Frighteningly Overlooked Horror Films Part 2
A wise man (ie the guy who owns the video store I go to) once said of the horror genre that, you need a lot of space to collect it because it is a genre of cinema which at this point goes back a century. Of course over such a long period of time, with films being made in such a variety of conditions by people of a wide range of backgrounds, there are bound to be a few which slip through the cracks. Previously I submitted a list of horror films that have been scarily overlooked horror films, and now I submit it’s inevitable sequel, Frighteningly Overlooked Horror Films.
The Town That Dreaded Sundown: The 1950’s in the United States is often portrayed as an idyllic time, where the nation was moving on from war and was caught up in an unprecedented economic boom. But this unique film tore that pristine image apart as a mysterious killer stalked lover’s lanes and baffled law enforcement. Filmmaker, Charles B. Pierce wisely eschewed any supernatural elements, and much like Deranged on the previous list, the low budget realism plays into the favor of the film. The Phantom, as he known as, is not a member of the undead nor does he wield a complex weapon, he is simply a silent sadist with a hood who delights in shedding blood. The tension in this picture is nothing short of perfect, as we watch the investigation unfold and go no where while the body count grows. Even after, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, ends it is a safe bet that the chilling end will stick with viewers.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon: Since the early days of the genre, humor has been intrinsically tied to horror. As a satirical look at the slasher subgenre, Behind the Mask succeeds on every level. In a world where the likes of; Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and Jason Voorhees, actually exist a documentary film crew follows aspiring movie psycho, Leslie Vernon as he tried to build his own legend. Despite being a spoof of sorts, the film actually takes a interesting look at the various slasher flick traditions. Horror fans will no doubt get a kick out of seeing well placed cameos from such horror legends as, Robert Englund and Zelda Rubinstein. This picture pulls off a rare feat by being both an intelligent horror film as well as a gut busting parody.
The Dark Eyes of London: Horror icon, Bela Lugosi starred in a plethora of horror flicks during his long career and built up a large cult fanbase which follows him to this day. Yet for even his most dedicated fans, The Dark Eyes of London is a psychological horror film which often escapes under the radar. In the United States the picture earned the far less ominous title of The Human Monster, yet it remains an eerie and atmospheric film. Dead bodies keep turning up in the Thames River, gaining the attention of Scotland Yard who do not suspect the kindly Dr. Orloff. Following in the European Expressionist style of the best horror movies of the era, The Dark Eyes of London is worth checking out.
Stage Fright: When you think of the masters of Italian horror names like; Dario Argento and Mario Bava; no make the list and rightly so. But one name that belongs mentioning on that same list is, Stage Fright director, Michele Soavi who brought us this underrated masterpiece of suspense. Before Black Swan showed us the dark side of stage performances, Soavi gave us the terrifying tale of a psychopath loose in a theatre preying upon a terrified group of actors. As a director, Soavi proves to be well versed in the giallo style as he provides audiences a tense story as well as entertaining horror elements. And anyone who has seen film picture can attest that the sight of the killer in the owl costume is one of the most chilling images in film history.