MATRIMONY, MADNESS AND MURDER: HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON (1970)

Modern weddings often bring out the worst in people. The attempt to meet family and social expectations while exchanging vows that occasionally read like a prison sentence can be a dangerous cocktail made worse by a deep focus on money matters. Instead of enjoying their “special day” couples and their accommodating families often end up obsessing over the high cost of gourmet cakes and designer … Continue reading MATRIMONY, MADNESS AND MURDER: HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON (1970)

DANCING THE MEPHISTO WALTZ

The legend of Faust is one of the oldest occult tales in the Western world. This German fable has been the basis of countless plays, poems, novels, musical compositions, works of art and films. Faust’s story has been reinterpreted many times in various ways but most renderings portray him as an aging unsatisfied scholar who is bored with conventional wisdom and decides to take up … Continue reading DANCING THE MEPHISTO WALTZ

MUMMY DEAREST: BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1971)

Hammer Films produced four Mummy movies between 1959 and 1971 and one of my favorites is Seth Holt’s BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1971). This unabashedly sexy horror extravaganza was the last Mummy movie made by the Studio that Dripped Blood and thanks to a great cast and some creative directing choices it turned out to be one of their best. But before it reached the screen the production … Continue reading MUMMY DEAREST: BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1971)

AAAHOO! – SHE-WOLF OF LONDON (1946)

The setting is London in the early 1900s where a young Scottish woman named Phyllis Allenby (June Lockhart) is preparing to wed her beau (Don Porter). The happy couple’s plans are interrupted when someone or something begins killing locals at a nearby park. Terrified Phyllis is certain an old Scottish curse that has plagued her family for centuries is turning her into a bloodthirsty werewolf … Continue reading AAAHOO! – SHE-WOLF OF LONDON (1946)

VENOMOUS SNAKES & POISON ANTS: PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (1975)

“What we see and what we seem are but a dream, a dream within a dream.” – Miranda in Picnic at Hanging Rock (a variation of A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe) In Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), viewers are reminded again and again of the “venomous snakes and poison ants” that populate the Australian outback. Despite these repeated warnings the reptiles and insects we see … Continue reading VENOMOUS SNAKES & POISON ANTS: PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (1975)

PARANORMAL POLICE PROCEDURAL: NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT (1972)

Nothing But the Night (1972) opens with a series of puzzling homicides. Each one is meant to look like an accident or suicide but in the tradition of Italian giallo thrillers, the murders are carried out by a mysterious black-gloved assailant. We soon learn that the victims were all elderly members of the private and highly elite Van Traylen Trust, a rather ominous institution that … Continue reading PARANORMAL POLICE PROCEDURAL: NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT (1972)

DEATH WALKS TWICE: A GIALLO DOUBLE FEATURE

The fine folks at Arrow deserve applause for their diligent efforts to release a number of exceptional giallo films on Blu-ray in recent years. Some of the films you can currently purchase from them include the suggestively titled Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972) and What Have You Done to Solange? (1972) as well as cornerstones of the genre such as … Continue reading DEATH WALKS TWICE: A GIALLO DOUBLE FEATURE

GHOST STORIES: THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES (1946)

THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES is often referred to as an “Abbott and Costello movie for people who don’t like Abbott and Costello” but as a fan of the comic duo I find that proclamation a bit off base. The film does distinguish itself from the popular formula pictures they made during this period that often contained well-honed routines and the two funny men don’t exchange … Continue reading GHOST STORIES: THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES (1946)

“Nothing can eat your soul!” – THE WITCHES (1966)

Few things invoke autumn and the Halloween spirit in me as strongly as the stylized gothic horror films made by Hammer. The diversity and sheer volume of the studio’s output was impressive and this has occasionally led to some of their lesser-seen films being overlooked because they didn’t live up to critic’s expectations or they followed a less conventional path than many horror fans had … Continue reading “Nothing can eat your soul!” – THE WITCHES (1966)

WILLIAM MORTENSEN IN HOLLYWOOD

William Mortensen in his studio with a photo of Jean Harlow. Last month I was gifted with a copy of American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen. This beautiful coffee table worthy book contains a compilation of work by William Mortensen (1897–1965), a brilliant, innovative and visionary photographer who once worked in Hollywood snapping glamorous and exotic portraits of actors on movie sets … Continue reading WILLIAM MORTENSEN IN HOLLYWOOD