Gothic Films - episode four
Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.
Aquest tema està marcat com "inactiu"—L'últim missatge és de fa més de 90 dies. Podeu revifar-lo enviant una resposta.
Link manually like this, Lola? I don't really know what I'm doing...
There's some excerpts of Genuine on the Eureka DVD of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. They don't add up to 50 minutes worth, though. Has some more footage been discovered since 2000? (and now I'm going to look on YouTube, of course).
The Neon Demon (2016). Can't say much about this without spoilers. It's about the dangers of the LA modelling world. Under the stylish treatment (reminiscent at various points of Suspiria, Mulholland Drive, and expensive perfume ads) the story is the kind of Grand Guinol that could have appeared in a '70s horror paperback - the kind of US popular novel celebrated in Paperbacks from Hell, or in the UK, a story anthologised in one of the Pan Books of Horror.
In that respect it reminded me of Peter Weir's Master and Commander - behind the almost ethnographic vignettes of life onboard a British Warship during the Napoleonic Wars, was a story that, mutatis mutandis, could have been done in a 50 minute episode of a Nautical TV drama - or even Blake's 7 or Star Trek.
I'd thought The Neon Demon was something akin The Devil Wears Prada. I assume I've got that wrong?
Um ... having written that, I haven't actually seen The Devil Wears Prada, either ... I'm assuming that's not some sort of horror film ... um ... saw Prêt-à-Porter once, substitute 'something akin to Prêt-à-Porter'.
ETA - Sorry I started, now ...
Nothing like a good book to settle the unruly mind. :)
I'm still amidst the fogs of yesteryear. Watched for some n-th time Murnau's Schloß Vogelöd (The haunted castle)--the English title is misleading, although there IS one great horror scene--and Dreyer's "gay" silent, Michael, still wonderfully watchable (although if possible I would recommend reading Herman Bang's novella it's based on).
I started watching on YT Atwill in The Sphynx but the poor resolution killed my enjoyment. I repeat, I wish someone would put together a box of his movies in at least passable form.
That's the trouble with YT. I put together a Conrad Veidt
Eh, I had unfair advantages, what with a thoroughly mongrel family and parents who thought nothing of piling on linguistic challenges as we moved from one weird country to another.
But that's actually a serious point to consider within the difficulties of accessing Veidt's body of work today, yet another frustrating obstacle to most of those who'd be interesting in seeing it.
I'll PM you with some links.
The other one is actually very watchable--The Man Who Changed His Mind, from 1936, with an excellent performance by Boris Karloff in top form, must see. (I always like to see him in roles where he doesn't wear a ton of makeup and speaks in his natural voice.) It's also genuinely funny in the sequences with Donald Calthrop as Karloff's wheelchair-bound "Igor" (named Clayton) and Frank Cellier as the financier of the mad scheme. These two switch bodies and Cellier does a great job of channeling Calthrop's insouciant performance. Big fun for small bucks.
The Man Who Changed His Mind has the mad scientist holed up in a farmhouse rather than a castle doesn't it? - a more believable set-up for the English countryside (castles are, I'd suggest, either uninhabitable shells or stately homes with an old family or new money firmly in possession).
I'm quite fond of Mother Riley Meets the Vampire, there's a sense of dislocation in having Lugosi in the same film as British character actors like Richard Wattis. There was a whole series of Old Mother Riley films - I think this was the last one. They used to be put on by the BBC (usually Friday evening on BBC2 - the same slot they liked for Tarzan movies and the Rathbone Sherlock Holmes series).
Yes, I think so--in the beginning, then with the arrival of Mr. Moneybags he gets a posh lab in some institute. Oh, there's a great bit on the previous set, where the experiment is running to Clayton's banging on the piano.
There was a whole series of Old Mother Riley films
I wouldn't mind seeing more! What a face.
When I was a youngster Old Mother Riley was pretty much a legend. S/he would crop up whenever there was a discussion on old comedy films. I was a little too young to have caught them first time around.
I've never really been a fan, but I'll definitely hunt up that one, if only to see how Bela Lugosi does. Also, if you're a Brit, there's a basketful of British film stalwarts in there, both comedic and otherwise, quite early in their careers, so it should be fascinating.
Hello, I've never posted before but I was so happy to see Richard Wattis mentioned that I had to join in. I think I first saw him as the imperturbable Seton in The Importance of Being Earnest, pouring water over Michael Redgrave as he sings in the tub. It seems that the movie was made the same year as Mother Riley Meets the Vampire. I'll have to look it up.
That's a sore point ... that's the 'The Importance of Being Earnest' where the DVD has really lousy sound quality ... infuriates me every time I try to watch - never sat through the whole thing yet.
Welcome to the group though, robertajl.
Richard Wattis is one of those actors whose face I recognised well before I knew who he was (I suppose, looking at his IMDb entry, I first knew him from his work with Eric Sykes). It's always a slightly disorientating pleasure to see him in something that seems incongruous, such as Wonderwall (the film).
He doesn't seem to have done very much work that's strictly relevant to this group (or, to the avowed subject of this group; nobody minds going off-topic). Apart, that is, from Hammer's The Abominable Snowman another Val Guest-directed adaptation of a Nigel Kneale TV play.
The issue with the soundtrack was carried over to the Blu-ray release as well. and yet I had an off-air recording that sounded fine. I can only surmise that the BBC have (or had) a film print where the soundtrack had fared better than it has on whatever materials were used to master the DVD/Blu-ray (and yet those discs are not ropey "budget"/"sourced-from-public-domain-prints" efforts). As you say, infuriating.
I wish you hadn't said that - I received the Blu-ray in today's mail (just opened the package a couple of minutes ago). I saw a review that said the audio wasn't very good but a considerable improvement on the DVD. I'll find out in due course ...
It was really cheap, though, so no great loss if I can't sit through it.
Link to the title in the Criterion Collection:
... and I wish you hadn't said that. I don't know how I came to miss that one - knowing Criterion's reputation I would have gone for it - I bought an external DVD drive for Region 1 discs. I haven't tried watching my Blu-ray yet but I've had a quick hop through and the sound is ... adequate. It's a lot better than my old DVD, but it's not of the best. It's probably a good thing the actors all have such wonderful annunciation.
What makes the DVD even more annoying is that it includes as an extra a trailer that has excellent sound!
There's a Nazi warship still prowling the ocean in the late '70s, somehow sentient and hungry for blood. At night, it rams a cruise ship amidships and sinks her (this dramatic scene is cut together from stock footage. The next morning, a handful of survivors board the Nazi ship thinking it's their salvation. Cue creepy haunted ship stuff, survivors getting killed off one by one, and bitter old cruise ship captain George Kennedy falling under the ship's mental influence.
The film's not bad, but it's no great shakes. However, the DVD as a complete package, with its commentary and a retrospective documentary, is pretty informative and entertaining. The film was an early salvo in Canada's initiative to kickstart a domestic film industry. Somehow this resulted in a North American male cast, and an English female cast, and filming in and around a condemned hulk in Alabama.
Alvin Rakoff was Canadian but had worked in British TV since the early post war days, focusing on Social Realism. He readily admits on the commentary that he had no real experience of or feeling for horror (it was the film initiative that lured him back to Canada, with a proposed roster of films that - surprise - were not what eventually got made).
1980 is a bit too modern for me*, but that sounds like a great companion to Shock Waves. On the list it goes.
*Most recently watched: Murnau's Nosferatu, n-hundreth time. :)
Came in half-hour or so ago from a long morning's walking, knocked-up a quick lunch, on a tray, and settled down in front of the telly to put my feet up for an hour.
Found Island of Terror (1967), starring Peter Cushing. Probably something to do with H G Wells's story, already started but probably worth watching ...
No! And ... No! I lasted about ten minutes.
It's got one of the most useless and unliberated female leads I've come across - I was a teenager in '67 and the girls I knew then would probably have punched her. It's got 'terrifying' monsters that are no bigger than my coffee table and move at about two miles an hour. After a few minutes of this I was pretty much primed for what was coming and, when our heroes try to make their escape, I said, "That car won't start." The car wouldn't start. They've only just arrived - the damned engine is still hot for %!@?! sake! How would it not start? One of our resourceful heroes then gets out and fiddles with the engine, with monster about a hundred yards away advancing on them across the grass at about the speed of a tortoise and female continuing to have hysterics, then says 'it should start now' and off they go - damned if I could see what he did. Then they get to where they're going and Useless Female is so traumatised they have to put her to bed and give her alcohol. Slap her, you plonker! With a shovel ...
At that point I fled to the safety of LibraryThing ...
ETA - And this got a 6.3 rating on IMDb?
I had to look that up, didn't know about it before. One gets some idea of what annoyed you about the damsel even from the trailer on YT, but I'd still watch it, I'm intrigued by the comments about the monsters. (To say nothing of my mission to see anything and everything with Cushing that can be found.)
And yet there are comments on YouTube (and a review on IMDb) where people happily attest to being scared by this film (at impressionable ages, admittedly).
I wasn't scared when I saw it - but then, I was in my late 40s. I did see Edward Judd in The First Men in the Moon and the Day the Earth Caught Fire on TV at a young age and looked out for him in more genre films. He didn't really do many more, certainly not as a lead, just The Vengeance of She for Hammer and this one. And it's directed by Terence Fisher! (I saw a DVD extra describing him as kind of being in the wilderness, not working for Hammer and having to do low-budget SF that he wasn't really enthused by, but looking at IMDb, the release dates of his SF films alternate with his horror films like The Devil Rides Out and Frankenstein Created Woman - so unless his SF films were made earlier and held back from release for a while, I don't know what the true story is.
Oh, and I shouldn't be, I know, but I'm fairly indulgent towards "Useless Females" because this was thought to be a necessary role to "sell' the monster. Admittedly it's a while since I saw the film, but Carole Gray hasn't stuck in my memory as a particularly egregious example.
Well, I may be being unfair, as I only watched ten minutes of it - but I'm NOT going to watch any more. Life's too short ...
It doesn't have quite the atmosphere of the earlier film but it's an often effective tale of a crooked (and murderous) fake medium his intended victim (Lombard, as half of a singing brother-and-sister showbiz duo - the other half of which has recently died), and the spirit of an executed murderess strong enough to inhabit another body.
I can see the attraction of diverging from the original, otherwise the film would be mostly told in voiceover, but the changes all tend to weaken the impact of the story:
The Horla is more like a Christian devil - a tempter that has to latch on to some pre-existing "evil" in its victim. This Christian sensibility is made overt at the climax of the film.
There's a melodramatic triangle of duped-but-dangerous ("Horla-ised") Price, gold-digger and her thrown-over husband that, although it drives the plot, slows things down an awful lot.
It's not a shocking or a particularly bloody film. And unfortunately it's not a very entertaining one either, despite Price's presence (actually, doing a somewhat muted Corman/Poe tortured anti-hero turn).
An isolated village (in Transylvania according to the story, but filmed in a medieval Italian village and a stunning Renaissance villa that had fallen on hard times after WWII) is haunted - cursed rather - by the ghost of a little girl. An outsider, a coroner - and a young woman with a link to the village that is revealed during the course of the film - have to get to the bottom of the mystery without falling foul of the suspicious (and rightly terrified) locals or the vengeful ghost.
The image of the little girl and/or a bouncing ball appearing from nowhere has been used many times since Bava made this film (Fellini, in the "Toby Dammit" episode of Spirits of the Dead, did it just one year later) although the extras on the Blu-ray look at possible precursors.
... they put up a web series about what happens to you after you're dead - if you've been a 'jerk' in life. It's quite short - twenty episodes - so about the total length of a feature film, I think. I give you Haunters: The Musical!
You'll note I didn't actually give an opinion. I'm still a bit bemused - especially by the ending - I think 'dark' is the word ...
Flew through a film-noir phase so quickly early last year, that I forget half of what I watched. This year I hope to be more mindful, with the books and their spin-offs. Surprised to see Lucille Ball in one with Boris Karloff and George Sanders. Forget name, but great fun to see! Looking... aha! Lured (1947)
Watched M (1931) with Peter Lorre, also not knowing anything about it, just liking him as an actor. Holy Mother of God, what a performance. Time to dig out The Maltese Falcon (1941), yes, book first!
-ps- sorry if these have already been mentioned/discussed; hv not read many posts/threads yet ...
I've seen Price in a very cut-down version of The House of the Seven Gables as a segment of a 1963 film called Twice-Told Tales - Sidney Salkow trying to do for Nathaniel Hawthorne what Roger Corman did for Poe - but I haven't seen that 1940 version. I have seen Dragonwyck though, and was even able to make an off-air recording onto DVD before my recorder gave up the ghost!
On the subject of film noir, have you see The Seventh Victim? It's one of the best (to my mind) of the RKO horror films produced by Val Lewton, and stylistically a fairly early example of the film noir style.
Did a double take on your film suggestion, thinking of Tim Conway, not Tom. What topsy-turvy plight has hit the world to find comedian Tim Conway in film-noir? Yikes, happy to check this out when I am less brain-boggled. Sincere thanks for steering me to it. Black & whites are the best!
-ps- With brief research, its plot mirrors a Boyden novel on my CanLit radar, Through Black Spruce, which tells of a gal from James Bay region seeking out her lost sister, a NYC model ... now a must-read! Narrator might be Kim Hunter's role, I suspect? Limitations placed on Lewton worked in his favour (low budget, 75min max, set titles) and with imagination indulged in shadows and off-screen tension, perfection.
Oops! I find rottentomatoes usually pretty reliable and they only give it an 'All Critics' rating of 32%, so it sounds pretty dire.
There is some mention of films based on Burke and Hare in the predecessor thread to this one - films which I've yet to get round to watching - always 'meaning to' do stuff and never getting round to it ...
Welcome to the group from me too, frahealee.
I also favour her birth name of Ann Ward. Simple, precise, easy to remember. Like James Bond. I read that his author chose the most bland bird book in his library for an unassuming name (important for a spy) and settled on the author of the bird book, James Bond. Ann Ward as the James Bond of Gothic Fiction - how wonderful! There is an article about a lost letter surfacing, to her mother-in-law, which may explain the plot in The Italian hehe. We are all linked by some such family drama.
>36 frahealee:, >37 alaudacorax: The John Landis film is one I've seen bits of (it's been on television) but not all the way through. It's not considered anywhere near as good as An American Werewolf in London. It's got an interesting supporting cast, although some of them are jokey little cameos (Ray Harryhausen for example, as well as some actors from ...American Werewolf....
I've got The Flesh and the Fiends (1960) to watch. This one's written and directed by John Gilling (who worked for Hammer in their heyday) and stars Peter Cushing as Burke and Hare's "customer", Dr Robert Knox.
Interesting to think when I became aware of Cushing, Price and Lee, especially as I couldn't have seen them in any horror roles until years later. Price did a lot of UK television in the '70s but it might have been as Egghead opposite Adam West's Batman...there was still a frisson about him though, I must have known about his horror career somehow. I must have seen clips of Christopher Lee as Dracula. Enough to scare me. The first proper look at him as an actor might have been when The Man With the Golden Gun was shown on British television (so, 1974 + between 3 and 5 years, I imagine). I'm afraid Peter Cushing didn't make an initially good impression on me because it would have been as "Dr Who" (as opposed to "The Doctor") in the 1960's Dalek films (adaptations of the first two TV Dalek stories). He's such a good, sensitive actor but I always got the impression - with something like At the Earth's Core, too - that he played those roles in a "kids' TV" way. As a child in the '70s I appreciated actors who played such roles without talking down to their audience, as it were. Of course he redeemed himself in my eyes with his role in Star Wars. In the early '80s I would have started to see his films (although a lot of Hammer films were off the screen for a long time. I saw the '70s Dracula films long before I saw their 1958 original).
And me! Never heard of it, but with that lot in it I've got to see that.
It came up before, but it's getting hard to navigate these threads without an index.
Didn't have much time for my favourite pastime but I did finally see Mad Love (I bought the set it's in years ago) from 1935, with Peter Lorre as a love-crazed surgeon. The story derives from the same book as the silent The hands of Orlac but otherwise doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath.
>42 LolaWalser: The old threads are wonderful to scan - the Gothic music one nearly blinded me. Gothic art, lovely. Learning a lot as I go, tortoise pace, but pleasant. A great resource to access, like boxes in an attic; there when time allows.
That's odd: I knew I'd seen some mention here about those four together, but when I ran a search for House of the Long Shadows it didn't come up so I assumed it was one I didn't know about. I'm going to try again ...
... oddly, it doesn't come up in searches even though there is a single mention in 'Gothic films (2)' that should show - I only found that one by searching for 'John Carradine'.
I finally got round to subscribing to cinemaparadiso. First thing you have to do is add a pile of films to 'My List' and then they send you the first DVDs/blu-rays on the list that are not already loaned out ...
... so I tried to enter forty-two films in my list - I was successful forty-one times, but there was one they didn't stock - the very first one I tried to enter - House of the Long Shadows ...
Oops! Got that wrong. Should check things before I write. It's The Hands of Orlac they haven't got.
It's great to hear people find the old threads enjoyable.
Is the link I had sent you for it dead then? YT has been cracking down on everything good. Who even owns the copyright for it anymore...
I downloaded it when you gave me those links and it's on this laptop! I'd completely forgotten! I downloaded a number of them, watched Dark Journey, which I enjoyed, then forgot about them!
After I posted >45 alaudacorax:, I was actually looking on Amazon for a DVD or blu-ray! Fortunately, I decided to put off ordering for a day or two.
I'm tempted to put it down to turning 68 a couple of weeks ago - truth is, though, I've always been the same ...
Also, don't think I've ever put so many exclamation marks in one post ...
I have to admit I'm not very good with what Wikipedia calls 'dramatic philosophical and psychological themes' in films. I was left feeling that I had no idea what I'd just watched, but knew it was one of the few that was going to stay in my memory. I was absorbed from start to finish in spite of not being able to figure out what I was watching - it just gripped you.
Paradoxes: to look at it was unrelievedly grim and grey and grimy - and quite beautiful; it was menacing and creepy - and sad and poetic; grubby, seedy-looking characters unexpectedly came out with poetic and intellectual speech (and chunks of poetry).
I'm as unsure of my footing here as one of the film's characters travelling through 'the zone'. And there's another paradox here - I just know I'm going to buy my own copy of this and keep revisiting it - some films just grab me like that.
... and if I ever get another dog, the one in the film is my ideal ...
I'm surprised that in my reading online I never came across the word 'cursed' - the film seems to have been responsible for a few deaths.
Incidentally, have not seen any of the 8 Poe tributes by Roger Corman, but I read that he'd reused sets from Usher and was astonished to learn that audiences recognized them.
I think the story is that Corman filmed a burning barn from the inside, shooting up at the burning roofbeams falling etc, to get some really impressive shots for the destruction of the House of Usher, and then reused the same shots in his subsequent adaptations.
When the films were shown back-to-back in later double bills re-releases, or in quick succession on TV, the audience couldn't help but notice that they were watching the same footage.
I haven't seen that version of Usher ... I'll find it after I've finished this message...but have you seen the version of "The Tell Tale Heart" narrated by James Mason? It was one of the things The British Library put on a permanent loop as part of their Gothic exhibition of a few years back.
IMDb lists BBC serials of Vilette, from 1957 and 1970 - looks as if neither still exists.
That explains it, the double features. In the 60s/70s I ate up spaghetti westerns in theatres, which really did look identical, but were lovable regardless. The Hilarious House of Frightenstein was made in Toronto/Hamilton in 1971, 130 episodes, likely on CBC (1 of 3 channels not on cable) which is when my teeth first sank into horror genre, mixed with comedy to make it palatable to my parents. My sisters were older, had no interest, so it was special solo TV time before remotes, when TV consoles sat in the same spot for 20 years.
-ps- Research reveals Garcia worked on Tarzan, Hercules, Hunchback of ND, etc. as an animator. Now his narrators boast del Toro, Corman, Lee, Lugosi, and Sands. Nice job Raul! Perseverance paid off in spades.
Also watched something I had never heard of before, The Asphyx (oh look--housefulofpaper has it!), 1967, with Robert Stephens and Robert Powell. A tad slow and linear, but rewarding for the fans of these two actors and, for my taste, the décor and contraptions.
Speaking of décor and contraptions, the other day I had my mind most deliciously blown by Marcel L'Herbier's L'Inhumaine (yay! touchstone!), 1924. L'Herbier directed one of my most favourite movies ever, La nuit fantastique, but I hadn't known about this one until coming across it on Kanopy (another streaming service, like Hoopla, available through the library system).
The characters are stock silent melodrama--the femme fatale, the sporting/engineer hero, the sinister Oriental, the Slavic anarchist etc.--but they move around in a Léger-cum-Miró landscape come to life. If you like Art Deco, if geometric shapes send you reeling, if your favourite dance is the ballet mécanique of giant pistons, valves, compressors, you could OD on this movie.
(must re-post for the touchstones to register. hmmmmph.)
Now that's a film a first saw when I was in my Science Fiction phase, and watched again in my Arthouse Cinema phase a few years later (buying BFI and Artificial Eye VHS releases, rather than actually getting to a cinema, as a rule, however).
It does leave a strong impression. I think it's time to watch it again, and see how it strikes my now.
I loved Edward Scissorhands (and I DID manage to see it in a cinema!) but I'm not sure I would have selected it as the epitome of Gothic Romance ...maybe because of the '50s suburbia elements of the film ...although of course that's there as counterpoint to the Gothic...I don't have a counterexample, it's just something to gnaw away at and keep me awake..:)
>56 frahealee: I'm glad I was able to point you towards a new discovery. "Cool desperation" is an excellent description of Mason's performance.
I'll look out for The Brotherhood of Satan (although weird/obscure films turn up less and less often even on cable/satellite; and I can no longer record them off-air anyway). I don't think "demonic village" is uncrowded if you include British TV though, even the Doctor Who spin-off K-9 and Company...
Although I've got that nice remastered DVD, I actually saw The Asphyx as you should, on a late Friday night showing on TV. That would have been late '80s probably - so a bit after the heyday of the ITV Friday Night Frights and so forth. This is one of the relatively few films that Jonathan Rigby finds little to be charitable about in English Gothic, but even allowing the plot holes ("Even more inexplicably, the guinea pig...is in pristine condition') and shortcomings in some of the effects (the Asphyx's resemblance "on closer acquaintance" to "a Sesame Street glove puppet" - yes this film brought out Rigby's waspish side!) I enjoyed watching the film again.
Oh dear, my ignorance is shown up again! The name "Marcel L'Herbier" didn't mean anything to me.
By the way, I'd forgotten I'd also seen the 1935 version of She (with Randolph Scott and Nigel Bruce in his perennial sidekick role) and, for all its faults, I found it a far more affecting piece than the later remake. The acting's nothing to write home about, especially our team of heroes' (Scott and Bruce seem to have been competing at who'll best impersonate a woody plant), but somebody really took pains with the special effects, and the choreography of the sacrifice scene by the end was good enough to watch three times.
Also, there's an earlier chase involving jumping across an abyss onto a moving rock, with pursuers falling down--quite the best scene of the kind I ever saw (which, as usual, isn't necessarily saying much...)
But, colour me impressed.
Similar to Terry Gilliam's films, those magnets are attracting me later in life. I might not 'get' it first time through, but I deeply admire both men for their directing/writing skills, and find their artwork spellbinding. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a complex gem, if only to see Plummer/Waits face off! And aside from public opinion, terrible box office, and the producers-from-hell fiasco, my 3 sons and I liked The Grimm Brothers (2005). Would've voted Samantha Morton over Lena Headey any given day grrr! If LH was bullied it's because Gilliam and Damon didn't want her there, and bowed to producer pressure. Morton's Mary Queen of Scots in Elizabeth: The Golden Age is one of the finest supporting roles I have ever seen on screen, male or female.
I'm intrigued - never heard of that version of She. Okay, if you've read the book I suppose Peter Cushing really wasn't Holly, either, but the mind absolutely boggles at the idea of Nigel Bruce playing the role.
Come to think of it, Bruce was definitely not Dr Watson, either, so I'm probably being naive in bringing books into it.
La Nuit Fantastique has really piqued my interest and all I can find of it is a VHS tape (which I have no way of playing) on the other side of the Atlantic - oh well ...
Also, indulged in another viewing of The House of the Seven Gables (1940) and with George Saunders and Vincent Price, after a quick reread of the novel on my Kobo. I must admit, I prefer Ann Radcliffe's writing style to Nathaniel Hawthorne, and although he has many books on the 1001 (books to read before you die) list, and she has only one, it will be a struggle to get through them all. =( I'm sure he was a very nice man, but those Puritan images sour the whole thing. Will take a ghost over a witch any day!
Some more reading and viewing I've never got round to.
I don't think I've seen any of those films and I've certainly never read the Oscar Wilde original. I've just checked on IMDb and there must be at least thirty screen versions - that must be some kind of record! And it must speak very highly of the original - I have a collected Wilde here so I must read it soon.
This is the one with a fictionalised version of Lovecraft breaking into a private library run by a strange order of monks, in order to get access to the fabled Necronomicon - for story ideas. This forms the framing story around the three main segments of the film, three tales from different directors (one a loose adaptation of one Lovecraft story with elements from another, one a relatively faithful adaptation of "Cool Air', one with no specific Lovecraftian elements at all).
It looked - purely on stylistic grounds - as if the Lovecraft "breakthrough" movie, Re-Animator and Clive Barker's Hellraiser were big influences - there's a lot of effects-driven (extreme) gore, slimy tentacled and fanged monsters, a sense of transgression (or at least of aiming for it) in the body-horror mode.
Jeffrey Combs, the star of Re-Animator, plays Lovecraft (under prosthetics). David Warner stars in the "Cool Air" segment. Bruce Payne (who, I learn from IMDb has worked steadily for over 30 years but is someone who only seems to be in things from the 1990s) stars in the first segment. I didn't recognise any other cast members.
Although the frame story is set in 1932, the main stories are set in the present day, which is a bit odd and probably due to budgetary considerations - although on reflection it could mean Lovecraft causes them to happen because of his actions in the library (which would make the sinister monks the good guys, possibly).
Fun, if you can stomach the gore, and you are not a purist when it comes to film adaptations of Lovecraft.
John Houseman appears briefly in this 1977 made for tv movie, elevating it effortlessly, and Samuel L. Jackson is almost unrecognizable as 'Sulk'. Some of the racial elements are tough to hear/watch.
I wonder if this short story was the origin for the quote "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't"... or if it's just the author's spin on this phrase, suited to the time. It is repeated at least 3x in the movie dialogue, by more than one character.
* later * WOW quite a lot said in a short time frame 8 ( Seeing this short film makes me want to read everything this woman ever saw fit to put a pen to. She seems to have a lovely sense of humour about pitiful events without being disrespectful, which reminds me of Steinbeck's appeal. It brings dignity to poverty without treating it too preciously. That is very very hard to do.
Here are a few quotes made by Flannery, who died at age 39 (thank heavens she harnessed her talent early in life), as taken from IMDb;
1. Everywhere I go, I'm asked if the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.
2. There's many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
3. On success: It is better to be young in your failures than old in your successes.
4. On writing: When I'm asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it's because we are still able to recognize one.
5. Anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the Northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it's going to be called realistic.
Still to find;
Wuthering Heights (1992) / Wuthering Heights (1998) / Wuthering Heights (2011) / etc.
I see another scheduled for 2018. Great way to waste a day; Emily Bronte and vats of dark roast.
(nb-will add touchstones once watched)
* add-on * Definitely prefer my Heathcliff to have dark brown eyes and dark hair, more in keeping with the gypsy persona, so the blk/wht Olivier version wins the day. I have read African or Irish or Egyptian origins for the waif located in Liverpool, but I guess we'll never know. Well done, Emily. Imagination at its finest.
From what I read yesterday, it was a prop used by Tom Hardy to give him a tangible piece of the man who gave him a home. It seemed to be his only tie into the tradition of generations, since he would not get the house by inheritance, he got the book. It may also have been a nod to Emily Bronte, who was said to have been a fan.
There was some discussion concerning the timing, which is why I went digging. Not only is the three year period of waiting (Heathcliff's absence) switched for Catherine from 15-18, to 22-25 (they could not figure out why this was done, by the writer or the director), the time period was changed from the original, to be post 1820, in order that the prop would not seem out of place. The proof is a quick flash of Cathy's tombstone which shows the year of her death as 1830. I would have to watch it again with eagle eye, but I believe he handles the book at least 3x; once reading with Cathy on the crag, once packing to leave after his fight with Cathy, and another time, it is either in his hands or at his bedside.
I tried to find the original article written by a fairly young gal, but no luck so far. I will know it when I find it, and post the link for you to read her interpretation ...
by Cristina & M.
It is ten years since the last adaptation of Wuthering Heights (in the meantime, the novel was adapted by the MTV in 2003, which is self-explanatory as to the output, and the Italian RAI in 2004 with frosty results, not just due to the amount of snow shown there). This new co-production of Mammoth Screen with WGBH/Boston, written by Peter Bowker and directed by Coky Giedroyc, is clearly more ambitious than the 1998 one.
But not all the changes work so well. Early on in the story Catherine Linton's tombstone states that she died at 25 in 1830, which moves the action forward in time in comparison with the novel. The reasons behind the change in the time period are not quite so clear as the reasons behind the change in Catherine's age (i.e. to justify the use of young actors instead of teenagers), 18 at the time of her death in the novel. These changes entail a string of adjustments, some of which turn out to be better than others. The three years that elapse between Heathcliff's escape and Edgar and Catherine's wedding made sense in the novel, as Catherine was only 15 and waited until 18. Here instead, Catherine waits three years (22-25) for no given reason with the possible exception of staying true to the written word. These changes make it possible for Walter Scott's Ivanhoe (first published in 1819) to be seen a few times, providing a highly significant token of love between generations and relatives. And whether intentional or not this also is a nice tip of the hat to the Walter Scott lovers the young Brontës were."
(ps-I see you use ETA quite often, but as I was unfamiliar with the term and had to look it up, since it means estimated time of arrival here, I may edit my posts differently. If it is confusing, because it is a frequent literary term used by university grads, that leaves me out. I just do what I know how to do, the way it makes sense to me. Please ask for clarification anytime, if I inadvertently add to the confusion, rather than better explaining it. I don't know UK terminology or editing short forms, with the habit of erasing or tweaking later whatever I dislike in my posts, rather than highlighting said changes.)
I don't think I'd ever seen 'ETA' until I joined LibraryThing, so I'm just copying what I've seen here ...
I discovered, just last night, that one of my all time favourite directors, the late Jacques Rivette, did Wuthering Heights (1985) - to give it its proper title, Hurlevent. I'm currently doing a marathon watch of every Rivette film I can get my hands on. I don't own this one so it's fourth down on my cinemaparadiso (disc rental by post) list, so I'll be watching it fairly soon.
I have to say that a film of it by the same man who made Le pont du Nord and Celine and Julie Go Boating rather boggles the mind. I suspect Bronte fans might not like it. I shall love it, of course.
I should probably re-read Wuthering Heights first. I can barely remember reading it, although ...
Forgot what I was going to say because I suddently remembered that Wuthering Heights is one of the 'key works' in Punter and Byron's The Gothic and rushed off to see if we have a thread for it. We don't, so I shall make one. And I just did.
Edited to add (see what I did there?) - https://www.librarything.com/topic/289285
The one acronym I just cannot bring myself to use - don't know why - is 'LOL'- absolutely hate it.
Believe it or not, you've started my day off with a big, silly grin on my face.
I was idly channel hopping yesterday and came across a documentary series on the 'Carry On ...' films and ended up watching three episodes in a row. Don't know if they really 'took' overseas - very British, very silly sense of humour.
Clicked the link in your post; saw Elke Sommer was the co-star; thoughts immediately (probably a male Brit 'of a certain age' thing) sprang to Professor Vooshka in Carry On Behind , where she was playing - wait for it - Kenneth Williams' love interest, and I was immediately chuckling.
I wonder how good her English really was - I'd love to have been a fly on the wall when she first read her script.
Every fan of the Gothic should see Carry On Screaming at least once in their life.
ETA - The English language really needs gender-neutral pronouns - 'their' just doesn't look right, there, and 'his or her' is just plain awkward ...
ETA, again - I need to learn to write English before I start criticising it - I wasn't trying to introduce my back into the thread - honest.
I love putting big silly grins on people's faces--usually it takes much more of an effort though. :)
Elke's okay, it's a bog-standard horror damsel role, virtually un-ruinable for anyone with working lungs. Shows a lot of great leg and in one sequence runs from the monster in an adorable electric vermillion cap--very useful to the pursuer in the dark twisty streets and corners. I'm afraid I'm sounding harsher on Bava than I mean to, actually I like him a lot.
I forgot to make a note about watching three versions of Alraune, from 1927 (directed by Henrik Galeen, scriptwriter of Nosferatu and director of the Veidt Der Student von Prag), 1930 (directed by Richard Oswald) and 1952. The two pre-war films both star Brigitte Helm, while the last one has the young Hildegard Knef in the role, an accomplished singer whose talent is put to great use in a haunting song that reveals her to the audience. The third version also stars Eric von Stroheim as the scientist who creates Alraune--the older movies cast Paul Wegener and Albert Bassermann respectively. Helm and the three men are all great casting; it's fascinating to compare them. Stroheim has that look of inbuilt tragedy in his face, Bassermann goes from noble to depraved, Wegener, as we know to expect, unleashes the primitive. Although all three films are more guarded than the book in what they say and imply, the pre-war versions are more open and raw.
I only managed to find the 1952 version on DVD. It's findable on YT in very good copy but only in German. The older two films are also there but in poor condition--however, still better than, say, what Alpha Video sells. The silent version with Wegener in particular is hard to encounter, so anyone interested may want to see it regardless of quality.
Looking through Lurker in the Lobby and I'm informed that the third story in Necronomicon actually uses elements from "The Whisperer in Darkness", The story's moved so far from Lovecraft's original tale that I didn't spot them.
Watching Baron Blood it struck me that Bava's colour horror films - with their visual language of misty night shoots shot through with blue shafts of light - are what '80s rock videos (and BBC sketch comedies - after all, they had high budgets, were shot on film by people like Mike Radford (who directed the John Hurt 1984) - were emulating when aiming for a classic/generic horror film look. Carry on Behind was the only thing I knew Elke Sommer from for years. And then it was the Euro-horrors she was making around the same time that I found out about, not her higher-profile '60s work. I'd have to refer back to the extras on the Bu-ray to remind myself of the exact circumstances but I think Baron Blood is essentially an American film (US script and producer) made as a Euro-horror by Bava and crew (on location in a genuine Austrian castle, apparently - Bava unusually both travelling outside Italy and not shooting on sound stages). So that's the correct, "canonical" name, not Gli orrori del castello di Norimberga as IMDb asserts. The US release has been de-Europeanised with a few minutes of cuts and a new score by Les Baxter.
I've falling behind with making notes about recent film-watching. I'll try to catch up in the next few days.
I noticed on my contact feed that you added Pupi Avati's La casa dalle finestre che ridono--have you watched it yet? A genuinely interesting Italian horror film (there are so few...), where for once character is supreme--people's and not just the setting's. Such a gallery of ordinary-yet-macabre people. (With the usual exception of the bland male lead and his sex interest.)
I appreciate especially its savage anticlericalism.
I picked up on different elements of the film. I'm not sure if it's accidental or if I've followed some loose themes in my recent viewing. I thought there was a vague demonic village or folk horror feel, a sense of paranoia/conspiracy or a dark secret to be uncovered at some cost, also a '70's low budget filmmaking vibe - elements shared in various degrees with Let's Scare Jessica to Death, Requiem for a Village, Fascination, Suspiria, Bava's Kill Baby...Kill!, the older City of the Dead, the more recent Kill List.
There's an interview with Avati on the recent UK DVD release. He talks about the film coming from his childhood, watching the adults around him (like Fellini? I don't know enough about Fellini to offer an opinion). The central conceit of the film (I'll avoid spoilers) came from a sort of Bogeyman figure used to scare the local children -
Finally watched House of the Long Shadows and thoroughly enjoyed it ... eventually. I thought at first that the script was rather poor, then I found myself gripped and carried along.
There was one thing that bothered me though.
Well, actually two things bothered me - the silly pretend-Welsh house-name was the other. Surely they could have found a Welsh-speaker to invent a proper house-name for them? I suppose nobody but a Welsh person would notice ...
Okay, a third thing bothered me - just came back to me as I fired-up this laptop this morning:
The hero picks up a drink, but carries on typing with just the one hand, eyes still on the line of type on the sheet. An useful skill if you can master it, I suppose ...
There are another seven films based on the same novel. Wonder if it's worth tracking them down?
I suspect it's not going to be a Gothic novel, though. There's a sort of frivolous, '30s-style humour about the hero - just a few hundred words in and I had a mental picture of him as the younger (that is, pre-noir) Dick Powell in Gold Diggers of 1935 or similar.
* Correction - just found
You, sir, are a stern critic. :) I thought it was just a harmless fun vehicle for making a few bucks by showcasing a couple famous horror names...
I think the monster is more personal to Avati than an actual "folk horror" figure--except, maybe, in very broad terms of cultural
Dipped a toe into Carmilla (with Meg Tilly) and The Vampire Lovers (2nd time, 1st by accident) and I'm afraid I just don't get it. Does not appeal to me in the least. The vampires, sensual or not, can't seem to make an 'impression' on me, ha! I still plan to persevere though, and read Dracula for the first time this year. Mental fortitude required. Keanu Reeves as Harker (1992) will provide a tasty visual. No, haven't seen it.
As an aside, saw Vincent Price narrate The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (love Rene Auberjonois as Crane), The House with a Clock in Its Walls, and The Ghost Belonged to Me. It was a CBS Library 'Once Upon a Midnight Scary' (1979) tv special to encourage kids to read the three books featured. Adorable, loved it. Caught my fancy since Jack Black stars in Eli Roth's (yikes) 2018 The House with a Clock in Its Walls, which my daughter will want to see (big JB fan). Cate Blanchett co-stars. Neither read nor heard of it before, so was a timely find (same with The Ghost Belonged to Me, unfamiliar with author or book).
Today? The Spiral Staircase (1946) & (1975) & (2000) just 'cuz. Ethel Barrymore is good for a punch in the acting chops when Hollywood lustre fades, since she rivets me. The critical disability element is so disturbing but effective. Oddly, it was less prominent (victims) in the last one. Destined to read the book, Some Must Watch to dissect further. Her film followed a young upright Lionel Barrymore in The Mysterious Island (1929), a part-talkie. YouTube's infinite array of undiscovered relics are often mined unintentionally - by looking for James Mason in Journey To The Centre of the Earth (1959)!
I've yet to watch any of the 'Seven Keys' films - waiting till I've finished the novel.
Just hunting YouTube for some of the titles you mentioned throws up a ton of tempting stuff - lots of Vincent Price stuff, particularly.
ETA - Lots of stuff with poor picture quality, though ...
Curled up currently with The Secret of Convict Lake (1951) ... we'll call it 'western gothic' with the remote cabin setting and all ... for another dose of Ms.Ethel. Getting the same vibe as Lillian Gish holding court in the Night of the Hunter to keep Mitchum at bay, but Glenn Ford (sweet Canadian boy that he was) might be less daunting to overcome. 2hrs with an ole blk/wht makes me forget the snowflakes still falling. Humpf.
As another aside, saw your discussion from JUL2017 turned to The Red House (1947). I had seen E.G. in my Key Largo (1948) dvd with Bogart/Bacall and found his The Woman in the Window (1944) on YouTube to watch for fun. The next film in line happened to be The Red House, so viewed them back-to-back. Knew nothing of the story, so went in completely neutral and enjoyed it! Sometimes, movies with pure evil villains are fun, sometimes the villain has a reason for his behavior and cannot control it, and some are like EGR in The Red House, tragedy leading to a bit of self-imposed madness which results from trying to stay in control. And then life happens, and it all unravels. I was caught up in it from beginning to end. The farm and the house are both pretty isolated, so agree with your gothic feel label. This view-fest occurred during my Film-Noir blitz last Spring (also caught Double Indemnity (1944) but find BS grates on my nerves). It was enjoyable to see him play something other than a quintessential mobster. Left my relatives in Sicily when Great Grandpa hit Toronto with family in tow, resulting in my paternal grandfather being born in Canada in 1901. That mafia theme sits a bit stale... they owned a fruit stand/shop. My great uncle had a green grocery on the main street of my hometown, his sister, a candy shop. His brother ran a hotel/cafe/dance hall, etc. My dad was a cook/chef, so not all bad guys! Although rumour has it that Grandpa was asked to bootleg liquor during prohibition to NY state. All hearsay but that pleases me to no end (the rumour aspect). He died years before I was even born.
Never did get round to watching The Red House. I see so many tempting films in these threads - can't keep track of them all.
Finished reading Seven Keys to Baldpate. It has very, very little connection with House of the Long Shadows - vanishingly small connection, in fact.
I couldn't describe the book as Gothic. It's somewhere between light comedy and detective story, and it's rather a frothy confection. Towards the beginning I did think it was going to be, at least partly, a parody of a Gothic novel, but it would be a stretch to describe it thus.
I did rather enjoy it, though I haven't rated it very highly. You might say I guiltily enjoyed it - part of my mind was enjoying it while part of my mind was noting the incongruities of
>92 alaudacorax: That's why it's good fun to blow through quiet corners and dust off the old references. Am really enjoying these old threads, for their content and opinion merit.
Sadly, no bet - if these things go in geometric progression, it would only have been $1,250 anyway. And our hero, at the start, intends to stay a couple of months, not twenty-four hours - to write a great literary work as opposed to the pot-boilers he's made his money with. Weirdly, all through the book - and still - I can clearly see Billy Magee as a very young Dick Powell - the image is firmly lodged in my mind.
Yes, I quite enjoy reading back in these threads myself - guiltily, reminds me of all the things I mean to do and haven't got round to yet ...
Caught Bluebeard (1944) today, and although it is listed as crime/thriller/horror, I would call it a bit Gothic due to the romance element, and the descent to the water by backstairs in shadow in film-noir style, hat and cape disguise, and the Carradine's inability to master his 'weakness' and madness, talented genius needing to prove himself obsessively. He knows it is wrong, and can't help it, which is different to villains who see no wrongdoing. There is also a character called Francine... yikes. Also, rare to see, that two others know of his activities. They make money from him so do not disclose this. Puppets are child's play so he appears harmless, hiding in plain sight. Paris as the setting provides cover, lots of tourists and crowds everywhere, day and night. People are aware of the threat, but go about their business.
Yesterday, watched Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (1945), since it was on the 'to do' list. Trivia section said she changed the ending during the war so that it wasn't so depressing, so the film was based on the play, not the original book, which axed them all. That was the ending I was expecting. Also watched Laura (1944). Quality abysmal but task complete.
Is there something menacing about the colour yellow? Red/white/black I understand. Blue makes sense, colour of rare moon, absence of oxygen. In looking at that Goodreads list of Gothic favourites, noticed a pattern; The Yellow Wall-paper, Reflections in a Golden Eye, The Gothic Masterpiece Series: The King in Yellow, Solaris, The Lady in Yellow, The Beekeeper's Daughter (black/yellow image). There are a few greens or browns in the titles, but not with the same frequency. Curious. I always thought of yellow as a cheery colour, not sinister, unless that's the point.
Coincidence! Yesterday I watched And Then There Were None, too. Quite enjoyed it, though I don't think it's going into my all-time favourite films list.
ETA - Over the opening titles, where the waves are splashing up from the rocks, I'm convinced they filmed it by throwing salt or sugar into the air in front of the camera ...
The movie put itself next in line after watching Glenn Ford in Convict Lake and Fastest Gun Alive. Made a mental note to watch it the next day. Not sure what today will bring; Gothic, film-noir, B-horrors, westerns. Might be down to a coin toss or a rousing round of Rock/Paper/Scissors!
Salt. Sugar. My bet is corn starch or baby powder.
This movie caught my eye after mention of The Bride of Lammermoor opera (in gothic music thread) and The Lady of the Lake (in gothic book thread) in recent weeks. There seems to be a theme in my subconscious at the moment, and we shall see where it leads me. If any bizarre dreams or night terrors crop up, I'll be sure to make an offering in that thread as well. Some real doozies listed there to sift through, taking in all sorts of genres!
And Billy Connolly is just a bonus. =) If there was a book it was based on, we'd read it! The story of the father dividing his kingdom between his four sons is apparently based on a french guy, Clovis, and the region of Gaul.
The writer also seemed to have a theme going. Brenda Chapman also contributed to The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) and Beauty and the Beast (1991). She won the Oscar and the BAFTA for Best Animated Feature for Brave in 2013 so must have been doing something right, honing her skills over time.
>100 frahealee: That seems to be a Sir Walter Scott theme developing. I've only read a couple of his stories (actually, i think they're self contained narratives extracted from novels). In The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction, David Punter concentrates on The Antiquary "a work of domestic Gothic", as his chief example of Scottish Gothic.
I'll have to look out for Brave. When I think of Disney and Gothic, I tend to go back to those old black and white Silly Symphonies with dancing skeletons and suchlike!
That Scott title is new to me, so more research is in order. Chapters/Indigo online has the Cambridge Companion for about CAD$40 paperback, 350p. Or Kobo/$30. Hardcover $100+ so out of range, but will keep an eye out! Punter has two listed; The Gothic, and The Gothic Condition: Terror, History and the Psyche. Now he's popping up all over the place! It seems I'm stuck on the proverbial spiral staircase, going up up up, reaching for more and more ...
("Warning" ... optional reading ... steam valve release to follow)
Grey Gardens happened to be a 28-room gothic structure nestled into a 2 acre corner of Long Island/East Hampton, gorgeous view, but isolated enough for mother/daughter to keep to themselves. Boy, if I could get my hands on that disgraceful youngest son, grrr! And to think his own son now is left to profit from that legacy, makes my blood boil. Phelan Beale Jr. studied journalism and ended up in Oklahoma (buried in Texas?) but Bouvier Beale started a law firm in NYC withheld resources from his mother/sister after his father remarried and relocated to Mississippi. That is, until the embarrassment of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis stepping in to finance the clean up and renovations (with her husband Ari and her sister Lee), then he paid off accumulated back taxes for the property. He wanted his mother to sell, she refused, he turned his back. Cannot stand a man who resorts to hissy-fits to get his way, just because he can boast of a law degree from Yale and thinks he knows best. He called his mother a Hippi and ignored her. If you have means, you should help, no matter what. Tough love to a damaged soul is not love, it's cruelty. He was likely still ticked that she was late for his wedding. Or maybe the wife had issues. Edith's father also cut her out of his will a few days later, in protest of her bohemian behavior (artistic over propriety). Zero means of support except a $65k trust fund, which barely covered the basics. Little Edie had to move back from NYC to curb costs. Sorry, felt the need to rant after all the unsettling research ... At least Little Edie outlived both of her younger brothers, and attended her nephew's wedding to show all was forgiven. She made him her executor, with no children of her own. There were four grandchildren of Edith and Phelan Beale; 1 from Phelan Jr. and 3 from Bouvier. Bouvier Beale Jr. is the eldest son of the youngest brother. His wife Eva Marie Beale helps run the estate, published the diary, etc. A Gothic storyline beginning to end, since they live on in many forms of infamy, more affecting than even in life. Beloved by all perceived outsiders, misfits, and snubbed scourge of the earth.
Still tough facing The Crow (1994). Developed a soft spot for Bruce Lee and his kin (and his poetry). Brandon Lee died on set at age 28 (01Feb65-31Mar93). Shannon Lee's birthday is April 19 (1969) and she married Ian Keasler in Aug94 and has one child. In this film, parts of the script quote Paradise Lost by John Milton and The Raven.
I saw Michael Wincott first in The Three Musketeers (1993) and thought he made a terrific bad guy. So much for the 'nice' Canadian persona (born in Toronto, 1958). Also in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991).
ETA: Trivia page states on IMDb that Jason Momoa replaced Luke Evans. I like him in Frontier (filmed in Newfoundland/Labrador) so easy to see him as The Crow after someone like Declan Harp.
One of the wardens, Sheila Keith?--is absolutely stunning, rivalling Barbara Markham's lead villain.
This movie won't make you a better person, but it's entertaining and, looking past various ineptnesses and silly bits, even stylish.
Also, I finally received Shades of Darkness (1983), after finally identifying the series through a chance re-encounter on YT of the adaptation of Wharton's story (Bewitched? If that's the original title.) First time I saw this ep, back in the eighties, I didn't know any of the actors, so it was great to realise--Alfred Burke, Eileen Atkins, Gareth Thomas... And it was Alan Plater who adapted it--the Beiderbecke Affair genius!--so really looking forward to watching the whole series.
No, I haven't read the book. Looking at the popularity of it and some of the reviews, I think I'll get on to it shortly.
I have a sort of guilty soft spot for Christie. I like a good Agatha Christie but I really wouldn't append that adjective to some of them - some of her short stories, particularly, are really poor. So I have my favourites but I've never been really concerned to explore further. I'm probably missing some good stuff.
And now you've got me thinking of the glorious mess one could make throwing corn starch or baby powder into the air ...
I saw House of Whipcord not so long ago (quite a notorious film, as I remember). Which is why it came as a bit of shock to the system to see and hear Sheila Keith's jaw-dropping rendition of 'Pace, pace mio Dio!' in House of the Long Shadows (>83 alaudacorax:)
ETA - Found it on YouTube. Still making me wince. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD0XJNNRri4 - now that's what I call Gothic music!
There's a quite Gothic chain of thought making me not kindly disposed to the Bouviers.
When I think of 'Pace, pace mio Dio!' the voice I hear in my 'mind's ear', so to speak, as with so many famous arias, is Maria Callas - the greatest singer who ever lived. And she died probably of a broken heart after the Ari you mention was pinched off her by Jackie Kennedy, as she then was. So damn them all - if I was someone who mattered at all I'd be sworn enemy to the whole clan.
Of course, that's leaving aside the question of what the hell she saw in Onassis in the first place ...
My favourite film of Sheila Keith's is 'Frightmare' (1974) where she turns in an amazing performance as a 'cured' murderer released from an asylum after a long incarceration. Despite its flaws, this film terrified me when I first saw it in the late 1970s, largely down to Keith's performance.
I also love 'House of Mortal Sin' (1976) where she has a supporting part as housekeeper to a catholic priest who tapes people's confessions for blackmail purposes, and develops a psychotic obsession with a young woman (this film is an uncompromising attack on the institution of the catholic church and religion in general, and is quite prescient methinks).
I'm definitely calling myself a fan. I don't remember her in The house of long shadows, but I suppose the makeup was very different to the severe prison warden.
Rembetis, houseful has that same coffin-shapped box set. I've just checked and parked it on my wishlist, much too expensive to buy at the moment.
In case anyone else is interested in Shades of Darkness, be warned that some episodes seem to be missing in the set I linked. On YT I came across Seaton's Aunt, (story by Walter de la Mare) but this set doesn't include it.
Yesterday I read And Then There Were None.
I found it quite absorbing (obviously, as I read it in one day), but a little weak. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of atmosphere - apparently deliberate as she repeatedly emphasises the newness of the house. It's as if she was deliberately stressing that this was a crime novel and not a Gothic chiller, which it easily could have been. The ending was disappointing, too, it smacked to me of crossword puzzles or some such - where they give you the answers at the back of the book. I thought it was a bit of mess. I can see why they changed the ending a little for the 1945 film.
I have a few Christies that I regard as 'comfort reading' - literary equivalent of chocolate or pizza - easy reading for lazy evenings. Offhand, The Moving Finger and A Murder is Announced come to mind. With its reputation I thought this might become another. It won't.
Ooh - more temptation - another one gone on my wishlist, too.
Thank goodness Shades of Darkness seems to be all on YouTube. Yet another series where I have no memory of any of the episodes. I'm starting to think that the golden age of TV was during the years when I never watched the thing ...
Oh, are you watching? I'm curious about your impressions. It's interesting to see the actors I can now name looking so young. James Bolam, Francesca Annis...
To give this a bit of literary cred, the adaptations are based on stories by Edith Wharton, May Sinclair, C. H. B. Kitchin (interesting writer, gay, published by the Woolfs' Hogarth Press), Elizabeth Bowen... I've only read De la Mare's "spooky" stories before.
I just watched the episode 'Bewitched' (thought it was the first one, but I now I see I've got that wrong).
I thought it quite a powerful thing - the ending kicked the feet from under me. Actually, I'm still wondering if I've got it right. I've found the original story online and I'm going to read it before bed, rather than watch another one.
Well, actually, I did start to watch another, 'The Intercessor', but three minutes of really hackneyed, stereotypical, slow-talking, weird, unfriendly yokels and I switched it off - it was embarrassing (there's nothing wrong with using lots of adjectives - Stephen King was talking bullfeathers).
Well, I've read the story and I'm still wondering if I've got the ending right.
Lots of gothic authors appear on that list, many unfamiliar to me until arriving here. I refer to the list now and then, to see what's there and what's not. I'll never read them all, so no point trying (authors like Edith Stein, Virginia Woolf, Kafka, Roth, Zola, etc.) but Scott has three novels on the list, so will line them up eventually. Wharton has six, I've read three. D.H.Lawrence has seven, and to think I've only pursued his poetry...
Graham Greene was recommended to me (I only knew that name as a Canadian actor) and with eight on this same list, likely a worthy act of faith. Not sure what I'm in for but have spied a few movie clips. Breaks up the gothic intensity into manageable bites, if the genres are interspersed. Do you find you need breaks between long tomes, or do you read pure gothic for several months and then stop? I will attack The Monk, and Caleb Williams, Melmoth the Wanderer, but not until finishing Udolpho and The Italian. I like Ann Radcliffe a lot. Atmospheric and my speed. Feel no need to watch, reading's enough.
As an afterthought, the reason I prefer Poirot to Marple is due to his clear descriptive reasoning into the psychology of the criminal (which is far beyond me), and how he seems suspicious of obvious clues, preferring obscure detail. He takes his time to sift through events, more than evidence, which is where he differs from typical police habits. Marple is more intuitive but less clear on the whys and hows. Neither were present in And Then There Were None, which was a let down. In Roger Ackroyd, Poirot was drawn into it after retirement, so much less 'flint' bravado. No sidekick banter until Japp arrives, which I suppose was intentional on the author's part. It makes the story stand out, but it is not my favourite by any means. (In general, it bugs me when clear-cut ethics is compromised; like a dirty cop 'employed' by gangsters, like a pharmacist who poisons or a doctor who takes rather than saves a life, a teacher/student impropriety, a priest selling confessional secrets, even environmental, etc.)
I don't know the story. As far as the TV ep goes, I thought
Seaton's aunt is the creepiest of them all, it really bugs me it's not in the set.
I have to confess to not having watched all those Pete Walker films yet. They are so bleak...
It hardly needs pointing out that the story has been adapted so as to cash in on the success of Rosemary's Baby but it's surprisingly faithful to Lovecraft's story in a lot of ways (this Rosemary's Baby element is the backstory of Lovecraft's original work. The adaptation makes it the major
The portrayal of the villains of the piece (particularly Dean Stockwell's Wilbur Whateley) is surprisingly sympathetic. Given the hypnotism-and-seduction-with-fathering-a-human/extradimensional-monster-on-Sandra-Dee-to-end-the-human-era-of-life-on-Earth as an endgame this ought to be objectionable. It is, to the extent I took notice of it on this viewing.
Can it be defended? maybe by suggesting that it's a film nobody can quite take seriously despite its many strong points (on the plus side) or its apparent sexual politics (on the negative side). It's all too plainly trying to be down with the kids and appeal to those crazy hippies. So the Whateley's are consistently ranged against self-assured middle-aged professionals, hostile country-folk, and so on. I really don't think it's a stab at a sophisticated shades-of-grey moral world view, just a commercially-minded have-their-cake-and-eat-it approach (as a kind of sidelight on this, I've seen it suggested that casting Sam Jaffe as Wizard Whateley and Ed Begley (senior) as Doctor Armitage was a mistake - wouldn't the rather Einsteinian face and hair of Jaffe suit Dr Armitage, wouldn't the burly Ed Begley, with his great horse teeth, make a more formidable Whateley? Probably, but the casting as it is does work towards making the Whateleys more sympathetic than "the good guys".
The music (by Les Baxter) and the animated opening titles are worthy of note.
Did you lose some parts of your post, the first parenthesis?
I think I saw The Dunwich Horror (is that the one with the Necronomicon, somebody doing a thesis at a university?), but if so, remember nothing that's helpful to understand your points. Not sure what it is that needs or maybe doesn't need defending. If it's (mis)treatment of women and relatively favourable treatment of villains, I'd think that's par for the course, especially in that genre and of that vintage?
Oh, this just reminded me... some years ago IanFryer (wonder if his book came out) and I had a bit of a chat about slashers in a thread that unfortunately got trolled very quickly--but perhaps you'd still be interested, if you haven't seen it:
In non-Gothic news, I've Queen of Outer Space lined up next, from a "camp sci-fi cult classics" (did they squeeze in all the keywords or what ;)) set. Already watched Attack of the 50 foot woman and The giant behemoth--dinosaur-like monster ravages London!--couldn't help thinking of the 12th Doctor in Deep Breath...
Yes, something's got lost. I was trying to quickly get across that although the short story refers to human/Old Ones interbreeding it's in the background - as I said it's the backstory: it produces the story's monsters. The plot involves the good guys stopping Wilbur Whatelely from using the Necronomicon to bring about the end of the world, and dealing with his invisible monstrous twin. In the film, Wilbur needs the Necronomicon to summon an Old One to impregnate Sandra Dee's character, and their offspring (presumably) will bring about the end of the world. That's how the story gets rejigged to cash in on Rosemary's Baby (the twin is relegated to a subplot).
Was the point I was making worth making? Ah, probably not. As you say, mistreatment of women and favourable treatment of villains is par for the course. It was particularly marked in this film, maybe, as Dean Stockwell's portrayal of Whateley was sympathetic for so much of the film. It seemed to forget that the romantic scenes were supposed to be full of suspense, making us fear for Nancy Wagner (that's what Sandra Dee's character was called - I'd already forgotten). I'd thought of some other examples of the same vintage where what is a clear division between good and evil is confused by overlying an Establishment/Counterculutre opposition: Cry of the Banshee, Blood on Satan's Claw (to some extent) - but not The Wicker Man, despite the free-living pagans vs. Calvinist policeman set-up of the film.
I do remember that thread (although I have to confess I'd forgotten it was quite so informative). I don't think The Dunwich Horror is anything like a slasher movie, although the fate of a minor character at the tentacles (not hands) of the monstrous invisible twin could meet the criteria for a slasher-movie death. and it does take advantage of the more permissive environment in some other, relatively minor ways (chiefly, semi-naked hippies menacing a subjective fish-eye lens in a dream sequence).
Oh nostalgia! Saw The Giant Behemoth (it was Behemoth the Sea Monster in the UK) as a schoolboy when it first came out and I was so tremendously impressed it's stuck in my memory ever since. Watched it again quite recently and ... well ... how I've changed ...
I suppose my mind a lot of the time doesn't work very logically. I've never read any Poirot: thinking about it, though, I realise that this is probably because the TV series with David Suchet in the role has never appealed to me - the fussy little man he makes of it doesn't appeal to me. On the other hand, I first saw Miss Marple in the person of Joan Hickson and the character quite intrigued me - with the result that I've read all the Marple books. Having said that, I've since decided she was a trifle miscast: Christie repeatedly makes reference to a twinkle in Miss M's eye; I don't think Ms Hickson ever really twinkled; I think Geraldine McEwan was much the best twinkler.
No I didn't. I first saw Miss Marple in the person of the magnificent Margaret Rutherford. She, somehow, never prompted me to read the books.
Ian Fryer had a book come out late last year entitled The British Horror Films From the Silents to the Multiplex.
Yeah, I didn't mean it would be a slasher, just remembered the other thread regarding the general ethos of the 1970s exploitation, horror etc. Too bad I can't seem to find it online.
By the way, those Italian DVDs you buy, is that from Amazon, and would it be Amazon UK or Italy? Are you satisfied with their quality? Products as described? I haven't dared order Italian DVDs, or used Amazon Italia yet.
I liked it very much--I think it outmatched the Godzilla movies (an obvious inspiration?), visually and technically at least (the first Godzilla has a special emotional poignancy that lift it out of the genre). And that creepy killer goo on the beach would have been the stuff of my nightmares (seeing I spent most of my childhood on a beach...)
Wow, thanks!! And congratulations to our long lost contributor! :)
I saw the Darryl Hannah remake of Attack of the 50ft Woman within the last week or two. Oh dear me. I thought it was amusing, though I might not have been laughing in the right places. There was a hint of endearing amateurness about it. It was a bit weird though, and I'd struggle to write a sensible review of it.
I found it listed on Amazon UK, with a "look inside" option - I think I'll be buying a copy :)
So far, I've only used Amazon Marketplace through Amazon UK. The Italian DVDs I've received - Let's Scare Jessica to Death and The Dunwich Horror are excellent. Germany and Spain have also been good sources of films I couldn't get in the UK. The only gripe I'd have (slight dissatisfaction, rather) are the unremoveable Castilian subtitles on my copy of The Shuttered Room.
Good to know, thanks. I'll look for that version of The Dunwich Horror--my greatest fears with Italian-made are a) possibility of undisclosed dubbing b) Italian postal service messing up. I've had too many misadventures with the latter; in combination with the inept Canada Post, the experience could be deadly. (That said, deastore.it, while it existed, always managed to get my stuff well in time.)
I've used Marketplace and Amazons .de, .fr, .uk with satisfaction.
Oh one more thing (apologies, all, for these boring shopping digressions)--thanks to you, I think, I discovered how convenient it is to order directly from Eureka. I got more Murnau, Lubitsch and yet another Caligari from them; fast, and cheaper than Amazon. No shipping or extra charges.
I ordered Ian's book as soon as I saw Robert's post. It's supposed to come through Book Depository, which, to my surprise, currently rates only 83% customer satisfaction. So, I hope I'll get it...
I think we tend to take the Royal Mail for granted here. Offhand I can't recall any problems I've had with them.
I don't think it was me that you got the information about Eureka. I've been using Amazon, or buying them in actual shops. I was enterprising enough to get the Alexander Hacke/Tiger Lillies Mountains of Madness DVD direct from Einstürzende Neubauten's website a few years back, but generally I've been bad at resisting the Amazon colossus (one thing in their favour - in the sense of giving them an edge, not putting them on the side of the angels - is being able to have an order sent to a locker, or behind the counter of a local shop if you won't be home to take delivery).
Actually useful stuff to know, so thanks.
Incidentally, I've noticed that with Book Depository and one or two others you can often (at least in the UK) get stuff a pound or two cheaper by ordering from their own websites as opposed to through Amazon.
I haven't had the opportunity to watch it yet, but the detail and clarity of the image is incomparably better than the version previously available. The extras include a half-hour video essay on the film and an interview with Sara Karloff. Also three audio commentaries and an old interview with Curtis Harrington about how he saved the original negative of the film from - firstly being lost within Universal's film library, and secondly from decaying to unplayability.
There aren't enough hours in a lifetime.
Btw, I just realised you mentioned Eureka in the very first post in this thread--I think I had acquired something from them before that--yes, the Mabuse boxset--but the name didn't register then. Good outfit, and as I said, it pays to compare their prices with whatever of theirs show up on Amazons.
Yes, Eureka, in their Masters of Cinema series. I bought it in an actual shop (HMV)!
You are a person of blinding virtue. :)
I can't think of any (new) DVD shop remaining in Toronto... HMV's last outlet closed a few years ago. Who knew we'd mourn even the chains one day!
Btw, speaking of Curtis Harrington, I was so excited to find on Kanopy an early-ish work of his, Night Tide (1961, with Dennis Hopper), but it turned out rather a dud... Interested in further opinions, if anyone has seen it...
I think the most interesting thing about Night Tide is that Marjorie Cameron is in it. She plays the spooky, mysterious lady who follows Mora around. Cameron was married to occultist/rocket scientist Jack Parsons. Parsons believed he conjured her up by performing a series of sex magic rituals he called the Babalon Working. I think she thought so, too. She was involved in the avant-garde art scene around LA and made some movies with Kenneth Anger and Curtis Harrington.
I agree, now she was remarkable. In the movie I mean, although it sounds as if fiction had nothing on real life in this case!
When I picked up a disc at random to check for quality (from the 1990s series set), I chanced on a scene when Leo, the thuggish husband of the pretty waitress, is revealed
(I know there must be dissertation-worthy amounts of fan musings online already, but I'm leery of having avalanches of analyses and symbolism and whatnot dumped all at once on my head--it's more fun to rediscover things slowly, I think.)
I'm at about the same level as you with Twin Peaks - I watched the first series on its UK transmission (1990?) but drifted away during season. I've seen a lot of praise for the Return series online (despite it apparently being as hermetic and baffling as anything Lynch has done). Oh, and I saw Fire Walk With Me at the cinema.
I don't think I can commit to watching the whole thing now, though. Especially this time of year, when heat and humidity practically drives me out of the (Victorian, poorly insulated) house.
Just listened to two of the feature commentaries on The Old Dark House. I don't think there's any indication of when Gloria Stuart was interviewed to create her commentary. Bumbling around the internet, I discovered that Brember Wills, who plays Saul Femm, was born here in Reading.
I've had mixed feelings about David Lynch. Long, long ago, I saw Erazerhead and The Elephant Man and wasn't particularly enamoured of either, and so never bothered much about him afterwards. Lots of friends raved about Twin Peaks, but I never saw it. Then I saw Mulholland Drive and was really captivated by it, and I was sorry I never watched Twin Peaks, and I've vaguely felt I'd like to see it ever since. Perhaps now's the time ...
That's a very good point actually, about the weather, TP fits winter much better. Hmmm--I'll see whether I can muster the patience to wait...
I'm a Lynch fan, though not the most die-hard one--a lot of his sensibility is utterly foreign to me. The romantic view of smalltown Americana, strangely (for an American) free of cynicism, the conspiracy theories, the 1950s obsession, the teenage emotionalism... but the foreigness of these elements make them also fascinating, to me.
And then there's what I do have inherent sympathy for, the poetry, the surrealism, the abiding sense of how weird and wonderful (wonder-full) the world is, how inexplicable the plots of our lives, the logic of our relationships... there's a residue of mystery in everything, the most commonplace things.
Found what seemed to me a very cheap (£18-98 in Brit money, including the postage), ten-disc, blu-ray set of the original series and Firewalk with Me, plus extras, on Amazon UK - so I've ordered it. The cover says 'Twin Peaks', 'The Entire Mystery' and 'And The Missing Pieces'. It's region-free.
Amazon can be annoying sometimes. It's making me a little uneasy that nowhere in the description does it say the set contains Firewalk with Me. It's clearly mentioned in the image given of the back of the case, and some of the reviews refer to it, but Amazon does sometimes get reviews and images on the wrong products. But then the price is reasonable for a thirty-episode series on its own, I suppose ...
Oh well done, that does sound good. I'll be curious to know whether your set has the audio commentary and the coffee adverts--mine doesn't, I missed out on the first release of the "definitive" set.
As for Fire Walk With Me, if it's the movie that's meant (there's some confusion between the "prequel" movie that got cinema distribution, and the expanded pilot) I ordered the 2-disc Criterion edition after seeing lots of praise for it.
I saw the "pilot" last night, the original and the end of the video release--the latter was made in case the project fell through, to sort of complete the story. From what I gather, I strongly recommend that you watch the "original" pilot (maybe it's called "American" too), and follow on with the series from there. The "international" pilot, while not being entirely explicit about the killer and other plot points, nevertheless shows too much.
I was surprised to see how much I remembered--it's been what, 28 years?! Goes to show what an impact it had.
Thanks for that, I'll keep it in mind - the cover says (assuming Amazon's showing the right one) 'nearly 90 minutes of deleted/alternate scenes', but whether that's enough to include a whole alternate pilot ... fingers crossed until it arrives.
It's being hyped-up as the best horror film for years, which makes me cynical. On the other hand, it has overwhelmingly favourable reviews (including one from Movie Nation which contains a spoiler worth a good backside-kicking).
I feel I shoud see this. Having seen a couple of trailers, though, I'm not sure I want to - it looks rather grim and depressing (which is not always - or, even, not often - the case with the dark and scary).
It is - and I tried to watch it last night, but somewhere in Sherilyn Fenn's first big scene I fell asleep and didn't wake till the early hours.
First thoughts: "This is a bit weird ..." - so many things in it are 'just a little bit off'.
The first time I've seen it for some years, it was just as good as I remembered it - a proper story and nicely keeping things taut all the way through. One of my favourite horror films, I think.
I've just been looking at the Wikipedia page, though, and I'm intrigued to find that the female lead was Carpenter's wife and the producer/co-writer/one of the extras his girlfriend. One big happy family or were things on set ... 'interesting'?
ETA - I'm also intrigued to find that Adrienne Barbeau once starred in Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death ...
I'm going to guess "interesting"!
I agree with your assessment of The Fog. I finally saw it on TV maybe 10 years ago, and bought the DVD after that. I've watched an awful lot of horror films in the last decade or so, and the Fog would score highly - if I was able to rank them all in any kind of meaningful way.
Did you notice though, that The Night Strangler - the second Kolchak the Night Stalker TV movie - was on Talking Pictures TV at the same time? I taped that from a BBC broadcast in the 1990s and I don't think it had been shown again until this weekend. I transferred it to DVD-R and junked the tape, but then the DVD failed. I was annoyed, to say the least. Luckily I stumbled across a Spanish DVD (with alternative original soundtrack) on Amazon. Otherwise I would be horribly frustrated now because , as I'm sure I've mentioned before, my DVD recorder doesn't work and no replacements are available. "Everyone streams everything these days" - only, what's available is less then everything.
(Long sigh ...)
I'm always resolving to keep an eye on the Talking Pictures schedule. I'm always forgetting to do so ...
And I'm always resolving to catalogue my DVDs and blu-rays ... ever since Take11 folded and still not got round to it. And it's got to the stage where I'd really need to 'de-junk' the spare room before I could make a start on it - can't move anything without putting it on top of something else. After seeing it again, I was tempted to order my own copy of The Fog, but I honestly can't remember whether I already have one.
I can't stop singing the praises of cinemaparadiso, though - it's (largely) stopped me cluttering up the place with more discs.
Very rewatchable, somehow I didn't expect that. But as with everything Lynch does, there are so many arresting details that call back to one.
>154 alaudacorax:, >155 housefulofpaper:
I've seen The Fog only once, but it was a memorable event because the cinema and the way home were next to the sea, so my friend and I kept freaking out seeing horrible shadows rushing at us from the water and everywhere else. And when we paused next to a pile of coiled rope, a rat jumped out and ran over my friend's shoe. I don't remember much from the movie as such but that scream is seared in my memory.
Be positive, call it 'an evening walk in the healthy sea air, interacting with the local wildlife' ...
I'm already envisioning a TP winter marathon... cut off all contact with the outside world; ensure adequate amounts of coffee, cake and friendly drugs ---> enter hidden dimensions!
I should have replied before now. I though I had! I saw Fire Walk With Me at the cinema (I think there were only three of us in there - me, a work colleague, and one old man a few rows away from us). That last bit, rather than being unnecessary, or gratuitous, was just overwhelmingly horrible and...I wanted it to stop. I didn't want Laura to die (although, of course, I know from the off that was how things were going to end).
Perhaps I'll start it tonight.
In short, I don't know that there's anything like it or will be again.
I didn't find the final part with the murder particularly gory, compared to what's been done in that vein on film. As you say, we know what happens to her from the very first, so none of it is surprising or--to me at least--shocking, given how obliquely it's filmed. (The clubhouse scenes are more electrifying, as that's not something we've been told about in detail.) But I do get that Lynch wanted to show the events we have been told and retold about a dozen times over, for Laura's perspective and to witness her final "release". I only watched it once, so maybe the balance between Laura's POV and "surface" events will look different on repeat.
I'll have to see how it strikes me on a repeat viewing. I'm going on my memories of that initial (and only) viewing. I was seeing very good things about the new Twin Peaks series on social media, and did actually see a few minutes of it on broadcast, but having missed the start, I didn't want to dip into it.
Current viewing has been some Jean Rollin films out on blu-ray, and the Criterion Collection (yes they're available in the UK now) blu-ray of Carnival of Souls (and the extras - working through a collection of training films from Centron Corporation - from whom Herk Harvey took a two-week holiday to make the movie. Needless to say, they're not gothic)!)
It's quite highly rated on rottentomatoes and fairly highly on IMDb, but I gave up half-way through - I simply wasn't engaged with it - didn't care what might happen. I can't make up my mind if it was the film or just my mood - I couldn't really put my finger on anything wrong with it. I suppose I should give it another try.
ETA - It had looked like it would be right up my street - shades of Penny Dreadful.
Argh! Just lost my reply to you. I read the original novel back in 1994. The focus is on the music hall star Dan Leno as much as the fictional(?) murders - I took them to be a fictional counterpart of the Ripper murders rather than a real-life case. I suppose Leno is not as present in the film version, but I haven't seen it.
I thought it was quite good; I liked it. A very beautiful film, though the picture quality of the DVD was rather poor (I'd love to see a good-quality print). As much psychological as supernatural, it struck me as very French.
I have a suspicion Jean Rollin was influenced by it.
It had hardly any connection with Le Fanu's Carmilla, on which it claimed to be based. It had not much more connection with the English-language trailer that was one of the extras - I was chuckling most of the way through that ...
One thing intrigues me. I'm sure any director of the English-speaking world making that film would have cast the two female leads the other way round, having the darker-haired woman as Carmilla and the blond as the potential victim. Do the French think differently about these things?
ETA - Talking of houseful's post, I really must get round to reading Euro Gothic.
ETA, again - Wrote the orginal post last night (Amazon even delivers on Sundays) - I haven't been watching horror films first thing in the morning!
A lot of the time it didn't seem to know if it wanted to be old-dark-house-Gothic or Mills & Boon. It didn't help that I worked out where the plot was going before half-way through - it was fairly obvious. Also, I
I didn't think James Mason was at his best - seemed a bit half-hearted in places. The female lead - Joyce Howard - was new to me, but she did seem to have a bit more of a screen presence than a lot of the female stars or starlets of the day.
ETA - As so often, I can think of absolutely no connection between the title and the film.
Yet another ETA - As a wannabee musician, I find myself getting less and less tolerant of characters giving professional-standard piano performances whilst carrying on a conversation. Happened in Blood and Roses, as well ...
I feel Like I've been caught not doing my homework - I've got Blood and Roses on DVD, but I haven't watched it yet. I think Carmilla is dark-haired in the original story, but deceptively innocent-looking. Perhaps Vadim was aiming for that impression?
Not a film I knew about. It's a fact that mid-20th century Gothics (if we can distinguish them from Horror movies) were made as "Women's pictures"; up to, I suppose, the Corman/Price Poe series. You'll get a strain of Mills and Boon romance in them all, I think.
Taken on its own merits the film is pretty good, I think, with (as Wikipedia says) elements of horror and film noir in the screenplay (or is that just the recent experience of WWII making people bit more tough-minded about their romantic escapism, I wonder?), and some beautifully atmospheric shots of the studio-bound Venice sets. The films turned up on Talking Pictures TV a couple of times.
I think you have the same DVD as me ('FILMCLUB EDITION' from German Amazon): you really must watch that English-language trailer - it's a scream - a classic of the genre!
The poor picture quality to the film itself is a tragedy, though, as the photography and mise en scène are a bit special. When I wrote >168 alaudacorax: I couldn't for the life of me think of a phrase I wanted and it's been niggling me ever since - 'restored version', that's what I wanted - 'wanted' in both senses.
You're almost certainly right about the 'Women's picture' aspect - probably playing on James Mason's status as a dark, brooding heart-throb (Byronic hero?)
Haven't been able to get on with Henry James's writing when I've tried - really could not get through Portrait of a Lady and gave up on him, though I of course mean to read The Turn of the Screw at some point. I'm intrigued to see 'Endora' playing the centenarian, though - I must keep an eye on TalkingPictures for that (which is where I found 'The Night Has Eyes').
Found a copy on YouTube and I've got quite intrigued with it, so I'm downloading it as I write - just in case it gets deleted before I watch it. Sadly, Agnes Moorehead is quite unrecognisable, though.
Robert Cummings is one of those actors where the face is vaguely familiar but you never remember the name - I'll have forgotten it again by the next time I come across him. I've only watched a few moments of it, but for some reason my memory is already trying to substitue William Holden or Dick Powell.
Holden is possibly a subconscious memory of Sunset Boulevard, which has some similarities, but I'm not sure why Dick Powell is cropping up.
I'm wondering if I've seen another filming of this story - or a variation of this story? Could be I have some very faint memories of seeing this actual film fifty or sixty years ago and my imagination really has substituted some other actor for Cummings. There's something niggling away in the back of my mind, though, and I just can't get at it.
Forgive the cynicism, but, on further reading, I think it probably had more to do with Carmilla being the lead female role and the blond being the director's wife ...
>171 housefulofpaper:, >174 alaudacorax:
Last night, managed to fall asleep half-way through 'The Lost Moment'. If I could, just once, stay awake till bedtime ... (Sighs. Wanders off, muttering ...)
KEY LARGO (1948) - listed as action/crime/drama on IMDb
1. Nora's wedding band is inscribed with 'evermore' (prods Poe's nevermore refrain)
2. Curly describes hurricanes as "The wind blows so hard the ocean gets up on its hind legs and walks right across the land." Twelve feet high sometimes.
3. Although not supernatural, the elements strike fear in the hearts of the gangsters. Their guns are useless to ward off the storm. The paranoia and terror purposely exaggerated by Barrymore with his 'horror hurricane bedtime story' is tangible in EGR.
4. No mansion, but the focal hotel makes for a remote refuge. Many rooms, many bad guys, drama inside and out.
5. Lionel Barrymore is in a wheelchair due to severe arthritis (in real life) but at least this time he's a good guy! Southern Gothic often includes a person with a disability and this takes place in Florida's remote battered landscape. Seminole indigenous characters flush out the kind but excluded nature of neighbours.
DARK PASSAGE (1947) - listed as Film Noir/thriller on IMDb
1. Agnes Moorehead is outstanding as incensed 'betrayed' love interest out for spite. Her punishment suits her crime. Although she's not a witch in this one, she conveys it to the marrow.
2. Odd camera angle use throws viewer off-centre from the start.
3. Remote prison. Isolation in a small apartment. Wrongful death in her history, told hesitantly by Bacall to Bogart. To soothe trust/fear issues only. Not for pity.
I've got Key Largo (on VHS!) but it's a long time since I watched it. My one US trip was to Florida (a family holiday waaay back in 1981). We did see one storm while we were there...nothing very major as these things go but it gave flavour of a tropical storm. Palm trees bending in the wind and rain battering the windows.
Dark Passage, though, I haven't seen. I see from IMDb that it's set in San Francisco which is surely a characterfully Gothic city... or perhaps Decadent-Weird, with its connection to writers of the Fantastic from Ambrose Bierce, George Sterling's circle (including Clark Ashton Smith), to Fritz Leiber making his home there in his last years and mythologising the city and himself in late works, preeminently I suppose the novel Our Lady of Darkness.
It's a Noir-ish city too, thinking of Dashiell Hammett, for example - oh, and the film Hammett).
But when it comes to Noir/Gothic films set in San Francisco, I suppose Vertigo takes top place.
"Forgive my cynicism" - oh don't worry, Vadim's reputation precedes him if anybody's does! I very nearly expressed the same thought myself.
I can't say I've got t grips with Henry James either. I haven't attempted any of the novels. I've read some of his ghost stories (not, as of yet, "The Turn of the Screw") and I'm disheartened by the fact that I keep losing the thread of the story. I think I'm reading attentively but all too often stop with the realisation that somehow I now longer know what "the Master" is going on about!
I hesitate to say much about Dark Passage because there are only a few main characters and they all wrap around each other like laundry sheets on a clothesline. There is a twist or two to keep the audience off balance, but it is based on a book so anyone who read the book will predict the plot of the film. They agreed to do it on location, since the director was more streamline than John Huston. He went so overbudget on Sierra Madre that they refused to let him do on location shoots for Key Largo. The outdoor storm footage comes from a Ronald Reagan movie and the rest is done in a water tank on the lot. Even the inn was built on the lot in California. Drat. At least the acting holds you like glue. When EGR starts to sweat, it makes me feel thirsty! Visceral response is ideal with any genre, so kudos to the cast and cinematographer.
The Turn of the Screw is on my 'someday' list (as is Phantom of the Opera, since Toronto production with Colm Wilkinson was unforgettable in late 80s, and then will hunker down to find the many films) and Vertigo is addictive. I wish I liked Stephen King and Hitchcock more than I do. Underdogs have more appeal than highly lauded folk. Bogey/Bacall combo in The Big Sleep (1946) viewed many years ago was a treat too, but her debut in To Have and Have Not (1944) remains elusive. Managed to get around to reading it recently.
Do you mean you haven't seen it or you don't get into it when you do watch it?
Quite off-topic, but whenever I see it I'm struck anew by the beauty of the photography - Sidney Hickox - I always think you could freeze-frame absolutely anywhere in that film and have a black and white photograph good enough to frame and stick on your wall. One of my all-time favourite films and I practically know the dialogue by heart.
Um ... I think I've said all that before - probably many times ... and I must try to remember to write 'cinematography', not 'photography' ...
It's an interesting exercise, thinking of Key Largo as a Gothic film. I don't think it's crossed my mind before, but I have lately been vaguely pondering on the links and crossovers between Gothic films and film noir and this one seems a ripe candidate.
Is the hotel a good stand-in for a Gothic mansion? With hindsight I realise it's always had resonances for me of some old black and white horrors/thrillers set in the Deep South or in the tropics. Can't bring any of them to mind, now; so don't know if they pre-dated Key Largo and the resonances were, possibly, intended.
Not so sure about Dark Passage. I have a DVD in a couple of Bogey box sets and I've watched it, but I don't think it has the impact of some of the other films and it hasn't really stuck in my memory. I seem to remember it as more squarely noir, though.
I've had to retrain my thinking and images absorbed from Gothic standards like Wuthering Heights, to better enjoy the sub-genres like Southern Gothic, etc. A remote hotel/inn doesn't have to be a sprawling estate on a moor to be effective, and I am looking at everything now through this Gothic lens, trying to notice elements where there were none before. Or they'd always been there but putting together several Gothic characteristics has become a game. As with writing Gothic, we clearly see that not everything needs to be in every story, but the more subtle the more fun. Like with staircases. I think of the one in Ethel Barrymore's performance because it is integral to the storyline outcome, but in Key Largo the stairs are shown many times, but I was seeing it in reference to Lionel Barrymore's disability, not as a Gothic element. Tweaks the whole experience for me! Love the overlap, love the treasure hunt of sorts, to notice these things now. I spent six months two years ago researching Film-Noir so it was in my mind when I started the Gothic studies, but the two in my mind were completely separate (although both appealing) until watching my Lauren Bacall dvd (4 films, including Gregory Peck and John Wayne besides Bogart).
It was often confusing for me to see cinematography vs. photography vs. DP but now I understand that they are all the same thing used interchangeably depending on the source speaking. Director of Photography suits me just fine. And yes, a good one can make almost the entire film one big long scrapbook of excellent stills. I first learned about their importance with What's Eating Gilbert Grape, the way the director talks about his partner in crime, flown in from Sweden to help get those gorgeous fire silhouettes and dawn/dusk charm. That was 1993. Lasse Hallstrom and DP Sven Nykvist. The dvd bonus features are terrific as is the Director Commentary. Peter Hedges has adapted his own novel well, and his son has become a fine actor.
Checking on IMDb I find I'd given it seven stars. I have no idea what I was thinking - it's bloody awful! This film is crass. The word that kept coming into my mind, over and over, was 'overblown'; it was as if someone had given Jess Franco a few thousand times more money than he ever had to make a film. For the first quarter of an hour or so I was thinking that they could usefully have taken some of the money and paid for a good voice coach and acting lessons for Keanu Reeves, but as the film went on his imperfections just blended into the general mess.
I gave up at forty minutes - the scene where Dracula meets Mina on the street. It was so clunkingly written* I just couldn't take any more.
'Seven stars'! Ye gods, what was I thinking? It should probably ring warning bells when you have all those big-name stars and yet you think the best performance on the screen is Tom Waits playing a lunatic ...
I'm off to check what else I may have written about it here. If I've bigged it up I'm going to be mortified.
*... not to mention Oldman hamming it up.
I have not seen the movie, but had heard about the poor English accents and bizarre adaptation. It is on my list to read the original before year end maybe around Hallowe'en, having not yet had the pleasure. Would love to sink my fangs into it finally! =)
Watching King Solomon's Mines (1937, etc.) since it was also in the news yesterday. Someone has carbon dated something in Jordan. This is another novel I have always wanted to read, also postponing the films, as with Dracula. Man alive, these TBR lists will be the death of me!
'Director Francis Ford Coppola explains on the DVD commentary that Mina and Harker's wedding was a re-shoot done at a Los Angeles Greek Orthodox church. They filmed the entire ceremony with a genuine Orthodox minister and realized afterwards that Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves really were married.'
Re: Keanu. I relate to him since he grew up in Toronto and is only a few months older than me. I saw him in a VHS of The Devil's Advocate 1997 with Pacino which scared the bazookas out of my 3 sons and myself. Yikes. Point being, I knew he'd done odd goofy/stoner films up to that point and was not expecting the intensity he conjured up with Charlize Theron. Neither look bad naked, but I was too unsettled by the supernatural elements to find any of it sexy. Keanu had overlapping tragedy in his life around this time, with a serious motorcycle crash, a stillborn daughter, and the death of this girlfriend a short time later, also an accident. There was some Marilyn Manson connection (can't recall) and although he has some lovely characters to boast of, his acting style could not help but be influenced by personal experience. He has more depth in the past 20yrs than in his frivilous years, just breaking into acting (a big transition from a goalie). The death of River Phoenix also affected his choices. Not a Matrix fan (love Carrie-Anne Moss though, another Canadian) but followed his other work, poetry, live readings (Melville), etc. I like his dark side even when not in an action genre like John Wick or his directing debut with Man of Tai Chi (2013 flop but respect his mental/physical discipline). It doesn't excuse Dracula, but he served a purpose to FFC (admits to being miscast), and suits Ryder (they've teamed up again in another movie coming out soon) and FFC hired various hot commodities to wedge them into his vision of the script interpretation. Obviously it didn't work. Incidentally, Tom Waits plays the devil in the Gilliam film opposite Chris Plummer, and slays.
My daughter loves the Hotel Transylvania animated films with Adam Sandler & co., which features a nod to Gary Oldman in the 2nd one, when Johnny (voiced by Andy Samberg) dresses up for a costume party as THAT Drac, to meet Vlad the Grandpa, voiced by Mel Brooks. Silly fun all around.
Final thoughts; KR seems to need to keep working to hold inner demons at bay, and if he can be creative while he's doing it, then God bless him. No matter the outcome.
To be fair, I know Reeves to be a perfectly acceptable actor in other roles, but I just find it impossible to see past the terrible accent in Bram Stoker's Dracula - or Much Ado About Nothing. Possibly, there's nothing wrong with his acting as such in either, but the accent veils everything else.
The Devil's Advocate: another of those films I've been meaning to see for years ...
Sorry for my lengthy post, must have been shedding a skin and needed a good rant to shake it off. Sometimes I'm not sure what will emerge until I reread it later. Such is life.
My KR guilty pleasures are The Lake House with Chris Plummer (time warp theme) and The Replacements with Gene Hackman. He turned 35 doing a scene with Hackman and called it one of the highlights of his life. I enjoyed Hackman's retirement hobby, novels. The three I've read I would read again, all very different but all high quality. He writes with the same high bar set for acting.
Went through a bit of a Mickey Rourke phase, researching his performance in Barfly to study the Bukowski element, and came across DeNiro playing the devil in a film with a very young Lisa Bonet. I had no knowledge of this film or the controversy surrounding it at the time. I tried to watch it but the voodoo segments are just too visually disturbing to me. Perhaps some day, but I will have to be in the right frame of mind. Angel Heart 1987.
I had no idea Hackman is an author.
That's reminded me of an irritating little niggle I've had for months. Somewhere in my book collection - or possibly online - I've seen a very accurate, almost photographic, oil-painting of Gene Hackman, but I can't, for the life of me, find it. The only thing is ... it was painted in the sixteenth century (possibly 15th or 17th) and it's one of the popes. If I do run it down I'll post it here, just for fun.
ETA - Loved him in Young Frankenstein.
For a moment there I thought you were talking about shedding your skin - I was imagining you cowering in terror, trying to force yourself to face your mirror.
There's got to be the basis of at least a short story there. I suppose it's been done before ...
The 3 Hackman novels I ordered were; Wake of the Perdito Star, Payback at Morning Peak, Pursuit. One takes place at sea, one in the old west, one is a tormented female cop. He has a few others I'd love to locate.
I had to watch the film again after reading your post. I have some reservations about it, but had never rated it as an absolute stinker. It was powerful enough on its release to influence the popular image of Dracula (like Hammer's Dracula and Herzog's remake of Nosferatu the Vampyre), at least for a time..restating the character's East European rather than Germanic origins (by way of a Japanese designer's operatic designs. Comparing it to the BBC adaptation from 1977(?) with Louis jourdan as the Count, or even the 1979 John Badham version with Frank Langella it seems...overblown seems too unfair. It's too sumptuous to be really frightening, perhaps? And maybe trying to do too much? - the self-conscious nods to silent movie techniques, what I thought might be homages to other horror films (e.g. the gouts of blood when Lucy dies/is vampirised are from The Shining), the whole 1890s Decadent background to the Count's seduction of Mina (absinthe, etc. (that hasn't aged well; I bought a bottle of the "Green Fairy" in Marks & Spence last year!)). References to previous Draculas too, some subtler than others. There's plenty of Nosferatu in the opening scenes in Dracula's castle, but Oldman's Dracula is really not even trying to keep up a pretence of normalcy. He's just playing with Harker like a cat with a mouse in a way I've only seen in the BBC version.
An then, I though the screenplay was attempting to get in too much in the way of character motivation, and how that drives the action. Van Helsing's painful public quizzing of Harker, who confesses the only reason he didn't sleep with the vampire brides was that he was too scared to perform, sort of appeared from nowhere and then had no further bearing (unless we're to assume that Dracula's the better man? The might be it I suppose, none of the vampire hunters, "God's madmen" come out looking very good). But the denouement made no sense to me. Everyone stops fighting and assumes Mina will "do the right thing?". Riiight...
And of course the film deviates from Stoker's novel by making Dracula a romantic figure who discovers Mina is the reincarnation of his lost love. The approach Dan Curtis and Richard Matheson took with their Dracula, Jack Palance. Where does it start from though? Universal's 1932 The Mummy, or is there a hint in the original Nosferatu?
is there a hint in the original Nosferatu?
A hint of romance, with Max Schreck's Nosferatu? Dear me, no (say I), a thousand times no.
But I did come across something funny in Jim Shepard's book about Murnau (Nosferatu) regarding the casting--according to Shepard, whether documented info or fiction I can't tell, for the role of Harker Murnau originally wanted Veidt. Seems like under-casting to me, but who knows.
I hope no one minds if I continue the thread? I've been having a hell of a time with my internet speed and LT is one of the slowest sites for me. Please keep chatting here at will, I just need to help myself to a more manageable thread.