FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: Classic Horror Titans!

 

 

It’s our Frightening Flix Horror Titans of Yore come to celebrate our HorrorAddicts.net anniversary!

Alfred Hitchcock Primer Video

The Birds

Christopher Lee Delights

Edgar Allan Poe Video Revisit

Jean Rollin Saucy

Mario Bava Special

The Oblong Box and Scream and Scream Again

Peter Cushing Passion

Silent Film Scares

Vincent Price Maestro

 

Alfred Hitchcock Basics – A Video Primer

Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!

Good Evening, Horror Addicts!

Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz here again with a video review breakdown on some of our Alfred Hitchcock Favorites! From The Lady Vanishes, Lifeboat, Notorious, and Spellbound to Psycho, Rear Window, Vertigo, and The Birds – if you haven’t seen one or two, here’s why you should!

 

 

Don’t forget YOU can be part of the conversation on our Facebook Group or revisit some of my Horror Addicts.net Hitchcock reviews here.

 

By Horror Addicts, For Horror Addicts!

 

FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: An Alfred Hitchcock Primer

 

An Alfred Hitchcock Primer

by Kristin Battestella

Fans of old school thrillers young or old can earn their suspense credentials with these early Alfred Hitchcock nail biters.

The Lady Vanishes Only one lovely train passenger has seen the titular dame, causing rail car mayhem for Margaret Lockwood (The Wicked Lady) and Michael Redgrave (Mourning Becomes Electra) in this 1938 mystery. Travel delays and assorted languages invoke the tourist hustle and bustle as our ensemble is humorously introduced – from the governess rambling about her past charges and country songs or dances to cranky Englishmen commandeering the phone just to ask the line from London for the cricket scores. All the rooms are let out in this hectic hotel save for the maid’s quarters, and she comes with the room, wink! The bellhop is trying not to look at the scandalous bare legs as our bachelorette orders caviar and champagne, but the men in bed together is gay in both senses of the word with jolly good innuendo. This quirky inn comforts the audience yet there are whispers of pretty American girls and the almighty dollar getting preferential treatment, newspaper sensationalism, and intensifying continental troubles. A hit on the head at the train station leads to a kaleidoscope of confusion, unfamiliar faces, magic tricks, and slight of hand illusion. Everyone’s interconnected – incognito affairs, musicians, a famous doctor, magicians, and foreign diplomats. Some genuinely don’t recall seeing the woman in question, but others have an ulterior motive for not wanting the train delayed, willful gaslighting compounded by lies, lawyers watching their own back, and that unreliable bump on the head. Tea in the dining car alone, suspicious wine glasses – complaints about non-English speakers, nationalism, political secrets, and conspiracies. Who’s really on who’s side? Train whistle harbingers pepper the constant hum of travel, matching the rail montages, impressive rear projection, and black and white photography. Despite the confined setting, the pace remains fittingly on the move with perilous comings and goings between cars. There are stoles and divine hats, too, but that giant monogram scarf looks more like a napkin stuck in her collar! Humorous bunging in the cargo with magician’s rabbits, trick boxes, false bottoms, and contortionists is good on its own, however, perhaps such fun should have happened earlier before the serious mystery escalates. There are some contrived leaps as well – it’s amazing how all the Englishmen can shoot to kill and do it so easily – and though not naming the enemy country is understandable thanks to political relevance then and now, the obligatory bad guys are just nondescript. Likewise, one can see why the sardonic comedy teams and shootouts were included, and Flightplan really steals from this right down to the writing on the foggy window. Fortunately, the ticking clock race to the border, wrong track turns, gunfire standoffs, and international chases roll on right up to the end. But seriously, what it is with Hitchcock and trains already?

 

 

Lifeboat – Journalist Tallulah Bankhead is stranded on the high seas with torpedoes, sunken ships, u-boats, and Nazis in this 1944 self-contained thriller nominated for Best Director, Story by John Steinbeck, and Black and White Cinematography. There’s no need to waste time on spectacle with the in media res sinking – flotsam and jetsam with everything from English playing cards to dead Germans heralds the nationalism and wartime grays to come amid damp passengers, dirty sailors, famous dames, mothers, babies, and injuries. Tallulah’s in furs, smoking a cigarette, and dictating what junk to bridge aboard, and despite the tiny boat space, multiple conversations happen fore and aft thanks to strategic intercutting between the immediate wounded and more self-absorbed survivors. Fog and windswept water sprays accent the superb rear projection, and the strategic filming captures everyone from all angles with foreground zooms and background silhouettes. Natural ocean sounds and the rocking of the ship, however, might make sensitive viewers seasick. There are numerous colloquialisms as well as accents and translations, but conversation is all we have – a stage-like talkative jam packed with insinuating layers, interrogations, and double meanings. Can you make your own law in open waters and toss the Nazi overboard? Everyone feels the need to establish who’s American, Christian, or had relatives in Czechoslovakia and France, and the black cook is surprised he’s included in all the decisions. It’s unfortunately expected that Canada Lee’s (Cry the Beloved Country) Joe is the least developed character, yet he’s also the most genuine person starboard. This is also a more diverse ensemble than often seen in today’s movies, and three women talk to each other about shell shock and lacking supplies but nobody knows the right prayers for a burial at sea. Cold, wet, sleepless individual vignettes allow the refreshingly flawed stranded to come clean, and at the time having a Nazi officer as a realistic character rather than an evil archetype was understandably controversial. Testy questions on who’s skipper, united sympathies, and diplomatic delegating drop the formalities, as after all “we’re all in the same boat.” However, information is not always forthcoming and no one knows the course to Bermuda – except Herr Kapitan. Can you trust his seamanship? A compass, typewriter, watches, diamond bracelets, brandy, and newspapers with Sir Alfred in the classifieds add tangibles and some humor alongside baseball talk, debate on the superior rowing capabilities of the Master Race, and other unexpected camaraderie, for “dying together is more personal than living together.” Repeated “Some of my best friends are…” quips also address differences as rambling on past regrets becomes veiled talk about shocking revelations and amputations. Lost material possessions give way to symbolic shoes, bare feet, shirtless men, and tattoos, but there’s time for intense poker, lipstick, and flirtation. Bermuda is the macguffin, and storms, hunger, delirium, suspicion, and men overboard get in the way of getting there. Rather than just special effects cool, wet and wild action heightens the internal boat suspense as beards grow and tables turn. They’re surrounded by undrinkable water, rain is precious, fishing bait is nonexistent, and sudden twists happen with nothing but a splash. Violent mutinies and shellfire are surprising to see in a forties movie, but Bankhead is a stunning, strong, sexy older woman able to be kissing or angry in the same scene – a multifaceted female role few and far between these days. Once stripped bare by the consequences of welcoming your enemy, do you accept your fate, continue to row, or laugh at the irony? Perhaps this warning against fatally lumping all together and the guilty lessons learned in such a no win situation can only be appreciated in retrospect, as this tale tries to see everything from both sides, remaining gripping from beginning to end with nothing but eight people in a boat in the middle of the ocean intensity. It makes one wonder why nowadays everything is so gosh darn bombastic.

 

SabotageBuzzing light bulbs go dark in this 1936 caper based on The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad – not to be confused with Hitchcock’s previous Secret Agent or later Saboteur. Whew! Crowds are both confused and giggling in this blackout, singing or arguing by candlelit and wanting their money back from the down picture show. Flashlights, the silhouetted skyline, shadow schemes, and askew camera angles add to the power tampering suspicion, and suspenseful notes follow our mysterious man in black as he returns home, washes his hands, and claims innocence – despite his neighbor’s claims to the contrary. He talks of money coming soon yet doesn’t want to draw attention to his cinema business, but the professional, public, and domestic are intertwined with families living above the bustling marketplace. Fine dresses, fedoras, and vintage cars add to the quaint, however no one is who they seem thanks to grocers with an angle, Scotland Yard whispering of trouble abroad, and shadowed men with their backs to the camera conversing over promised payments. The innocuous movies, aquarium, and pet shop host seemingly innocent ingredients used for making bombs, and onscreen days of the week lie in wait while the public is occupied by the picture show, hoodwinked by what’s in plain sight. Creepy packages, trick bird cages, and threatening “sleeping with the fishes” coded messages become a tongue in cheek nod to the nature of cinema and hidden observations as covers are blown and men scatter. Our wife is clueless abut her husband and oblivious to her family being used for information, creating an interesting dynamic for her between the handsome detective and a damn cold, cruel husband. Who are behind these plans and why? Despite several great sequences, convenient plot points leave too many unanswered questions. The busy start is rough around the edges, meandering for half the movie before becoming eerily provocative as a child delivers a fatal ticking package in the middle of the crowded market. We know the route and the time – delaying for street sales, demonstration detours, and interfering parades ups the suspense alongside traffic jams, stoplights, and montages featuring clock tower gears, dangerous flammable film, our innocuous brown papered package, and the puppy on the bus next to it! A clock on every street corner checks each five minutes passing amid town criers, newsboys, crescendos, and clues in the film canister that go for the big shocker while silent visuals bring the threats home to the dinner table. Although I don’t think today we’d have a cartoon singing “Who killed Cock Robin?” but that might just be me.

 

The 39 Steps – Like Maugham’s Ashenden stories, I wish there were more adaptations of the other Hannay books by John Buchan, not just numerous remakes stemming from this unfaithful but no less landmark 1935 picture with Robert Donat (Goodbye, Mr. Chips) joining our original icy blonde Carroll and all the Hitchcockian one can muster including the mistaken man, foreign intrigue, macguffin secrets, and budding romance. Cheeky dance halls host marriage jokes, brawls, chases, and gunshots with shadowed men in trench coats, pipes, and fedoras. Double decker buses, netted pillbox hats, stoles, and more period touches such as newspapers, lanterns, and milkmen contrast mysterious maps of Scotland, missing fingers, knives in the back, and a gal whose name depends on where she is and which country is the highest bidder. The mercenary espionage, air defense hush hush, and ticking clock is upfront in telling us what we need to know whilst also revealing a whole lot of eponymous nothing. Danger tops each scene thanks to suspicious phone booths, perilous bridges, and jealous husbands spotting those knowing glances across the dinner table during Grace. Police at the door and women both helpful or harmful compromise potentially rural calm – news travels fast and a spy must always be on the lookout. Whom do you trust when no one is who they seem? Lucky hymnal twists and false arrest turns escalate from one location to the next with ironic parades, impromptu speeches, cheering crowds, and charismatic escapes despite handcuffs, sheep, and romantic comedy tropes. Filming through doors, windows, and Art Deco lines accent the men in disguise, overheard rendezvous, and small hiking silhouettes against the pretty mountain peaks. Trains, airplanes, and rapid waters add speed to the pursuit. The superb cabin car photography and railroad scenery don’t need the in your face action awesome of today, for chitchatting folks reading the daily news is tense enough for the man who’s picture is beside the headlines. While some may find the look here rough around the edges or the plot points clichéd, many of our cinematic caper staples originate here. The full circle music, memories, and shootouts wink at the facade of it all, remaining impressive film making for the early sound era with great spy fun and adventure.

Press Release: Weekend With Hitch at the Balboa Theater

Reconnect with the Master of Suspense this September in San Francisco!  The Balboa Theatre announces two full weekends of Hitch starting on Friday, September 2nd and finishing up on Sunday, September 11th.

 

On Labor Day weekend audiences can team up with James Stewart for a sleepover with Grace Kelly in Rear Window, and explore their San Francisco roots with Kim Novak in Vertigo.  Jimmy shows his sinister side in Rope and gets to know Doris Day in The Man Who Knew Too Much. Cary Grant can be seen in To Catch a Thief and Notorious, and a young Sean Connery can be seen with Tippi Hedren in Marnie.

 

The following weekend, on September 9th, North by Northwest with Cary Grant and Eva Marie-Saint will be playing with the 1935 black and white classic The 39 Steps.  A tension-packed Saturday offers Spellbound, Psycho, and The Birds. Finally, Alfred Hitchcock weekend Pt. 2 wraps up on Sunday September 11th with Rebecca and Strangers on a Train.

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Showtimes Schedule as Follows

 

Sept. 2nd:

To Catch a Theif  4:30, 9:00

Notorious 7:00

 

Sept. 3rd:

The Man Who Knew Too Much 3:30

Rope 6:00

Vertigo 8:00

 

Sept. 4th:

Rear Window 2:00, 7:00

Marnie 4:30

 

Sept. 5th:

Notorious 2:00

Vertigo 4:30

Rope 7:00

 

Sept. 9th:

The 39 Steps 5:00, 9:30

North By Northwest 7:00

 

Sept. 10th:

Spellbound 3:30

Psycho 6:00

The Birds 8:15

 

Sept. 11th:

Rebecca 2:00, 7:00

Strangers on a Train 4:30

 

Stay tuned for more special events coming up in the month of September!

 

The Balboa Theatre is a beloved San Francisco independent cinema in the Outer Richmond, founded in 1926.  Check out www.balboamovies.com and www.cinemasf.com for more information, exact schedule times, and other upcoming events.  Contact the Balboa Theater directly by calling (415) 221-8184.

 

 

 

 

 

hitchcock 2

Book Review: BirdBox by Josh Malerman

Bird Box by Josh Malerman was given to me to read when he was nominated for the Bram Stoker’s award. So I did not purchase it, initially. When I finished it, I bought the book because it was that amazing.

I really like Orson Welles, and Alfred Hitchcock stories like The Birds, Vertigo, etc. Bird Box easily fit into the chair right next to these masters. There was just enough pull of tension and “sh*t! What the (bleep) is out there!” to keep me strung through to the very end. Not once did I skim through to rush the story. The pace was even and consistent. The imagery was beautiful and dreary. The suspense was killer (no pun intended).

As a book cover designer, this cover is also worthy of a 5 skull rating. Beautiful, enjoyable book all around.

If I could give this higher than 5 skulls I would, it is that good.

Synopsis: Written with the narrative tension of The Road and the exquisite terror of classic Stephen King, Bird Box is a propulsive, edge-of-your-seat horror thriller, set in an apocalyptic near-future world—a masterpiece of suspense from the brilliantly imaginative Josh Malerman.

Something is out there . . .

Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?

Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey—a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motely group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside—and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted?

Interweaving past and present, Josh Malerman’s breathtaking debut is a horrific and gripping snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

 

HorrorAddicts.net 111, Horror Addicts Guide to Life

Horror Addicts Episode# 111

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

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horror addicts guide to life | xy beautiful | the twilight zone

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

 

216 days till halloween

valentine wolfe, catch up, new staff, lillian, don, jesse, other contributors, crystal connor, killion slade, voodoo lynn, what are you watching, dead filed, z nation,citynewsnetpodcast.com, artistic license, zombie cruise, wicked women writers challenge, master of macabre contest, tarot, books, somnalia, sumiko saulson, horror addicts guide to cats, david watson, it came from the library, dean farnell, kings of horror, touched by death, forbidden fiction, voodoo lynn, nightbreed, phillip tomasso2, madness, mimielle, stephen king, the golden notebook, emilie autumn, morbid meals, dan shaurette, carne adovada, serpentine delights, lillian csernica, nightmare fuel, d.j. pitsiladis, rawhead, old betty, xy beautiful, dawn wood, jesse orr, black jack, dead mail, advice from marc, marc vale, kbatz, twilight zone, horror tv shows, the munsters, twilight zone, alfred hitchcock, horror addicts guide to life, david watson, killion slade, j. malcolm stewart, ron vitale, h.e. roulo, james newman, eden royce, chris ringler, sumiko saulson

 

Horror Addicts Guide to Life
https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/horror-addicts-guide-to-life/

Horror Addicts Guide to LifeDo you love the horror genre? Do you look at horror as a lifestyle?

Do the “norms” not understand your love of the macabre?

 

Despair no longer, my friend, for within your grasp is a book written

by those who look at horror as a way of life, just like you. This is

your guide to living a horrifying existence. Featuring interviews with

Midnight Syndicate, Valentine Wolfe, and The Gothic Tea Society.

 

Authors: Kristin Battestella, Mimielle, Emerian Rich, Dan Shaurette,

Steven Rose Jr., Garth von Buchholz, H.E. Roulo, Sparky Lee

Anderson, Mary Abshire, Chantal Boudreau, Jeff Carlson, Catt

Dahman, Dean Farnell, Sandra Harris, Willo Hausman, Laurel

Anne Hill, Sapphire Neal, James Newman, Loren Rhoads, Chris

Ringler, Jessica Robinson, Eden Royce, Sumiko Saulson, Patricia

Santos Marcantonio, J. Malcolm Stewart, Stoneslide Corrective, Mimi

A.Williams, and Ron Vitale. With art by Carmen Masloski and Lnoir.

 

 

———————–

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

horroraddicts@gmail.com

————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr.

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

b l o g  / c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s

http://www.horroraddicts.net

Guest Blog: KBatz – Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho

Modern Fans Under Appreciate Psycho
By Kristin Battestella

 

Everybody’s heard of Psycho-and like The Sixth Sense,  even if you haven’t see it, most people nowadays know Psycho’s twist ending.  Today’s visually desensitized young adults cannot fully appreciate Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece even though it has become the grand daddy of slasher films.  Oft emulated but never equaled, Psycho needs to be re watched with vigor anew.
Anthony Perkins stars in the Hitchcock thriller as Norman Bates, a quiet and lonely young man who befriends Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) while she spends the night at the Bates Motel.  Wishing for a respectable life with her boyfriend Sam Loomis (John Gavin), Marion steals $40,000 from her boss and sets out for California.  Following Marion’s trail is her sister Lila (Vera Miles) and Detective Milton Arbogast (Martin Balsam).  All come to suspect Norman, the Bates Motel, and Norman’s mother- the innocent Mrs. Bates.

Under Hitchcock’s direction Anthony Perkins plays Norman Bates to the T.  Forever typecast by Hollywood and fans alike-we still can’t separate Perkins from Bates.  The actor himself was conflicted and confused sexually, and Perkins gives this genuine emotional conflict to Norman.  The way he cleans up after his mother, stays on in an empty motel-we feel bad for Norman the moment we meet him.  Likewise Janet Leigh plays the good girl gone bad.  Even though Marion’s at odds with the law, we open the film in the middle of her situation.  We see her plan and prepare, yet we want her to get away with it.  When Lila and Sam come calling for Marion-we root for them as well.  We care for each, fear for them or of them-the audience relates to each character, regardless of their standpoint in the spectrum.

No one is filler or miscast.  Even though Vera Miles has played the tough cookie in films like The Searchers and other early television westerns, and Janet Leigh the sweet tart in Bye Bye Birdie- the women are perfect as sisters.  Even though Sam is Marion’s lover, we see him more with Lila.  The underlying chemistry between Miles and Loomis hints at something more. As simple as Psycho can look on screen, everything from the actors to the props is multitasking.
Oscar winner and suspense king Hitchcock intentionally made the film black and white-a cringe worthy concept to today’s effects happy filmmakers.  Using the film crew from his television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents and good old fashioned film making ingenuity like chocolate syrup for blood, Hitch stuck to Psycho’s $1 million budget. There are no effects to speak off, just swift camera angles and perfected lighting techniques.  Multiple actors were used to keep up the illusion of Mrs. Bates, and the attention to detail regarding costumes, props, and sets is top notch.  Psycho perfectly captures the early sixties in every detail.  The bullet bras, poofy dresses, even Norman’s taxidermy isn’t taken for granted.  Those stuffed birds, of course, allude to something else.
Based on the book Psycho by Robert Bloch, Psycho benefits greatly from sound source material and screenplay work by Joseph Stefano. It’s intelligent, yet light at parts.  Innocent yet dark, modern imitators don’t have the psychological complexities of Hitchcock’s work.  Today, some may find the story slow, but the first hour sets up the unraveling yet totally explained and satisfying ending.  After Psycho premiered in theaters, Hitchcock demanded no one be seated after the start of the film in order to preserve the suspense.  Every word is timed perfectly onscreen, every shot, every scene says something-not a frame is wasted in Psycho.

Several scenes in Psycho are so iconic and oft imitated or parodied that audiences forget the original.  Gus Van Sant’s 1998 inferior and useless homage remake of Psycho stars Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche.  The color recreation is almost a frame for frame imitation of Hitch’s original.  Can you name another film that has that kind of backward flattery?  Psycho’s infamous shower scene is genius in its editing, illusions, and it did for the bathroom what Jaws did for ocean swimmers.

Psycho and its score by Bernard Herrmann are the best music marriage since Gone With The Wind.  Composer of other Hitchcock scores as well as Citizen Cane and The Day The Earth Stood Still, Herrmann’s haunting strings aren’t a hum-able tune, yet everyone knows the theme when he or she hears it.  Herrmann’s score fits Hitchcock’s layered suspense and sixties mood.  Long after you’ve watched Psycho you hear those strings in the shower and in your sleep.

Psycho’s undoing is its audience’s inability to forget and be surprised again.  Today’s information hounds have been spoiled by sub par sequels like Psycho II (1983), Psycho III (1986) , and a prequel Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990).  Unlike most low budget or obscure old flicks waiting to be rediscovered, the stalwart Psycho has never quite left the public eye.  Despite previous acting prowess in Friendly Persuasion and Fear Strikes Out, Anthony Perkins will be forever associated with this role-Perkins played the alter ego Norman Bates nearly up until his death in 1992.

My VHS copy contains a short making of featurette.  The set was fun, but Janet Leigh actually spent very little of the shoot with Perkins.  Deeper documentaries on Hitchcock, Perkins, and the film are available and filled with trivia and antic dotes.  Collectors should definitely upgrade to DVD for restored picture, sound, and additional documentaries and insights.

Deemed too gory, shocking, and risqué at the time, Psycho will not loose its iconic status-despite the popularity of gory, gimmicky, and quick fix films.   Detailed, intelligent suspense thrillers will always have an audience.  Psycho’s bonus is its duality-quiet, simplistic onscreen, yet complex and full of optical illusions.

I fear not only a lack of appreciation for fine horror films like Psycho, but also I wonder if modern teeny boppers and fans of bloody horror understand the nuances presented?  While Psycho is gore free, the spooks might still scare kinds under 10.  Truthfully anyone with a heart condition should avoid Psycho. If you’re new to classic films, old movies, or Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho is a must see.  Study it and appreciate it thoroughly.