- Original Cast Album: “Company” (D.A. Pennebaker)
- The Getting of Wisdom (Bruce Beresford)
- Written on the Wind (Douglas Sirk)
- Young Ahmed (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)
- The Curse of Frankenstein (Terence Fisher)
- Sleepy Hollow (Tim Burton)
- The Mummy (Karl Freund)
- The Witch (Robert Eggers)
- Carnival of Souls (Herk Hervey)
- Horror Hotel (John Moxey)
1- Company was a seminal show for me growing up. I played my LP within an inch of its life. I remembered seeing the Pennebaker documentary and was amazed to see these (in my mind) legendary performances actually happening in the recording studio. Watching it now the nostalgia is intense but the whole enterprise seems so much in the past. To see the singers and musicians all smoking during the recording makes it as remote as Victorian England.
2-The Getting of Wisdom was another film in Criterion’s Australian New Wave. It really suffers from having a very unappealing heroine as its center. Compared to its contemporary The Devil’s Playground, another story of young people in a repressive school situation, The Getting of Wisdom is so flat.
3- I am glad to have finally seen a Dardenne brothers film. Young Ahmed tells what could have been a sensational story: the radicalization of a young Belgian-Moslem boy. Because of the objective stance it takes, you are more involved than if had been filmed as a polemic. The end is unexpected and thrillingly satisfying.
4- I pride myself on my memory for details of movies, so imagine my surprise when absolutely nothing of The Curse of Frankenstein was familiar to me at all. It certain isn’t deathless cinema, but it has all the hallmarks that make Hammer horror films so delicious especially around Halloween: intelligent and involving stories, beautiful production values, reliably controlled hamminess of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, the obligatory gore. Hammer always satisfies
5- A separate post on Sleepy Hollow is coming
6- I had heard a lot about The Witch. It quite bowled me over. First of all, it is stunning looking and the atmospherics of the wilderness in early Colonial America. Isolation is always a successful trope in horror films, but this combines the isolation with a smug and crippling religiosity and this makes for fantastic horror. The end is one of the most discussion-worthy conclusions to a film I have seen in years. I think it is brilliant, many commentators say it is a cop-out. They’re wrong. Let’s discuss.
7- It wouldn’t be Halloween without watching Carnival of Souls and Horror Hotel. I look forward to them each year the way other less fortunate people look forward to It’s A Wonderful Life.