FatFreekThe Bad Seed is a 1956 American psychological horror-thriller film with elements of melodrama and film noir, directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, and Eileen Heckart."Must be where Nick Cave’s band got its name from. Definitely going to watch it now.
Let's Talk Horror Movies
FF, the 1956 Bad Seed movie, I forgot about that, that was the first time I say a movie just about a psychopathic child, very scary, I know adults who like that girl was betrayed.
Wes Craven once said something like: 'horror movies allow society to feel fear and relief and this is an acceptable outlet. Real life can be worse than horror movies'
LUHE, I agree, I have lived it and as an adult, helped teenagers or adults from that background, deal with the horror of their childhood. The boogeyman in films and tv don't scare you when you know a real boogeyman lives with you.
You can't turn the tv off or walk out of theater to escape the horror.
Lights Out, 2016
Lights Out is an interesting stab at a horror movie based on a 2013 short film of the same name. The movie's novel concept is a creature that can only be seen and manifest in the dark. Turn a torch on, and it disappears. Naturally, this means that a lot of the movie is spent in the dark but this works well.The use of lighting is one of the movie's strong points and allows for some creative, and occasionally funny, uses of torches, candles and even car headlights. This technique generates a lot of the scares and atmosphere and given the movie's title, this is a must. Definitely top marks for the director on this part.
I've just been reading a book about the horror genre - Horror Films (James Marriot, 2004).
It's a pretty interesting read. It's a discussion of the 20 most influential horror films of all time.
First, what I like about it: the lay out is very good, with twenty chapters (one per film), and several subheadings (Synopisis, Origins, Director, Casting, Critical Eye, Industry Impact, etc.).
The subheading Critical Eye has provoked the most interest and range of responses from me. I can be stubborn and close-minded but I can also be open-minded, too.
I'm well aware that movies can have themes and subtexts. For instance, any adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula (1897) is likely to have themes of sexuality. The Victorian Era was one of sexual repression so the sexuality of characters such as Jonathan Harker is going to be contrasted with the sexuality of Count Dracula. The book I've been reading makes these points and generally makes them well.
My favourite horror movie is A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). In it Fred Krueger is described as a 'filthy child murderer'. Wes Craven originally intended for Krueger to be a child molester but kinda backed down because there were a number of child abuse cases in America when his movie was being filmed. That, plus the fact that an antagonist who is a child abuser just wouldn't work (see the 2010 remake of the movie). So, Krueger's child abuse was relegated to subtext: Krueger flicking his tongue at the main protagonist, Nancy, plus at one point he even growls at her "I'm gonna split you in two!" It worked well because it was unsaid.
Alien (1979) seems to have themes of disturbing sexual and reproductive images: the face-hugger alien implants an embryo in Gilbert Kane's throat (a weird kind of rape) and later we see a horrific 'birth' when the next stage of the xenomorph's life cycle erupts out of Kane's chest. The book makes these points and makes them well. But the author goes too far, IMO. He refers to when Ellen Ripley strips down to her underwear at the end of the movie as playing to a gender stereotype. This is absurd: the reason for this isn't titillation - Ripley has to strip to climb into the spacesuit.
Referring to Ripley stripping down to her underwear he says, quote: The sequence does humanise Ripley - throughout the film the alien appears to be more organic than most of the human characters - and there is a slight hint of the sexual attraction between Ripley and the alien that later in the series became a full-blown concern.
This last point refers to the ridiculous sequel Alien Resurrection (1997) where a Ripley clone is part xenomorph and does seem to be sexually attracted to an alien. But notice the ridiculous opinion that in Alien (1979) there is a hint of a sexual attraction between Ripley and the alien. I gotta say, this is bullshit. In the original classic, the alien is a nightmare antagonist - one of cinema's most frightening - and Ripley is scared shitless of it. In the final scene she actually starts singing a lullaby to stop herself caving in to her fear, before she blasts the creature out the airlock.
More comments and quotes from the book in a future post ...
Hammer horror for me.
I'm not really bothered about horror films.
What I love about the Alien films were the false frights where a light fitting or piece of electronic equipment would look at first glance like the alien. So many 'made you jump moments', brilliant.
Hammer horror for me - I haven't seen many Hammer horror films.
The one that I do remember is Dracula (1958), titled Horror of Dracula in the US. It's the first time Christopher Lee starred as Dracula. I saw it on TV when I was quite young.
I must have been about 5 so it was around 1984 ... and the film scared the crap out of me! XD
What I love about the Alien films were the false frights where a light fitting or piece of electronic equipment would look at first glance like the alien - yes, this was great. The alien blended perfectly with the spaceship's electrical fittings and wires. It must have been a great shock to cinema audiences back in 1979 when the alien's hand suddenly reached out and tried to grab Ripley ...
Er, yeah, so here's a bit more from this book I've been reading. It is a critical look at Bride of Frankenstein (1935).
The author claims that homosexuality is an important theme in the movie.
Er, yeah, 'cos no two things go together like the story of Frankenstein and homosexuality. The author points to the fact that a fair amount of the film's cast were gay (so?), and even goes so far as to say that the only meaningful relationship in the movie is between two males (Frankenstein's monster and a blind man who befriends him). This is stretching it a bit. No, it's stretching it a lot. The relationship between Frankenstein's monster and the hermit is platonic, and therefore nothing to do with homosexuality or gay sexual relationships.
And then there's this doozy, quote : [Dr] Pretorius tells Henry [Frankenstein] with an arched eyebrow that 'I grow my creatures ... as nature does, from seed', possibly a reference to masturbation ... - er no, just no.
Y'know, there's interesting movie analysis, and there's talking bollocks. We must not let ourselves stray into the latter when we're engaging in the former.
To be fair to the author, he does resist the temptation to scrabble around for metaphor during his analysis of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), which is spot on incidentally. TCM is just a pure horror film, plain and simple, designed to scare the bejesus out of 70s cinema-goers.