Friday, October 22, 2010

Classic Horror - An Etsybloggers Carnival Post!

I'm hosting this edition of the Etsybloggers Carnival and the two topics I selected for my teammates to pick from to write about (in honor of the season!) were:

1) Halloween is just around the corner. What is the best Halloween costume you've ever worn or designed for someone else to wear? What made it so special?

2)Tell us about your top 3 favorite horror movies. What is it about them that scares you?

When it came down to it, I had a hard time deciding between the two topics myself since Halloween has always been a favorite holiday of mine. It think since most of the posts I've seen so far have been about Halloween costumes, I'm going to take on horror movies and try to whittle mine down to just three. Wish me luck!

When I was growing up in Chicago back in the 70s, Friday and Saturday nights were devoted to horror movies. Our local UHF (that's ultra-high frequency, for anyone who doesn't recall or wasn't around that long ago) had a show called Screaming Yellow Theater on Friday nights - and it was hosted by Richard Koz, a local media celebrity who dressed up like a... well, I'm not really sure what he was supposed to be, but he kind of looked like a cross between a vampire, a skeleton, and a, ahem... for lack of a better term, pimp. (sorry, but I don't know how else to describe him!) The movies they showed were mostly very campy B-rated horror flicks like Killer Clowns from Outer Space or The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, and those wonderful English dubbed Japanese monster movies like Godzilla Vs.Gamera, but they'd occasionally throw in a class like The Creature from the Black Lagoon or The Thing.

Saturday nights were devoted to Creature Features... and this program, sans the silly host, would offer up the true classics of horror - Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolfman, Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's Monster, and Vincent Price as the abominable Dr Phibes... as well as classic scifi horror like The War of the Worlds, Them, and Forbidden Planet.

Owing to the fact that my mother loved horror mysteries, I also grew to love Sherlock Homes, Alfred Hitchcock, The Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits... and trust me when I say that the remakes and later versions of these movies and shows don't hold a candle to the originals! I don't know if it was the dark ambience of black and white film or the fact that they forced you to use your imagination rather than relying on the shock factor that so many of today's movies seem to employ, but I'll take an old black and white classic against a newer remake almost every time!

Okay, I've been thinking about it, and I think I've got it narrowed down... but boy, was it hard!

One of my three favorites has to be the 1931 classic black and white version of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, Helen Chandler as Wilhelmina "Mina" Murray, the protagonist heroine and object of the Count's obsession who eventually succombs to Dracula's seductive ways, and Dwight Frye who was simply brilliant as the delusional lunatic Renfield, who worships the Count.

Another movie that I would have to pick as a favorite is the original 1956 version of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers with Keven McCarthy, Dana Wynter, King Donovan, and Carolyn Jones. The idea of being helpless against being overtaken by any force that could replace me with a duplicate is chillingly horrifying. To know that the people I loved and interacted with - friends, family, neighbors - had become "Pod People" and I was next, would be terrifying. I must admit that this is probably one of the few classics that a later remake even came close to being as good as the original. The remake, released in 1978, starred Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum, Brooke Adams, and Veronica Cartwright in the originals roles.

The only film that I've ever watched only once - and may never watch again, because frankly, it scared the {insert your choice of words here} out of me, is the original 1973 film version of the fact based book by William Peter Blatty - The Exorcist. I think part of the reason it affected me the way it did was that I happened to be 13 when I saw it - just slightly older than the young possessed-by-a-demon Regan. Since I was still a very devout Catholic at that age, and even though I had read and enjoyed the novel, the realization that the story had been based in fact was impressed on my brain with the visualization of the movie - and it terrified me... and to this day, I still cannot watch the film...nor will I allow a Ouija board in my home.

So there you have it... my top three horror movies! Though they were chosen for very different reasons and are from very different genres and time frames, they all are classics... and I'd recommend any of them if you're in the mood for a good horror movie!

So, tell me - what are YOUR favorite horror movies?

(Movie poster images courtesy of Wikipedia and used under the fair use guidelines in this critical commentary on said films)


ViKotas said...

the best costume I ever made was an "I dream of Jeannie" outfit. I just took a two piece bathing suit and added to it. I made a nice little head piece to go with it. I might still have a pic, but I will Not be posting It.
Dracula is my favorite because it isn't frightening. I don't like been scared. The original version of The Haunting with Julie Harris scared the wits out of me.

Betty said...

Wow, your local freight night movies sound great, I remember those days of B-movies too & I agree, newer remakes don't usually live up to the oldies, but I do like the 1979 Dracula with Frank Langella. I don't think I could even narrow my favs down to 3. So many classics I love. Thanks for sharing yours.

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