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Vintage Screams

William Castle – Tribute and Historical Overview (Part 1)

Plastic skeletons dangling on wires above the audience! Theatre seats wired to buzz the audience! Fright-breaks giving cowardly customers a chance to escape to the lobby! Insurance policies guaranteeing audience members against death by fright! These and other outrageous gimmicks designed to pull in more moviegoers may seem like the creations of a P.T. Barnum rather than a directorial master …

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William Castle – Tribute and Historical Overview (Part 2)

Castle became a celebrity that people knew as well as Alfred Hitchcock, except he wasn’t on television every week like Hitchcock, but everybody knew who William Castle was in the late fifties and sixties. Castle milked the Diabolique formula until another film came along with an even better formula. It was called Psycho (1960). In film after film thereafter, Castle …

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Invasions Of The Body Snatchers – Historical Overview

Welcome to the Invasions Of The Body Snatchers full historical overview of this cult classic science fiction film In 1955 author Jack Finney published a novel entitled The Body Snatchers, first serialised in Collier’s Magazine the year before. It describes the fictional town of Santa Mira, California being invaded by seeds that have drifted to Earth from space. The seeds …

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Video Nasties: The Darkest Films of Yesterday

‘Video Nasty‘ was a term coined in Britain around 1982 which applied to certain films distributed on video cassette that were criticised by the media and various religious organisations for their violent content. While cinema violence had been regulated by the British Board of Film Censorship for many years, the lack of regulations for video sales (combined with the claim …

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Key Genre Films 1940s

The forties got off to a cracking start with Paramount’s Technicolor production of Doctor Cyclops (1940) starring Albert Dekker as a crazed scientist who discovers the secret of miniaturisation deep in the South American jungles. The film contains superb special effects sequences which required the construction of gigantic sets and props of everyday articles, including books, chairs, pot-plants and scientific …

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The Invisible Man Saga – A Retrospective on a Lost Legend

Scientific knowledge was never one of the requirements needed for a successful Hollywood scriptwriter. At least science fiction authors are usually aware of scientific flaws and try to disguise them with pseudo-science. For instance, they’ve long got around Einstein’s law regarding the impossibility of faster-than-light travel by taking a short-cut through ‘hyper-space’. My old friend H.G. Wells was well aware …

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1970’s Frankenstein’s Monster

One of the most recognizable movie monsters in horror cinema is the Frankenstein Monster. Beginning with Frankenstein (1910) and, more famously, Frankenstein (1931) from Universal, Mary Shelley’s man-made monster has taken many forms. In 1957, Hammer Films jettisoned the creature into the Technicolor age with Curse of Frankenstein. Throughout the Sixties, Hammer Films would produce a variety of Monsters created …

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Serial Killer Films Compendium (F-O)

The following article is the second part of a three-part list of films featuring serial killers. I’ve deliberately avoided movies concerning ‘spree killers’, ‘obsessed fans’, and movies that contain supernatural elements. It is not intended to be a complete list nor terribly insightful, but a simple rundown of the best, worst and most interesting serial killer titles to be found, …

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A Look at the Frightful Living Dolls of Horror Films

My old friend Sigmund Freud claimed that most children fantasise about dolls coming to life, and psychologist Ernst Jentsch theorised that uncanny feelings arise when there is an intellectual uncertainty about whether an object is alive or not, and also when an object that one knows to be inanimate resembles a living being enough to generate confusion about its nature. …

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