Vintage Screams

Welcome to the world of Vintage Screams! Old School Horror articles for your delight!

Living Dolls

LD Trilogy Of Terror 2

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. Robot engineer Masahiro Mori expanded on Freud and Jentsch’s theories to develop … Continue reading

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Larry Cohen

Larry Cohen photo 1

There is plenty of room for argument about director Larry Cohen. His films, when mentioned at all, tend to be dismissed as the lowest kind of hack work. It’s Alive (1973), one of the most successful films of its year at the box-office, appears in a book called The Best, Worst And Most Unusual Horror Films by Darrell W. Moore. It’s in the ‘Worst’ chapter, and is awarded one star out of … Continue reading

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Jacques Tourneur

JT I Walked With A Zombie poster 1

There were some good but usually fairly conventional fantasies produced by the commercial cinema in the forties. But in the middle of all this was one small oasis of the unusual: The low-budget low-key horror movies produced by Val Lewton for RKO Radio Pictures between 1942 and 1945, and made by a small, fairly autonomous unit, saving money where possible by using little-known contract actors and already existing studio sets.

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To See The Invisible Man

IM Invisible Man poster 2

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 of the fact that a totally transparent man would also … Continue reading

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Doc Rotten’s Halls of Horror: 70s Frankenstein’s Monster

HorrorOfFrankenstein

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 by the same Baron Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) and Japan unleashes their own version with … Continue reading

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How To ‘Make’ A Monster

HTMAM Destroy All Monsters 1

How does one identify a monster? The question is easier to answer by example than definition. In movie terms, a monster is something unnatural, dangerous and out of control. King Kong (1933), the Frankenstein (1931) monster, Godzilla (1954), Dracula (1931), Ray Harryhausen’s cyclops from The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad (1958), the Alien (1979), The Mummy (1932). That’s the monster A-list, but gobbling along in their wake are the tentacled, radioactive invaders of … Continue reading

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A Brief History Of Hammer

Hammer Films logo 1

One of the most successful and prolific British production companies, Hammer Films has become synonymous with horror – most notably the unforgettable series of Dracula and Frankenstein films which were instrumental in launching the careers of my dear old friends Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Elevating the horror film in much the same fashion as the illustrious Ealing Studios did for comedy, the Hammer Horror was overall quintessentially British, frequently stylish, often … Continue reading

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Georges Méliès

Georges Melies 1

Horror cinema is almost as old as cinema itself, for the very good reason that fantasy is implicit in the very nature of film. Action can be slowed down or speeded up, people can be made to appear or disappear, scale can be altered so that people can become giants or mannequins, double-exposure allows one actor to play two roles simultaneously. The possibilities are endless and they were realised very early – … Continue reading

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Dino De Laurentiis

Dino De Laurentiis photo 1

Dino De Laurentiis is something of an enigmatic figure in film-making. Generally dismissed as a philistine, insolently nicknamed Dino De Dum-Dum by a British cinema magazine, he has nevertheless been described by director David Cronenberg (who is nobody’s ‘yes-man’) as “A very interesting man, one of the last of the old-style moguls. It’s pretty exhilarating working with him, because he obviously loves to solve problems. There’s a great deal of energy and … Continue reading

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The Barrymores

Barrymore Jekyll And Hyde 3

You know, my old friend John Barrymore was one of the most fascinating characters in film and theatre during the last century. He was son of stage actors Maurice Barrymore and Georgiana Drew Barrymore, and his siblings Ethel Barrymore and Lionel Barrymore also had extensive film careers. John made his stage debut in 1900, and quickly became a matinee idol. He entered films in 1913, thanks to the invention of the cinematograph, … Continue reading

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Comedy With Bite

CWB Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein 1

I’ve recently completed a review for Mel Brooks’ 1995 film Dracula: Dead And Loving It, which takes a few lame swipes at Nosferatu (1922), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) and Horror Of Dracula (1958), but seldom veers off into the slew of newer vampire movies, including Interview With The Vampire (1994). The problem with this approach is that sending-up old vampire cliches is no great cinematic innovation.

From Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein … Continue reading

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