Monday, 23 January 2017

Watching old, old movies part 6

(Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4) (Part 5)

16. La maschera del demonio (Black Sunday) (1960)
I watched this just after Christmas, and it was really good. Not sure what I expected but not that I would be this drawn in with it. This was the first movie from the list that was in Italian. It starts by showing a woman and her thrall being accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake with the Devil's Mask nailed to their faces. A couple of hundred years later a professor and his apprentice stumbles upon her mausoleum and her living descendants. The daughter of the family looks exactly like the woman burned at the stake. The professor and his apprentice accidentally breaks the glass of her coffin, and the crucifix that was poised so that she would see it at all times breaks off and she is free. The witch is free to have her vengeance upon her descendant relatives. She tries to kill them all and use the daughter's life-force to make herself young and beautiful again. Kind of like a vampire. I really enjoyed every part of this movie, apart from the fact that the apprentice apparantly loves the daughter (You met her three days ago! Get a grip!)

17. Carnival of Souls (1962)
Throughout this whole movie I felt like it didn't make sense. And it didn't until the end. So it was one hour of total confusion, before the story connected, and when it did I realised that I had it all figured out from the first 10 minutes. A car with two boys pulls up next to a car with three women (all of them in the front seat, good ol' 60's car safety!), the boys challenge the girls to a race and off they go. After a while the girls' car falls off a bridge and sinks in a smudgy river. When the police are dragging the river for the car one of the girls climb out of the river, apparantly unscathed, and my first thought was "She's not really alive, though, is she?". She gets a job as the church organist in another town and drives over there. When she gets there she becomes enthralled by the old abandoned carnival there, and she keeps being haunted by ghosts. More than once she falls outside of the world, in a semi-existing state where nobody can hear or see her, and not until the end she realises that the ghosts are haunting her because she doesn't really belong in the world of the living. The ghosts finally catch up with her, and she disappears. Flash forward to when the police finally manages to find the car in the river and pulls it up, revealing the corpses of all three girls. I feel like this movie was a waste of time. I realised what was happening in the first 10 minutes, and there's no explanation whatsoever why she's pushed towards the old carnival and goes exploring there. The ghosts are everywhere around her anyway - why does she need to go there? Maybe they explained it but the sound was wonky (music really loud and talking very quiet) so I might not have heard it. The first ghost-guy that showed up and kept following her around was sort of creepy, though, but that's the only positive I can say about this movie.

18. I tre volti della paura (Black Sabbath) (1963)
Second movie from the list that was in Italian. It was odd, though, because it was made in Italy, but it was obvious that all the actors had said their lines in English and then there was Italian dub on it. I had no idea what was going on until it was all explained to me in a forum post on IMDB. Apparantly Italian movie-makers at the time didn't record the sound and the images at the same time. So they let the actors keep whatever language they were speaking and then put the sound on top of the finished product. Boris Karloff was in this movie and I was excited about that, until I realised that this was 30 years after the other movies I had seen with him and he had gotten old, and somehow in the process lost everything that made him uncanny in the 30's. Anyway, this movie consists of three shorter stories, all of them about 30 minutes long. The first one is called The Telephone and tells the story about a woman who is terrorised in her apartment by anonymous phone calls from the same person. This person is later revealed to be her ex-boyfriend who she had got into prison for something or other (not really explained), but now he has escaped and wants revenge. After drama with a friend, who ends up dead, she manages to kill her attacker. The second story is called The Wurdalak, and is basically a classic vampire story, with one twist; the vampire only drinks the blood of the ones they love most. So a stranger on his way to somewhere stops by a family for some rest. The father comes back after five days at the mountain and he behaves strangely. Everything goes very quickly after that, one after the other the family members die, and the stranger flees the place with the daughter he "loves" (you've known her for two days!). The most horrifying moment was when the now-dead toddler knelt at the doorstep begging his mother to let him inside. The story ends with everybody being dead. The third story is called A Drop of Water, and tells the story of a nurse who's called to an old lady's house (by the housekeeper) because the old lady has died. She helps put the old lady in funeral garments, and while she does that she sees an old valuable ring on the dead lady's finger, which she promptly steals. She accidentally overturns a glass of water on the bedside table which then proceeds to drip down onto the bedpan. And she's being annoyed by a stubborn fly. She comes home and puts the ring on her finger. Immediately there's a stubborn fly, and then the water starts dripping in the bathroom, and then the kitchen, and then the old dead lady is everywhere in her apartment, finally coaxing her into strangling herself. This last story was the best one imo. The old dead lady literally looks like a plastic prop and yet she's creepy as hell. Whatever special effects they had in the 60s have been used to make the third story haunting and creepy. And the ending had a nice twist that tells you it's not over yet.

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