The House on Haunted Hill
(1958), dir. William Castle, William Castle Productions
Master showman William Castle made a brilliant move when he
cast Vincent Price in his next film. With the added gimmick of ‘Emergo’ (a
flying skeleton that would buzz the audience), Castle would set out to make one
of his better remembered films.
The Man Who Knew Too
Much (1934), dir. Alfred Hitchc934)ock,
Gaumont-British Picture Corporation
Moving into the director feature, we open with the works of
Alfred Hitchcock. At this point Hitchcock was still working in England and just
starting work with talking features. The
Man Who Knew Too Much actually began life as a Bulldog Drummond story, but when
the rights fell through the gist of the story was reworked.
Taste of Fear
(1961), dir. Seth Holt, Hammer Film Productions
Released in the US as Scream
of Fear, Hammer’s thriller was quite shocking for its time and more so when
looking at the company’s later output. It does make one wonder if the company
would have fared better if they had to recapture the magic of this film rather than
churning more vampire flicks.
Dir. Terrence Fischer, Hammer Film Productions
Hammer Films, by the 1950’s, were already establishing
themselves as master of horror. The
Four-Sided Triangle wasn’t the cultural or finical impact they were hoping
for, but they jumped back into the genre of science fiction. Taking nothing to
chance they got their best director and the script was taken from one of the
highest rated radio dramas. What could go wrong?
dir. Silvio Narizzano, Hammer Film Productions
Also known as Die!
Die! My Darling, the 1960’s saw the rise of a new subgenre in horror: Psycho
biddy. Usually starring a faded starlet playing against type, this proved to be
rather popular. Hammer contracted their screenwriter duties out to noted
author Richard Matheson and the end result was flawed but genius in parts.
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), dir. Terrence Fisher, Hammer
With this we see the second Hammer take on Robert Lewis
Stevenson’s classic. By 1960, the whole story had been told and retold enough
times to already be considered a cliché by the time the Looney Toons cast took
a crack at it. Yes, second, as 1959’s the
Ugly Duckling retold the same story only as a comedy piece with future Doctor Who star Jon Pertwee in a major