Sunday, 16 October 2016

Watching old, old movies part 4

This isn't gonna stop any time soon...

(Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3)

10. Pyscho (1960)
Alfred Hitchcock retains his reputation even to this day so of course I had heard about this movie, although I had never seen it. It was kind of straight-forward all the way to the end, when the twist about the murderer was revealed. The only big surprise was when the girl who I thought was the main character was killed off halfway through the movie. And when the twist was revealed and one of the detectives casually called the murderer a transvestite I just said "He's not a transvestite! He's a cross-dressing man with multiple personality disorder. I don't need a degree to know that! You loon." to the screen. But from what I've gathered through Mad Men and old books and movies; psychology and the workings of the brain weren't such well-known facts for the most part of the 20th century. I wouldn't call this movie horror, though, there weren't many horror elements in it. Apart from the classical shower scene and the corpse reveal towards the end, this was a kind of straight-forward heist-mystery movie. I liked it, though.

11. The Black Cat (1934)
I had been looking forward to this movie - Bela Lugosi (Dracula) and Boris Karloff (Frankenstein/The Mummy) in the same movie! Based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe nonetheless! It was bound to be good. And it was. It really, really was. The only expected and obvious letdown (for me, anyway) was that the women in the movie had barely any lines at all and were basically there just to look pretty. But Lugosi and Karloff were so good together that most of the time I didn't even care. So Lugosi is vaguely creepy as a character and on his way to what he says is "an old friend" (Karloff's character). After a road accident he brings the honeymooning couple with him to this friend because the woman has been hurt and his friend's home is close to where the accident happened. Turns out this is not a friend at all, but a fellow ex-soldier who left him and the batallion for dead as he ran off. For 18 years Lugosi's character was a POW, while Karloff's character became renowned as an amazing architect and lived a good life - with Lugosi's wife and daughter nonetheless! Karloff's character is later revealed to be the leader of a cult who sacrifices women to the moon. Women who Karloff later preserves to be able to watch their eternal beauty (like som necrophiliac creep). Lugosi's character is revealed to actually be a good guy with a bad past, but when he finds out what Karloff's character did to his wife and daughter he goes ballistic (understandably). This whole movie was a joy to watch, and actually quite scary. It was disturbing even by today's standards.
I love this whole scene. Lugosi looks demented and Karloff looks properly scared shitless by the end.

12. Les Yeux Sans Visage (1960)
The first non-English movie I've seen on this trip through black-and-white. While Nosferatu is German, all the text cards were in English in the version I saw. This movie is French (why couldn't we watch this kind of movie in French class?!) and it's creepy as hell. The title means Eyes Without a Face. It's about the daughter of an amazing surgeon who loses her face in a car accident caused by her father. Her father goes on a personal quest to give his daughter a new face, experimenting with full facial transplants (a full 50 years before it was accomplised IRL). His secretary helps him by tricking young women into going with her. Their faces are then used for experimentation, and their dead bodies are later dumped. Christiane, the daughter, begins to lose hope and faith in her father's ability, but for a moment it looks like he may have succeeded. But (as expected from my side) the tissue grows necrotic after just a few days and has to be removed and Christiane is back to wearing her mask. Throughout the whole movie she has very few lines and she's almost always wearing her mask. She moves around quietly and gracefully, with nothing but her huge eyes visible of her face. The way her character moves and looks is the most creepy thing to me. It was worse than when they actually filmed and showed the doctor removing a face (why did they have to show that?! it hurt my face to watch!). Of course the surgeon and his secretary gets the police on their trail, but Christiane has had it and stabs the secretary with her father's scalpel and then sets the caged dogs on her father. When they're both dead she helps the latest girl escape and then she goes out into the world again - for the first time in months. This movie was so good. It didn't leave my head for days. The French should do more horror. The melancholy they love to have in their movies really works in horror.

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