31 Days Of Horror: Psycho

10 Years of FearHappy Halloween! Here we are at the end of 31 Days of Horror: 10 Years of Fear. I decided to end this year with Psycho — the movie that got me hooked on horror as child.

Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) has just stolen a large sum of money from her boss and is driving out to California to meet her boyfriend Sam Loomis (John Gavin). Sam has massive debts and can’t marry Marion, so she took the money to help them. Along the way she switches cars at a dealership and then continues driving into the night. Tired and in a rain storm she stops at an unremarkable little place called the Bates Motel.
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31 Days Of Horror: The Evil Dead

10 Years of Fear“We’re gonna to get you! We’re gonna to get you! Not another peep — Time to go to sleep!”

Ahhh, The Evil Dead. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell’s first film. Shot on a puny $350,000 budget, the film became a huge success and spawned two sequels, a 2013 remake and a recently ended TV series.

Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), his girlfriend, Linda (Betsy Baker), Ash’s sister, Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss), their friend Scott (Hal Delrich), and his girlfriend Shelly (Sarah York) are heading out for the weekend. Their destination: a creepy-looking cabin way out in the wilderness. The only way to it is to cross a rickety bridge that’s off the main road. Hopefully nothing horrible will happen at this remote shack that’s so far away from any help!

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31 Days Of Horror: Jaws

10 Years of Fear“Duunnn-dunnn … duuuunnnn-duun … duuunnnnnnnnnn-dun… Dun-dun dun-dun dun-dun dun-dun dun-dun dun-dun dun-dun dun-dun DUN-DUN DUN-DUN DUN-DUN DUN-DUN DUN-DUN DUN-DUN DUN-DUN DUN-DUN!!!!!

On June 20, 1975, Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws changed the summer movie season forever. And yet Jaws is more than just the first summer blockbuster movie — it’s a genuinely scary thriller.

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31 Days Of Horror: Don’t Look Now

10 Years of FearJohn Baxter (Donald Sutherland) and his wife Laura (Julie Christie) are working in Venice after the drowning death of their daughter Christine. Their child’s death has hit the couple very hard and as they are dealing with it John is working on restoring an old church.

While having dinner in a restaurant Laura meets two elderly ladies, Heather (Hilary Mason) and Wendy (Clelia Matania). Heather claims to be psychic and can see their child. Laura faints.
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31 Days Of Horror: Halloween

10 Years of FearToday is the 40th anniversary of John Carpenter’s Halloween. The film helped kick start the slasher film craze of the 1980s and had has 11 installments – nine sequels and a remake that had it’s own sequel.

On Halloween night in 1963, six-year-old Michael Meyers murders his older sister. Fifteen years later on October 30, Dr. Samuel Loomis (Donald Pleasence) arrives at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium where Michael is kept. Dr. Loomis notices that the inmates are loose. Michael Meyers has escaped and is on the loose.
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31 Days Of Horror: The Thing

10 Years of FearThe more I rewatch John Carpenter’s The Thing the more I love the film. It’s a brilliant horror film. A group of men isolated in the Antarctic find themselves being attacked by a mysterious alien creature that can make itself look like anyone of them. The film is terrifying.

Carpenter’s film is a remake of the 1951 film The Thing from Another World and both films are based on the short novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell Jr.
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31 Days Of Horror: The Shining

10 Years of FearToday is the 23rd so let’s take a trip to room 237. Stephen King might not have liked this adaptation of his novel but Stanley Kubrick’s film has stood the test of time.

Released in 1980 The Shining stars Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic who has taken a job as caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, a remote isolated hotel in the mountains. Jack brings along his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and his young son Danny (Danny Lloyd).
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31 Days Of Horror: King Kong

10 Years of Fear“And now, ladies and gentlemen, before I tell you any more, I’m going to show you the greatest thing your eyes have ever beheld. He was a king and a god in the world he knew, but now he comes to civilization merely a captive – a show to gratify your curiosity. Ladies and gentlemen, look at Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World.”

I love that speech in King Kong (1933) from Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) who introduces the beast to a captive audience, unaware of the horror that’s about to be unleashed.
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31 Days Of Horror: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

10 Years of FearThere have been a lot of adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. There are currently over 100 filmed versions and the best of the lot is the 1931 version.

I would hope that most folks would know at the least basic plot of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Good Dr. Jekyll has been experimenting trying to isolate the good and evil in all humans. His experiments bring out his inner evil side, Mr. Hyde who wrecks all sort of havoc.
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31 Days Of Horror: Eyes Without A Face

10 Years of FearA woman drives alone by a river and dumps a body into it. Later Doctor Génessier (Pierre Brasseur) is asked to identify the body. He says that it’s the body of his daughter Christiane Génessier (Édith Scob) who was in a car accident and disfigured. The death is ruled as suicide.

Following the funeral Doctor Génessier and his assistant Louise (Alida Valli), who happened to be the woman who dumped the body, continue their work. You see Christiane is still alive and the good doctor wants to restore her face – by using someone else’s!
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31 Days Of Horror: The Fly

10 Years of Fearjournalist Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) meets scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) at a party. Seth claims to be working on the greatest invention known to humanity — an invention that will change the world. Curious, Veronica goes to Seth’s home/lab.

Seth has been working on a teleportation device. His telepods take an object and transport it from one pod to the next. The only problem is that Seth can’t transport living things. Yet.
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31 Days Of Horror: Mystery Of The Wax Museum

10 Years of Fear Lionel Atwill stars as brilliant sculpture Ivan Igor. Igor has a wax museum in London that is sadly unprofitable. Igor’s partner, Joe Worth (Edwin Maxwell), decides to burn the place to the ground for the insurance and when Igor tries to stop him, Worth knocks him out and leaves him to die in the flames.

Twelve years later Igor shows up in New York with a new wax museum. He survived the fire but is now confined to a wheelchair and his hands were destroyed. As a result, he no longer sculpts but has “assistants”, including the shady professor Darcy (Arthur Edmund Carewe) and silent Hugo (Matthew Betz).
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31 Days Of Horror: The Invisible Man

10 Years of FearIt’s a dark and snowy night. A stranger covered head to toe in bandages arrives at the Lion’s Head Inn. He takes a room and asks for privacy. A while later, he falls behind on his rent and the landlords resolve to evict him. The stranger throws a fit and assaults the owner. The police are called. The stranger removes his bandages, revealing his secret to all present: he’s invisible!

H.G. Well’s fantastic novel was brilliantly adapted by Universal Studios in 1933. The film holds up extremely well today — even the 85-year-old effects.
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31 Days Of Horror: Alien

10 Years of FearI can’t believe it’s already the middle of the month! I’m halfway through 31 Days of Horror: 10 Years Of Fear. There are too many choices and not enough days.

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

10 Years of FearH. P. Lovecraft has influenced a generations of filmmakers but very few movies based on his work are actually good . Re-Animator is an exception. It’s based on Lovecraft’s story Herbert West–Reanimator. While it’s a very, very loose adaptation, it’s one of the best takes on Lovecraft’s work. It’s certainly the most fun.

Director Stuart Gordon made the most of a pretty low budget, delivering hilariously gruesome special effects and terrific over-the-top performances from his actors. Interestingly, Gordon had originally planned Re-Animator as a stage play, then developed it as a TV pilot (which is pretty hard to believe once you’ve seen the film). Fortunately for fans of ridiculous cult movies, it was made into a feature film.
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31 Days Of Horror: The Haunting

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

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

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

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

10 Years of FearI love pre-code movies — films made from 1929 to 1934, the years before the Motion Picture Production Code arrived to enforce mediocrity. It was kind of a wild-west time for movies. Nothing was too taboo. It was great.

Enter 1932’s Doctor X.

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

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

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