Tag Archives: horror film

The City of the Dead

A Hollywood supernatural horror movie “The City of Dead” (1960) starring Dennis Lotis, Venetia Stevenson, Betta St. John among others.

Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson) is a student in a college and for her term paper she selects witchcraft as her subject to research upon. Her professor Alan Driscoll (Cristopher Lee) urges her to visit the village of Whitewood in Massachusetts. She goes there against the pleas of her boyfriend and brother.

Upon reaching Whitewood, Nan finds it in a desolated state with nobody around. The only normal person is Patricia Russell (Betta St. John) who has come to the town because her grandmother passed away and her grandfather is the father of the church which is more or less closed down.

There is a history to the village going back some 200 years when a witch Elizabeth Selwyn was burned at stake on 1st February 1692 and she has sort of cursed this village. But the witches need two virgin ladies every year for their sacrifice during Candlemas Eve and Witches Sabbath.

Its not a bad movie, there are few elements of horror in it, plus ample supernatural forces by the way of witches. Its a clean uncomplicated story line with passable acting by the characters. IMDB 5/10

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Black Christmas

Canadian horror movie “Black Christmas” (1974) starring Olivia Hussey, John Saxon, Margot Kidder among others.

A slasher is on the loose, and he is targeting young females in a sorority house. The girls get obscene calls from some unknown person. Claire Harrison (Lynne Griffin) is the first one to get killed. Her father was supposed to meet her the next day at 1.30 p.m. but when she does not arrive, he becomes alarmed and goes to the sorority house to inquire.

Other killings follow one after another, meanwhile the local police get involved, they post a lookout outside their house. Jess (Olivia Hussey) is the one who reports the obscene calls to the police station and she has a boyfriend Peter who is a wannabe concert pianist but with a terrible temper and attitude problem. He gets rejected in an audition and goes on to break the piano.

Barb (Margot Kidder) is the more bolder type, she insults the obscene caller and dares him. She has a drinking problem plus asthma. There is a house keeper, who also has a drinking problem, she has stashed her liquor at various places in the house which is in a mess overall and needs cleaning.

It all ends in a climax scene, but the story obviously leaves enough room for a sequel plot to arrive. Horror movies thrive on sequels until people get bored with them. The killer’s face is never shown in the movie. IMDB 3/10

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Deadly German horror film of the silent era “Nosferatu” (1922) directed by F.W. Murnau and starring Max Schreck, Gustav Von Wangenheim, Greta Schroder among others.

Its kind of a cult movie, because it is indirectly based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Apparently there were some copyright issues, so the names and everything else was changed, but its inspired by Dracula.

Its probably the first of its kind vampire movie in the history of cinema. Thomas Hutter (Gustav Von Wangenheim) is working with a real estate agent Knock and he brings in a proposal for sale of a house opposite his i.e. Hutter’s at a substantial amount, for which the commission also could be good. Hutter agrees to meet the prospective buyer and close the deal.

The prospective buyer is Count Orlok (Max Schreck) who is staying in some dark castle far away. Hutter clinches the deal but strange things start happening. Orlok apparently is the vampire who sucks the blood of humans by clinching their neck. He chances upon a photograph of Hutter’s wife Ellen (Greta Schroder).

Wikipedia mentions that the movie is an example of German Expressionism in the mould of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” but i did not find much of that in evidence there. The music is very baroque in style. The print is quite old and that is apparently because of the dispute with Stoker’s heirs, the movie was banned and only a few prints were available for viewing.

It does have its moments of horror especially when Orlok rises up with his long pointed finger nails, his deadly pallor, his frightening eyes, the creepiness when a swarm of rats is shown coming out. Good use of light and shadow accentuates the horror part. Its a cult classic.

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A kind of psycho thriller historical fiction, horror Malayalam movie “Manichithrathazu” (1993) starring Mohanlal, Shobana, Suresh Gopi among others.

Suresh Gopi (Nakulan) and Shobana (Ganga/ Nagavalli) are a couple and they come to their ancestral house in Kerala. That house is supposedly haunted by some previous lady who had a bad childhood and who was refused in hand by the landlord of that place who was smitten by her.

Fast forward to the present day, the spirit has supposedly entered into the hearts of somebody in Shobana/ Suresh Gopi household and strange things start happening from time to time. Enters Mohanlal who is a psychiatrist but also a ghost buster and has a world wide name and fame.

The script and dialogues are good and so is the direction, cinematography and music by M.G. Radhakrishnan is excellent. Shobana has played out of her skin – a brilliant bravura performance that rightly earned her the best actress national award.

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Night of the Living Dead

The original one, the 1969 version directed by George Romero and starring Judith O’Dea, Duane Jones among others. Barbara (Judith O’Dea) and her brother are visiting their father’s grave and before even finishing her rituals, she is attached by a person walking in a strange manner. John then attacks that man and falls down in a scuffle. The strange man pursues Judith, who goes into a nearby house.

Inside the house Ben comes in also similarly escaping these creatures. He sets about boarding up the house with wood all over the place. Suddenly from the cellar three more people emerge and they have a kid there too having been bit by one of the ghouls.

These are apparently some newly dead people coming alive due to some radiation leak from a space station exiting from Venus. Radios and TVs announce a spate of violence in the area and apparently the only way to kill them is to shoot them in the head or set fire to them.

When the movie had come out in 1969 it must have been terrifying to the movie goers especially in the big screen those days. But nothing beats The Exorcist, the one released in 1973, the original story, in terms of horror content. That movie was undoubtedly and still is the greatest horror movie ever made.

Duane Jones has done a good role in the lead and so has Judith O’Dea.

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Open Water 2: Adrift

An open water adventure holiday gone horribly wrong. Open Water 2: Adrift is projected as based on true events, but with the kind of human stupidity depicted in the movie, i doubt if humans can be so stupid. Three pairs of couples go on a yatch holiday out in the open sea or ocean, far away from shore. One couple has an infant daughter also on board, which itself was a risky thing to take such a young one on a ship or a yatch cruise. Four of the members jump into the water to do a swim which i thought was another stupid thing to do, who swims in open ocean far away from land, maybe some do perhaps. Of the remaining, Amy (Susan May Pratt) has a phobia for water because of an incident in her childhood when her father drowned while swimming with her. The other guy Dan (Eric Dane) is ostensibly the owner of the yatch, but later reveals that he is a fraud and that the yatch is actually belonging to his boss. What kind of a boss allows his employee to take his yatch out to a cruise, beats me. Anyway, both of them also jump into the water, without realising that nobody has bothered to put the ladder down or keep the hatch down so that people can climb back. Dan is such an idiot that he does not realise the blunder he has committed endangering everybody’s lives. All of them are stuck down in the water with nary any hold or groove to climb back. Soon one after another start drowning. The movie advertised shark attack, but there was nothing of that sort, even though blood oozed from a couple of the guys. 

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