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The Name's Petsken! Nexus, please come back! Booze Design Logo "Curlicue" by Shine. A Chronicle Of.. Bingo the Clown by Commodore Is Awesome. The Magical Smoker by Hokuto Force. Jaram takie ilosci ze juz widze na zielono by Lepsi De. The Scream in Widescreen by Paul Bearer. Oikeuden Miekka by Ninja Gefilus. Capitan America by Samar Productions. Animated Time by Frog , Skuzz. Sphinx meets North Pole by Arsenic. Fighting in the Hell by Black Sun. Chemtrails by Fairlight , Panda Design. Cracked by Nature by Genesis Project. In Order of Appearance by Beardswitcher. Still reeling from these hardships, Hollywood soon faced a major new threat television.
As stations opened across the country and the sale of TV sets proliferated, the new medium rapidly siphoned viewers away from movie theaters. For instance, the popularity of television Westerns decimated the audience for low-budget oaters, which had been a bread-andbutter Hollywood staple since the early silent era. Even though hundreds were produced during the s, by the early s the breed was virtually extinct. Hollywood responded by introducing Cinerama and various other widescreen processes, shooting more features in color, trying gimmicks like 3-D and reviving road show exhibition spectacles prestige.
Another response was the rise of art house and drive-in theaters, both of which offered more exotic viewing experiences than those available on TV. One unintended consequence of the Paramount decision was that, with the MPPDA weakened, enforcement of the studios Production Code became more difcult. Simultaneously, the success of foreign lms suggested that audiences were interested in edgier, less sanitized stories. Rome: Open City, for instance, featured lesbianism, narcotics abuse and a downbeat ending with evil triumphant, all of which was forbidden under the Code.
Then, in , the U. Supreme Court ruled, in Joseph Burstyn, Inc. Wilson, that motion pictures were entitled to First Amendment protection, eliminating the threat of government censorship that had inspired the creation of the Code in the rst place. The case was led by a New York exhibitor who wanted to show Rossellinis short lm The Miracle, about a pregnant nun who believes she carries an immaculately conceived child, which had been banned by the states Board of Regents.
In , Billy Wilders independently produced cross-dressing farce Some Like It Hot was released without Code approval, yet became a major hit. As the Sixties dawned, the Code was fading into irrelevancy. As Hollywoods fortunes turned for the worse in the late Forties, the old-fashioned, gothic horror lm also fell into decline. Numerous theories have been posited for the genres waning box ofce appeal to postwar audiences. The best explanation, however, may be that most of these pictures simply werent very good. In the mids, studios seemed to lose faith in the genre, relegating monster movies to low-budget ller assigned to inferior talent both in front of and behind the camera.
By , when the Paramount decision was handed down, Universal had turned Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster into straight. But the success of Hammer Films Curse of Frankenstein and Horror of Dracula proved that audiences would readily embrace classicist, supernatural chillers if done well. Hammer, founded in as a humble producer of quota quickies from various genres, scored its greatest previous success with a series of black-and-white sci- chillers. But Curse and Horror were something thrillingly newwere shot in full color, with bloodletting and sensuality far more graphic than anything found in the Golden Age horror shows playing on late night TV.
All these trends positioned the horror genre for explosive growth during the s. The genre claimed a young, expanding and relatively afuent fan base. Horror lms offered the kind of hard-hitting content that lured viewers away from their television sets, material that would grow increasingly daring as the Production Code nally disintegrated.
The popularity of imported movies helped audiences embrace chillers not only from the U. Such open-mindedness, along with the fact that most horror lms of the era were produced independently, rather than by the major studios, enabled the genre to more quickly assimilate new stylistic approaches. Simultaneously, ever-rising tension created by Americas escalating Cold War with the Soviet Union and a host of worsening domestic issues created a fertile subtext for celluloid terrors. The cinematic soil had been tilled, and the seeds planted, watered and fertilized.
And, as the new decade began, the rst green shoots began to appear. Although fright pictures continued to be made during this era, they were mostly sad sack productions like The Black Castle As gothic chillers receded, science ction moved to the forefront. The Day the Earth Stood Still and The Thing from Another World both , twin pillars equivalent to Universals Dracula and Frankenstein, ushered in the heyday of screen sci-, during which audiences thrilled to alien invasions, giant irradiated insects, unfrozen dinosaurs and other Atom Age terrors.
But traditional horror refused to stay dead. Its resurrection began in when Universal packaged 52 of its fright classics under the title Shock! Across the U. These lms caused a sensation among the Baby Boom generation, adolescents not yet born when movies like The Mummy and The Wolf Man were originally released.
Thanks to the American economys robust postwar recovery, most of these youngsters had money to spend. An array of products soon appeared that catered to their newfound interest: monster-themed toys, games, fright masks, gure models, 8 mm lm digests for home viewing, and more. The classic monsters also reemerged on movie screens. At rst producers hedged their bets, offering science ctional variations of the classic monsters. The protests continued for six months until the students were nally served. For the next several years this form of non-violent civil disobedience would be widely imitated by black activists in restaurants, theaters and other businesses throughout the Southern U.
Friction between the two rival nations ratcheted up to new heights, as Eisenhower at rst denied the incident and was forced to recant when the Soviets produced the captured pilot. Later in May, the Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of Enovid, a female oral contraceptive that quickly became known as the Pill. Initially, the Pill was sold only to married women. Thirty states had laws forbidding birth control the last of these would be abolished in Yet by the average number of children born to American women had dropped from 3.
Meanwhile, the number of women working outside the home skyrocketed, increasing by 10 percent in alone. Finally, in November, a charismatic young senator from Massachusetts defeated the sitting vice president in one of the narrowest victories in U. A decisive factor in the race was that the cool, condent John F. Kennedy had trounced the dgety, op sweat-soaked Richard M. Nixon in the rst televised presidential debates. Tellingly, those who listened to the debates on the radio believed Nixon had won. Henceforth, campaigns would be waged not only in speeches and on whistle-stop train tours but on TV through debates and tit-for-tat sound bites on the evening news.
But the French Nouvelle Vague remained the buzz of the lm world. Although not a unied movement like neorealism, these lmswhich combined uninching realism with unorthodox editing techniques and featured distinctive authorial voices inspired an entire generation of lmmakers as they made the rounds at art houses, cinema clubs and college campuses across the country and around the world. But no single lm released in proved more inuential than Alfred Hitchcocks Psycho. Although initially panned by critics, many of whom were miffed that they were forced to watch the lm from the beginning with a theatrical audience rather than at their usual private screenings, Psycho would eventually be recognized as the masterpiece it is.
The American Film Institute placed it at number 18 on its Top movies list in and number 1 on its Top thrillers survey in The movie pushed the envelope of the Production Code not only with its jolting murder sequences, but with its lingering shots of Janet Leigh in her brassiere, and by including Hollywoods rst onscreen toilet ush. Psycho even changed exhibition practices. Previously, movies along with cartoons, short subjects and trailers ran continuously all day. Patrons paid admission and entered the theater at will; if the movie was half over, they would stick around until the picture began again to see the rst.
With House of Usher, Corman launched his wildly successful series of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations, which not only fattened the producer-directors wallet but burnished his reputation with critics. Because Corman used a core group of key collaborators for most of these lmsincluding star Vincent Price, screenwriter Richard Matheson, production designer Daniel Haller and cinematographer Floyd Crosby the series had a uniform visual identity.
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Yet its entries generally improved as the cycle progressed, reaching an artistic peak with The Masque of the Red Death in Cormans horror lms sometimes obliquely touched on social and political themes. But the Poe series success enabled Corman to undertake more ambitious exploitation projects dealing directly with counter-culture phenomena like motorcycle gangs The Wild Angels, and LSD The Trip, Also in , Corman released what would become a cult classic Little Shop of Horrors, about a nebbish young orist who grows a giant man-eating plant.
Famously shot in just two and a half days, the picture added nothing to Cormans critical reputation and very little to his bank account during its original release, Little Shop was a minor box ofce disappointment. But over the years, through late-night TV reruns, this darkly hilarious lm gained a devoted following and eventually inspired a successful off-Broadway musical, which was adapted for the screen in During his career, Corman directed 56 features and produced nearly so far , but his personal favorite among his own lms remains one of his few opsThe Intruder , which starred William Shatner as a demagogue who incites white residents of a racially divided community to violence against their black neighbors.
As a producer, Corman helped ad-. In a brilliant combination of artistic integrity and promotional ballyhoo, Hitchcock refused to allow viewers to enter the theater after Psycho began thus preserving the integrity of the storys shocking plot twists. As lm fans lined up around the block, theater owners realized the money-making possibilities of turning over audiences between showings. Beyond all this, however, Psycho signaled a new epoch in the horror genre. Immediately it spawned a legion of black-and-white psychological thrillers that swarmed movie theaters throughout the early s, some of which like Robert Aldrichs What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Englands Hammer Films launched a long-running series of pseudo Psychos, beginning with the excellent Scream of Fear Faustus one of the most-imitated pictures of the s, or ever. More signicantly, Psycho led a turning away from the Old School gothic horror formula. After Psycho, fright lms increasingly would be set in cozy suburban homes rather than spooky Carpathian castles, and the serial killer would supplant the vampire as the screens chief bogeyman.
Before Psycho, horror was something that came from outside to attack our communities; after Psycho, it was something that could arise from within them. In this respect, Psycho arguably represents the rst modern horror movie. According to screenwriter Joseph Stefano, Hitchcock was inspired to make Psycho by the success of other low-budget, black-and-white chillers. He mentioned another company that was making very low budget movies which were not terribly good and were doing very well at the box ofce, Stefano said.
His feeling was, How would it be if somebody good did one of these low budget movies? Although not mentioned by name, Hitch was likely referring to the early works of Roger Corman and William Castle. Coincidentally, proved to. In the Academy honored Corman with its Lifetime Achievement Award For Castle, was the year of 13 Ghosts, the last of the producer-directors elaborate gimmick movies.
The lm, about a little boy whose family movies into a house haunted by a bakers-dozen spooks, was presented in Illusion-O, a simple but clever process utilizing tinted lm and a cardboard Ghost Viewer containing strips of red and blue cellophane. During selected scenes the picture would suddenly shift from standard black-and-white to tinted blue, and red-hued poltergeists would appear.
Audience members could look through the blue cellophane of their Ghost Viewers to see the ghosts more clearly, or if they became too scared look through the red lens to make the ghosts disappear. Illusion-O followed Emergo a plastic skeleton which ew over audiences heads during the climax of House on Haunted Hill, and Percepto wired theater seats which delivered an electrical shock during a key sequence from The Tingler, also His next picture, a Psycho rip-off called Homicidal , included a Fright Break in which viewers were supposed to gather their wits before the pictures allegedly nerve-shattering nale.
Sardonicus also featured its Punishment Poll, which pretended to let audiences vote on whether or not the villain deserved a gruesome fate in reality, the answer was always yes; only one ending was shot. Some later Castle pictures would include giveaways souvenir coins for Zotz! Instead, Castle who had carefully nurtured his personal image and, like Hitchcock, presented himself as a good-humored impresario of the macabre used his own celebrity to promote his pictures, appearing in their trailers and sometimes in the movies themselves.
His shameless huckstering obscured the fact that at least some of Castles efforts especially House. Sardonicus, Zotz! The lmmakers career reached an apex in when he produced director Roman Polanskis watershed chiller Rosemarys Baby. Yet, he is still remembered primarily as the purveyor of tricked-out camp fests like 13 Ghosts.
Still a year removed from its entry into the suddenly booming psychological thriller business, Hammer Films continued to concentrate on making handsome Technicolor gothics, and in the studio delivered one of its best the brilliant Brides of Dracula. It was the latest in a series of triumphs, following the sensational Curse of Frankenstein , Horror of Dracula, Revenge of Frankenstein both , and The Mummy Although critics especially in Britain disdained these pictures, which brought a new level of gore and sexuality to horror cinema, audiences loved them and rightly so.
Hammers early chillers featured impeccable production values, engrossing and sometimes thought-provoking stories, and superb acting. Much of the credit for the studios success belonged to three men, two of whom collaborated on Brides director Terence Fisher and star Peter Cushing. Fisher belongs in the company of James Whale, Mario Bava, George Romero and John Carpenter as the most gifted lmmakers ever to specialize in the horror genre. A former editor, Fisher never included a meaningless shot. His meticulous attention to detail, keen eye for dynamic compositions and rapport with actors gave his pictures palpable vitality and even though the director seldom resorted to showy camera moves or other attention-grabbing tricks.
And while Fisher took on assignments as a director-for-hire and never rejected a single script he was offered , he was able, through his deft handling of the material, to create unifying thematic threads that run throughout his lmography. The most signicant of these was Fishers vision of life as a struggle between Christian good and Satanic evil.
Other than The Devils Bride , Brides of Dracula represents the most overt expression of this theme. Van Helsing states the case openly when he describes vampirism as a strange sickness partly physical, partly spiritual. Although the material wasnt always ideal, Cushings performances were never less than scintillating. Knox, who becomes entangled in the crimes of grave robbers-turned-murderers Burke and Hare. Later, Cushing channeled his grief over the recent death of his wife, Helen, into his role as the meek Arthur Grimsdyke and came up with perhaps his most emotionally powerful portrayal in the Poetic Justice segment of the Amicus anthology lm Tales from the Crypt Even if the role was not among his richest, it was tting that Cushing nally became a household name, considering that his contributions to the genre were unsurpassed by any actor except Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney.
Frequently though not, due to a salary dispute, in Brides , Hammer teamed Cushing with Christopher Lee they co-starred in three of the studios rst four color gothicsCurse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula and The Mummy. Despite bowing out of Bride, Lee made three feature lms and a TV appearance in , including the exceptional Horror Hotel, an atmospheric chiller about a coven of devilworshipers, in which he made an extended cameo. His delightful supporting performances in Hammers House of Fright as the caddish Paul Allen and in Hands of Orlac as the sadistic Nero the Magician are the highlight of those two otherwise lackluster pictures.
Few stars command viewers attention as readily as the charismatic 6-foot-4 Lee, who projects an aura of power and mystery seemingly without effort. On the other hand, Lee appears to have to work hard and commendably so to tone down his screen presence for roles such as the weak-. Fisher sees Van Helsing a doctor of philosophy and doctor of theology, according to his calling card as not merely a swashbuckling vampire hunter but a super-powered evangelist whose learned use of Christian iconography a crucix and a ask of holy water, alongside his handy hammer and stake enable him to defeat the demonic vampire and release his victims from Satans grip, restoring them to a righteous relationship with God.
As the Sixties progressed, racked by spasms of violence and unrest, surely many viewers found comfort in Fishers pictures, which insisted that the forces of chaos would not, could not, win in the end. If my lms reect my own personal view of the world, it is in their showing the ultimate victory of good over evil, in which I do believe, Fisher said. In Cushing, also a devout Christian, Fisher found a sympathetic collaborator in this thematic endeavor. More importantly, he also had one of horror cinemas most talented actors.
Cushing brought unagging energy, focus and creativity to every role, pairing his earnest, often clipped, delivery with ingenious physical bits of business, usually in his handling of various props, which provided visual interest while revealing his characters state of mind. Tireless dedication to these details of his craft enabled Cushing to deliver high-quality work with uncanny consistency. The actors ardent fans often boast that he never gave a bad performance, an outlandish claim that is very nearly true. Certainly Brides contains one of the actors best portrayals.
Returning to his role as Van Helsing from Horror of Dracula, Cushing shines in moments large confronting Baron Meinster [David Peel] in the lms breathless nale and small bringing life and veritas to a potentially dry, expository sequence by delivering it while packing a suitcase. Cushing, who worked mostly for Hammer during the Sixties, was one of the studios most valuable assets.
His mere presence guaranteed the picture would contain something worth watching. Since he so often performed on such a high level, its challenging to name Cushings best efforts, but he is remembered rst and. This is not only because Lee played the role so often but because he played it so well, bringing an almost animalistic menace and sensuality to the part that differentiated his characterization from prior screen Draculas like Bela Lugosi and John Carradine.
Clearly, however, Lees abilities go far beyond a single character. He delivered one of his most rousing performances as the cult-busting Duc de Richleau in Fishers The Devils Bride and has contributed memorable turns in scores of other lms both within and outside the horror genre. A dedicated craftsman and tireless worker, Lee has enjoyed one of the longest and most prolic careers in movie history, working steadily for more than 50 years, appearing in movies great and small made all over the world.
During the Sixties, Lees name on a marquee might not have offered the same sort of guarantee as Cushings, but it remained attractive enough to draw many moviegoers. Cushing and Lee appeared together in 22 lms and were originally slated to co-star in Brides. Following Brides, Hammers string of hits came to an abrupt end. The companys fortunes, and the quality of its productions, would wax and wane through-. Despite some misres along the way, the studios place of honor in the history of horror cinema was well earned.
African Americans struggle for civil rights faced renewed and sometimes violent opposition. But revolutionary events were not conned to the realm of politics. On April 12, , the Cold War went extraterrestrial when cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the rst man into space, orbiting the earth in his Volstak 1 capsule and dealing a blow to the rival American space program.
Three days later the U. Simmering tensions threatened to boil over in October during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The world breathed a sigh of relief when, after moving within an eyelash of nuclear war with the U. But few Americans had yet noticed the buildup of military advisors and support personnel now numbering more than 3, Kennedy had sent to embattled South Vietnam. Over the spring and summer of , student activists black and white known as Freedom Riders began taking bus tours through the South to test the strength of a recent Supreme Court decision Boynton v.
Virginia that declared segregated bus and railway stations illegal. But Italy, which had produced only two fright lms since , suddenly emerged as a major exporter of horror fare. The Fascist government of Benito Mussolini prohibited Italian studios from making horror movies during its rule, from to After World War II, such lms were repressed by powerful, conservative Catholic censors at both the national and local levels in Italy. As the censors grip nally began to loosen, director Riccardo Freda made two attempts to reboot the horror genre in Italy, rst with the tepid I Vampiri , released in the U.
In both instances, but for different reasons, Freda abandoned those projects in mid-production, leaving his gifted cinematographer, Mario Bava, to nish the lms. Black Sunday marked Bavas credited directorial debut, and it remains one of the genres most auspicious. This gorgeously photographed yarn, about a vampire Barbara Steele who is brutally executed for witchcraft, then returns from the dead to wreak vengeance on the ancestors of her persecutors, would be widely imitated but seldom matched for pictorial beauty or spine-tingling power.
The Italian movie industry of the s like most movie industries of any era was extremely reactionary and imitative, as the tremendous numbers of sword-and-sandal peplum pictures and Spaghetti Westerns made there during the Sixties attests. So naturally the box ofce returns raked in by Bavas lm inspired a wave of Italian gothic chillers. Over the next few years, Italy produced several noteworthy gothics, including Fredas The Horrible Dr. These Italian gothics were eerily atmospheric, featuring moments of hair-raising frisson, but placed greater value on striking visuals than coherent plots.
Like the Spaghetti Westerns, these pictures maintained a distinct iden-. Freedom Riders were attacked and viciously beaten by angry mobs including members of the Ku Klux Klan in Anniston and Montgomery, Alabama, and many were illegally arrested in Jackson, Mississippi. Much of the violence was caught on lm and broadcast on the evening news, polarizing public opinion on both the institution of segregation and the tactics of the Civil Rights movement. In July , at New Yorks Stable Gallery, Andy Warhol premiered his Campbells Soup Cansminimalist, un-painterly reproductions of banal household items that were part of the burgeoning Pop Art movement, which forced audiences to ponder the meaning, role and signicance of art itself.
Warhol later adorned canvasses with reproductions of Coca Cola bottles, Brillo pad boxes and the likenesses of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. The book helped galvanize the growing ecological movement in the U. Robert Wises West Side Story and David Leans Lawrence of Arabia won the Oscar for Best Picture in and 62, respectively, but the highest prole movie news was the tragic demise of the year-old Monroe, found dead in her Los Angeles home in the wee hours of August 5, An autopsy revealed an overdose of sedatives and barbiturates in the actress system, and the coroner ruled the death a suicide.
Nevertheless, conspiracy theories some involving organized crime, others implicating President Kennedyswirled around the event. Horror cinema also witnessed groundbreaking developments throughout and For the past few years, a trickle of foreign-made chillers had dripped into U. Following director Mario Bavas international smash Black Sunday , however, the faucets opened wide, with shockers pouring in from all over the globe. Initially, British, Mexican. For Bava, Black Sunday was only the rst in a series of masterpieces.
Although the director worked in a number of genres he made Spaghetti Westerns, pepla, sex farces and crime dramas, plus unclassiable one-offs like the campy fumetti adaptation Danger: Diabolik, , horror movies were Bavas forte. Black Sunday demonstrated Bavas extraordinary acumen for black-and-white moviemaking, yet he soon abandoned the format and distinguished himself with his daring use of expressionist color. Most of Bavas later lms are awash with eerie blue, yellow, green or purple light, usually combined with thickly draped shadows.
In addition to this immediately recognizable visual signature, many of the lmmakers pictures are linked by a common themethe folly of greed. In movie after movie, characters that put personal gain ahead of compassion for other people are consumed and ultimately undone by their own selshness, often in spectacularly gruesome ways. One of the directors most impressive works was the atmospheric Kill, Baby Apart from Black Sunday, however, Bavas most signicant contribution to the genre was Blood and Black Lace, which we will consider later. With her showy dual role in Black Sunday playing both the reanimated witch and her own great-great-great granddaughter , Barbara Steele broke into the boys club of horror su-.
Although women such as Fay Wray had gained fame in the genre before, they had done so in one-dimensional shrieking violet parts. Steele was the rst actress to earn recognition for playing the villain, placing her on even footing with contemporaries such as Christopher Lee. Steeles exotic looks raven hair, angular cheek bones and large, expressive eyes enabled her to portray monsters and heroines alike and never look less than radiant. Born in Cheshire, England, she came to Hollywood in the late s, where producers struggled to handle the talented but temperamental ingnue. Assigned to co-star in the Elvis Presley Western Flaming Star , Steele became frustrated with director Don Siegel, walked off the set and left the country.
As the quality of her roles declined, Steele became disenchanted with horror movies. In the s, Steele worked primarily for American television, but eventually returned to the horror genre at the behest of fans-turned-lmmakers like Joe Dante, who gave her a small role in Piranha She also appeared in the short-lived revival of the horror soap opera Dark Shadows in Steele remains active; her most recent screen appearance as of this writing was in The Buttery Room Steeles ascendance was part of a wider trend in horror cinema that mirrored events in the real world.
As the feminist movement surged forward and women aggressively pursued leadership roles outside the home, the genre began to develop better and more prominent parts for actresses. Both movies unfold from the perspective of a complex,. THE DECADE women are objectied in their youth and marginalized in old age but also dealt with the universal problem of aging itself, bringing viewers face to face with the inescapability of human mortality.
These lms also offered plum roles that helped extend the careers of many talented performers. In Hollywood, actresses careers usually begin to falter once they reach age 40 if not sooner , whereas their male co-stars can work into their 60s and beyond. Typical Hollywood movies simply arent written for older women, a problem that has, if anything, only worsened since Baby Jane. On the other end of the spectrum, horror fans of the early Sixties could revel in the outr delights offered by Mexican fright icks, many of the best of which were produced at this timeThe Curse of the Crying Woman, The Black Pit of Dr.
Filmgoers have two men to thank or curse, depending upon ones perspective for bringing Mexi-monster madness north of the border: Actor-producer Abel Salazar, whose Cinematograca A. Gordon Murray, who purchased the American rights to Salazars and numerous other movies, dubbed them into English and exhibited them in a series of Saturday matinees before sending them off to television via American International Pictures television arm.
Actor-turned-producer Salazar started the Mexican horror revival in when he both produced and starred in the watershed The Vampire featuring Germn Robles in the title role and Salazar as a substitute Van Helsing and its sequel, The Vampires Cofn also Salazars lms were classicist blackand-white gothics made in the style popularized by Universal in the s. Produced just before Hammer Films Horror of Dracula, The Vampire provided further evidence that audiences were ready for the return to traditional horror stories.
Kerr, as an English governess who comes to suspect the children in her care may be possessed by evil spirits, and Harris, playing a psychic medium on the verge of a nervous breakdown, handle their challenging roles with dexterity, subtlety and conviction. Although both pictures are superbly written, directed and photographed indeed, they rank among the most satisfying horror shows of the Sixties neither would succeed without the outstanding work of its stars.
These female-centric horrors would reach a creative high water mark with Rosemarys Baby , starring Mia Farrow as an expectant mother trapped in a Satanic conspiracy. In the title role, as a geriatric former child star, Davis delivered one of the greatest and most courageous performances of her career. Davis, always sensitive about her lack of classic movie star beauty, nevertheless appeared under harsh white light, either bare-faced or in grotesque makeup, playing a character whos both utterly sadistic and bizarrely infantile, with childlike speech patterns and immature gestures, such as covering her ears to avoid hearing something unpleasant.
Davis was rewarded with a Best Actress nomination from the Academy. Crawford, in a more sympathetic but less ashy role as Janes tormented sister, also performed admirably. Although conceived as a Psycho variant, the robust box ofce returns for Baby Jane helped the picture spawn its own legion of imitators, inaugurating the so-called horror hag sub-genre. Crawford returned to the oeuvre for William Castles Straight-Jacket Baby Jane and its imitators addressed feminist themes demonstrating how.
Salazars success, predictably, inspired many imitators, some of which reached the U. As the Mexican horror boom continued, aging Hollywood stars ventured south to extend their careers. Lon Chaney, Jr. While many of these productions were cut-rate, addle-brained dreck, the best of them pictures like Curse of the Crying Woman and World of the Vampires proved very effective, imbued with an otherworldly ambiance and macabre, sometimes startling, imagery.
Others, like The Brainiac, may not be good in any meaningful sense of the word but remain very entertaining action-packed and wildly imaginative where else can viewers watch the monster eat chilled brains with a spoon, like a bowl of corn akes? While only a handful of these south-of-the-border oddities made it to U. They now claim an ardent cult following. In addition to straight horror lms such as these, Mexico also produced a long-running series of wrestling movies, many of which crossed over into the horror genre by having real-life grapplers battle menaces like Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster.
This unique sub-genre began in the s and continued through the Seventies, but saw its heyday in the Sixties, when famous wrestlers Blue Demon real name: Alejandro Cruz , Neutron Wolf Rubinskis , Mil Mascaras, the Bat, the Blue Angel and the one-and-only El Santo dove off the top turnbuckle and into the hearts of movie audiences. In Mexico, professional wrestling was not considered a tongue-in-cheek guilty pleasure like in America. One of the countrys top sporting events, wrestling was taken very seriously, and the stars of the ring were elevated to near-superhero status.
So it was only natural that these masked marauders throw their hats. Literally hundreds of Mexican wrestling pictures were produced in the s, many of them featuring supernatural villains as well as the more standard criminal masterminds and dastardly wrasslin opponents. Unfortunately or fortunately, again depending on ones perspective , few made it north of the border.
By far the most popular of the wrestling heroes was El Santo, the silver mask and cape-wearing Rodolfo Guzman Huerta at least to begin with since no one ever saw Santo without his mask, others are believed to have donned it later on, including Eric del Castillo. In less than three decades, El Santo appeared in over 50 lms. Although only three Santo adventures reached English-speaking U.
Some of the best of these include: The Diabolical Axe , Santo vs. These off beat epics certainly are not for everyone, but may appeal to those with a taste for the eccentric. Inevitably, conict arose between the adherents of these widely divergent ideologies. In February , Betty Friedan published her best-selling book The Feminine Mystique, which described the frustration many middle-. Director Sidney Lumets The Pawnbroker was granted a special exception and became the rst Code-approved lm to feature bare breasts.
The studios nancial problems stemming in part from stratospheric overhead costs associated with maintaining huge soundstages and back lots approached crisis levels. Inuential, forward-looking pictures like Hud, The Birds both , Goldnger and A Hard Days Night both not to mention watershed foreign movies like , The Leopard both and Woman in the Dunes werent considered Best Picture material, but bloated, self-important road show fodder like Cleopatra and How the West Was Won both nominated in were.
Goldnger, the third entry in the James Bond movie series, was a watershed hit that helped spur a craze for super-spies, which in this lms wake became ubiquitous both on the big screen with Bond imitators such as Matt Helm, Derek Flint and Jerry Cotton, etc.
Super-villains such as Fu Manchu and Dr. Mabuse enjoyed a revival during the same era, with several foreign-produced pictures starring those characters nally earning a U. Occasionally, some of these lms brushed the borders of the horror genre. Fear of progress was not a problem that vexed horror cinema, which continued to push boldly into previously uncharted terrain.
Easily the best genre entry of this period was director Alfred Hitchcocks The Birds , although it was little appreciated at the time. In fact, the lm was widely considered a disappointment, although almost anything Hitch had issued as a successor to the cultural phenomenon that was Psycho would have seemed like a letdown. In the years since, The Birds reputation has deservedly soared; it stands as one of the last great Hitchcock pictures and, arguably, the. An entire generation of Americans was stunned and horried when on November 22, , assassin Lee Harvey Oswald gunned down President Kennedy in Dallas.
Even though a congressional investigation completed the following year would determine that Oswald acted alone, numerous conspiracy theories clung to the assassination and still do. In June President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act, which prohibited discrimination of all kinds based on race, religion and national origin, and empowered the government to enforce desegregation. A month later, at the Republican National Convention, conservatives overthrew the ruling party moderates, nominating arch right-winger Barry Goldwater for president and publicly challenging the constitutionality of the recently passed Civil Rights Act.
Although Johnson defeated Goldwater in a landslide, these events shifted the formerly centrist G. While conservatives were changing the face of the Republican Party, the Beatles were changing the face of popular music. On February 7, , the Fab Four touched down in New York City and took America by storm, altering the course of music, fashion and pop culture over the course of the next six years. Later in February, poetry-spouting heavyweight Cassius Clay knocked out Sonny Liston to claim his rst world championship.
Clay, who shortly after defeating Liston converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali, would emerge as one of the most controversial public gures of the era, especially when he declared himself a conscientious objector to the rapidly escalating Vietnam War. At the movies, the. This off beat tale about a series of unexplained bird attacks certainly ranks among his most uncompromising and artistically sophisticated works. The Birds features some of the most hair-raising moments of any Sixties shocker for instance, a scene in which terrorized grade-schoolers are attacked by demonic-looking crows.
Federico Fellini, who admired the lm, called it an apocalyptic poem. On a less ethereal level, The Birds can be seen as the grand-daddy of all animal-attack thrillers, inspiring a subgenre that runs from the sublime Jaws, to the ridiculous Night of the Lepus, Its also worth noting the many similarities in dramatic structure between this lm and George Romeros Night of the Living Dead : Both feature protagonists conned to a remote, boarded-up farmhouse ghting off inhuman attackers. Neither picture spends much time explaining why these attacks occur, and neither one has a happy ending.
Both, however, are masterpieces. If The Birds failed to earn all due critical respect, however, it remained innitely more prestigious than most of the other historically signicant chillers from and Consider director Herschell Gordon Lewis notorious Blood Feast , which pushed far beyond all accepted boundaries for screen violence or good taste.
Lewis, an exploitation lmmaker who previously had specialized in no-budget softcore porn, keenly observed the box ofce receipts reaped by Hammers bloodspattered gothics and decided to shoot a picture that would trade one prurient interest for another with gratuitous gore replacing gratuitous nudity as the lms raison detre. While Blood Feasts murders are mostly suggested rather than shown usually lmed through subjective shots from the victims perspective, followed by a quick cutaway , Lewis camera lingers on scenes of dismemberment and cannibalism, showing the killer chopping off legs, tearing out his victims tongue, slicing out an eyeball, and, later, baking severed limbs in an oven and stirring a pot of grue stew.
All of this was far more graphic than anything unleashed on movie audiences before, and many viewers were left stunned and astonished. Lewis lm. As a result, nowadays Blood Feast is far more likely to inspire gales of derisive laughter than wholesale vomiting even though, as a promotional gimmick, barf bags were distributed to moviegoers at some cinemas during the lms initial theatrical run. Nevertheless, the movie proved astoundingly protable, leading Lewis to make another scandalous gore-fest, Two Thousand Maniacs! By far the most ambitious and best realized entry in the directors lmography, Two Thousand Maniacs!
The storys basic premise Confederate townsfolk wiped out by Union soldiers during the Civil War return from the dead to take revenge on Yankee interlopers is intriguing, and its gruesome set pieces display a sort of demented creativity sure to satisfy gore fans. The ghostrebels chop off a womans arm and then barbecue her; tie a mans arms and legs to four horses and set them bolting away in different directions; play a game that results in a giant boulder falling on another victim; and send a fourth victim rolling down a hill in a barrel full of spikes.
Although it took years for graphic bloodletting to become a mainstay of horror cinema, its emergence was inevitable after the success of Blood Feast and its kin. Think of what this picture spawned, said David Friedman, producer of Blood Feast. We basically invented the slasher lm, the bloodand-guts lm. The horror genre had taken a decisive turnwhether for better or worse may be debated. By the mids, another exploitation craze was winding down the fad for Italian swordand-sandal pictures, commonly referred to as peplum derived from the Greek word for tunic lms.
These low-budget, lowbrow ac-. Godzilla in , naturally wanted to pair Godzilla with another high-prole beastie. Mothra, which had jumpstarted the studios moribund kaiju cycle in , seemed like the logical choice at least to Toho. AIP may have disagreed, since it removed all images of Mothra from movie posters and retitled the lm known in Japan as Mothra vs. Godzilla Mosura tai Gojira to Godzilla vs. The Thing for the pictures American release.
Perhaps AIP hid Mothras identity because executives feared fans wouldnt pay to see Godzilla ght an oversized buttery. Yet, its just this oddball pairing that makes the lms monster battles work so well. Unlike King Kong vs. Godzilla, in which the creatures throw rocks at each other and grapple like professional wrestlers, in this lm the monsters use their unique abilities to combat their opponent: Mothra waylays Godzilla by releasing a cloud of dusty yellow poison; Godzilla res back with a burst of atomic breath.
In short, these scenes play out like a contest between two animals, not between two guys in rubber suits. Godzilla vs. Godzilla in every aspect. American audiences were fortunate that, unlike many kaiju eiga, Godzilla vs. The Thing reached U. The Thing also remains memorable as the nal lm in which Godzilla would appear as a villain until Toho re-launched the series in The success of Godzilla vs.
Toho immediately rushed a new kaiju battle royale into production. Taking a cue from vintage Universal horror shows like House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula , producers decided to throw together a whole gang of monsters Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and the newly created title menacefor Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster ,. Following the international triumph of Bavas directorial debut, the gothic chiller Black Sunday , Italian producers not only rushed similar gothics into production, but began to integrate prominent horror elements into their sword-and-sandal pictures. By and 64, some of the best of these peplum-horror hybrids reached U.
Imaginative, atmospheric and action-packed, with a sly, tonguein-cheek performance by Lee, Haunted World is one of the few pepla that may appeal to viewers not already enamored with the sword-andsandal oeuvre. If anything was less respected than the brawny, sandal-clad peplum heroes, it was the rubber suit-encased creatures of the Japanese kaiju eiga monster movies.
Still, in Toho Studios released a pair of lms that changed the course of this popular, albeit critically reviled at least in the U. The company, which had scored a surprising box-ofce tri-. Unfortunately, the haste with which Ghidrah was made is all too apparent in the nal product. Its visual effects are wildly inconsistent, its production values are below par and its screenplay is a disorganized mess, full of subplots left dangling and plot points that are never explained. Hes the good guy here, teaming with his monster mates to defeat the evil three-headed space dragon Ghidrah and his extraterrestrial cronies.
Although not as successful commercially or artistically as either of its immediate predecessors, Ghidrah set the template for the remainder of the long-running Godzilla series, with a heroic Godzilla ghting alongside other monsters, often to defeat malevolent extraterrestrials. Upon its arrival in the U. Orlof seemed like just another sleazy European import. But in retrospect, it can only be viewed as a landmark sleazy European import. Not only did this movie announce the arrival of a signicant new horror lmmaker, but it gave Spanish horror a toehold in the American market.
Franco would go on to write and direct nearly features, many of those horror movies. In the s he gained notoriety for pictures such as Vampiros Lesbos and A Virgin Among the Living Dead that combined eroticism and horror. Francos self-consciously stylized approach to this material full of heavy-handed symbolism, often with ash forwards, slow motion, tinted and distorted images, a hyperactive zoom lens and other ashy devices blurred the line between exploitation and art house fare.
Although off beat, even downright weird, the directors early lms are more stylistically restrained than his Seventies work. The Awful Dr. Orlof Howard Vernon stalks and kills young women, with the aid of his blind homi-. The picture boasts some evocative photography silhouetted shots of the two villains carrying a cofn towards a forbidding castle; a murder taking place in front of an upstairs window viewed solely from the street below and takes atmospheric advantage of authentic castle settings to add some muchneeded gothic mood and verisimilitude. Of these early efforts, Dr. Z remains the most satisfying.
It centers on the daughter of one Dr. Zimmer, who has developed a strange machine that combines acupuncture and hypnosis to transform people into obedient slaves. When her father is killed, the daughter uses the machine to exact vengeance, turning a gorgeous exotic dancer with two-inch ngernails that goes by the stage name of Miss Death into a remorseless assassin. This outr outing features some of the most bizarre imagery of the entire, extensive Franco lmography, as well as an undercurrent of Sadean sensuality.
The success of Francos lms paved the way for Spains emergence as a major producer of horror lms. However, the genre was slower to develop in Spain than in neighboring Italy, in part due to stringent censorship by the government of Geralisimo Francisco Franco no relation to the director , who seized power in Spain in and held it until his death in In the nal years of the dictators life, censorship began to loosen and important horror moviemakers began to emerge, including actor-writersometimes-director Paul Naschy real name: Jacinto Molina , best known for his long-running series of Waldemar Daninsky werewolf movies.
The rst entry in the Daninsky cycle, Frankensteins Bloody Terror, was produced in , although it didnt reach the U. Other notable Spanish horror lm specialists who followed in Francos footsteps include Amando De Ossorio, best remembered for his Blind Dead series featuring the mum-. But instead of comedy, Fail-Safe delivers white-knuckle suspense, as Lumet slowly, inexorably ratchets up the dramatic tension, climbing toward a shocking climax.
While not as daring or historic as Dr. Strangelove, Fail-Safe remains a gripping experience. Taken together, these lms vividly demonstrate the level of popular anxiety stemming from the looming specter of nuclear Armageddon. Tensions were high in the U. Party bosses suspicions may have began in , when Khrushchev became the rst Soviet premier to tour the U. While the merits of Francos own works may be debatable, he remains a formative inuence on the development of horror cinema in his homeland and, given the impact of those who followed him, a key gure in the history of the genre as a whole.
Just next door to the horror genre, in the world of apocalyptic science ction, Cold War paranoia crested with a pair of classics, Stanley Kubricks Dr. Possibly the funniest political satire ever committed to celluloid, and assuredly one of the signature lms of the s, Dr. Strangelove is also the best realized, most plausible movie apocalypse. A paranoid general Sterling Hayden launches an unauthorized air attack on the Soviet Union.
The planes are successfully recalled or shot down except for one, plunging the U. Kubricks impeccably written and performed lm comically underscores the lunacy inherent in the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction, which held the Eastern and Western superpowers at bay during the hottest days of the Cold War. The sheer audacity it took to make Dr. Strangelove and send it to movie theaters less than 15 months after the Cuban Missile Crisis remains inspiring.
Fail-Safe features a scenario very similar to Dr. Strangeloves a. As black Americans began to lose faith in legislation as a means of improving their lives, more radical approaches were taken, as evidenced by subsequent race riots in other major cities and the formation of the Black Panther Party in October Also in , the rst American combat troops arrived in Vietnam, and Operation Rolling Thunderthe rst in a series of extensive bombing campaignswas undertaken.
The war escalated quickly, with troop levels rising from about , at the end of to approximately , by the close of During this period, China was seized by Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedongs Cultural Revolution, which called for young people to overthrow the elderly ruling elite as part of a permanent revolution.
Political, cultural and economic instability ensued, yet Mao became a leftist icon around the world, and his Little Red Book. In Greece right-wing elements of the Greek military seized power on April 21,