When I fell in love with The Haunting a few months ago, several people recommended The Innocents, another atmospheric horror movie from the 60s, though with fewer gay undertones and more children. Deborah Kerr stars as Miss Giddens, new governess to orphaned children Miles and Flora. Provided for by their wealthy uncle but rarely shown any affection by him, they live in a large country estate with various servants and caretakers. Miss Giddens is instantly smitten with her precocious charges, but feels there is an unfriendly presence in the house. After hearing about the recent deaths of the previous governess and a domineering valet, she becomes convinced that their ghosts have remained on the grounds and are exerting a dangerous influence on the children.
For one reason or another I kept missing this the few times it played near me, so I was glad to have a night off before Thanksgiving when I could finally watch it. Written and directed by Peter Strickland and set in the 1970s, Berberian Sound Studio tells the uncanny tale of Gilderoy (Toby Jones), an uptight British sound designer who is invited to work on a low-budget horror film in Rome. His talent is obvious, and he sets out making squishy slasher noises with watermelons and lettuce, but he remains uncomfortable with the type of film he’s working on, having had more experience with nature documentaries and the like.
Well, when Drafthouse Films digs up a weird forgotten movie and pushes it into the cult film sphere, I do generally take note. The Visitor is certainly ripe for cult stardom, a forgotten bit of 70s ultra-weirdness from Italy that inexplicably stars John Huston. Set primarily in Atlanta, GA, the film follows Barbara Collins (Joanne Nail), a single mother who’s beginning to suspect that her daughter Katy (Paige Conner) might just be completely evil. Also, telekinetic. And psychic? Probably. I KNOW this sounds crazy, and Barbara doesn’t want to believe it, but then Katy “accidentally” shoots her in the spine, paralyzing her. And the little angel is showing an awful lot of ‘tude lately. And magic.
At this year’s Coolidge Corner Horror Marathon I had to skip out of the last film, Brain Damage, a Frank Henenlotter film I’d been meaning to see for a while, so I resolved to make it next on my netflix queue. The cult director’s sophomore feature, it follows the misadventures of Brian (Rick Hearst), a young man who unwittingly finds himself playing host to a parasitic worm creature known as Aylmer. This mythical beast injects an addictive substance directly into his victims’ brains, and it causes an intense, psychedelic euphoria. But Aylmer himself feeds on human brains, and manipulates his hosts into finding him food.
It was hard for me to believe that something as ridiculous and terrible as The Wicker Man remake came out of what many considered to be a top-notch horror film, but nevertheless I had high hopes for the original Wicker Man. Set entirely on a remote Scottish island, the film follows police detective Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) as he looks into the disappearance of a young girl. He finds the small island community of Summerisle to be a weird, weird place, where everyone is constantly getting naked for no reason and singing all the time and committing blasphemy or whatever, plus they all lie blatantly about the missing girl.