The Pleasure & Pain of Cult Horror Films
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The horror genre harbors a number of films too bold or bizarre to succeed with mainstream audiences, but offering unique, startling and often groundbreaking qualities that have won them an enduring following. Beginning with Victor Sjostrom's The Phantom Carriage in 1921, this book tracks the evolution and influence of underground cult horror over the ensuing decades, closing with William Winckler's Frankenstein vs. the Creature from Blood Cove in 2005. It discusses the features that define a cult film, trends and recurring symbols, and changing iconography within the genre through insightful analysis of 88 movies. Included are works by popular directors who got their start with cult horror films, including Oliver Stone, David Cronenberg and Peter Jackson.
distinctiveness. Interestingly, even though Curtiz’s movie has so many features that make it stand out from other horror movies of the time, it also has many ties with more typical — or more popular — horror titles. Soon after ﬁnishing Doctor X, Hungarian director Curtiz made the very successful Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) and based the movie on themes and characters that were similar to those employed for Doctor X: actress Fay Wray, here uttering her ﬁrst onscreen scream, went on to star in
of Wax are still cherished by genre devotees. This book presents a selection of cult horror movies in chronological order, so as to emphasize certain trends within the genre and help perceive them as interconnected with socio-historical background throughout the decades. Starting with silent ﬁlms inﬂuenced by German Expressionism, we’ll move on to so-called haunted house spoofs, Gothic cinema, different takes on famous monsters, mad scientist movies, Poverty Row cheapies, Hammer horrors, video
approaches him and offers him the reins of the Phantom Carriage. Suddenly, as he sees his own lifeless body lying on the ground, Holm decides that he wants to live again, and promises that this time he will live a decent life, and will try and make amends for all the things he did wrong. The dead Carriage driver refuses to help him, and Holm panics, as fragments of his past deeds come back to haunt him in chaotic ﬂashbacks. We see how monstrous he was towards his wife, how careless he was about
most popular themes: vampires, werewolves, voodoo rituals, aggressive plants and a disembodied hand. It’s all here, aptly directed by Freddie Francis and with some juicy performances to boot. The Reptile DIRECTOR: John Gilling CAST: Ray Barrett, Jennifer Daniel, Noel Willman, Jacqueline Pearce, Michael Ripper, Marne Maitland, John Laurie UK, 1966 Several years after the success of Terence Fisher’s The Curse of Frankenstein, people started wondering whether it was possible for the good men at
and in the end, to comparing witch hunts and “modernday” medicine. There is a sketchy plot here (of an old woman accused of witchcraft by a superstitious girl, which then leads to the girl and her family being put on trial as well), but generally Witchcraft Through the Ages is exactly what the title suggests: a collection of funny, funereal or fantastic scenes depicting various paradoxes and phenomena of witchcraft. At one point, for example, we learn that this superstition-ridden period of time