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LawrenceA

Recently Watched Horror

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The Seventh Victim (1943) is a slow burn. The filmmakers rely on the Lewton trademark of unsettling mood, dread and suspicion to create horror:  Satanists, who call themselves Palladists, gather in a cozy Greenwich village townhouse, playing cards, talking, and generally enjoying each other’s company. The Palladists reject violence, except when there’s betrayal in their ranks.  This is 1943. WWII is raging.  Hopelessness and despair rule the day.  Evil had seemingly won.  The devil worshipers may have taken to the adage, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” 

The film title refers to the seventh person who has turned against the cult. The other six were killed. The preferred method is psychologically-induced suicide. And there’s a doozy of a scene involving poison wine, evocatively lit in chiaroscuro.  The plot is set in motion when protagonist Mary Gibson (Kim Hunter, who could pass for Deanna Durbin’s twin), leaves boarding school because her sister, Jacqueline, stopped paying the tuition. Mary finds more questions than answers when she arrives in New York looking for Jacqueline, (Jean Brooks, spooky and haunted in black goth hair and ghostly white skin).  Along the way, Mary meets mysterious psychiatrist Louis Judd (Tom Conway), and Jacqueline’s “friend”, lawyer Gregory Ward (Hugh Beaumont).  

I kept thinking about Rosemary’s Baby (1968) while watching The Seventh Victim.  I was looking for an image, a piece of dialogue, anything Roman Polanski may have picked up on.  And the best I could find is a scene in a hotel room, in which Mary is waiting for Dr. Judd.  She looks in the mirror, and sees smoke rising from an armchair.  It frightens her. The occupant is revealed to be a detective, advising Mary to be careful snooping around. The shot of billowing smoke reminded me of that great scene in Rosemary’s Baby, when Mia Farrow sees her husband, played by John Cassavetes, talking to someone blowing cigar smoke in Cassavetes’s face (in effect, closing the deal).  That person is shown to be Satanist Roman Castevet, played memorably by Sidney Blackmer.  That shot was not only chilling, but it distilled the essence of the film.  Of course, the similarities are probably coincidence.  

I don’t think its overstatement to call The Seventh Victim a horror classic, in that it has influenced countless films.

 

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On 11/1/2018 at 11:24 AM, cinemaspeak59 said:

The Seventh Victim (1943) is a slow burn. The filmmakers rely on the Lewton trademark of unsettling mood, dread and suspicion to create horror:  Satanists, who call themselves Palladists, gather in a cozy Greenwich village townhouse, playing cards, talking, and generally enjoying each other’s company. The Palladists reject violence, except when there’s betrayal in their ranks.  This is 1943. WWII is raging.  Hopelessness and despair rule the day.  Evil had seemingly won.  The devil worshipers may have taken to the adage, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” 

The film title refers to the seventh person who has turned against the cult. The other six were killed. The preferred method is psychologically-induced suicide. And there’s a doozy of a scene involving poison wine, evocatively lit in chiaroscuro.  The plot is set in motion when protagonist Mary Gibson (Kim Hunter, who could pass for Deanna Durbin’s twin), leaves boarding school because her sister, Jacqueline, stopped paying the tuition. Mary finds more questions than answers when she arrives in New York looking for Jacqueline, (Jean Brooks, spooky and haunted in black goth hair and ghostly white skin).  Along the way, Mary meets mysterious psychiatrist Louis Judd (Tom Conway), and Jacqueline’s “friend”, lawyer Gregory Ward (Hugh Beaumont).  

I kept thinking about Rosemary’s Baby (1968) while watching The Seventh Victim.  I was looking for an image, a piece of dialogue, anything Roman Polanski may have picked up on.  And the best I could find is a scene in a hotel room, in which Mary is waiting for Dr. Judd.  She looks in the mirror, and sees smoke rising from an armchair.  It frightens her. The occupant is revealed to be a detective, advising Mary to be careful snooping around. The shot of billowing smoke reminded me of that great scene in Rosemary’s Baby, when Mia Farrow sees her husband, played by John Cassavetes, talking to someone blowing cigar smoke in Cassavetes’s face (in effect, closing the deal).  That person is shown to be Satanist Roman Castevet, played memorably by Sidney Blackmer.  That shot was not only chilling, but it distilled the essence of the film.  Of course, the similarities are probably coincidence.  

I don’t think its overstatement to call The Seventh Victim a horror classic, in that it has influenced countless films.

 

It's Lewton's darkest film- and yes it influences all the Satanist horror films that follow it.

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Stuart Gordon's"From Beyond" (1986)  is another H P Lovecraft adaptation but I don't think it's as good as the gory demented "Re-Animator"  Jeffrey Combs and Ted Sorel play scientist who have invented a Resonator a device which expands the senses and unleashes deadly creatures from another dimension.  It also turns Barbara Cramptom into a sex crazed leather wearing dominatrix- this kinky sexual angle has more to do with the filmmakers fantasy life than Lovecraft- whose works are  usually sexless unless you read more into his  bromantic heroes.  The make up FX is good but the over lit cinematography makes the creatures look a bit too rubbery.

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Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" (1980) is a fine adaptation of Stephen King's novel. The book is still scarier but Kubrick creates a real sense of dread in his spectacular Overlook set. Nicholson is a bit too crazy from the get go which I think diminishes the suspense but Kubrick's surreal images are chilling from the blood flooding the lobby to those creepy twin girls. The movie does feel a bit long- and I actually saw his original longer cut. Wendy Carlos really sets the mood.

 

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On 11/3/2018 at 10:48 PM, jaragon said:

Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" (1980) is a fine adaptation of Stephen King's novel. The book is still scarier but Kubrick creates a real sense of dread in his spectacular Overlook set. Nicholson is a bit too crazy from the get go which I think diminishes the suspense but Kubrick's surreal images are chilling from the blood flooding the lobby to those creepy twin girls. The movie does feel a bit long- and I actually saw his original longer cut. Wendy Carlos really sets the mood.

 

Did you see the version that shows Mr. Ullman visit Danny in the hospital and give him the tennis ball from 237? I read this scene was cut from the original. 

 

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"Did you see the version that shows Mr. Ullman visit Danny in the hospital and give him the tennis ball from 237? I read this scene was cut from the original. "

I don't remember the detail of the scene- but it was set in a hospital or police station and Shelly Duval keeps telling them to go find her husband- but  I think someone said they did not find anyone.  The movie still seems to long to me. I love the book and was disappointed when I first saw Kubrick's film- I like it better now.

 

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"Delirium" (2018) Topher Grace ( channeling Anthony Perkins) is released from a mental hospital and goes to live in his parent's mansion which may be haunted or is it all in his mind.  Grace is not Perkins which is probably why this routine psychological thriller went directly to Netflix.

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Marion Bava's "Lisa and the Devil" (1973) a stylish horror film in which Elke Summer gets lost in Spain and encounters some very strange people including Telly Savala's as sinister butler was re-edited into mess and released as "House of Exorcism" (1975) you can watch and compare both on Amazon prime. The main difference in that in 75 edition poor Elke ( or is a heavily made up double) does a poor woman Linda Blair impersonation.  Robert Alda appears in the crowd as helpful priest/exorcist.  The new scenes set in a hospital lack Bava's  baroque visual style.  The director/editor keeps jumping back and forth but destroys the original films dream like mood with some very crude vomiting scenes.

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thedevilscandy1sheet-s.jpg

 

Someone may have written about this one already, but I watched The Devil's Candy (2015) yesterday and enjoyed it quite a bit. An artist (Ethan Embry) and his wife (Shiri Appleby) and teen daughter (Kiara Glasco) movie into a farmhouse which they learn has a dark past: a couple died there. The artist begins hearing a demonic voice which inspires/hypnotizes him into creating more extreme paintings, while the family is menaced by the son (Pruitt Taylor Vince) of the previous occupants. He's a recently released mental case with a history of violent behavior.

There's a great sense of dread over the proceedings, accented by terrific cinematography and excellent sound design. The heavy metal music aesthetic used throughout is both humorous and evocative. The performances are also all good, particularly from the always-reliable Pruitt Taylor Vince, a heavyset actor who seems to specialize in quietly deranged characters. The movie isn't without its flaws (the ending stretches credibility, and there's some shoddy CGI work), but they're relatively minor, and I would definitely recommend this to fans of horror and suspense thrillers.

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"Halloween" (2018) this one is scary good.  They ignore all the sequels and dreadful remakes and went back to Carpenter's classic. It's a direct sequel which picks up forty years later. Jamie Lee Curtis is excellent as the survivor who knows the nightmare will not end until the Shape is dead.

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Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu The Vampyre" (1979) a beautiful but dull remake Murnau's haunting silent masterpiece.  Klaus Kinski buried under make-up is more pathetic that scary as Dracula.  Isabel Adjani is a gorgeous Lucy.  The problem I had with the movie is that beside some visually stunning moments-like the parade of coffins at the square- Herzog does nothing really interesting with what is now a very familiar story.  The silent is still an effective horror film but Herzog was not interested in terror- most of the horror is kept off screen unless you have a fear of rats.  I did like the twist at the end.

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51 minutes ago, jaragon said:

Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu The Vampyre" (1979) a beautiful but dull remake Murnau's haunting silent masterpiece.  Klaus Kinski buried under make-up is more pathetic that scary as Dracula.  Isabel Adjani is a gorgeous Lucy.  The problem I had with the movie is that beside some visually stunning moments-like the parade of coffins at the square- Herzog does nothing really interesting with what is now a very familiar story.  The silent is still an effective horror film but Herzog was not interested in terror- most of the horror is kept off screen unless you have a fear of rats.  I did like the twist at the end.

I didn't like it, either. Like you said, the original silent is superior.

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Mood and tone are very important to me with horror films, and I thought the Herzog Nosferatu had a fantastic sense of dread and brooding menace. The score by Popol Vuh, among others, is one of my favorites from that decade. No, the movie isn't as good as the silent, but I still like it a lot, and having watched it again in the last few years, I thought it still holds up for me, and I perhaps liked it even more. It's not exciting, it's not a thriller, but to me it is more unnerving than most vampire movies, and is leagues better than most of the jump-scare horror we see now.

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8 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Mood and tone are very important to me with horror films, and I thought the Herzog Nosferatu had a fantastic sense of dread and brooding menace. The score by Popol Vuh, among others, is one of my favorites from that decade. No, the movie isn't as good as the silent, but I still like it a lot, and having watched it again in the last few years, I thought it still holds up for me, and I perhaps liked it even more. It's not exciting, it's not a thriller, but to me it is more unnerving than most vampire movies, and is leagues better than most of the jump-scare horror we see now.

I agree with you about mood and tone

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Mood and tone are essential in horror movies, especially if we the audience feel threatened. The opening title sequence in Alien alone gave the chills. What I like in Halloween (1978) is the foreboding feeling of menace that permeates the movie; neighborhoods never looked scarier.

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6 minutes ago, Arsan404 said:

Mood and tone are essential in horror movies, especially if we the audience feel threatened. The opening title sequence in Alien alone gave the chills. What I like in Halloween (1978) is the foreboding feeling of menace that permeates the movie; neighborhoods never looked scarier.

In "Alien " Ridley Scott did create a real sense of dread and Carpenter did the same for the original "Halloween"  But a horror film has to deliver real scares in order to work- mood with out terror is a let down

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4 minutes ago, jaragon said:

In "Alien " Ridley Scott did create a real sense of dread and Carpenter did the same for the original "Halloween"  But a horror film has to deliver real scares in order to work- mood with out terror is a let down

The opposite can be true, too. If a movie has scares without creating an atmosphere of terror, it's not very effective. The movie should have the right balance between mood and shock. The right balance depends on the story and on how the director handles them.

 

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This is a problem that Guillermo del Toro seems to have- look at "Crimsom Peak" a gorgeously designed Gothic horror film- the sets and costumes overwhelm the story

 

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