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Added by Joseph Grey on 16 Jul 2012 06:33
4699 Views 36 Comments

Rediscovering Horror: a new project

Sort by: Showing 26 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
People who added this item 1246 Average listal rating (721 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.1
Viewed: ~July 26 2012

This movie is a difficult one to rate, because I can't compare it to anything else that I have watched. To say that it was visually eccentric would be an understatement. The style was very unique. It seemed like every building, every floor, and every window was twisted, tilted, or lopsided.

I'm also starting to think that the makers of this movie knew something special about makeup that has been forgotten in this modern age.

"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" felt like pure expression, from the sets, to the direction, to the acting. There was no filter between the movie and the person watching it.

I'm not sure I would characterize this as a horror movie. However, I don't know what else to call it, because it doesn't fit into category I have experienced before.

I'd like to come back to this film in a few months, and watch it again.
Joseph Grey's rating:
I need to re-watch this movie.

This is one of those movies that are better owned than rented. Unfortunately for me, I rented this one, and the transfer on the DVD is of poor quality. Also it's in the TV aspect ratio, which I know it's not supposed to be. Although I have a pretty good idea about what I thought about this movie, I'm going to save my review for when I buy a really good copy of the movie. If you own a good copy, could you tell me where I might find one?
People who added this item 405 Average listal rating (192 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.1
Faust (1926)
Viewed on: August 4 2012

Beautiful cinematography. Very emotive and powerful special effects, with extreme dramatics in acting. I really needed to see this movie. I now understand the fascination and love that people feel for some of the brilliantly visual silent movies. The images are unforgettable. This is a movie worth owning.
Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 449 Average listal rating (249 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.4
The Vampire (1932)
Viewed: August 10 2012

I continue to be amazed by the effects and cinematography of these early films. The things that the director did with shadows and transparency in this film are incredible. I assumed before watching this movie that it would be silent. I was mistaken, as this film has dialogue in German. A very good film, although not scary in the horror sense, definitely worth watching if you want to make movies of your own. I'm really glad I stumbled onto this title.
Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 494 Average listal rating (275 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.2
Viewed on: August 22 2012

A very good performance by Simone Simon. She is plagued by the belief that she will be subject to an evil curse if she allows herself to fall in love. Some really good scenes, and very good use of black and white to enhance lighting and shadows. Much of the film takes place in low light with high shadowy contrast.

Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 129 Average listal rating (67 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 6.9
Viewed August 22 2012

These two movies do feature the same actors, but the two movies themselves couldn't be more different. The focus is on a young girl, the daughter of Irena's husband. We follow her through the aspects of her imagination, and are introduced to a strange old woman and her depressed daughter.

This film lacked focus at times, since it seemed like the story was getting pulled in more than one direction. Overall, the movie was good, but it's anything but a horror movie.

And there are no cat people in this one.
Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 65 Average listal rating (37 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.3
Viewed: September 8 2012

Boris Karloff plays one of the tallest Chinese villains in history. Boris Karloff and Myrna Loy's performances carry the film. The movie shows its age with prejudiced overtones, but if you can get past that, there were some exciting moments. If you're a fan of Karloff or Myrna Loy (I am) then you might enjoy the film.
Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 171 Average listal rating (92 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
Viewed: September 29 2012

Charles Laughton stars as the twisted Dr. Moreau in this movie based on H.G. Wells' novel. This film has the 1930's horror feel that I'm beginning to get accustomed to. The story centers mostly around the shipwrecked character Edward Parker. But, Laughton and Kathleen Burke who plays Lota are the best characters to me. This is very different from the Dr. Moreau story with Burt Lancaster, and different still from the 90's version with Marlon Brando. Laughton is the best doctor of the three, but the movie suffers from being a little too brief. Also, the other female character, Parker's fiance, is nothing more than a walking potential victim, much like the lead female in The Mask of Fu Manchu. Overall, I liked the movie, and I even recognized Bela Lugosi underneath a massive pile of facial hair.
Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 962 Average listal rating (608 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.4
Viewed: October 3
One of the first things that you might notice while watching this movie is the absence of music. It doesn't hurt the film at all.

There seem to be some silent film elements. Long scenes where Dracula is moving slowly toward his victims. Close ups of extreme facial expressions that never seem to end. These elements helped to enhance the expressiveness of the movie. Also, the ambiance of the film is excellent, with great sets. Dwight Frye, who played Renfield, had a performance that was as good as Bela Lugosi's. Although the movie isn't scary the way it was when I was a child, I still enjoyed watching it.

Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 24 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 6.9
Viewed: October 11 2012

I have to admit, my expectations were pretty high for this movie. Mostly I think, because of the awesome title. Alas, it was not what I thought it was going to be. Boris Karloff has a very lively performance, playing two roles in the movie. The Black Room is a story that deals with a family curse centered around a black room with onyx walls, housed inside a castle. Karloff plays two twin brothers, one evil, the other good. Unfortunately, like a lot of 1930's horror films, the movie is just over an hour in length. I wish the filmmakers had taken more time to explore the characters, but that's my only real complaint about the film. The sets were excellent, and Karloff really pulls of playing two characters well. Marian Marsh is one of my all time favorite 30's actresses, so I also enjoyed seeing her in the movie.
Joseph Grey's rating:
Viewed: October 11 2012

Karloff plays a doctor who is about to drug a patient to the point of death, and revive him using a special machine that reinstates circulation to a lifeless body. Actually, this movie deals with medical issues that must have seemed supernatural at the time, but are considered normal by today's medical standards. This movie was way ahead of its time for that reason, and Karloff gives a great performance as a rejected and persecuted scientist. I would say this movie is worth seeing for anyone who hasn't watched it before.
Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 467 Average listal rating (252 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.5
Viewed: November 2 2012

I thought I was going to get "White Zombie" in the mail, but instead I got The Phantom of the Opera. So I watched it.

This movie is beautiful. The sets are massive. There must have been at least 100 extras. There are costumes, musicians, dancers. This movie felt incredibly complete. I had gotten used to watching horror movies with a shoestring budget that last only 70 minutes. Mary Philbin is gorgeous in her role as Christine Daae. Her eyes grews like saucers every time she had to look at The Phantom's face. In this movie, the Phantom isn't just some emo dude in a cape, getting you to feel sorry for him. He's a cold blooded killer! And he looks absolutely terrifying. This movie is a must see.
Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 239 Average listal rating (139 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.4
White Zombie (1932)

Viewed: November 7 2012

This was a weird one. First off, I feel bad that some of the film appears to be missing or degraded, probably lost forever. Unlike the very elaborate and well produced Phantom of the Opera, this movie was probably produced under extreme time and financial constraints. The movie is fun, despite having some flawed acting on the part of the male and female leads. The most fun part about the movie is without a doubt Bela Lugosi's crazy eyes.

Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 167 Average listal rating (88 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7

Viewed: November 29 2012

I didn't realize how great an actor John Barrymore was. He did a great job of playing the noble Dr. Jeykll and the twisted feral Mr. Hyde.

One of the greatest things about Barrymore's performance was the complete change in posture after the transformation into Hyde. Bent over, with his legs turned inward, he walked more like an animal than a man. Anyone who likes the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story should see this version. It's a short movie, about 80 minutes in length, and of course is a silent film.

After watching this movie, I want to watch more of John Barrymore.

Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 101 Average listal rating (46 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7
Viewed: December 16 2012

I assumed The Hands of Orlac was a horror movie, but I was wrong. It is more of a crime drama, but it is still worth seeing. The expressions, acting, sets, and visual communication is fantastic. As far as the story goes, it is not as solid as some of the other silent movies I have watched recently. Still, if you haven't watched it yet, please do. - and as a side note, the musical score matched very well with the events of the movie. Often, that is not the case. I was glad that a musical score was made later to match the film.
Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 1107 Average listal rating (666 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.8
Frankenstein (1931)
Viewed: December 24 2012

Yes, a perfect movie to see on Christmas Eve. Well, maybe not. But seeing this movie as an adult was a treat. I'm guessing this movie didn't have a large budget, but Director James Whale certainly made the most of it. There incredible moving camera shots in this film, the wedding festival, the monster stumbling through the woods, and the father carrying his drowned daughter through the town square, which are incredible moments of film making. Also, the darkened shots of the monster are beautifully done. Boris Karloff is a genius at playing unusual roles, and this is probably his most memorable movie role. Colin Clive does an excellent job playing Dr. Frankenstein. There really isn't anything I can complain about in this movie, other than the same thing I always complain about when I watch early thirties horror movies... Why is the movie so damn short? If the screenwriter and director had 30 more minutes to play with, imagine what other amazing scenes we would have to talk about today.

Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 793 Average listal rating (468 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.8
Viewed: December 24 2012

This movie continues the story of the monster and Dr. Frankenstein's quest to destroy it and clear his conscience. Colin Clive and Boris Karloff are back, but nearly all of the other actors have changed. Also, castle Frankenstein seems to have grown in scale and grandeur, no doubt due to an increased budget from the studio. This movie has an expanded role for the monster, he learns to speak and express himself more clearly. This movie is longer, and more emotionally diverse than the original. However, it doesn't seem as focused as the first one, and has a different feel. Now, different isn't a bad thing. But instead of a fantastical blending of horror and science as was seen in the first movie, this movie has more of a science fiction adventure feel to it, with some of the high contrast horror elements left out.

Especially confusing and out of place was Dr. Pretorius' experiments with growing miniature people. A King, A Queen, A Bishop, A Ballerina, that didn't seem weird to anyone? What I can say about The Bride of Frankenstein is that the movie is bigger, more adventurous, and more expensive than the original. However, it lacked some of the grim and dark misery of the first film. One film does not eclipse the other, and both are worth seeing multiple times.

Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 158 Average listal rating (89 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.1
Another movie I never heard of that I nevertheless endeavor to watch. Why do I do this to myself? Contained within any one of these films may be the power of an eternity of sleepless nights. I'll try and not look up any info on this movie, so I can go in without any preconceived notions.

Viewed: January 4 2012

Let me start by saying what I liked. The movie had great sets, good acting, interesting characters, and some violence. It has among its cast- Charles Laughton, Melvyn Douglas, Boris Karloff, and Raymond Massey.

This movie is different from all the other horror films I have seen. I don't want to start throwing out spoilers, but I feel the need to inform you of some aspects of this film that you may want to know.

1-There are a lot of characters. In most horror movies, there's only enough time to focus on a few key characters. In this film, there are at least 8, and all of them are important.

2-Regardless of what you can glean from the screen caps, there are no monsters. That's right, if you're waiting for a monster to come out and start howling, know that this is not a monster movie.

3-I'm not sure that this film is a horror movie. Because it is so unlike the other movies I have seen on this list, I have a hard time trying to boil down the whole movie into a few lines...

Despite the fact that I have told you little about the film, just see the movie. It's the only way you'll be sure of whether it's your ilk or not.

Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 389 Average listal rating (270 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7
The Mummy (1932)
Viewed: January 29 2013

So it turns out I never saw The Mummy before. I'm pretty sure I have watched a newer version, perhaps from 50's, but I don't remember that either.

So here we are, another Karloff movie. His work in this film features him playing one of his most sinister characters. Unlike his role of the monster in Frankenstein, you really don't feel sympathetic toward Imhotep. After being revived by dark magic, Imhotep starts plotting to reincarnate his lost love, and kill absolutely anyone who tries to stop him.

Like many horror films of the 1930's, this film is way too short, and ends very quickly and abruptly. The makeup was excellent, I am continually impressed with the quality of makeup, costume and set design in these movies.

Good performances by Zita Johann, Edward Van Sloan (also co-starred in Dracula) and of course, great performance by Boris Karloff.
Joseph Grey's rating:
VIEWED: March 7 2013

The question you have to ask yourself when seeing this movie is: Is this a horror movie?

I have to admit, it doesn't fit into a neat little category. There are supernatural aspects to the movie to be sure. But the movie feels more like a thriller (if that word means anything) and a crime drama than a horror movie.

Fritz Lang is the man. I have seen three of his movies now, and I am amazed at his technical genius. Every shot is so well executed, a meticulous exercise in perfection.

I liked the characters, the story, and the striking imagery. If you haven't watched this movie, you should go see it as soon as possible. Just know that it isn't a horror movie in the purest sense. The movie is unique.
Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 288 Average listal rating (133 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.8
Also discovered through Victorian Fantasy's list, is this film I know nothing about. Netflix says 'Fritz Lang' at his best. We shall see for ourselves.

Viewed: April 12 2013
This is a movie that has many dimensions. It is a silent film, with some great cinematic elements, and strong acting by nearly all members of the cast.

I'm going to be repeating some of what I said when I reviewed "The Testament of Dr. Mabuse". This movie, like the one that came after it, is not exactly a horror movie. If anything, it's a cautionary tale of post WWI German society. The story of Dr. Mabuse was originally a novel, and the rights were purchased so the book could be made into film.

Fritz Lang really is the master of early cinema. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Metropolis, and this movie... Like some of his other silent films, there are strong visually symbolic images in both the characters, the sets, and the cinematography. Some really great moving camera shots were utilized in the gambling houses in the film. Also, the characters looked very striking and unique.

I must issue a warning about this movie, however. It is a long movie. Over four hours long. If you were expecting one of those hour and ten minute suspense films, this is not one of them. However, even though the movie is long, I couldn't think of a single part of the film that seemed expendable. If you loved "The Testament of Dr. Mabuse", and you'd really like to know just who this Dr. Mabuse fellow was, then I suggest you watch this movie.

Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 225 Average listal rating (121 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.3
Viewed: May 29, 2013
Hitchcock directing a movie before he was famous. At first, this movie seemed rather straightforward. There is a ripper style killer out on the loose, with a fetish for blonde women. But who is the killer? Is he your neighbor, your friend?

I should have expected a few twists and turns, this being a Hitchcock movie. There were a couple of nice surprises in here, and the acting was well done. Unfortunately, the degradation of the picture meant there was some missing material in the movie. I hope there's an undamaged negative out there somewhere, and a restoration is possible. If not, this film may never been seen in it's original form again.
Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 296 Average listal rating (168 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.6
Update on watching status
It seems netflix us going to keep this movie from me forever. It keeps delaying my ability to get the dvd. It's the same story with the 1941 version with Spencer Tracy. It just keeps saying 'very long wait' so I've been renting other movies in the meantime. I may not get to watch these movies before moving onto anothre horror list.

I think I may have watched some of this when I was very young. Maybe it's a good thing that I don't remember much of it.
People who added this item 138 Average listal rating (87 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.8
I watched around a third of this movie, but ended up changing the channel. I didn't want to get the movie out of context, not having seen the beginning. So, I'll round out my Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde movies with this one.
Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 273 Average listal rating (150 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7
The Black Cat (1934)
A second viewing of this movie is impossible until I can get my hands on a copy

I watched this when I was a teenager, and it unsettled me. It wasn't scary, but it was uncomfortable. Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff played off of each other incredibly well, and they carried the story on the shoulders of their great performances.

I'm going to watch this movie again. Perhaps I'll get something different out of it this time.
Joseph Grey's rating:
People who added this item 37 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 6.2
I actually watched this movie a couple of times when I was a kid. It scared the hell out of me. Those hypnotizing eyes. Don't stare into a woman's eyes when you're waiting for the next train. Remember that.

I can't get this on netflix so I might not get the chance to see it again. I remember it as a good film.
Joseph Grey's rating:

Looking at the many lists dealing with horror movies, I begin to realize that my view and appreciation of them differs than many of the users on listal. Often slated with a lower budget and rushed production schedule, I feel as though I may have been too harsh in my ratings of the horror movies that I have watched in the past.

So, with the idea of creating a fresh perspective, I have decided to watch a series of horror movies from each era, beginning with silent movies all the way up to modern movies. This is going to take years (no joke) and I'm going to miss some of your favorites, I'm sure. But, I'll add more titles to the list as I queue them up in netflix, and give my thoughts on each before and after I watch them.

Suggestions for titles are welcome. I'm going to need all the help I can get, especially for movies from 1910-1930.

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