Roman Polanski serves up classic horror
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Starring: Mia Farrow & John Cassavetes
Before there was The Exorcist, there was Rosemary's Baby, Roman Polanski's classic adaptation of Ira Levin's bestselling novel of the same name. Polanski's 1968 film really brought horror into the mainstream. Contemporary critics received the movie with enthusiasm and it was nominated for numerous awards, earning Mia Farrow an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role as Rosemary Woodhouse.
Some four decades later, the film still ranks as one of the most memorable horror movies ever made and continues to show up on or near the top of "best lists" everywhere. It ranks as #215 on IMDb's Top 250 Films and scores a whopping 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. In his 1968 review for the Chicago Sun-Times, film critic Roger Ebert describes Rosemary's Baby this way: "a brooding, macabre film, filled with the sense of unthinkable danger. Strangely enough it also has an eerie sense of humor almost until the end. It is a creepy film and a crawly film, and a film filled with things that go bump in the night. It is very good."
I have to agree.
Can't get enough of Polanski?
Written and directed by Roman Polanski
The first English-language film by controversial director Roman Polanski, Repulsion is classic psychological horror in the style of Alfred Hitchcock. Catherine Deneuve plays a Belgian manicurist (Carol) who suffers from bizarre hallucinations that force her to take a sabbatical from her job. When her sister goes on vacation leaving her alone, Carol is engulfed by her madness.
Filmed in black and white and containing very little dialogue, Repulsion is remarkable for its simplicity; nevertheless, Polanski is able to achieve an inexorable tension thanks in large part to a pulse-pounding soundtrack (and I’m referring here to the boom of cracking walls rather than the music). The movie builds to a crescendo and an ending that is as unexpected as it is disturbing.
Repulsion is just plain weird and it made me feel like I was hallucinating along with Catherine Deneuve. Watching her lose her mind really puts you on edge, because anything is possible in the world of someone who's lost touch with reality. It's a really quiet movie, so when something scary and loud happens you jump out of your skin. Like the infamous scene with hands coming out of the walls. Watch scene here.
The Last House on the Left revisited
To avoid fainting, keep repeating
It's only a movie...
It's only a movie...
With the 2009 remake now playing in theaters, let's take a look at the original 1972 Wes Craven classic.
The Last House on the Left (1972)
Written and Directed by: Wes Craven
One of the true classics of modern horror cinema. --Channel 4 Film
A tough, bitter little sleeper of a movie
that's about four times as good as you'd expect.
--Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
The Cryptkeeper says:
Before Wes Craven became famous for his Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and before his gargantuan success with the Scream trilogy, he crashed upon the horror movie scene with this controversial and shocking debut. While sadistic torture horror seems to be the rule of the day (with recent films like Hostel I and II, the Saw franchise, Wolf Creek and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes), in the hands of legendary movie director Craven, horror is brought to a whole new level.
There is a too real, thoughtful, gut-wrenching component to Craven's early creation that's altogether missing from current run-of-the-mill torture fare. In The Last House on the Left the horror is unrelenting and kicks you right in the solar-plexus. The grainy film footage has a documentary feel that makes it seem like you're watching somebody's twisted home video. You'll want to look away, but you won't be able to. It's as gripping as it is repulsive.
Finally, I can't think of a better name for a horror movie than this one, cryptic yet tantalizing enough to instill dread ... and c'mon ... that tagline is without question the most effective marketing ploy we've seen in the history of horror cinema (except for maybe The Exorcist).
Original movie poster
Spend an evening with Alfred Hitchcock
For sheer suspense and taut psychological thrillers, no one does it better than Alfred Hitchcock. A pioneer in his own right, Hitchcock's movies are so absorbing and innovative that film students continue to learn their craft from his more than fifty feature films. Check out the following titles available @ RPL.
See also the Alfred Hitchcock collection, Sets 1 - 4
Alfred Hitchcock, Set 1:
Saboteur - Shadow of a Doubt - Rope - Rear Window
Alfred Hitchcock, Set 2:
The trouble with Harry - The man Who Knew too Much - Vertigo - Psycho
Alfred Hitchcock, Set 3:
The Birds - Marnie - Torn Curtain - Topaz
Alfred Hitchcock, Set 4:
Frenzy - Family plot - Bonus disc
***To find him in the RPL catalogue use Hitchcock, Alfred, 1899-1980
So what's your favorite Hitchcock movie? As always, we would love to know what you think!
Stephen King's classic ghost story turns 10
A pinnacle of achievement from one of the greatest storytellers of our time, Bag of Bones is a literary masterpiece and a classic ghost story. If you think you know how it's all going to end, think again!
From Amazon.com: "In its deep concerns with love, sprawling families, the writer's life, endangered children, and good old-fashioned storytelling, the book resembles a John Irving novel. It is also absolutely classic Stephen King, packed with nifty turns of phrase, irreverent wit, and lurid ghouls who grab you from beneath the bed while you cower under the covers."
Plot Summary (from StephenKing.com): Several years after his wife's death, novelist Mike Noonan still suffers writer's block. A dream inspires him to return to the couple's summer retreat in western Maine, a lakeside house called Sara Laughs. Shortly after arriving, Noonan is caught in the middle of a custody battle involving the daughter of an attractive young widow and the child's enormously wealthy grandfather. He also discovers that Sara Laughs is haunted and that his late wife, Joanna, still has something to tell him.
***For more news, reviews and updates be sure to
check out the horror blog's Stephen King category!
Legendary horror comic now available @ RPL!
Look for the legendary EC Comics at Regina Public Library, including the granddaddy of them all (the most influential and the best) -- Tales from the Crypt. The stories and images contained within the pages of these timeless classics will make you long for the heyday of 1950s horror. There is something special and uniquely terrifying about these comics that captured an entire generation's imagination and made contemporary horror what it is today.
Don't miss out! Find them in the RPL catalogue here:
EC Archives: Shock Suspenstories Volume 1
EC Archives: Shock Suspenstories Volume 2
EC Archives: Tales from the Crypt Volume 1
EC Archives: Tales from the Crypt Volume 2
From Book Description:
EC Comics (Entertaining Comics) were all published from the late 1940s until around 1956, when the Comics Code Authority whitewashed all comic books to remove all themes of horror and violence. Psychiatrist Fredric Wertham and Senator Estes Kefauver's Committee on Juvenile Delinquency attacked horror comics as causes of the rise in juvenile delinquency and crimes by minors. These comic books were accused of having no redeeming value to society and were effectively banned by the actions of these groups in creating the Comics Code. EC Comics were superior to other comics of the 1950s because of a higher quality of writing and artwork, and they were widely imitated by other comics publishers. The subject matter for EC Comics were horror, science fiction/fantasy, crime stories, war stories and stories with a social message that generally had a twist or "shock" ending.
NOW AVAILABLE ON DVD!!!! Tales From the Crypt Seasons 1, 2, and 3
Awsomest zombie movie ever!
The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Written and Directed by Dan O'Bannon
They're Back From The Grave and Ready To Party!
Return of the Living Dead is really something special and so friggin' hilarious in parts it will make you pee your pants. I LOVE Frank (classic James Karen) as the crotchety, neurotic manager at a medical supply warehouse. His nervous, over-the-top performance makes this movie. So does his on-screen chemistry with his bumbling young sidekick Freddy (Thom Matthews). The only movie that trumps this one for that perfectly realized, addictive blend of horror-comedy-gore is Evil Dead II (and there's no shame in coming runner-up to Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell).
How's this for classic movie dialogue?
Burt: If that is a re-animated body, we're gonna have to kill it.
Freddy: How do you kill something that's already dead?
Burt: How do I know, Fred? Let me think!
Frank: It's not a bad question, Burt.
Burt: I thought you said if we destroyed the brain, it'd die?
Frank: It worked in the movie!
Burt:Well, it ain't workin' now, Frank!
Freddy: You mean the movie lied?
Night Gallery Season 2
Night Gallery Season 2
Prepare for the unexpected as Season Two of Night Gallery comes to DVD! This 5-disc DVD set contains 61 stories, created and hosted by the master of mystery: The Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling. With guest performances by Hollywood legends that reads like a roster of Who’s Who in Hollywood, you’ll be sure to see sights to amaze! Featuring audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and a gallery presentation of the paintings from the series, this collector’s set is the classic anthology of timeless, spine-tingling entertainment you don’t dare to miss! Click here for episode summaries.
Find Night Gallery The Complete First Season in the RPL catalogue.
The nightmare that started it all
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Written and Directed by Wes Craven
Starring Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp
Whatever you do, don't fall asleep...
A spectral killer seeks revenge by stalking teenagers in their dreams. The only chance for survival is to stay awake, but how long can the human body go without sleep?
A Nightmare on Elm Street made Wes Craven a household name and launched a horror movie franchise worth millions. Those of us who grew up on the Freddy franchise will be shocked to realize the movie that started it all is turning 25 next year! I can't believe it. Despite its age, the film still views as edgy and unique. While in essence a teen slasher flick (followed by some dreadful sequels), Craven's original Nightmare achieves genuine chills and thrills. It's funny and scary, a heady combination for horror. Johnny Depp makes his film debut here too (and how many of us fell in love at first sight?) Of the long line of slasher movie villains -- Leatherface, Pinhead, Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers to name but a few -- Freddy has got to be the bestest, baddest of them all.
Just in time for Christmas!
Classic television series now available at RPL!
Tales from the Crypt Complete First Season (DVD)
Based on the legendary and gruesome EC Comics from publisher William Gaines, this horror anthology featured stories of murder, the supernatural, gore and humor and always had a twist ending of sorts. Some of Hollywood's biggest names took part, either working in front or behind the camera. Hosting duties fell to everyone's favorite decaying corpse, the Cryptkeeper...
The New Annotated Dracula by Bram Stoker, edited with a foreword and notes by Leslie S. Klinger
From Publishers Weekly
Klinger brings the same impressive breadth of knowledge that distinguished The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes to this definitive examination of one of the classic horror novels of all time. Adopting the conceit that Stoker's narrative is based on fact, Klinger elucidates the plot and historical context for both Stoker devotees and those more familiar with Count Dracula from countless popular culture versions. Because he had privileged access to the typescript Stoker delivered to his publisher, Klinger is able to note changes between it and the first edition and comment on the reasons for them. Through close reading, Klinger raises questions about such matters as the role of lead vampire-hunter Van Helsing and whether the villainous count is actually dispatched at book's end. An introduction by Neil Gaiman, numerous illustrations, essays on topics ranging from Dracula in the movies to the academic response, and much more enhance the package.
--The Library Technician
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