The first film in a series of moody, literate horror films produced by Val Lewton in the 1940s, Cat People is an evocative example of how effective the ‘less is more’ approach to horror can be. Directed with effective restraint by Jacques Tourneur, the film is a masterpiece of mood and atmosphere. Choosing to suggest the horror rather than show it outright, Cat People remains a beautifully eerie and atmospheric chiller to this day. One of the first films to reference the work of Sigmund Freud, it plays out as a dark and unflinching study of sexual repression and anxiety.
2011 Dir. Jack Heller With a plot revolving around several apparent strangers stranded at an isolated cabin in the creepy backwoods of beyond, audiences could be forgiven for assuming The Haunting of Black Wood is a tired retread of the likes of The Evil Dead and The Cabin in the Woods . Nothing could be further from the truth. Initially titled Enter Nowhere (a much more fitting title given the plot and central themes) the film is part sci-fi, part indie drama, part supernatural thriller. Head over to Exquisite Terror to read my full review and win a copy of The Haunting of Black Wood , which has just been released on DVD in the UK .
"They sift the human storm for souls..." Having just finished reading Ray Bradbury’s creepy carnival-based Something Wicked This Way Comes , I was incredibly struck by his vivid, immensely atmospheric prose; particularly the following passage, which proved to be one of the most evocative of the whole novel. It appears late in the story, as Charles Halloway is talking to his young son Will about the duel nature of mankind. He is attempting to explain the existence of evil in the world, and warn his son about the kind of people who have completely succumbed to their darkest desires; so much so they’ve been utterly consumed by them. He recalls an old religious tract written by Pastor Newgate Phillips in which these individuals are referred to as 'Autumn People'... “For these beings, fall is ever the normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night
Dir. Andy de Emmony After placing his senile wife in a care home, retired astronomer James Parkin (John Hurt) heads for the coast to revisit their ‘old haunts’, including the now out-of-season hotel they honeymooned in. By day he is stalked along the windswept beaches by a spectral figure dressed in white, and by night he is terrorised by strange sounds and someone, or something, attempting to enter his room… In the 2000s BBC4 attempted to reignite the old Ghost Story at Christmas tradition by adapting MR James’s A View from a Hill (2005) and Number 13 (2006). This series was seemingly short lived though, as their next outing wasn’t until 2010, and an unusual reinterpretation of James’s classic chiller Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad . While de Emmony’s direction captures the atmosphere and tone of James very well, this film differs significantly from other adaptations, including Jonathan Miller’s supremely unsettling 1968 take . Neil Cross’s screenplay only incorpo