List | Top Favourite Classic Horror Films {#OTBHorrorOctober}

Posted Sunday, 19 October, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Horror October 2014

List | Top Favourite Classic Horror Films

Selection One:

Dr. Jeykll & Mr. Hyde (1941) Original Film Trailer starring Spencer Tracy via TCM

The uncanny part of watching Tracy in this role is how well he absorbed himself into the role itself and conveyed such a primal transformation as to capture the pure horror and terror of being ‘other’ than himself within those seconds of where Hyde took over his life. I can still remember being glued to my seat whilst transfixed on his emotional conveyance of the character! Tracy had this uncanny ability to delve so deeply into his role as to bring out the raw connective tissues that stitched his essence into the heartbeat of Jekyll & Hyde; he was so tied into this role, the most chilling aspect for me was reminding myself *he!* was Spencer Tracy! The atmospheric intensity of the set decoration, the period costumes, and the elemental eerie effects of how they produced this particular version of the story solidified this as one of my favourite Tracy pictures! I also realised whilst watching this film how much I appreciate psychological suspense bordering on the horrific — as this short clip from Turner Classic demonstrates, there is quite a unique transmorphication to the Jekyll & Hyde story itself.

I can only watch this every so many Halloween’s due to the performance of Tracy and due to the intensity of how Jekyll & Hyde fit into the era in whence they lived. My goal is to read the novel and then watch the film; I had given the thought to doing this for the 2014 Horror October event but methinks it would be wiser to schedule that for 2015!

Adding to the joy for me was the inclusion of Ingrid Bergman, of whom, I had originally discovered in the film Intermezzo and lateron in Notorious & Gaslight. Her performances are golden as they are innocently natural with a gentleness of intelligence. I love watching her perform, she gave it a certain type of artistry that is also reflective and reminiscent of Spencer Tracy. For me, they were two equals who shared the screen and gave performances that never leave you!

Selection Two: 

The Haunting (1963) Original Film Trailer starring via TCM

I found this film quite by accident, as I had taken a fancy to watching Turner Classic on *Halloween!* for a few years as I wanted to expand my viewings of classic films set against the backdrop of the holiday itself! I knew this would involve Classic Horror, Film Noir, Psychological Suspense, & Gothic Lit entries, but that was part of the appeal for me! What I hadn’t expected is to become so fully entertained on Classic Horror films! With each startling discovery whilst I watched one film after another per each Halloween I had tuned in, I was fascinated by everything the film-makers had used to create the appeal of creating a suspenseful night of fright! In this one, *everything!* is simply perceived and unseen – the mind of the characters in the film have convinced themselves of what they fear the most, thus giving the plot the deadliest thread of narrative! I enjoyed watching each of their technique of how they brought their characters to life and even though there is a death in the story; it is how the death occurs & why it occurs that left me full of museful thoughts on the haunted and the hauntings themselves.

Selection Three: 

Mystery at the Wax Museum (1933):

I still remember being a bit creeped out about the entire premise surrounding the Wax Museum plot, but what drew me into the film itself was the original spin on it! I have this film on dvd and thus, it is one of the only Horror films I actually own! I have a small collection of Halloween & Classic Horror films on dvd, but this most definitely one of my favourites! The very nature of how the museum is curated with new ‘pieces of art’ is enough to make your hand stand on end and your stomach to flip into somersaults! There are some key comical moments, but not due to the vein of action or dialogue but due to the nature of how they filmed certain sequences — especially when they are say transporting a body? I caught myself in a near-fit of giggles, because the time of when this film was produced, they made a few gaffes as far as how they sorted out a few of the filming locations & scenes! Needless, it did not take long to feel the full breath of danger, horror, and intrigue! I nearly closed my eyes — I wasn’t sure how this one was going to end, and even though I braced myself for the worst, I admit it — I was a bit of a chicken! If Mum wasn’t watching this with me for the first time, I seriously doubt I would know the ENDING at all! Laughs. No, seriously,… I’d be in the dark! Yet. Yes. It is still a bonefide favourite!

Selection Four:

Gaslight (1944) Re-Issue Film Trailer starring Ingrid Bergman via TCM:

I hadn’t realised that Angela Lansbury had her start in motion pictures within this particular film, as I was keen on watching it after a dear friend of mine in California mentioned to me by letter how much I’d fall over the moon in LOVE with this film! She not only was quite right in that pre-assessment of my reaction, but it has become a beloved movie for me to watch around Halloween! I love everything about this film, most especially watching Ingrid Bergman’s character descend into madness & emerge out of the darkness of that plight into a stronger, braver, and very sane woman whose heart led her astray but her fortitude of strength gave her the courage to survive! I loved the details of this film, as it isn’t something you can understand completely the first time you see it; my second viewing was a full year after I had seen it originally, and I was still picking up subtle clues and little bits of foreshadowing strokes of genius! Not too many, mind you, this is a very tightly writ screenplay!

Hearing Lansbury’s cockney voice throughout the film was a pure delight for me, as I’ve been fascinated by how the words & rhymes sound out loud! You can tell even within this film the dexterity of performance Lansbury would use throughout her career! She was so young, yet held such a pose of presence as to belie her age! She would endear me years (decades, really!) lateron in her career with Murder, She Wrote as I grew up watching her sleuth her way through Cabot Cove! To go backwards in time, seeing the roots of her filmography knit together has been an absolute joy!

Selection Five:

Rear Window (1954) Re-Issue Film Trailer starring James Stewart via TCM

I wanted to focus on bonefide Horror films before shifting into straight-up Psychological Suspense films but in many ways I think the two merged together irregardless of my intentions! Hitch has been in my life for as long as I can remember, as there was something innately wicked about his films – he had this intricate way of telling a story through camera, performance, atmosphere, and that line between what is real and what is imagined real; he bridged the art of film-making with the art of story-telling with precision! Rear Window never fails to keep me on the edge of my seat, even though out of all his films, I have seen this repeatedly throughout my life! I cannot remember how old I was when I first watched an Alfred Hitchcock movie, but I believe I was at least in middle school at the time!?

James Stewart had already captured my heart from It’s A Wonderful Life (my joy of seeing a Capra film is intense!) yet in Hitchcock’s films, Stewart steps out of the warm & cosy settings of the family stories providing such a convicting performance as to make me wonder each & everytime I see this particular film if he will come out alright in the end! I kid you not, I’m always curious, will they solve this in time? Will there be enough evidence?! And, of course, I had to sort of resolve the fact the villain is Raymond Burr (my beloved Perry Mason!) of whom I wish was NOT cast in this role! Talk about giving you shivers! I never like seeing actors I appreciate in strong lead roles go ‘over to the dark side of the screen’ and this is one moment where I truly wished another actor could have played the part! I love the rest of the supporting cast, especially Thelma Ritter as Stella!

Selection Six:

Vertigo (1958) Movie Clip from the Opening Credits via TCM:

Out of all the films I could have picked as my second favourite Hitchcock, I went with Vertigo over The Lady Vanishes (1938) for the simple reason that I am never quite certain if I have sorted out the plot and by the time I realise that I know *exactly!* which way is up in this film, I find myself completely captured by the suspense of not knowing all over again! I love how I continue to watch this film in enough intervals of time as to forget half of it — which is unique considering I have a solid memory for films & books, but in this particular case, I nearly try to forget the pieces of the puzzle, because I want that ‘first  look’ experience where I was wholly captured by the gravity of truth as equally as Stewart’s character was himself! Not to mention the fact, I found it incredible how Kim Novak played her role as both Madeleine & Judy!

Selection Seven:

Cape Fear (1991)

I can honestly say after I saw this film, I purged it out of my memory, it was THAT terrifying! To this day, I cannot and will not watch it for a second time! Yet, the main reason I am placing it on this list is simply because it captured what I felt the genre of Horror Films would always contain; hence the reason I made the choice to stay within the fringes of horror rather than to crossover completely into it full throttle. To say this is a favourite of mine is not as accurate as saying it was one of the most mind-numbing films I ever survived watching! I cannot deny that whilst I watched the film, it not only held my nerves in suspense but it quite literally nearly choked me into a fit of nightmares! Oy vie!

This feature post is part of my participation in:

#OTBHorrorOctober badge created by Jorie in Canva

Reader Interactive Question:

Your turn! :) What are your Top Favourite Horror Films & why!? Do you lean towards psychological suspense, thriller, & the more atmospheric side of the Horror Film genre like me? OR are you a bonefide Horror lass or bloke, who is only entertained by the harder hitting films full-on with gore & violence? List the films that captured you & the film-makers and/or studios that hold your attention the most! All answers are acceptable – even if your interests do not run parallel to mine! Speak openly! :)

{SOURCES: Horror October banner provided by Oh! The Books for participants to promote the event on their book blogs; used with permission. #OTBHorrorOctober badge for Jorie created by Jorie in Canva. Film Trailers &/or Film Clips for Classic Movies embedded due to codes provided by Turner Classic Movies. Tweets embedded due to the codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 19 October, 2014 by jorielov in #HorrorOctober, Bookish Films, Classic Motion Pictures, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Mystery, Haunting & Ethereal, Horror, Horror-Lite, Motion Picture Inter-related to Bookish Topic, Psychological Suspense, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, TV Serials & Motion Pictures




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2 responses to “List | Top Favourite Classic Horror Films {#OTBHorrorOctober}

    • Hallo, Hallo, so happy to see you! :)

      Yes, I think for me that is what I *love!* about The Haunting myself — everything exists ‘off-camera’ and ‘out of sight’; this is actually what originally drew me inside the classic horror films, because they were setting you up for a scare that was grounded in the psychological angle rather than the forefront scenes of the camera! :) Wicked sweet! I was hoping we shared a few common interests with the films, and it is nice to see you like the same films by Hitch as I do! :) Awesome!

      I recently saw The Man Who Knew Too Much on TCM — chilled me again to see how it concluded, as Hitchcock worked his stories on film in such ways that even after a distance from seeing them, you get the fright of what he wanted you to experience all over again! :)

      Thanks for sharing! :)

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