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 …

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

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: …

Continue reading Mandy (2018)

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 …

Continue reading I Walked With a Zombie (1943)

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 …

Continue reading The Shining (1980)

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 …

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

The Velvet Vampire (1971)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Stephanie Rothman By Roderick Heath At a time when women directors were still excruciatingly thin on the ground even in Hollywood’s least reputable quarters, Stephanie Rothman forged herself an intriguing place in movie history. Rothman had proven herself a stalwart operative for Roger Corman and his low-budget movie factory at AIP during the 1960s. …

Continue reading The Velvet Vampire (1971)

The White Reindeer (Valkoinen Peura, 1953)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Erik Blomberg By Roderick Heath It could be argued that all stories we generally refer to under the bracket of ‘horror’ today are in essence a type of folklore, rooted as so many are in storytelling modes descended from ancient cultural forms. To trace the genre’s persistence is to track it backwards through stages …

Continue reading The White Reindeer (Valkoinen Peura, 1953)

The Mummy’s Hand (1940) / The Mummy’s Tomb (1942) / The Mummy’s Ghost (1944) / The Mummy’s Curse (1944)

Directors: Christy Cabanne, Harold Young, Reginald LeBorg, Leslie Goodwins By Roderick Heath Karl Freund’s legendary film The Mummy (1932) presented its title entity, Boris Karloff’s Imhotep, as a sorcerer and antihero defying time and the gods to wield vast magical power. More recent filmmakers like Stephen Sommers and Alex Kurtzman have taken up this idea …

Continue reading The Mummy’s Hand (1940) / The Mummy’s Tomb (1942) / The Mummy’s Ghost (1944) / The Mummy’s Curse (1944)

The Shout (1978)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Jerzy Skolimowski By Roderick Heath Jerzy Skolimowski was born in Łódź, Poland just before the outbreak of World War II, and like many film talents of his time and nation, his life was doomed to be a strange tale of exile and wandering. After enduring a terrifying childhood in the midst of war, Skolimowski …

Continue reading The Shout (1978)

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Director: Ridley Scott By Roderick Heath Here there be spoilers… Ridley Scott’s chimera of horror and science fiction, Alien (1979) launched its director on a Hollywood career and established a franchise that has become a fixture of the modern cinema landscape. Expanded by James Cameron, David Fincher, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the Alien series, whilst declining …

Continue reading Alien: Covenant (2017)