- Pickpocket (Robert Bresson)
- A Man Escaped (Robert Bresson )
- Vivre Sa Vie (Jean-Luc Godard)
- The Face of Fu Manchu (Don Sharp)
- The Barretts of Wimpole Street (Sidney Franklin)
- Rupture & Happy Anniversary – shorts (Pierre Étaix)
- The Curse of Frankenstein (Terence Fisher)
- Les Enfants du Paradis (Marcel Carné)
- The Revenge of Frankenstein (Terence Fisher)
- The House That Dripped Blood (Peter Duffel)
1- OK. Let me explain something. For me, Halloween is the greatest secular holiday. It is the one secular holiday seems to be intrinsically tied into a time of year in the way religious holidays seem to be. I look at it as a holiday season which leads up to the great day itself on October 31st. What the season represents to me is the slow decline of the year and the ushering in of the cozy winter. ‘Winter kept us warm’, as T.S. Eliot wrote.
The supernatural images that abound during this time seem to be inoculating us against the lost of summer and fall. By the time November 1st comes around and the ghosts, witches and pumpkins are gone, we are ready for the end of the year. Ghosts, vampires, werewolves and the like are appropriate totems for this time of year – a time of year where the ‘death’ of the year is becoming more and more prominent. (Fear not, spring always comes – eventually).
I indulge in the season by gorging on horror films. Let me clarify. I am not interested in slasher porn type films. The films I watch have to have an element of the uncanny. A Romantic-age kind of feeling of the world beyond ours intruding in a way that is both thrilling and a bit threatening. Therefore, I have been watching a ton of classic Hammer studio films. Yes, I know. They made hay with being the first of the major film studios to emphasize the gore by filming in lurid color, and they were not above prominently (yet discreetly) showcasing body parts of some of the female actresses – lots of peignoirs here. But what I love is the atmosphere of these films. Much effort is put into having a sturdy and interesting script as well as nifty Victorian spookiness of the proceedings. My husband is baffled by but indulgent of my passion for these films. “But aren’t they pretty low-quality?” he asks. Yes, of course they are, but that is almost the point. They are disposable in a way that most seasonal things are, yet they have a significant point. Yes, I know that there are great horror films. The works of Val Lewton (which I have written about here ) as well as masterpiece like The Bride of Frankenstein, The Phantom Carriage and The Birds are infinitely better than The House That Dripped Blood and The Curse of Frankenstein. However, these are films that can and should be watched all year round. Save the Hammers for the Ghost and Goblin time.