9/07/2013

It's Creepy

Recently I threw out a question to Face Book fans asking which classic movie they considered the creepiest. They had five choices:  Gaslight, Psycho, Night of the Hunter, Cape Fear, and Cat People. Gaslight and Cape Fear came out on top, although many hadn't seen all five movies. I find that the classics have better creep factor than today's movies which tend to use special effects to cover up a weak plot and no atmosphere.

Atmosphere is really what it's all about when it comes to a creepy movie. It's that feeling you get, a little prickle at the back of the neck. You know something bad is going to happen, but you can't pinpoint when. There's a bit of mental imbalance to the plot which makes it that more unpredictable. Then it happens and you jump! Personally, I love a good scare, but I'm not into horror or slasher films. The scariest movies in my book aren't about being graphic, it's the "creep factor." Only a strong plot and excellent acting can make it happen. The filmography-angles, shadows, etc. are crucial. All take place in benign settings, which up the ante as well.

Gaslight - 1944 with Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten, and the debut of 18-year old Angela Lansbury. An emotionally fragile Paula Alquist (Ingrid Bergman) meets the charming Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer). He whisks her back to England after years in Italy to soothe her anxieties from witnessing the murder of her mother years earlier. The term "to gaslight" someone came from this movie, and if you haven't seen it, please do. A suspenseful, psychological thriller, you won't be disappointed.

Cape Fear - 1962 with Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen. Gregory Peck made this movie right after the blockbuster hit, To Kill a Mockingbird.  An atmospheric Southern film, Cape Fear is all about being stalked. Peck plays another attorney, Sam Bowden who's trying to protect his family from a convicted rapist (Robert Mitchum), Max Cady. Bowden testified against Cady eight years earlier, and now he's out for revenge. You'll find yourself gripping the arms of the chair in the last 20 minutes. 


Robert Mitchum - The Night of the Hunter
The Night of the Hunter - 1955 with Robert Mitchum, Shelly Winters, and Lillian Gish. This movie is bit more obscure for most people, but is in the top three for me.  Robert Mitchum plays a preacher gone way bad in this movie designated in 1992 as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in its National Film Registry. If you aren't scared watching The Night of the Hunter, you may not be breathing.

There are a few more that should be in top ten and here they are:  Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte with Bette Davis, Shadow of a Doubt with Joseph Cotten, Village of the Damned with George Sanders, and The Innocents which is based on Henry James' short story, The Turn of the Screw.  The most recent movie that gave me a good scare was a Harrison Ford film, What Lies Beneath. It was made in 2000.  

So what scares you? I'd love to know. Leave a comment and let me know.



1 comment:

whenilk said...

another fascinating thing about the "creepy" movies is that these were all filmed in black and white, even though color was available. It somehow made them scarier.

Note: Night of the Hunter, my favorite, also had a bit role for a new star, Peter Graves, the man taken prisoner right at the beginning of the film.

Positively encouraging

9/07/2013

It's Creepy

Recently I threw out a question to Face Book fans asking which classic movie they considered the creepiest. They had five choices:  Gaslight, Psycho, Night of the Hunter, Cape Fear, and Cat People. Gaslight and Cape Fear came out on top, although many hadn't seen all five movies. I find that the classics have better creep factor than today's movies which tend to use special effects to cover up a weak plot and no atmosphere.

Atmosphere is really what it's all about when it comes to a creepy movie. It's that feeling you get, a little prickle at the back of the neck. You know something bad is going to happen, but you can't pinpoint when. There's a bit of mental imbalance to the plot which makes it that more unpredictable. Then it happens and you jump! Personally, I love a good scare, but I'm not into horror or slasher films. The scariest movies in my book aren't about being graphic, it's the "creep factor." Only a strong plot and excellent acting can make it happen. The filmography-angles, shadows, etc. are crucial. All take place in benign settings, which up the ante as well.

Gaslight - 1944 with Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten, and the debut of 18-year old Angela Lansbury. An emotionally fragile Paula Alquist (Ingrid Bergman) meets the charming Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer). He whisks her back to England after years in Italy to soothe her anxieties from witnessing the murder of her mother years earlier. The term "to gaslight" someone came from this movie, and if you haven't seen it, please do. A suspenseful, psychological thriller, you won't be disappointed.

Cape Fear - 1962 with Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen. Gregory Peck made this movie right after the blockbuster hit, To Kill a Mockingbird.  An atmospheric Southern film, Cape Fear is all about being stalked. Peck plays another attorney, Sam Bowden who's trying to protect his family from a convicted rapist (Robert Mitchum), Max Cady. Bowden testified against Cady eight years earlier, and now he's out for revenge. You'll find yourself gripping the arms of the chair in the last 20 minutes. 


Robert Mitchum - The Night of the Hunter
The Night of the Hunter - 1955 with Robert Mitchum, Shelly Winters, and Lillian Gish. This movie is bit more obscure for most people, but is in the top three for me.  Robert Mitchum plays a preacher gone way bad in this movie designated in 1992 as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in its National Film Registry. If you aren't scared watching The Night of the Hunter, you may not be breathing.

There are a few more that should be in top ten and here they are:  Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte with Bette Davis, Shadow of a Doubt with Joseph Cotten, Village of the Damned with George Sanders, and The Innocents which is based on Henry James' short story, The Turn of the Screw.  The most recent movie that gave me a good scare was a Harrison Ford film, What Lies Beneath. It was made in 2000.  

So what scares you? I'd love to know. Leave a comment and let me know.



1 comment:

whenilk said...

another fascinating thing about the "creepy" movies is that these were all filmed in black and white, even though color was available. It somehow made them scarier.

Note: Night of the Hunter, my favorite, also had a bit role for a new star, Peter Graves, the man taken prisoner right at the beginning of the film.