Don’t Look Now (1973)

Director: Nicolas Roeg Screenwriters: Allan Scott, Chris BryantBy Roderick HeathMorning in the yard of an English country home. Christine (Sharon Williams), a young, blonde girl, clad in a plastic rain coat the colour of blood, plays in the drizzle with a ball, skirting the pocked surface of a reedy pond, whilst her brother rides amongst …

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Psycho (1960)

. Director: Alfred Hitchcock Screenwriter: Joseph Stefano By Roderick Heath In the late months of 1959 and through 1960, a battery of films hit movie screens that essentially initiated modern cinema. Amongst the films made the young lions of the French New Wave and the fanfare for the Italian ‘alienation’ mode, Psycho seems in odd …

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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, 1919)

. Director: Robert Wiene Screenwriters: Hans Janowitz, Carl Mayer By Roderick Heath Imagine what it must have been like, to be someone who just bought a ticket to see The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari way back in 1919. Perhaps some ex-soldier just back from the abandoned trenches, curious to see that crazy new film someone …

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The White Buffalo

. Director: J. Lee Thompson Screenwriter: Richard Sale By Roderick Heath Horror films and Westerns long seemed utterly irreconcilable genres. The Western engages official mythologies of nation, history, and society, where the Horror film tends to set them in happy disarray. Horror films court anarchic impulses and dwell in zones of psychological figuration, where Westerns …

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Blue Velvet (1986)

Director/Screenwriter: David Lynch By Roderick Heath .. David Lynch’s name is synonymous with a creative style close to a genre in itself. His is an outlandish, numinous, discomforting aesthetic, purveyed across several art forms, where the texture of dreams, and nightmares, can suddenly colonise an apparently stable and homey world, where humans peel apart and …

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The Omen (1976) / Damien: Omen II (1978) / The Final Conflict (1981)

. Directors: Richard Donner; Don Taylor; Graham Baker Screenwriters: David Seltzer; Mike Hodges, Stanley Mann; Andrew Birkin By Roderick Heath The success of Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973) inaugurated a brief moment when Horror films were not just big business but could potentially be classy, mass-audience fare. Rosemary’s Baby …

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Mandy (2018)

. Director: Panos Cosmatos Screenwriters: Panos Cosmatos, Aaron Stewart-Ahn By Roderick Heath Here there be spoilers… Panos Cosmatos is a second-generation directing talent, son of the Florence-born, Greco-Italian director George Pan Cosmatos and Swedish sculptor Birgitta Ljungberg-Cosmatos. Cosmatos the Elder directed many a punchy action movie over the years, including Escape to Athena (1979), Rambo: …

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I Walked With a Zombie (1943)

Director: Jacques Tourneur By Roderick Heath The success of Cat People (1942) took many by surprise. The film’s producer was Val Lewton, a sometime journalist and novelist, and nephew to the once-exalted screen idol Alla Nazimova. Lewton had gained a reputation in Hollywood working as assistant to David Selznick. When the time came for Lewton …

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The Shining (1980)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Stanley Kubrick By Roderick Heath A yellow Volkswagen Beetle winds its way along a vertiginous mountain road, a route that leads from the rational lowlands to the mountains of madness. We’ve already been introduced to Jack Torrance even though we haven’t seen him, a being enclosed in a tight bubble of metal, an economic …

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Night of the Demon (aka Curse of the Demon, 1957)

Director: Jacques Tourneur By Roderick Heath Headlights, burning the night like eyes of a spectral beast, light the way along a country road at night, branches etched in slivers of brightness against vast darkness. The car arrives before a great old house, and its driver, Professor Harrington (Maurice Denham), meets with the house’s owner, Julian …

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