Green politics, philosophy, history, paganism and a lot of self righteous grandstanding.

Monday, 31 October 2011

My Top 5 Horror Films

I suppose I don't really like horror films.

I certainly don't like slasher movies, which rules out 99% of what usually goes into lists of best horror movies.

I also think that it's impossible for any sane adult to actually be scared in a cinema, unless you're watching Sacha Baron Cohen, but then you're scared for him.

However I admit it's possible to pretend to be frightened if you fancy the person you've gone with - although my dates have never been very impressed with this sort of behaviour.

So here's a rather eclectic mix of films that are technically 'horror' but on the whole wouldn't frighten a neurotic toddler.

Number 5: The Haunting (1963)

Four people spend the night in a haunted house and very little happens.

It may be a moot point when 'subtle' turns into 'boring', but for my money the original version of The Haunting works. It's a haunted house film by the books, but by not over-egging the pudding you do get mounting tension and something worth thinking about.

4. Night of the Demon (1957)

Okay, so who else knew this film was sampled on Kate Bush's The Hounds of Love?

The film suffered a bit in the making, including the insertion of an actual demon over the objections of the writer. However what emerged is still a pretty good and atmospheric tale of black magic - or self delusion.

The main interest though is Niall MacGinnis playing a character that is clearly based on Alistair Crowley. The moral of the story: don't mess with Ritual Magicians.

3. The Call of Cthulhu (2005)

If you've never seen this, please try and track it down.

Basically the H.P.Lovecraft society decided, on a minuscule budget, to make his classic 1928 short story as if it was a contemporary silent movie.

The result is a little strange, but very effective. The effects are cheap, but the design work is good and the lost city of Ry'leh is an Expressionist delight whilst limitations in the acting department are disguised by the format. You actually believe you are watching an eighty year old film.

2. The Wicker Man (1973)

Most pagans regard this film as a documentary with a happy ending, and we'd all move to Summerisle tomorrow even without the service offered by the landlords daughter.

This is Hammer House of Horror's finest moment and it's a British as a wet Sunday afternoon.

Apart from Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward acting their socks off, Paul Giovanni's sound track is the highlight.

1. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

More Gothic than a weekend in Whitby, Bride is James Whale's masterpiece, the best of a run of films in the thirties that include Bela Lugosi's Dracula and Boris Karloff's Frankenstein. Karloff was always the better actor, and Frankenstein's Monster the better villain.

The two were to team up for the almost as impressive Expressionist sequel, Son of Frankenstein, but Bride is the better film by a whisker.

It's camp as can be, but visually it is an absolute delight.

You can interpret it in as many ways as you like; Christian analogy, gay metaphor - or just a lot of fun.

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