In Stephen King’s book Danse Macabre, he talks about horror in books and movies and why we are so drawn to these themes and stories. It’s a great book by a master of the genre. He talks about many movies in the course of the book and there’s a big appendix at the back with some recomended viewing. This Hallowe’en I picked some movies from this list to watch and share with you.
Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Donald Sutherland
Director: Freddie Francis
Aboard a train rushing through the night, a mysterious man called Dr Schrek (Peter Cushing) tells the dark fortune’s of the 5 other passengers in his cabin. No one’s story seems to have a happy ending, as one man finds a werewolf when he returns to the family pile, an art critic is menaced by a dismembered hand, and vampires, voodoo and more menace all the men.
This film in an anthology film, where the train segments present each story and tie them together. A lot of anthology films are pretty dull, so I had my reservations about this one, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s got a real fun, dark sense of humour and though the stories about vampires and werewolves sound pretty cheesey and dated, they actually work pretty well. Sure, no one is scared of these things anymore, but these are fun tales well told.
It’s so great to see this cast pulled together. Donald Sutherland is so young here, and Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are scary story stalwarts who seem to enjoy chewing up the scenery where ever they go. If you normally don’t like anthology films, I do think give this a try. I think it’s perfect for Hallowe’en because it has all the classic tropes, is genuinely spooky and a fun watch.
Scale Of Scary: 5/10 Perfectly spooky and on theme for Hallowe’en. It does have some tension and creepy visuals, though it’s more chills than full on scares.
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It’s available on youtube.
Thanks for the tip on this! The young girl Valda was played by Katy Wild, who I’ve not seen in anything other than an early 70s Australian tv series called Spyforce.
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