I’ve always loved old movies, and when I was growing up, a couple of Denver’s TV stations offered lots of them, many of them horror films. Thus it was that I became familiar with the genre, many of them the classics, some wonderfully schlocky. I happily watched my way through the parade of traditional monsters. Somewhere along the way, however, I came across a couple of films that have been lodged in my memory ever since, and they seriously deserve to be in the horror category. They own the category.

 

freaks2

freaks1

Tod Browning’s Freaks came out in 1932, a revenge drama about a group of circus performers and sideshow artists getting even with so-called “normal” villains. Browning cast actual members of a circus sideshow who were disabled to portray the “freaks.” Audiences of the day were appalled and the film flopped in the U.S. and was banned in the United Kingdom. Freaks is, however, one of the most poignant and humane horror films I’ve seen, and the lingering question it leaves is a profound one: Who in the story are the real freaks?  The film is available at Amazon. http://amzn.to/2diNRpm

 

 

nosferatushadow

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nosferatu  By F.W. Murnau – screen capture around the 1hr 19min mark, PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22848473

Nosferatu, a German Expressionist film released in 1922, is one of the most visually frightening films I’ve seen, thanks to the appearance and performance of Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlok. As Wikipedia summarizes: “the film was an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker‘s Dracula, with names and other details changed because the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel (for instance, ‘vampire’ became “Nosferatu” and “Count Dracula” became “Count Orlok”). Stoker’s heirs sued over the adaptation, and a court ruling ordered that all copies of the film be destroyed. However, a few prints of Nosferatu survived, and the film came to be regarded as an influential masterpiece of cinema.[1][2]”  

I was alone in the house when I first saw Nosferatu, and I turned on every light in the place until my parents got home. Seriously creepy. Also available at Amazon. http://amzn.to/2dWAuJl

If you’re into spooky stuff for real and haven’t seen these films, you might consider having your own little movie madness as Halloween gets closer. I guarantee some shivers down your spine.

Comment to be eligible to win a signed set of the three Wisdom Court novels: Edge of the Shadow; A Signal Shown; All In Bad Time. The drawing will take place on Halloween.

Advertisements