The official British Palme d’Or entry at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival, Symptoms is a sophisticated modern gothic horror film exploring the themes of sexual repression and psychosis.
Larraz’s dark and stylish film tells of a young woman (Lorna Heilbron) who is invited by her girlfriend (Angela Pleasence) to stay at her remote English country mansion. Events take a disturbing turn when a menacing groundkeeper (Peter Vaughan) interrupts their time together, and a woman’s body is found in the mansion’s lake. Continue reading José Ramón Larraz – Symptoms (1974)
A young blind woman is pursued by a maniac while staying with family in their country manor.
Storyline: Sarah is a blind girl who has returned to her home, a country manor in which all of the occupants are dead. She unknowingly sleeps overnight, among a houseful of corpses, arising the next morning to quietly creep out of bed, in order not to awaken the other members of the household. Continue reading Richard Fleischer – See No Evil AKA Blind Terror (1971)
Sandwiched between his notorious saga of rape, revenge, and realist horror, Last House on the Left (1972), and his franchise-initiating fairytale of supernatural serial killing, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes tends to get lost in critical discussion of America’s reigning horror auteur. This may be truer today than ever, considering Craven’s meteoric rise to mainstream respectability after the staggering box office success of his Scream trilogy (1996, 1997, 2000), for which he was ‘rewarded’ with the opportunity to direct a Miramax melodrama (Music of the Heart, 1999). A relentless chronicle of violence against and within the bourgeois family unit, Hills usually occupies the role of Craven’s ‘cult classic’ – celebrated by the director’s hardcore fans, appreciated for its low-budget aesthetic, generating semi-ironic readings which praise its archetypal allusions as well as its exploitation movie themes. Continue reading Wes Craven – The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Now this is want you call a man vs. nature film! And a real merciless one too! This low-budget, under-appreciated (if forgotten) Australian gem is far from your typical excursion into horror with a melodramatic backdrop involving the couples’ martial problems, but the way the insightful story folds out you can’t deny that this isn’t one horrifying exercise when nature finally unleashes its devastating power with such an claustrophobic strangle hold. You might think the idea in this particular sub-genre would be hokey and overall, a campy b-grade animal feature, but here that’s not the case because there’s nothing cheap about the story and thrills, as it goes for some old fashion spookiness and slow grinding suspense, where we are asked to think about the couples’ careless actions towards nature and the environmental message. There’s a little bit more going on in the film’s material and visuals then you might think and it does play on your mind with it’s disorientating atmosphere. Continue reading Colin Eggleston – Long Weekend (1978)
In the mountains of Germany stands a grim and secluded castle – the haunted legacy of the beautiful medieval vampire Baroness Varga. Put to death for her ravenous hunger for female blood, the Baroness uttered a curse that she would one day return to forever satisfy her unnatural lust and that day has finally come. Four women have gathered at the castle unaware that its darkly seductive housekeeper is a satanic high priestess presiding over a coven of delectable servants who each night perform sensual rituals and profane acts to keep the Baroness’ spirit alive. As the women are drawn deeper into the ultra erotic nightmare, it will be the most uninhibited among them who shall serve as the vessel into which the Baroness passes to continue her unholy reign of terror.
Continue reading Joseph W. Sarno – Vampire Ecstasy [+Extra] (1973)
Wishing to dispose of his wife, psychiatrist Doctor Elliott makes his patient Nina think that she suffers from a compulsion to kill. He drugs Nina, murders his wife and leaves evidence that points to Nina. The latter, pre-conditioned by Elliott, also thinks she is guilty. Continue reading Frank Wisbar – Devil Bat’s Daughter (1946)
A young Canadian nurse (Betsy) comes to the West Indies to care for Jessica, the wife of a plantation manager (Paul Holland). Jessica seems to be suffering from a kind of mental paralysis as a result of fever. When she falls in love with Paul, Betsy determines to cure Jessica even if she needs to use a voodoo ceremony, to give Paul what she thinks he wants. Continue reading Jacques Tourneur – I Walked with a Zombie (1943)