It is officially one year (well Tuesday to Tuesday) since Terror Tuesday emerged from the primordial ooze that is my brain. Fifty three (52 weeks plus a Halloween special) later Terror Tuesday is going from strength to strength. Over the past year I’ve moved countries three times, graduated and started two new jobs and I am very pleased that I have managed to never miss a week in all that time! There were a couple of weeks (such as when I didn’t have the internet at my new flat) that I thought I wouldn’t make it but with the help of my wonderful guest reviewer, Jenny Mugridge (www.jennymugridge.com) it hasn’t failed!
There is no new review this week but a low-down of my favourite films from each decade.
1920s – Häxan: Witchcraft through the ages (1922) This film is unique in the films I’ve reviewed so far in that it is a documentary rather than fiction. Häxan is split into seven chapters and recounts the history of witchcraft from ancient times through to the 1920s. The film consists of conventional documentary chapters complete with voiceover and pointy stick and short fictionalised stories.
Honourable mention: The Golem: How He Came into the World (1920)
1930s – White Zombie (1932) Starring Bela Lugosi as a voodoo master on a Caribbean island who has the ability to enslave people to his will creating an army of zombies. Lugosi’s talent is used by Beaumont, a wealthy plantation owner for nefarious reasons. One of the stars of White Zombie is undoubtedly Lugosi’s eyebrows.
Honourable mention: Vampyr (1932)
1940s – N/A I haven’t reviewed any films from the 1940s – this is very remiss of me and I hope to rectify it soon!
1950s – The Bat (1959) This is a quintessential 1950s murder mystery that takes place in a large mansion. The Bat has a bit of everything, a masked serial killer, a hidden fortune and a cast of suspicious characters. The film has a great cast including Vincent Price, who does an extremely good job as Doctor Malcolm Wells. The Bat keeps you guessing as to the identity of the killer until the very end and unlike several films from the same era gives the female characters backstories, brains and backbones.
Honourable mention: The Mole People (1956)
1960s – 13 Ghosts (1960) One half of a double review looking at the original 1960’s version of 13 Ghosts and the 2001 remake (which is barely recognisable as the based on the same film). It is directed by William Castle and contains one of his trademark publicity stunts, the use of Illusion-O glasses to view the ghosts. These work using either a red or blue filter to block or amplify the ghosts, an effect I replicated using old-style 3D glasses.
Honourable mention: The Witches (1966)
1970s – The Exorcist (1973) The 1970s was a decade with a lot of great horror films (and also a lot of awful ones) so it was a hard choice to pick just one. In the end I had to go with possibly the most famous horror film of them all, The Exorcist. It tells the story of Regan, an unfortunate twelve year old girl who gets possessed and the attempts of two priests to expel the demon.
1980s – An American Werewolf In London (1981) An American Werewolf in London is one of the best werewolf films made and one of the most well-known horror films from the eighties. An American tourist named David is comatose after being attacked by a werewolf. Upon waking in a London hospital, David is plagued by terrifying nightmares before undergoing an incredibly well realised transformation into a werewolf. The special effects in An American Werewolf in London are incredible especially for an era before CGI.
Honourable mention: Dead Kids aka Strange Behaviour (1981)
1990s – Interview with the Vampire (1994) Another tough choice between Interview with the Vampire and Scream but I had to go with my personal preference. Whilst Scream arguably reinvigorated the horror industry, the opulence and prevailing despair throughout Interview coupled with the fact it is my favourite novel won the day. Interview with the Vampire does exactly what the title says, it is an interview with the vampire Louis who tells the tale of his life as a vampire from 18th century New Orleans through to modern day San Francisco.
Honourable mention: Scream (1996)
2000s – Martyrs (2008) Martyrs is one of the most brutal films I’ve watched and one of the most gripping. Two young women seek break into a family home and slaughter the family in a seemingly misguided revenge attempt. It soon becomes clear that there is much more to this than first seen and the pair become embroiled in an attempt to understand martyrdom and what lies beyond life.
Honourable mention: Battle Royale (2000)
2010s – The Babadook (2014) The latest decade seems to be full of remakes and sequels and The Babadook is the only film featured on Terror Tuesday from this decade that has received a rating of 5/5. It was a guest post by Jenny Mugridge and I haven’t actually seen the film myself but she thoroughly enjoyed it.
Honourable mention: V/H/S (2012)
Hopefully Terror Tuesday will continue for another year! Next on my plan is a film from the pre-1950s (especially the 1940s – I have to fill that gap!) and hopefully some more guest reviews. I would love to include more non-English language films next year but sourcing them is harder (although living in Sweden should mean better access to Scandinavian films!)