Director: Herb Freed Starring: May Britt, Cameron Mitchell, Aldo Ray, Ben Hammer .USA. 1h 37m
There’s a lot bubbling under the surface of Herb Freed’s tangled thriller, Haunts. On the surface it’s a slow paced brooding psychological horror following a violent psychopath preying on the women in a small North Carolina town, armed with a handy pair of scissors and attacking under the cover of darkness no woman is safe but so much seems to surround an isolated farm on the outskirts of town.
Director: Irvin Berwick. Writer: John Buckley. Starring. Robert Gribbin, Russell Johnson, John Harmon, Randy Echols, Dorothy Bennett, Mary Ellen Christie USA. 1h 27m.
This is a strange concoction between Hitchcock’s Psycho and any generic sleazy 1970’s exploitation with hints of real life serial killer shenanigans, what a perfection mix of madness and murder! Most of the movie is as obsessed with Howard (Gribbin) as he is with his prey. For the most part Howard us a pleasant clean cut young man, he’s polite and dedicated to his mother and his job, which involves driving around picking up and dropping off people’s laundry but he’s a good Samaritan and will pick up lonely single women who are trying to hitch a ride. Depending on their reasoning for hitching, they might make it to their destination or they become the next victim of a one of his violent sexual tension and murderous rage. Continue reading Hitch Hike To Hell (1977)→
Director: Peter Collinson Starring: Susan George, Ian Bannen, Honor Blackman, and John Gregson .UK. 1h 27m
AKA The Baby Minder or Girl in the Dark
Often credited as the starting block for all Babysitter horror movies, this British cult classic really challenges it’s audience as much as it’s production challenges the actors. They say the best horrors are the ones where you can place yourself in the situation, and there’s nothing quite as frightening as being trapped in unfamiliar surroundings with a deranged lunatic trying to get to you while you look after someone else’s child. And this is where Susan George finds herself in Peter Collinsons cultured horror.
Collinson is probably best known for The Italian Job (1969) but only 2 years later he came back swinging with this taught thriller that verges into the Slasher territory. A young babysitter Amanda (George) settles into the Lloyd residence, the Lloyds display a lot of nervousness about their rare night out, but what dark family secret could they possibly be hiding. Continue reading Fright (1971)→
Director: Todd Phillips Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy . USA. 2h 2m
Unlike a lot of action films that are based on comic characters. Phillips takes a totally different stance on recreating his solemn and realistic Joker in a studious drama focused on a downtrodden clown on the verge of his magnum opus. Last year we had a solemn Suspiria (2018) and now we have a courtly Super Villain, not just because everyone really loved Suicide Squad (2016) but a handful of grown ups wanted something more tangible and .. grown up!?
Generally the origin of the Joker is common knowledge, it’s been revisited many time in various graphic novels and comic series of the the years, but this is the first of a new series of DC comic remakes based in a more plausible world, and this chilling story for Arthur Fleck is outstanding, not only for the new birth of the worlds most favourite bad guy but it stands as a benchmark of Joaquin Phoenix as a truly versatile actor whose masterful adoption of characters that purposely don’t gel with audiences, only make them more lovable. It’s pretty easy to see this as the DC version of You Were Never Really Here (2017) but maybe in reverse but it’s just a tad darker and outlandish with crazier people involved. But in all honesty I wouldn’t want to blend the two films as they stand alone in their own glorious and unforgettable rights.