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: Karen Black, Robert Burton, John Karlen
Director: Dan Curtis
Another anthology film that’s surprisingly good and has a bit of a cult following, this movie has three stories in which Karen Black plays the lead in each tale. There’s a story of a weird student crushing on his teacher, two sisters tied together in a love/hate relationship, and a doll given as a gift that houses a dark spirit. Richard Matheson has story credit on these plots, a great horror writer who you might recognise as the author of I Am Legend, and a man who Stephen King touts as a great read.
I think we often think of the 70’s as flared jeans and slow edits, or out there stories that are laughable to modern audiences even while being entertaining. Before you dismiss this film though, Karen Black is go great in it, and the stories are actually really surprising. And the last one…. Well, it stands up as nightmarish even by modern standards. The doll sequence is so deliciously dark and strange. If you’re afraid of dolls, then it’s a must see.
There’s something dark and sly about the whole tone of the stories in this film and while I may have guessed where it was going, it was the means of getting there that I really liked. They’re not completely conventional and they’re not super cheesey like Dr Phibes or Dr Terror. They’re something special. And I’m clearly not the only one who thinks so, as the film has had sequels and more. Might have to check those out later too.
Scale Of Scary: 7/10 I think this one is the probably the one that is the most scary on the blog this month.