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31 Days Of Horror: Quatermass And The Pit

10 Years of FearCreated by Nigel Kneale, Dr. Quatermass started off as TV serial for the BBC in 1953. The success of that show lead Hammer Films to adapt it into a movie, The Quatermass Xperiment which I’ve written about a couple of times here and here.

Kneale would write two more TV serials <em>Quatermass 2 and Quatermass and the Pit which where both made into films by Hammer. Dr Quatermass was played by American actor Brian Donlevy for Hammer’s first two outings to get theatrical screenings in North America. Kneale disliked Donlevy as Quatermass. Donlevy sort of played the doctor as kind of almost huckster instead of a brilliant scientist. For the third film Quatermass and the Pit Andrew Keir stepped into the role and was perfect for it. I enjoyed the first two films and Donlevy is okay in the role but Keir is much much better as Quatermass.
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31 Days Of Horror: The Invisible Man

10 Years of FearIt’s a dark and snowy night when a stranger arrives at The Lion’s Head Inn. He takes a room and asks for nothing but privacy. The stranger is covered head to toe in bandages. A while later the landlords decide evict the stranger – he’s behind on the rent. The stranger throws a fit and assaults the owner. The police are called and the stranger reveals his secret to all present. He’s invisible!

H.G. Well’s fantastic novel was brilliantly adapted by Universal Studios in 1933. The film holds up extremely well today even the effects haven’t truly been improved upon.
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31 Days Of Horror: Alien

10 Years of FearI can’t believe it’s already the middle of the month and the half way point for 31 Days of Horror. There are too many choices and not enough days.

Today’s pick is the classic 1979 sci-fi horror Alien. Written by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett and directed by Ridley Scott, this movie changed the face of sci-fi horror for ever.
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31 Days Of Horror: Re-Animator

10 Years of FearThe work of writer H. P. Lovecraft has influenced a generations of filmmakers but there have been very few actually good adaptations of his work. Re-Animator is a very loose adaptation of Lovecraft’s story Herbert West–Reanimator and while it’s a loose adaptation it’s one of the best adaptations of Lovecraft’s work. It’s certainly one of the more fun films.

Director Stuart Gordon made the film on a pretty low budget but made the most of it. Originaly Gordon was going to make a stage play and then he was going to make the story into a TV pilot (which is pretty hard to believe once you’ve seen the film). From there it was made into a feature film.
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31 Days Of Horror: The Haunting

s10 Years of FearThere is a new TV series on Netflix based on Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House. I’ve watched the first episode and it was good but the 1963 adaptation from director Robert Wise is way way way better.

This movie is fantastic! Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson) wants to examine a real haunted house. He asks the current owners of Hill House, a notorious house out in the country if he can conduct an experiment on the place to prove that ghosts exist. The owners agree as long as one of the attendees is young nephew Luke Sanderson (Russ Tamblyn). Other members of the experiment include Eleanor “Nell” Lance (Julie Harris) and Theodora “Theo” (Claire Bloom).
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31 Days Of Horror: Deep Red

10 Years of FearIt’s Christmas time in small house and a child’s song is playing. Two figures struggle and a child screams. A bloody knife is dropped to the ground.

Many years later in Rome a psychic named Helga Ulmann (Macha Méril) is holding a conference. She tries to read the minds of her audience when she realizes that someone in the audience is a murderer. Later Helga is in her apartment trying to write down what she saw when someone breaks into her apartment and murders her. At the same time Marcus Daly (David Hemmings) is taking his drunken friend Carlo (Gabriele Lavia) home and sees Helga being murdered. Marcus runs up to the apartment to help but is too late.
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31 Days Of Horror: Doctor X

10 Years of FearI love pre-code movies. Those are movies made from 1929 to 1934 when the Motion Picture Production Code was put in place and enforced. Until then it was kind of a wild west for movies. Nothing was too taboo.

Enter 1932’s Doctor X. For the past several months when the moon is full, horrific murders have taken place. And to make matters worse each body has been cannibalized after they’ve been killed. The killer has been described as a monster. Reporter Lee Taylor (Lee Tracy) has been trying to get a scoop on the story. Doctor Xavier (Lionel Atwill) is called into examine the latest victim and Doctor Xavier’s colleagues at the university have been placed under suspicion. In order to avoid a scandal Xavier convinces the police let him hold his own investigation.
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31 Days Of Horror: Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed

10 Years of FearI have covered this one a couple of times but it’s easily the best of the Hammer Frankenstein movies.

It’s fifth of Hammer’s Frankenstein movies where they followed Peter Cushing’s awesome Dr. Frankenstein instead of the monster like Universal’s Frankenstein horror movies did. All of ones with Peter Cushing are fantastic – heck Revenge of Frankenstein might be better but it’s a close draw.
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31 Days Of Horror: The Devil’s Backbone

10 Years of FearToday is Guillermo del Toro’s birthday so in honour today’s 31 Days of Horror takes another look at his brilliant horror film El espinazo del diablo aka The Devil’s Backbone (2001).

Del Toro made The Devil’s Backbone after working on Mimic for Harvey Weinstein. Mimic was Del Toro’s first English language and American movie and he clashed a lot against Weinstein. Del Toro would later disown Mimic. The Devil’s Backbone gave del Toro a chance to make his own movie his way.
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REVIEW: The Wife Is Not that Into You

It’s hard to find a more reliable performer than Glenn Close. The six-time Oscar nominee (should have won for Fatal Attraction) can be equally believable as a take-no-prisoners lawyer, the head of intergalactic police corps, and Homer Simpson’s mom.

The Wife gives Close a different showcase, one that asks from her to repress her emotions until it’s not physically possible. It’s a stunning piece of acting, one than someone with less experience wouldn’t be able to pull off.

The beginning of The Wife is dream-like. Literary lion Joe Castleman (Jonathan Pryce), one of those American writers who think of themselves as gods, is awaken by a call from the Swedish Academy. He has been awarded the Nobel Prize, the perfect capper for a prolific career. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Wife Is Not that Into You”