Post by The Folks @ TanneryWhistle.com on Nov 10, 2003 22:12:03 GMT -5
Do you know a notorious old sex-horror novel, "Let's Go Play at the Jonses"? Usually, people who are really hard-core horror buffs love it. I have a copy, and when I read it, I remember thinking that it was the only book I had read in my life that I wanted to bury. Yeah, dig a hole and bury it. I'm not quite sure why. I think it crossed some kind of boundary line.
Do you remember a film called "the Hitchhiker" that starred wonderful old Jack Elam? You know he was blessed/cursed with a strange, glaring eye. He was the hitchhiker of the title, and he killed the people who picked him up. Liked to toy with them though. They never knew if he was asleep or not since the weird eye stayed open. Elam died last week.
Neal you just rattled the right cage. Absolute terror has nothing to do with blood. Just the opposite -- it is beyond "the flesh" -- and that's why it's so scary. I don't know anything on screen ever as terrifying as "The Haunting," which was kept unusually close to Shirley Jackson's book -- one of the scariest things ever on paper. When the movie came to TV, we were living in a house with so many of the manifestations of "Hill House" that looking at it nearly put me under. All these things you heard, felt, sensed in every way but sight, were somehow verified by the experience, fictional or otherwise, of someone else. I knew what was taking Eleanor up that spiral staircase because it had once taken me up the staircase right behind my chair, to an awful and unbelievable discovery, with consequences that never seemed to quit. ( I have tried writing about that but it is too terrifying to put on paper, especially in a house by myself. Nancy Roberts did write about it, but since she never knew "the thing" first hand it was a very pale reproduction. I am convinced that Shirley Jackson knew it from experience.) So the thing is, if a story evokes some recognition, however well repressed, in the viewer, the impact is far greater. This is a place where Stephen King is masterful -- he remembers everything that terrified him in childhood and makes use of it. What could ever be so frightening as a parent who goes insane, like Daddy in The Shining? Or finding the corpse of a friend, and being chased by a locomotive, and found cowering by the bullies, as in "Stand By Me?" Which brings up "Night of the Hunter" -- the NEXT scariest book, and movie, of all time. Robert Mitchum will forever personify evil, and the floating hair of Shelley Winters the ultimate dread. Erdajean
I'm afraid I'm not much use here. There are two lovable knuckleheads under 3' tall in my house that keep me in-doors most nights. They provide good company, at least.
However, I can tell you about an extraordinary and obscure film I saw just before Halloween. I had never heard of it before, but its quite amazing and I hope it is available these days somehow. There was a special showing at NC State of a silent film made around 1928 of The Fall of the House of Usher, directed by Jean Epstein in France. The enitire conception of it is really I think the height of film art. I just made it sound boring, but its incredibly stylized and very accessible all at once. I suspect Gary likes this story. Anybody who does, this is a great version of it. The event at State was inspired by a guy I know who composed a soundtrack for this film and played it live with six musicians including an oboe, cello, violin, clarinet, electric guitar and full drum set, plus a guy who read the inter-titles. The film alone, however, is extraordinary. When you look at something like that it gives a lot of plausibility to the claims that synchronised sound ruined movies.
We have a new cinema here for independent and foreign film but they come and go and Neal never knows. I'll try to pay better attention. Neal
Post by The Folks @ TanneryWhistle.com on Nov 12, 2003 23:29:52 GMT -5
Yeah, I'm a big Polanski fan. Even things like his "Macbeth" are well worth the effort. I need to see that one again. As I remember it, it is filled with wonderful little moments.....like the witches! Gary
Polanski's "Repulsion" is one of the creepiest films of all times. There are a few others from those days that I have always wanted to see-"Cul De Sac" and "The Tenant". As I recall, "The Fearless Vampire Killers" is a very strange film, starring Polanski and then-wife Sharon Tate. Neal
Post by The Folks @ TanneryWhistle.com on Nov 13, 2003 10:33:24 GMT -5
Have you seen Polanski's "MacBeth"?? I got another question for you. Have you seen either "Chaos"...a Japanese horror film or "Versus" another Japanese horror film? I'm trying to track them down and I think that they are both on my new Netflex video club ($20 per month and as many film as you can watch). I think maybe "Chaos" is by the same guy that did "Ringu."
None of the above. I really need to come up and watch a few films with you to catch up. I have always wanted to see Polanski's Macbeth; very bloody isn't it? I believe it was the first film he made after the Mansonites killed his pregnant wife. Neal
Post by The Folks @ TanneryWhistle.com on Nov 13, 2003 20:06:44 GMT -5
Yeah, Erdajean is right about all of those Shirley Jackson tales, be it "Hell House" or "The Haunting of Hill House." Right now, I have no memory of "Lets Frighten (whatsher name) to death, so I gotta check it out, too. Incidentally, I ordered "Into the Mouth of Madness," the one that John Brown mentioned. It is on the way. It is now available on DVD. Gary
Post by The Folks @ TanneryWhistle.com on Nov 14, 2003 22:58:34 GMT -5
Well, I just watched "Chaos," a Japanese horror flick by the director who did "Ringu." My immediate impression is, don't bother. Didn't care for it much. It was like a Japanese version of one of those stylish French horror flicks that has bodies that won't stay buried, corpses in the bathtub and multiple cases of mistaken identity. I hate to say such a bigoted thing, but honestly, those actors all look alike, so how can I spot a case of mistaken identity. This is a kidnap plot gone wrong in a confused hash of lovers, angry wives, deceitful husbands, etc. But, hey, I have great hopes for another Japanese flick that I just ordered.
Post by The Folks @ TanneryWhistle.com on Nov 27, 2003 8:27:05 GMT -5
When I was six, my Aunt Ruby took me to the Ritz Theatre and I saw this weird continued serial that had a man on a table and some kind of doctor tending him. The man swelled up, got bigger and bigger. To make matters worse, this was in a jungle and all of these drums were beating and the man sat up and got off the table. I don't know what this damned thing was, but I had nightmares for a week. I even had nightmares at "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" when the witch climbed the mountain in the thunderstorm and cackled "Heeee, heee, heee" everytime the lightning flashed. I guess the point is, when you see things for the first time, your response is pretty intense. I think that most of us are trying to recapture that intensity...and not just in film, either. Gary
Gary, Talk about first time experiences! One night, around 2 AM, my wife and I watched "Without Warning" the alien invader who predated Predator. Jack Palance is in the first one. We found it very spooky, but more ordinary later on.
Not so with The Sadist, with Arch Hall, Jr., which is still pretty freaky.
I just got Night of the Hunter (book and video) from the library.
And I agree with you about "Let's Go Play at the Adams'"--I needed Barry Schneebeli's unpublished sequel to help me deal with the ending.
Post by The Folks @ TanneryWhistle.com on Dec 2, 2003 14:53:57 GMT -5
Jack Palance was in Without Warning? Now, that is interesting. Have you ever seen Palance's "Dracula"?? I thought it has a little extra zip. Now, have you seen "Anatomy"? If not, please do. It is a German horror flick that is slick, dark and well-plotted. There is even a dmaned good soundtrack which is running on German TV as a kind of MTV thing with a lot of black leather/rubber and morgue tables and drawers. There is already an "Anatomy 2."
Please talk t me about "Night of the Hunter." Gary