Every year Halloween seems to be getting more and more like a subverted Christmas. The hype is almost as bad and the ads promoting costumes and accoutrements get more elaborate. I don't have a serious problem with that but I am heartily tired of the fact that we don't get to see the old classic horror flicks on television anymore. This week they've been showing the remakes of "Thirteen Ghosts" and "House on Haunted Hill", among others. I've seen the Frank Langella version of "Dracula" listed, as well as the more recent version of "The Haunting".
The original "Thirteen Ghosts" was a bit cheesy but it was entertaining and a little spooky. I couldn't get past the first 30 minutes of the remake. I love Tony Shaloub but I detest the modern approach to horror films. It seems that directors try to outdo each other with gory special effects and bloody gimmicks instead of really well-told, spine-tingling stories.
One of the creepiest scenes I've ever watched was in Val Lewton's "The Body Snatcher" with Boris Karloff. This isn't even a horror film but it always sends chills up my spine. Boris Karloff, as cabman Gray, has just "burked" Bela Lugosi's character, Joseph. While still on the floor, Karloff's cat walks past and, with one hand still on the corpse, Karloff pets the cat with the other. The scene is one of those that defines the mood of the film and the character of the killer. It's atmospheric, minimally lit and definitely subtle.
I guess that's what I miss most about modern horror films, there's no subtlety. Look at the classics - Karloff's "The Mummy" for example. One of the creepiest scenes in that film is when the camera pans up the mummy and you see just a glint of light in one half-opened eye. Subtle and frightening at the same time.
I guess that will conclude this rant for the time being. I haven't posted on LJ for a long time and it looks like NOBODY has posted on "La Ville Oubliee" even longer. This seemed like a good time to bump this up!
|comments: Leave a comment|