Horror Cinema: The True Story That Inspired Nightmare on Elm Street’s Dreamtime Horror

“I’d read an article in the L.A. Times about a family who had escaped the Killing Fields in Cambodia and managed to get to the U.S. Things were fine, and then suddenly the young son was having very disturbing nightmares. He told his parents he was afraid that if he slept, the thing chasing him would get him, so he tried to stay awake for days at a time. When he finally fell asleep, his parents thought this crisis was over. Then they heard screams in the middle of the night. By the time they got to him, he was dead. He died in the middle of a nightmare. Here was a youngster having a vision of a horror that everyone older was denying. That became the central line of Nightmare on Elm Street.”

Wes Craven, from Freddy Lives: An Oral History of A Nightmare on Elm Street

Horror Cinema: The House of the Devil

I recently re-watched Ti West’s The House of the Devil. I remembered liking how spooky it was, but I forgot how much I liked the storyline. The narrative both pops and lulls as it unfolds toward a dark ending about free will and Satanism. The gore is bloody and satisfying. The heroine is strong and resourceful. The villains seem distant but are many and close by. So spooky!

Admittedly, I might be biased because Rosemary’s Baby is one of my favourite movies and The House of the Devil pays an intriguing homage to the Unholy Trinity. Its ending is very different than its predecessor’s, however. It is unresolved yet satisfying, which I liked. I am very much a Ti West fan!

West, Ti. The House of the Devil, MPI Media Group (theatrical) / Dark Sky Films (DVD and VHS), 2009.

Horror Cinema: The Bride (1973)

A marriage made in heaven … and a honeymoon in hell!

The Bride, also known as The House That Cried Murder, is a horror tale reminiscent of a Tales From the Crypt story. Told in a dreamy and moody way like only horror movies from the 1970s can, it begins with a betrayal that makes watching the traitors suffer at the hands of the vengeful victim feel like a satisfying, rewarding punishment.

If you like the slower pace of older movies, then this one is for you. I do think that the frights and ending are worth it, while bearing in mind the time and place when it was made.

Watch the film, if you haven’t yet and if I have peaked your interest:

The Bride, also known as The House That Cried Murder (1973) – FULL MOVIE

Pélissié, Jean-Marie. The Bride / The House That Cried Murder, Bryanston Distributing (USA), 1973.

Horror Cinema: Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte was full of traps, it was a delicate tight-rope walking assignment. I found that very interesting. Aldrich gave it a very special style, a kind of dark glittering style which fascinated me. It’s always the charming ones of evil intent who are the dangerous ones; the others you can see coming. But you can’t see Miriam [de Havilland’s character] coming, and she’s really dangerous.” – Olivia deHavilland

Olivia de Havilland and Bette Davis filming Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte.

“[After Crawford’s departure] The story, the project, everything about Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte was too good to scrap. Bob Aldrich put on persuading armor, packed handcuffs and a fountain pen, flew to Switzerland, and brought back Olivia…Olivia and I played lovers in Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte. She was a fine replacement. She and Bette worked beautifully together; [Olivia] and I had never worked together before.” – Joseph Cotten

Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Bette Davis, 1964. TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. Courtesy: Everett Collection.

From the Turner Classic Movies: Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Aldrich, Robert. Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, 20th Century Fox, 1964.