sunday is beautiful, eerie and hypnotic and Barbara Steele simply stuns in her dual roles. Black Sunday is one of the greatest gothic horror films ever made!

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#3 PEEPING TOM

Directed By: Michael Powell

Peeping Tom has a particularly racy story for 1960. Peeping Tom is the story of Mark Lewis who murders women so he can capture on film their terrified expressions before death. Its voyeuristic nature is heavily emphasized and the film is as much psychological as it is horrifying. Carl Boehm plays it quiet and brooding and is outstanding as the awkward and unstable titular Peeping Tom Mark Lewis. This isn’t simply a film about a serial killer it is an in-depth character study and an intelligently written story that explores deeper issues than one would expect of the sub-genre. The film is a slow-burn but an extremely effective one. Peeping Tom is a dark, edgy, well-made film that was ahead of its time. Absolutely brilliant.

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#2 EYES WITHOUT A FACE

Directed By: Georges Franju

Eyes Without a Face is about Christiane who lives hidden from the world, shrouded by a white featureless mask that hides her horribly disfigured face. Her father is guilt-ridden plastic surgeon, Dr. Genessier. With the help of his assistant Louise, they lure young women in and surgically remove their faces in hope of successfully grafting the skin to his daughter. But one failed graft after another leaves a pile of bodies and little hope. Eyes without a Face is about vanity, guilt, obsession, depression and redemption. It is a tale that is as bizarre and bleak as it is beautiful. Eyes Without a Face is a visually stunning film; its sterile brightly lit surgeries, shadowy corridors, endless rooms and impressive set pieces. The “face removal” was very graphic for the time and still impresses. A strange and wonderful score compliments beautifully. Eyes Without a Face is a flawless, strikingly original, bleak and beautiful contribution to the horror genre.

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#1 PSYCHO

Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

Truthfully, I don’t enjoy Psycho any more than the other films in this top five. As I mentioned in my introduction I gave all five of these films an identical perfect rating. Alas one of the films had to hold this spot and technically speaking Psycho is a flawless masterpiece. I am sure there is nothing I can add that hasn’t been said about Psycho before. If you are unfamiliar with Psycho’s story it revolves around a woman named Marion Crane who decides to leave town to start a new life with money she stole from her employer. Inevitably she must stop to rest and chooses the Bates Motel run by a socially awkward momma’s boy named Norman Bates. This does not end well for Ms. Crane whose disappearance does not go unnoticed. Psycho is a stunning film with a pitch perfect mood and atmosphere. Psycho’s real attraction for me is Norman Bates. Anthony Perkins gives a truly epic and iconic performance as cinema’s most infamous momma’s boy. Hitchcock constructed a truly beautiful, chilling, ground-breaking film that has a firm place in horror history.

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DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #10 – #6

Posted in movies with tags , , , , on August 7, 2012 by goregirl

My 50 Favourite Directors #10 – #6

The final list will be posted on Friday, August 10!

*NOTE: I did not include any made for TV movies in the numbers I used for each director’s full-length feature films.*

#10. George A. Romero

What I’ve Seen: Survival of the Dead (2009), Diary of the Dead (2007), Land of the Dead (2005), Bruiser (2000), The Dark Half (1993), Monkey Shines (1988), Day of the Living Dead (1985), Creepshow (1982), Knightriders (1981), Dawn of the Dead (1978), Martin (1976), The Crazies (1973), Hungry Wives (1972), Night of the Living Dead (1968)

I have seen 14 of George A. Romero’s 15 full length feature films (I have not seen There’s Always Vanilla from 1971). Although I have seen Two Evil Eyes, I did not include it in George Romero or Dario Argento’s list. Two Evil Eyes is a collaboration between Dario Argento and George Romero featuring two horror tales based on short stories by Edgar Allan Poe. Romero contributed “The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar” and Argento “The Black Cat“. The films are not quite short films but are not full length features either. Just wasn’t really sure what to do with Two Evil Eyes. While it is not the perfect representation of either man’s work, it is still a bit of fun and it is certainly one of the more entertaining flicks to come out in the 90s! Romero has fewer films I gave a perfect rating to than other directors I ranked. It isn’t all about quantity; it is also about quality and passion. And I am passionate about my zombies!! Besides the original Godzilla, Dawn of the Dead is probably my most watched film of all time. I am well past counting on my fingers and toes how many times I have seen Dawn of the Dead. I have also seen Night of the Living Dead and Day of the Dead multiple times. Romero’s dead trilogy is epic. Romero basically wrote the zombie playbook. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead came out in 1968 and 100s of zombie films later, very few can top it! Really, I would say only Romero himself has ever topped his own masterpiece with my aforementioned favourite Dawn of the Dead. And “top” would be strong language as I think these two films are equally perfect. Beside Romero’s trio of undead perfection I loved The Crazies, Martin, Creepshow and Knightriders! Romero’s intense, scary and gory visions have made the world a better place to live! George A. Romero is the undisputed King of the Zombies!

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#9. Ingmar Bergman

What I’ve Seen: Fanny and Alexander (1982), Autumn Sonata (1978), The Serpent’s Egg (1977), Cries & Whispers (1972), The Passion of Anna (1969), Shame (1968), Hour of the Wolf (1968), Persona (1966), The Silence (1963), Winter Light (1963), Through a Glass Darkly (1961), The Devil’s Eye (1960), The Virgin Spring (1960), The Magician (1958), Wild Strawberries (1957), The Seventh Seal (1957), Sawdust and Tinsel (1953), Summer with Monika (1953), Summer Interlude (1951)

I have seen 19 of Ingmar Bergman’s 36 full length feature films and have dug every last one. Reviewing Ingmar Bergman’s IMDB page it appears he has written the screenplays for the majority (if not all) of the films he has directed. The immensely talented Swedish director generally uses his home country for his backdrops. A cast of regulars that include Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand and Erland Josephson helped make Bergman look good with their talent and easy chemistry. Their characters question faith, morality and death whilst confronting, isolation, sexual desire, illness, duplicity and loss. Bergman’s camera gets up close and personal with long lingering close-ups of his performers. Bergman takes advantage of shadows and uses them to their full effectiveness. I am probably the only one who thinks it is a shame Bergman didn’t do horror! Bergman’s only real foray into horror was Hour of the Wolf about a man’s descent into madness; which is one of my favourite films from the director. Bergman’s crime-drama The Virgin Spring was remade by Wes Craven as a horror film and re-titled Last House on the Left. My personal favourites are the aforementioned Hour of the Wolf and The Virgin Spring, along with Shame, Persona, Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal and Through a Glass Darkly. Bergman’s films can drain me emotionally but always captivate me. Ingmar Bergman films are poetry in motion and his library is one of the finest collections I have ever had the pleasure to behold.

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#8. Dario Argento

What I’ve Seen: Giallo (2009), Mother of Tears (2007), The Card Player (2004), Sleepless (2001), The Phantom of the Opera (1998), The Stendhal Syndrome (1996), Trauma (1993), Opera (1987), Phenomena (1985), Tenebre (1982), Inferno (1980), Suspiria (1977), Deep Red (1975), The Five Days (1973), Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971), The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971), The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

I have seen 17 of Dario Argento’s 18 full length feature films. I have not yet seen Argento’s newest film Dracula 3D. It is more difficult these days getting excited about Argento’s new projects. His work over the last several years has been a disappointment. It is unlikely Dracula 3D will get a theatrical run here, or perhaps anywhere outside of Italy. So far 116 users on IMDB rated the film giving it an average 4.3/10. Now that we got that bit of unpleasantness out of the way, let me add that I never miss seeing an Argento film. I find a way to see every last one even if that means having to purchase it. Dario Argento is the director of three of my all-time favourite horror films; Deep Red, Tenebre and Suspiria. I have seen this trio of Argento films many times over the years and I love them as much now as I did when I discovered them in the 80s! In fact, all of Argento’s pre-90s films are superb; I would recommend any of them without hesitation. Dario Argento’s visuals are nothing short of spectacular. His wandering camera travelling along walls and windows, the way he uses color to its utmost potential, his use of light and shadow and most importantly his elaborately staged death scenes all come together to create wonderful horror masterpieces! Let us not forget the soundtracks! I have several tracks from Argento films posted on my YouTube channel and I absolutely love all his collaborations with Goblin! A good piece of music can add so much to the mood and overall feel of a film; particularly a horror film. Dario Argento is one of horrors most influential directors and is one of the prime reasons I am the huge horror fan I am today.

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#7. David Lynch

What I’ve Seen: Inland Empire (2006), Rabbits (2002), Mulholland Dr. (2001), The Straight Story (1999), Lost Highway (1997), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), Wild at Heart (1990), Blue Velvet (1986), Dune (1984), The Elephant Man (1980), Eraserhead (1977)

I have seen all 11 of David Lynch’s full length feature films. Lynch’s twisted, trippy, violent, dark and beautiful visions are truly one of a kind. Lynch’s hugely popular TV show Twin Peaks helped bring him to the masses. Evidently, I am a humongous fan of his television series Twin Peaks and think it is one of the best TV shows to grace the airwaves. A goddamn shame it was so short lived! I am still perplexed by the fact that David Lynch has actually had any commercial success; his stuff is pretty freaking bizarre. I am always torn on which Lynch is my ultimate favourite; Blue Velvet or Wild at Heart. Blue Velvet’s violent psychopath character Frank played by the great Dennis Hopper is one of the most memorable bastards in the history of cinema. And I think Wild at Heart is the greatest love story ever told! I also gave Lynch’s The Elephant Man, Eraserhead and The Straight Story perfect marks. The Straight Story is shockingly sentimental and accessible for Lynch but I found it positively charming! I enjoy everything Lynch has directed in varying degrees (okay Dune is iffy, but I did enjoy the visuals). Lynch has never directed a film that could be called straight-up horror but he certainly is not shy about including violent and macabre images. My biggest complaint about David Lynch is he just hasn’t directed enough films. I implore Mr. Lynch to direct at least one more great film! Lynch, like everyone in my top 10 has long been a favourite. No one but no one is quite like David Lynch; I will enjoy repeat visits to his dark paradise for the rest of my days.

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#6. Alfred Hitchcock

What I’ve Seen: Family Plot (1976), Frenzy (1972), Topaz (1969), Torn Curtain (1966), Marnie (1964), The Birds (1963), Psycho (1960), North by Northwest (1959), Vertigo (1958), The Wrong Man (1956), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), The Trouble with Harry (1955), To Catch a Thief (1955), Rear Window (1954), Dial M for Murder (1954), I Confess (1953), Strangers on a Train (1951), Stage Fright (1950), Under Capricorn (1949), Rope (1948), The Paradine Case (1947), Notorious (1946), Spellbound (1945), Lifeboat (1944), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Saboteur (1942), Suspicion (1941), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Rebecca (1940), Jamaica Inn (1939), The Lady Vanishes (1938), Young and Innocent (1937), Sabotage (1936), Secret Agent (1936), The 39 Steps (1935), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), Waltzes from Vienna (1934)

I posted a couple of pieces of music from Psycho and Vertigo on my YouTube channel early April and commented that I had not seen any of Alfred Hitchcock’s pre-1934 films; unfortunately I still haven’t. I have seen 38 of Alfred Hitchcock’s 54 full length feature films. That is the most films I have seen from any director on this list. Of course, I have a lifetime of watching Hitchcock films as both my parents were fans. Seriously, how can you not like Hitchcock? Funny, moody, thrilling, quirky, mysterious, frightening and of course, suspenseful; Hitchcock can do it all. Not only can he do it all, but he does it all so very well! Although it has been quite a few years since I watched a few of these titles, I don’t believe I have disliked a single one of the 38 titles I have seen! That is quite the amazing feat! There are definitely a few I feel particularly cozy with like Psycho, Vertigo, The Trouble With Harry, Notorious, The Wrong Man, Rope, Frenzy and The Birds. Hitchcock films are inventively filmed, they have superb stories and outstanding character development and primo performances from some of the best actors and actresses who ever lived. Alfred Hitchcock makes it okay to be voyeuristic! Hitchcock is an innovator of the highest order and is probably the most influential director on this list. Hitchcock is indeed the master of suspense and in my opinion is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time!

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Hitchcock On My Mind

Posted in movies, music with tags , , , on April 6, 2012 by goregirl

I love Alfred Hitchcock! One of these days I will do my top ten favourite Hitchcock films! In the meantime here are two videos I put together for a couple of pieces of music from two of Hitchcock’s outstanding entries; Vertigo and Psycho.

Bernard Herrmann – Psycho Suite Prelude/The Murder/Finale. Music and images from Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho! Warning! Spoiler pictures have been included in this slideshow!

Bernard Herrmann – Vertigo – Scene d’Amour with a slideshow of Alfred Hitchcock films (1934 – 1976). I have not seen any of Hitchcock’s pre-1934 films so I did not include them in this slideshow.