Mr. Blatty (Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane! etc.) is a vehement writer and sometimes this story of paranormal possession is as noisy as that motorcycle race at Madison Square Garden. Still his book has many saving graces: the susceptibility of its subject -- a youngster of twelve, Regan, whose ouija sessions yield to all kinds of unholy horrors from rats in the attic to totally uncontrollable seizures; her mother, a Hollywood star, with absolutely no side and a great affection for her child; and especially a bumbling detective called Kinderman who is really nobody's fool. Most of this takes place around Georgetown University and while at first Chris, Regan's mother, goes from internist to psychiatrist, she ends up looking for help from a Jesuit priest since no drug on earth can quiet Regan and blatant obscenities fall from the mouth of a babe who can also talk in any foreign language. There's a death unexplained except by diabolic ritual; a furtive houseman with a criminal record; and finally the exorcism in which two priests engage. Not highminded to be sure but headlong, and as everyone knows the Age of Aquarius is also that of the polterzeitgeist and this looks like lots of pie in the sky for a great many people. Look up -- it's already to be a film and Literary Guild alternate selection. (Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 1971)
Production Description: The Exorcist, Academy Award winning director William Friedkin's masterpiece of suspense, haunted, intrigued, and thrilled the world. When the movie was first released in 1973, viewers were blown away.
While not the first horror film to feature an evil or possessed child, Linda Blair's standout performance set the bar for all who would follow in her demented footsteps. In few other films (with the exception of Carrie) are the cultural anxieties surrounding an adolescent girl's coming of age so disturbingly apparent. The Exorcist truly shocked audiences of its time, and remains disturbing today (one particular scene involving a crucifix will never be erased from the minds of most viewers).
For a "where are they now" list of the most menacing children of horror, including Linda Blair, check out Screencrush's Creepy Kids of Horror
A teenage girl, horrifically disfigured, sits up in bed and projectile-vomits dollops of thick, green gloop onto the face of a priest. Then, in a stream of appalling profanity, the girl confirms what we already guessed: that she happens to be possessed by the Devil. As plot twists go, it's not exactly clever or sophisticated. But the scene is nonetheless hugely effective: this is, after all, one of the climactic moments of The Exorcist, which in turn is among the most terrifying and brilliantly-executed horror movies.
Full article link: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/the-exorcist-uncut-secrets-of-the-scariest-movie-ever-made-2106644.html
Link to image source: Inside the Wicker Man: The Morbid Ingenuities By Allan Brown, for Charley Brady.com http://www.charleybrady.com/?p=337
Production Description: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland. Before it was horribly re-made a few years ago, this thriller following an overworked police sergeant in his search for a missing girl, won a Saturn Award for horror.
Excerpt from Wikipedia about the Wicker Man Trilogy -
The Wicker Man Trilogy is a series of three horror films (the third of which remains unproduced) by British author and director Robin Hardy. Hardy announced plans for the trilogy in a 2007 interview with the Guardian newspaper, though the first film in the trilogy, The Wicker Man, was originally made 35 years before, in 1973.
The films are not directly linked to one another, but form a thematic trilogy, akin to the Three Colours film trilogy of Krzysztof Kieslowski. All three films deal with the theme of paganism in the modern world. The first two films feature Christopher Lee, albeit in different roles.
For the Full article link to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wicker_Man_Trilogy
Already a film, and probably originally conceived as such, this tale of a Scottish police officer lured to an isolated private isle will be familiar, in outline at least, to fans of horror/voodoo cinematics. Virginal, stoically proper, birdwatching Sergeant Neal Howie flies his sea-copter to Summerisle when word comes to the mainland that twelve-year-old Rowan Morrison has been missing for a year or so. But no one on this strangely warm island will admit that Rowan ever existed--not even her supposed mother and sister (though Sis claims to have a rabbit named Rowan). Stranger still, the island seems to be a primitive "totally alien society," with anti-Christian teaching at school, Hieronymus Bosch-y mass couplings on the village green, not to mention the unlikely flora and fauna. And what about that doctor's bag full of vipers or that mother pushing a frog into that little girl's mouth or that openly salacious wench at the inn who Sgt. Howie fears is after his "precious seed"? Is Rowan Morrison already dead--or being prepared for a May Day fertility ritual? Or--since Sgt. Howie's copter is mysteriously out of commission--could someone else be the virgin sacrifice that the islanders have in mind? Neither the movie-minded accelerating-terror formula nor the special effects (a real grisly finale) translate especially well into prose, but there's more literacy afoot here than we've any right to expect, and readers with a pagan predilection might as well get it in this relatively classy package. (Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 1978)
Link to image source: The Cast of 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D' Fleshes Out Jul 20, 2011 for Movies.com - < http://www.movies.com/movie-news/texas-chainsaw-massacre-3d-cast/3695 >
Product description: One summer afternoon in rural Texas, five young friends hear reports of grave robbing and set out to check on a family grave. Soon after, one-by-one they wander into the murderous clutches of Leatherface.
Excerpt from AMCtv.com's review of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974) by Christopher Null, Filmcritic.com
History, and memory, have been exceptionally kind to the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre (and yep, that's how they spelled 'chain saw,' as two words).
In our collective consciousness, Leatherface and his chainsaw have become as iconic as Freddy and his razors or Jason and his hockey mask. And it's all thanks to a goofy and only occasionally scary low-budget horror vehicle that started it all in 1974 (making Leatherface the ancient grandfather of his contemporaries). The story has been widely copied in the following decades: Hippie teens run out of gas and seek refuge at a backwater gas station; too bad a family of psychos are waiting in store for them. (In the last year alone this premise was copied nearly to the letter in both Wrong Turn and House of 1000 Corpses.) Over the years the film would spawn seven sequels or remakes (to date), including versions starring Dennis Hopper and Renee Zellweger.
Link to the full article: http://movies.amctv.com/movie/1974/The+Texas+Chainsaw+Massacre
Creepy Chauffeur in Burnt Offering (1976)
Link to image source: Slow time for films chez moi, Friday, February 11, 2011, http://fencernanowrimo.blogspot.com/2011/02/slow-time-for-films-chez-moi.html
There have been Other-s perhaps more classily written, but this is a consuming and original horror story and you might as well submit and abandon hope all ye who enter here. Here being an endless old house (290 rooms, 200 acres) which a very nice ordinary young couple from Queens, Ben and Marian, along with their son David and their elderly Aunt Elizabeth, rent for the summer for relatively nothing. Except the proviso that three times a day a tray be left outside the door of Mother, just a "darling," said to be 85 and never making an appearance. It doesn't take long to establish the antipathetic effect of the house: Ben becomes violent toward David and later hallucinates; Marian's hair turns grey; and Aunt Elizabeth becomes tireder and tireder and tireder until she slips away altogether. But Marian, obsessively overwhelmed by its contents -- gold, silver and gold, all you can hold and more antiques than could ever fill the Parke Bernet -- is thoroughly busy shining and polishing everything up until the house is restored to its original beauty even if. . . . This is another one of those pleasurably malevolent stories of possession with lots of startling present shock. (Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 1972)
Production Description: Step inside a vacation house of horror in this terrifying thriller that "does for summer homes what Jaws did for a dip in the surf!" (The New York Times). Starring Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Burgess Meredith and Bette Davis, this riveting haunted-house chiller delivers "hidden terrors [that] mount creepily as the film builds to a climax of pulverizing fright!" (Rex Reed). Marian (Black) and Ben (Reed) find it hard to believe that for only $900 they've rented a sprawling old country mansion for the entire summer. But as they settle into their isolated estate with their son and Ben's aunt (Davis), they find themselves surrounded by a living presence--an evil, hypnotic, occult force that feeds on torture, fear and murder.
From Ten Great Ghost Movies You Probably Haven't Seen Yet...
The Rolf Family become the summertime caretakers of a beautiful, yet suspiciously low-priced, mansion and it's elderly occupant - Mrs Allardyce. They soon discover that the house effects each of them in different, mysterious ways.
Ben Rolf (Oliver Reed) becomes increasingly violent toward his son; his wife Marian (Karen Black) becomes obsessed with the unseen elderly lady in the attic; and Aunt Elizabeth (Bette Davis, putting in a wonderfully sassy performance) becomes physically sicker by the day. Can the family escape before the house, quite literally, consumes them?
Burnt Offerings is typical of the great era of 70's horror, relying on thick atmosphere and psychedelic creepiness rather than gore to deliver its scares. And scare you it will!
Excerpt from Moview Reviews: Jaws (1975) for BBC.com Reviewed by Almar Haflidason
What is perhaps most surprising about "Jaws" is the lack of screen time given to the ferocious shark. Rather than fill the modestly budgeted film with gratuitous effects, Spielberg relies on other tools to build tension and atmosphere. This includes a fearless use of long shots (not popular in Hollywood) which helps convey both isolation for the victims and endows the shark with seemingly god-like hunting powers. And then there's the soundtrack.
If ever there was an important example for how music can enhance a film it is "Jaws". John Williams' memorable score is used sparingly but its tone of impending terror is more responsible for the power of the film than the sightings of the beast itself.
Link to full article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2000/07/14/jaws_review.shtml
Link to image source: Where are all the other great shark movies? by Joe Queenan, The Guardian,
Thursday 8 July 2010 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/jul/08/why-no-new-jaws>
Kirkus: The jaws are those of a shark which makes quick work of a pretty young woman on the Long Island shore (Amity) where the disaster is kept quiet in the (financial) interest of the town's summer rentals. This is no longer possible after the next victim -- a youngster -- and police chief Brody is wrongly blamed for not closing the beaches sconer. He has other troubles -- namely a restless young wife who remembers better days playing country club tennis and she is not immune to a visiting ichthyologist, the only one fascinated by the local shark. The finale entails some ugly, lashing action against the big one that's been getting away and all of it is designed to jolt that maneating masculine readership who probably won't notice that it "should of" been better written. (Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 1973)
The 30th anniversary edition of the classic 'I'm-Never-Going-In-The-Water-Again' story of a killer shark that has taken over the waters near a seaside community, and the three men who set out to kill it.
Excerpt from Mindhole Blowers: 20 Facts About Jaws That Might Make You Want to Scream, "Shaaark!"
1. For years, author Peter Benchley thought about writing a book about sharks that attacked people and what would happen if the sharks wouldn’t go away. In 1964, he read a story about a fisherman who caught a “4550 pound great white shark off the shores of Long Island, and thought, what if one of those wouldn’t go away?” In 1971, a publisher told Benchley it would make an interesting story and so he wrote the novel.
2. The sport fisherman Benchley had read about was Frank Mundus, a “colorful character” who in fact, harpooned that white shark (estimated weight—no scale—of 4500 pounds) and still holds the record (with Donnie Braddick) for the largest fish caught by rod and reel: A 3,427 pound great white shark. Though Benchley denied it, many sources (including Jaws screenplay writer and actor Carl Gottlieb) say the character of Quint was based on Mundus (who died in 2008).
For more facts link to teh full article: http://www.pajiba.com/seriously_random_lists/mindhole-blowers-20-facts-about-jaws-that-might-make-you-want-to-scream-shaaark.php
Excerpt from Carrie Ragtime: the horror of growing up female by Serafina Kent Bathrick, Jump Cut, no. 14, 1977, pp. 9-10, copyright Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 1977, 2004
From its beginnings, classical Hollywood cinema has relied on and reinforced the “natural” characteristics of women (reproductive or destructive) in order to motivate and propel its closed narrative structures. Certain coded behavior on screen could represent a woman as ideal mother or as lustful vamp. If she tells bedtime stories to children, she'll never be seen smoking cigarettes in her negligee. However, Hayes Codes and culture industry politics often permitted a fallen woman to die—so that her last minute suicide allowed for the rescue of her little son (THREE ON A MATCH, 1932). Or an innately possessive nurse could finally be treated for her murderous tendencies after collapsing, suffering, and surrendering to a forgiving husband and a psychiatric ward full of experts (POSSESSED, 1947).
Until recently, with the advent of the disaster film, in which “Mother Nature” herself wipes out whole cities, the individual woman has mostly been spared the capacity for large-scale destruction. But now, in the age of the crazily mixed genre film, where confused narratives tell us that humans are decadent, technology doesn't work, and nature has been ravished, there emerge whole new possibilities for ways to explain the rationalization of life and the destruction of community—again in terms of the nature of women. As Carrie White comes of age, she discovers that “she’s got the power.” With earth, air, fire, and water at her command, she annihilates a generation of all-American teenagers.
Link to the full article: http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/JC14folder/Carrie.html
The story of misfit high-school girl, Carrie White, who gradually discovers that she has telekinetic powers. Repressed by a domineering, ultra-religious mother and tormented by her peers at school, her efforts to fit in lead to a dramatic confrontation during the senior prom (StephenKing.com).
Carol Clover's Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film examines the influences of feminism on Carrie and similar films of the era.
Production Description: Based on the best-selling Stephen King novel, Carrie "catches the mind, shakes it and refuses to let it go!" (Time) Starring Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie (in Oscar-nominated* performances), John Travolta and Amy Irving, this ultimate revenge fantasy is "absolutely spellbinding" (Roger Ebert), "outrageously witty" (Los Angeles Times) and one of the all-time great horror classics! At the center of the terror is Carrie (Spacek), a tortured high-school misfit with no confidence, no friends...and no idea about the extent of her secret powers of telekinesis. But when her psychotic mother and sadistic classmates finally go too far, the once-shy teen becomes an unrestrained, vengeance-seeking powerhouse who, with the help of her 'special gift,' causes all hell to break loose in a famed cinematic frenzy of blood, fire and brimstone! *1976: Spacek, Actress; Laurie, Supporting Actress
Excerpts from Brian De Palma's Carrie And You Thought Your Prom was Terrifying
Director Brian De Palma and George Lucas became friends in film school, and the two famously overlapped their casting call for Carrie and the first Star Wars movie. Some of the mostly unknown players were considered for roles in both films - for example, Katt lost out to Mark Hamill for the role of Luke Skywalker. Both films made the reputation of the cast and the director.
De Palma owes much to Alfred Hitchcock in his technique and his use of suspense. There's a sly homage to Hitch in the name of Carrie‘s school: Bates High School, a reference to the Bates Motel in Psycho.
With Carrie, De Palma established many of the conventions of the teen horror movie, and employed many of his signature devices - split screens, long shots that make full circles around characters at dizzying speeds, dreamlike, gauzy settings and slow motion, used memorably here in the unapologetically erotic opening sequence in the girl’s shower.
To link to teh full article : http://classicfilm.about.com/od/earlysciencefiction/fr/CarrieReview.htm
Excerpt from Benefit of the Doubt: Chromatic March analysis: Suspiria
Argento's films are frequently described with the anachronistic term "grand guignol," which suggests macabre theatricality, the opera of the horrific. The ballet academy is a vast grand guignol set, the sort of place that you might expect to be built out of craft materials for a stage. It never really becomes a building for us, the audience... our understanding of its geometry is twisted and fragmented, revealed in shots of hallways and closed doors and empty rooms. Somewhere there's a great red hallway... somewhere there are a number of dance studios, a locker room, a pool. Some hallway houses a stairway to a dark attic where they store freshly-delivered meat. We have a general idea of the front door and the massive blue entrance-hall, but these are just for guests; everything else is jumbled together behind the walls, displaced and reconfigured, like Danielewski's House of Leaves.
Link to the full article: http://benefitofthedoubt.miksimum.com/2010/03/chromatic-march-analysis-suspiria-1977.html
Link to image source: SciFiNow, Dario Argento "wasn't consulted" on Suspiria remake by Sara Dobbs http://www.scifinow.co.uk/news/27657/dario-argento-slams-suspiria-remake/
The terrifying first chapter of Dario Argento's "Three Mothers" trilogy, Suspiria is the tale of mysterious goings-on at a German dance school. When an American student becomes suspicious of the school's headmistress and decides to investigate, things only get weirder. Argento's trademark vivid colors and campy, bloody murders, often associated with the Giallo genre, have made this a horror classic.
Argento's IMDB biography gives a good overview of his life and works. A more in-depth analysis of his older works and the Giallo style can be found in this Film Quarterly article, available through the library's Jstor database (Free Library of Philadelphia card is required to view).
Excerpt from "The 'mother' of all horror movies": Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977) - "Suspiria is part of a trilogy Argento planned based upon Thomas de Quincey's recounting of an opium dream about three mothers, Mater Lachrymarum (Tears), Mater Suspiriorum (Sighs) and Mater Tenebrarum (Darkness). Suspiria makes no explicit reference to any of the mothers, but is cross-referenced in Inferno, which provides a detailed exposition."
Complete article link: http://www.kinoeye.org/02/11/schultesasse11.php
Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween (1978).
Image source: Circulating collection of the Print and Picture Collection, Free Library of Philadelphia, Fear
Product description: The film which ushered in the modern age of horror stands well above its many sequels and clones because John Carpenter's taut direction makes it truly scary. Jamie Lee Curtis in her debut role plays a babysitter who must protect herself from the deadly Michael Myers a mental institution escapee who killed his sister on Halloween fifteen years earlier. Called "the most successful independent motion picture of all time" HALLOWEEN is also one of most frightening films ever made.Running Time: 92 mins.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: HORROR Rating: R
Excerpt from Filmsite Movie Review Halloween (1978)
Halloween (1978) is a genuinely scary, stylistic and tasteful, extremely well-crafted slasher/horror classic from young film director John Carpenter (who had previously directed two cult cinema classics, the sci-fi film Dark Star (1974) and the riveting crime genre film Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) - a modern-day film often compared to Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo (1959)).
The exploitative, low-budget film (filmed in about twenty days) invented many of the "slasher" film cliches, along with these classic predecessors of the modern slasher:
Halloween grossed about $55 million (worldwide), and was a surprise hit - it was one of the most successful independent films ever made. Its effects can be seen in the Friday the 13th series, in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, in the Hellraiser films, and in the Scream entries in the genre. See entire Halloween - franchise series here.
Link to teh full article: http://www.filmsite.org/hall.html