Showing posts from April, 2020

Lurking in the Stacks

Boris Karloff will forever be remembered for his portrayal of the tragic man-made 'monster' in James Whale’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s immensely influential Gothic novel, Frankenstein . The star of many classic titles of horror cinema, including The Mummy, Bride of Frankenstein, The Body Snatcher, The Old Dark House and Black Sabbath , Karloff's commanding presence upon the silver screen, coupled with the frequently dark characters he portrayed, earned him the nickname ‘Karloff the Uncanny’. Forrest J. Ackerman’s The Frankenscience Monster looks at the actor’s career and legacy as an icon of horror cinema. Ackerman met Karloff ten times during Karloff’s life and this book shares those experiences. It also gathers the experiences and anecdotes of others who knew and worked with Karloff, including the likes of Ray Bradbury, Sir Christopher Lee, Robert Bloch, Vincent Price and Lon Chaney. Ackerman notes “As the Chaney of the Silents was ‘The Man of a Thousand Faces”,

The Wind (1986)

When pulp-mystery author Sian Anderson (Meg Foster) needs seclusion to write her next bestseller, she rents a villa on a lonely, picturesque island off the coast of Greece. Before she’s even managed to draft her initial outline however, she finds herself caught up in the plot of a real-life murder-mystery when she witnesses the local handyman burying a body. A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues, as Sian is menaced in her isolated villa by the unhinged killer who is hellbent on ensuring there are no witnesses to his crime. Head over to Exquisite Terror to read my full review .

Why Don’t You Just Die? (2018)

The debut feature film from writer-director Kirill Sokolov takes a familiar scenario - various characters gathered in one location, all of whom have motive for wanting to kill a specific person in their midst - but approaches it in a fresh and idiosyncratic way. Resembling a sort of Grand Guignol sitcom, Sokolov's film hits the ground running and opens with an incredibly tense scene - in which a young man, with a hammer secreted in his back pocket, visits the home of his girlfriend’s parents for the first time - and only pauses for breath when the end credits roll. Head over to Exquisite Terror to read my full review.

The White Reindeer (1952)

The debut feature film by Finnish documentary filmmaker Erik Blomberg, The White Reindeer is a heady amalgamation of Scandinavian folklore, Sámi shamanism, societal gender inequality and sexual anxiety. When newly married Pirita (the film’s co-writer, Mirjami Kuosmanen) begins to feel lonely and frustrated as her reindeer-herder husband must spend long periods of time away from home, she visits a shaman for a remedy. He concocts a potion to ensure Pirita is so alluring that her husband will be unable to leave her. However, the potion, combined with Pirita’s emerging latent powers (she was born a witch), transforms her into a bloodthirsty, vampiric shapeshifter who, in the form of a white reindeer, lures men out into the snowy wilderness where she consumes them. With its story unfolding amidst vast snowy vistas and within cosy log cabins (the interiors of which are filled with long shadows cast by glowing hearths) Blomberg’s film is awash with striking imagery and enshrouded