Self-explanatory title: one horror film from every year 1920 – 2015. The best of the best.
The choices I settled on are up for debate, of course. I’ve seen a few of these lists floating around the net recently and I decided to throw my hat into the ring. I tried to pick films which enjoyed critical success and made a cultural impact. As I picked only one film a year, a lot of classics didn’t make the cut. Horror films seem to be like buses – you’ll have three lean years of rubbish followed by a year in which you get five classics all at once.
I saw a photo of an actress the other day. The woman pictured is called Bessie Love. I’d never heard of her before and, although it does look like the photo could have been taken during the 70s, it’s actually from the 1920s. When it popped up on Facebook, a lot of people couldn’t believe it.
“But it CAN’T be from the 1920s, actresses had CLASS back then!”
“She was way ahead of her time.”
“People didn’t show skin back then.”
Et cetera, et cetera…
The photo is legit. Here’s a photo of Bessie looking decidedly more time-appropriate.
Sometimes, it seems a lot of people think of the 1920s as being almost Victorian, as belonging to some lost world of modesty and old-fashioned values, when the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. They seem to think that before the 1960s, the sole purpose of a movie was to strictly uphold Christian values and dish out lessons on morality. In fact, the movie world of the 1920s was exciting and sexy and broke boundaries.
I love stories about old Hollywood scandals and, of course, Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon is the absolute bible for anyone interested in that sort of thing. Hopefully, one day I can go into detail on some of the juicier stories, but for now, here’s a list of ten essential silent movies that prove cinema back then was as exciting and vital as it is now.
List time! It’s Christopher Lee’s birthday and today, we’re talking classic (pre-1981) British horror films – the Essential ones. Ten to represent the hundreds and give a fully rounded taste of the genre. Without further ado…
Horror of Dracula(1958) – Universal done British/Hammer
If you can name only one British horror studio, it’s going to be Hammer. It’s a serious credit to Mr Lee’s name that he was able to take a role so utterly embodied by another actor and make it his own. There’s no point in telling you the story – it’s Dracula. Horror of Dracula would lead to eight sequels. Lee would go on to play the Count in ten different pictures.
Legend of Hell House (1973) – Let’s Get Spooky in a Haunted Mansion
At the bequest of an interested millionaire, a scientist takes two psychic mediums and his wife to stay in a haunted house to try and determine whether or not ghosts really exist. Spoiler: In this film, they do.
Here’s the trailer. As you can see, Hell House stars the wonderful Roddy McDowall in a particularly fetching pair of glasses, which is probably all the inducement you need to watch the film.
I first watched The Exorcist (1973) when I was around six or seven years old. While I probably wouldn’t – no – let me state this clearly, I definitely would not allow a seven-year-old to watch it, I’m absolutely certain that no harm has come to me through the experience. Though I can’t say for sure exactly what was going through my mind as I heard the immortal line “Your mother sucks cocks in hell”, I’m quite sure it went over my head. Continue reading “Growing Up Horrible”