Monday, October 4, 2010

The Halloween Round-Up

If a Hammer Horror Festival of Films is your meat, so to speak, you may want to check out the entries found here each day between Oct 1st & Oct. 7th, 2010.
Each of the TCM Movie Morlocks bloggers have chosen to write about a different film produced by the little studio in Britain that made so many memorable horror flicks from the late '50s through the 70s. My own entry will be appearing on Wednesday, Oct. 6th. Throughout the month of October, the network will also be showing twenty movies in this ghoulish vein every Friday night. You can read more about the scheduled films here.

An antique mirror shows a mysterious room rather than a reflection of the real world in one of the stories in Dead of Night (1945).

To get all of us (even scaredy cats like me) ready for Halloween, TCM will devote Oct. 28th to an evening of Atmospheric Thrillers, including the not to be missed classic, Dead of Night (1945). Superbly directed by Alberto Cavalcanti, this film gives an English twist to five stories of the uncanny, all prompted by a guest (Mervyn Johns) who knows everything that is going to happen at a country house party because he has dreamt about all of it repeatedly.  You can see more about all the films scheduled for that night here.
The cast of The Haunting (1963): Claire Bloom, Russ Tamblyn, Julie Harris and Richard Johnson.

Finally, on Halloween night, Oct. 31st, you might want to turn out the lights and cozy up with an evening of Haunted Houses on TCM. Three films in this genre will be shown, House on Haunted Hill (1958), The Haunting (1963) and Poltergeist (1982). If you have never seen Robert Wise's highly imaginative and well acted adaptation of Shirley Jackson's novel, The Haunting of Hill House--or if have unfortunately only seen the leaden 1999 remake, do yourself a favor, and watch this black and white beauty. Director Wise was an astute co-worker of Val Lewton. The film's suggestive use of light, shadow, sound and a great cast, led by Julie Harris, presents a story of the supernatural without the need for explicit gore .

Mother Didn't Tell Me (1950) ...To Avoid This Movie

I had such high hopes. Naively, I was hoping that I might find a moment or two of gay abandonment in a film, stumble upon a good chick flick, or at least unearth the fun in a turkey. Perhaps, if you are reading this far, you might share my hope that this rarely seen Dorothy McGuire film would turn out to be a lost gem. Mother Didn't Tell Me (1950), has been left on the shelf in the 20th Century Fox vault for over half a century. It is now re-emerging and was broadcast on the Fox Movie Channel on October 12th, 2010 at 6:00 am ET. If you have Time Warner Digital Cable, it is currently part of the Movie Pass On Demand feature. As far as I know, it has never been issued commercially on VHS or DVD.

The elaborate mating rituals depicted in this film might be of more value as a sociological curiosity than as the lesson in comic timing and joyous escapism that I was seeking, though that didn't stop me from watching the entire movie. Yes, dear reader, I am a fool at times...especially when the movie features some appealing actors, but even they cannot completely save a film without some help from the script.


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