Pascal Laugier’s “Martyrs” (2005) The Cult of Transfiguration: From Shelley’s Electrical Secrets of Heaven, Prometheus, The Esoteric Sect of Death Trippers, Seeking Beyond the Dead

SPOILER ALERT: While I don’t give a full synopsis, I do discuss details of the film…

A martyr (Greek : μάρτυς, mártys, “witness”; stem μάρτυρ-, mártyr-) is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce
Mysticism (About this sound pronunciation (help·info); from the Greek μυστικός, mystikos, meaning ‘an initiate’) is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, or levels of being, or aspects of reality, beyond normal human perception, sometimes including experience of and communion with a supreme being.

MARTYRS (2008)

Directed by Pascal Laugier (House of Voices 2004, The Tall Man 2012) stars the unreal Morjana Alaoui as Anna, Mylène Jampanoï  as Lucie and Catherine Begin as Mademoiselle.

Fifteen years after Lucie escapes a horrific abduction in which she is subjected to prolonged torture and deprivation, she goes on a mission of revenge on the couple who brutally held her captive. She calls upon her faithful friend from the orphanage, Anna, who was also a victim of child abuse and utterly worships Lucie, to help her clean up after the massacre at the seemingly upper class home.

Lucie slowly devolves into madness, as she cannot exorcise the demon who has been haunting her, a nightmarish and violent phantom born out of Lucie’s guilt for having left another little girl at the mercy of their abductors. If you enter into watching Martyrs thinking that it’s a straight out of the French New Wave of Torture Porn films, you’ll miss a transformative piece of film making.

The Bride of Frankenstein 1935

From the time Colin Clive utters “It’s alive, It’s alive” in James Whale’s seminal classic Frankenstein 1931, the tone is set. Whale’s campier adaptation from Mary Shelley’s  more meditative novel, is still self possessed of science, the origin of being human, the question of ‘a’ God’s role in this existence and ultimately, reflectively, ‘man’s’ (I loathe using normative masculine case ugh.) relationship to himself, his creator and the universe that bore him.

Anna in chains
12 year old Lucie in chains

Frankenstein is an existential science-fiction fantasy with multiple layers and questions that can not be answered in 70 minutes on camera. But the images, the spirit of the story and the characters can serve to evoke these primal questions and fears that have been built into our natures as human subjects.

Anna with her head shaved appears as a Joan of Arc figure.

Now, if you abstract Shelley’s allegory and invert the narrative to where the matter of science does not seek out the mysteries of life in terms of how to create it fromthe electrical secrets of heaven and an infinity of atoms, harness it, control it, thereby becoming god- like yourself …momentarily.

The film’s antagonists are a group of clandestine, ultra wealthy, suggestive of high up in government, perhaps even royalty, seemingly above the law and untouchable, apparently with a hierarchy of leaders of an advanced age. They are consumed with Mysticism or Spiritualism, (not to be confused with spirituality) a modernized form of a movement that was pervasive around the end of the 19th century and continuing around the early 1900’s, and which this cabal, assumes a very clinical, anthropologically scientific approach.

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and The Theosophical Movement -table rappings etc.

Silver Belle Spirit Booth
A séance

The film’s narrative uses science vs. religion (although the act of faith in their mission becomes emblematic itself of fanaticism and religious avidity) because it bares an almost anthropological approach; a modern form of ’empirical’ torture, a method of collecting data. The end result is creation of a theoretical equation, that asserts, if you dehumanize, brutalize and cause the body enough pain, the subject’s psyche and physical being has no where else to go but toward an elevated sense of euphoria, to become Transfigured, like that of Christ on the cross, or Saint Joan de Arc.

Saint-Joan
Mother Joan of the Angels 1960 Directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Flavia The Heretic Nun (1974) also doomed to be flayed alive

The subjects of their research also, at this point, becomes objects. An anonymous and beautiful little girl becomes, at first, a helpless victim, then a monstrous ‘thing’, and then is exalted to a heroic saint and visionary figure.

Their methods, while equally brutal, stand in contrast with the motivations of the Medieval scourge of inflicting pain that was for the sole purpose of punishing, eliminating your enemies, relishing in sadism, barbarism, suffering and bloodshed, merely to bring about death slowly.

Transfiguration |transˌfigyəˈrāSHən|
noun
a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state: in this light the junk undergoes a transfiguration; it shines.
• (the Transfiguration) Christ’s appearance in radiant glory to three of his disciples (Matthew 17:2, Mark 9:2–3, Luke 9:28–36).

In contrast to the angelic martyred figure, Vanessa Redgrave plays a devil-possessed, sexually repressed nun. Directed by Ken Russell and based on Huxleys Devils of Loudon. Power hungry Cardinal Richelieu seeks to bring down the group of nuns and take control of France.

This Cult of Transfiguration, uses pain, deprivation and ultimately a carefully constructed clinical form of torture which for them is the road in which to search for ‘secrets of life.’ But unlike Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein who sought to create life on this earthly plane, Mademoiselle’s quest is to reach past this plane to the other side… of the veil, the borderland, that thing we call ‘life after death’, the exalted state of being, where we go after we literally ‘shed our skin.’

The head of this Cult of Transfiguration, Mademoiselle, is archetypal of Nazi experimenters. As a French filmmaker, Pascal understands the deeply scarred history of WWII and the profound ramifications that the Nazi’s presence left. She is like the embodiment of the Nazi doctors who often used human subjects for ‘medical research.’

The infamous Dr. Herta Oberheuser, Nazi physician who experimented on numerous children.

The cult finds that young girls are the most inherently geared to becoming Martyrs, so they set out abducting their ‘specimens’, subjecting them to the most brutal, yet very clinical, torture in order to bring their human subjects to the state of grace and transformation. Then, right before their deaths, they can communicate what they see in the ‘ether world.’

Anna whispers to Mademoiselle… what if anything has she revealed? What has she seen… through her transfiguration?

I use the world clinical to describe the conditions, the beatings, and the gruesome and ultra ‘extreme’ pain they subject the girls to. This clinical torture diverges from the grittier serial killer film, where the interaction is often personal, self-satisfying and subjective, sublimating the victim’s pain, devouring it like a cannibal to feed their blood lust.

This cult shows no sign of emotion at all. They do not become aroused or responsive. They do, however, possess an eerily quiet fixation on their victims, as they start to enter Martyrdom. It is then they become, revered much again like a Saint, an icon, an object. But that is only when the experiment has perceived to have worked. None of their subjects, except for Anna, utters a word before death. At the end of the film, we are left not knowing what Anna whispers to Mademoiselle.

Right after receiving the cryptic message from Anna, Mademoiselle  locks herself in her room. She, too, strips away all her superficial layers, her amber colored lenses, her head scarf, almost all her earthly signifiers, Like Anna’s flayed body, Mademoiselle prepares herself for the other world. She only tells the man in black awaiting the news of what Anna has shared, “keep doubting” and then puts the revolver in her mouth and blows her brains out.

Viewers are left to conjecture what Anna has shared. Was it that she met Lucie on the other side and found such peace everlasting? Did she meet ‘god’? Did she experience an ecstasy beyond description? It is better not to know, because that would disallow Laugier’s point. That WE cannot ever know. And if we spend our days here on this earth using other people to gain that knowledge, we’ll have not only missed the point, but we’ll become monsters ourselves. Seeking out figures to crucify on behalf of a manufactured faith, damned to uncertainty and taking victims along with us…

As Mademoiselle tells Anna “We’ve created more victims than Martyrs.”

I fear that’s how it’s been in history with human subjects and animals alike in such cases where science becomes a monstrous mechanism for knowledge, or when religion sacrifices innocent blood in the name of an ambiguous morality relying on its faith.

It’s the clinical brutality that makes the film all the more disturbing. But when I say disturbing, I do not imply that this is a film that wants to disturb you in only a visceral way. As the protagonist, Anna suffers and ultimately does become transformed, but I found myself becoming altered by the film’s end. And still days after, I have been feeling and processing what I saw on screen.

A good horror film can take an utterly monstrous, abjectly frightening ,nightmarish, and at times grotesque situation, and transform itself into a thing of beauty. I truly believe that Martyrs is a horrifically beautiful film.

Georges Franju’s Eyes Without A Face 1960 comes to mind, the darkly bleak yet mesmerizing, haunting and and yes, clinical setting where a daughter’s dedicated father, a medical doctor abducts young women and skins them in order to give his beloved little girl a new face.

When a film can be so horrific that it taps into our primal fears and what Kristeva calls abjection (a hell of a read if you’re interested), anything that makes us feel something plucking at the core of our senses, perhaps not quite know what it is, but truly alters us somehow. Then when it manages to transcend the horrifying aspects of it’s story the visceral reactions we experience and goes on to cause an odd symbiosis with the images and the story.. .then to me… it becomes a work of art.

I’ve had that experience with Franju’s Eyes Without A Face (1960), The Exorcist (1973), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Serrador’s The House That Screamed (1969), Rosemary’s Baby (1969), Night of The Living Dead (1968) Let’s Scare Jessica To Death (1971) Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural (1973) and Play Misty For Me (1971) and in recent years, with Clive Barker’s Candyman 1992, Lucky Mckee’s May (2002), Ty West’s House of The Devil (2009) and Dante Tomaselli’s Horror (2002).

Martyrs evokes themes and images from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, (1987) the hellish underworld society of Cenobites, that seek out and cause pain to acquire the ultimate exquisite pleasure.

But in Martyrs the exquisite release is that of the knowing… what is on the other side of this world. And it is THIS world that is HELL…

MonsterGirl Asks Dante Tomaselli: American Indie Filmmaker / Auteur of the Nightmare Realms

The Nightmarish Journey of Dante Tomaselli

Why are Nuns almost as scary as Clowns?…a scene from Desecration

Dante Tomaselli was born October 29, 1969, in Paterson, New Jersey is an Italian-American horror screenwriter, director, and score composer. He studied film making at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute and then transferred to the New York School of Visual Arts, receiving a B.F.A. degree in Advertising there. His first film was a 23 minute short called Desecration which was screened at a variety of horror and mainstream film festivals. Later on, Dante Tomaselli expanded Desecration into a feature length film and in 1999, the film premiered to a SRO audience at the prestigious Fantafestival in Rome, Italy.

It’s no wonder that he’s “just this guy from New Jersey with odd visions” and a life long supernatural / horror aficionado considering himself as a ‘supernaturalist, NOT a ‘satanist’, who also happens to be the cousin of film director Alfred Sole the director who brought us the edgy , cult Catholic themed horror favorite , Alice Sweet Alice (1976) which I loved,the clear mask, the yellow raincoat…and I only have one criticism of that film, which is the little psychotic brat killing the big greasy fat man’s kitten. That was heinous, and I could have done without that scene.

But I digress.

Dante’s 2nd feature film, is Horror (2002) which was Tomaselli’s first commercial success, and has maintained a wide release on DVD.

Tomaselli then made Satan’s Playground (2005), It stars 70’s and early-80’s cult-horror icons Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), Ellen Sandweiss (The Evil Dead), and Edwin Neal (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre). The film is set, and was filmed in, New Jersey’s infamous Pine Barrens Forest.

Dante just completed his fourth feature, Torture Chamber the fourth installment in his nightmarish journey exploring the imaginations of Hell and damnation.

From Horror Movies.ca Torture Chamber is about a 13-year-old boy possessed by unspeakable evil. It’s probably the first serious independent horror film in a long time that’s in the vein of The Exorcist. The demon is called Baalberith, which, if you believe in demonology, tempts its host to blasphemy and murder,” he told the site. “Jimmy Morgan is a pyromaniac, horribly disfigured from experimentation with drugs. This Catholic boy’s family is crawling with religious fanatics. His mother believes he was sent from the Devil to set the world on fire. His older brother is a priest who tries to exorcise him. When Jimmy murders his own father, he burns him to death. Because of this, the troubled boy is sent to an Institution for disturbed youths. While there, Jimmy has a Charles Manson-like hold on the other kids from the burn unit. Together, they escape and Jimmy finds an old abandoned castle for shelter. That’s where the burned kids find a secret passage way that leads to a medieval, cobwebbed torture chamber.

COMING SOON!

First I have to start off by saying that I had the great fortune, or if you believe as I do in synchronicity, fate led me to a copy of Desecration (1999), Dante Tomaselli’s first horror film/ Hallucinatory project, which was being sold at our local indie video store in Madison Wisconsin, a very hip and fully stocked video store known fairly nationally as a outre funky ‘go to’ place where the clerks knew every film in existence and could spout synopsis on a dime if asked by a customer.

You needed to take a very grueling test to work at that place, which I passed with flying colors, yet I worked there for only one evening, before having a panic attack outside, when I couldn’t handle the pressure of helping undergrads and frat boys who had little patience for me training on the register. The experience shamed me away from Four Star Video Heaven  for the remaining years that I lived in Madison, BUT.. came away from it with one great thing, which was I had an inside crack at the mark down videos there during my week of training.

A few scenes from Desecration

And there were many obscure gems there that I scored because of that. One of them was Dante Tomaselli’s Desecration on VHS. (Which I still own) I quickly took the video home and watched it by myself, taking in all the imagery and discovering that I had stumbled onto a new film maker that I admired and respected greatly.

An overall impression of Dante’s work I’ll give right now. I internalize the Tomaselli experience like one of my sleep paralysis episodes or any number of horrific nightmares I’ve had from childhood to adulthood.

A few scenes from Horror

NOTICE THE CHILDREN’S DOLL HOUSE JUXTAPOSED WITH THE SYRINGE OF HALLUCINATORY DRUGS

Dante’s work does come closer to examining a nightmare, than most dream sequences attempted by other film makers. The dreams that truly frighten us are the ones that are more REAL.

I’ve seen his work being compared to Argento and Fulci, and while I’m sure that Dante might take this as a compliment on one hand, it doesn’t give enough credence to his own originality as an auteur. I speak from experience since I’ve been lazily compared to Tori Amos, when I’d like to think of my work as it’s own very unique ‘thing’

I see Dante Tomaselli’s work as uniquely his own imaginary / hallucinatory vision. Dante’s works are like little filmic exorcisms, for childhood fears. Where the danger surrounds anyone who is young, and the adults become the monsters. Where religion becomes the monster, and where fanaticism, repression and abuse, drives people toward possession, damnation, and inevitably to Hell, or a hellish nightmare world where there is no escape nor salvation.

A few stills from Desecration

Here is an excerpt from The Inferno of Dante. It illustrates much of how I see a Dante Tomaselli nightmare world coming close to a reality of Hell, a more protracted vision from the descriptions of the classic Inferno Hell.

Dante’s Inferno Canto VII line 10

That savage beast fell shrinking to the ground.
So we descended to the fourth defile
To experience more of that despondent land

That sacks up all the universe’s ill.
Justice of God! Who is it that heaps together
So much peculiar torture and travail?

Classical Map of Hell by Bartolomeo

Saint Anthony’s Catholic Academy

Still courtesy of Dread Central.com and Dante Tomaselli. A scene from Torture Chamber

A still courtesy of Dante Tomaselli from the upcoming Torture Chamber

Desecration and in particular Horror, are brutal nightmares that are underpinned by transgression, guilt, strong Maternal symbolism, fear of matriarchal control. Then add all the religious delirium,and the use of fetish. It’s all very primal...Tomaselli, coming from an Italian Catholic upbringing which inhabits it’s own magical realm within Christian dogma, the ferocious nuns and mysterious Saints, and austere priests. The abject fear of retribution by God… it’s all rather scary!

Some more scenes from Desecration

Brides married to Christ, but the candle wont light for Sister Madeline

Yet on a very Americana landscape, with a truly American Gothic narrative due to the fixation on Catholicism, Italian east coast Catholicism and the ordinary American family, the church and the surrounding childhood fears, perversion, fanaticism and madness. Which have manifested into these Surreal nightmarish paroxysms on screen.

Bobby’s Mother…and the repressed fear of matriarchal control. Mothers are scary when they don’t approve of us, or they want something that we as children cannot give them.

I also see amidst the imagery…agony, fixation, rage, desire , craving. frenzy, hysteria and desolation, as the proponents of the narratives, of Desecration and Horror.

I have not seen Satan’s Playground yet, but plan to very soon. I understand that Satan’s Playground is more linear and self contained. Based more on a particularly creepy family who live in the woods, and blending the mythos of the Jersey Devil, (Which I believe is just a fisher, which is in the weasel family..they eat cats..I hate them, they are Devils!) but I digress as I am apt to do…

In his films there lays bare a simplicity that straddles both surrealism and more of a realism.,which adds to the nihilistic atmosphere. And as I’ve said, he paints a landscape that is closer to the true nightmare experience, which taps into pain and unconscious guilt.

There’s an authentic American angst about ours sins swallowing us up and spitting us out into Hell. In Dante Tomaselli’s dream world, there exhibits a charismatic starkness, which exposes us down to a raw nerve and makes us feel closer to what might be a more straightforward Hell, than the depictions from classical paintings and literature.

“Torture Chamber, at the core, is about a family in deep psychic pain. All my films are about peeling back layers of pain and guilt buried in the unconscious mind.”- Dante Tomaselli

Now, that I’ve given some of my own impressions, I can continue with this next installment in the MonsterGirl Asks series. Dante Tomaselli has been extremely gracious in allowing me to ask him a question, in the midst of his busy schedule, after having just finished his 4th contribution to his hallucinatory works of horror art…this last film called Torture Chamber, which I have been given a special private screening of  the trailer which will be up on-line in a few weeks! and I have to say, it will continue to brand Tomaselli a hallucinatory auteur and broaden his landscape a bit more, but does not scale back on the schadenfreude emotional shivers and psychic acrobatics that his earlier works cause the viewer to go through, definitely me for sure.

Before I go to my question…First let me tell you about his first film Desecration (1999)

Desecration is an eerie psychological chiller about a young 16 year old boy named Bobby Rullo played by Danny Lopes. It also stars Christie Sandford as Sister Madeline/ Mary Rullo (Bobby’s mother) Sandford brings a certain arresting presence to both characters.

Bobby is an outsider, a loner. Bobby suffers from a repressive Catholic upbringing, and the emotional turmoil caused by his mother’s unexpected death. It is only after he inadvertently causes the death of a nun, that a series of supernatural chain of events begin to unfold. Bobby begins a journey through Hell, coming face to face with his dead mother. There begins a landscape of powerful childhood nightmare, where demons are unleashed upon the senses and innocence must find its way out of this decent, while the gates of Hell open wider.

The film acts as a set piece for our childhood fears, and the overpowering influence of abuse, fanaticism and repression, which wreak havoc on our innocence. You can call it surrealist, art house, abstract, experimental, what ever way helps you describe, a film that is more about evoking feelings, than supplying you with gratuitous gore, violence with no context or morality sewn into the seams of the plot, or loaded budgets with high gloss CGI but no substance.

Desecration is in effect a film you experience from the inside out. You’re not supposed to make sense of it. There is no sense to one’s madness, or one’s descent into a nether region, possibly Hell, possibly hallucination. It’s like trying to describe what you see in a series of colored splats on a canvas that doesn’t need to define a literal depiction of ‘something’. Modern Expressionism art is like that. a) You can not describe accurately what agency is behind a blue splotch, it is representational. And b) The experience will mean different things to different lookers, viewers, gazers.

Now Horror (2002), utilizes some of the same imagery as Desecration, in fact Danny Lopes plays the character Luck.

Here Dante Tomaselli merges two disturbing narratives. The two plot lines will eventually cross paths with each other. Teenage runaways abusing drugs escape from a drug rehab and follow the psychopathic Reverend Salo Jr. with the promise of salvation to the isolation of his family farmhouse.

Still more stills from Horror

There is an eerie connection to Salo Sr. and the existence of child abuse, and once again fanaticism and religion. Leading the group of teenagers is a boy named Luck played by Danny Lopes. He is already tripping on major hallucinogenics. They are led to the secluded farmhouse where the intersectionality of the plot begins.

Dante and Raine Brown

Living on the farm is Grace, Salo Jr’s sullen daughter played by Lizzy Mahon whom her father and his extremely peculiar wife Mrs. Salo (again the great Christie Sanford ) have enslaved Grace by forcing to her to take drugs and by means of psychic brainwashing.

Grace’s feels a psychic connection to her paternal grandfather Salo Sr, played by Kreskin, as Reverend Salo Sr. Is he the only salvation who appears to be guiding Grace? Or are his comforting visitations revealed to be luring her into more dangerous territory. Grace’s visions lead her to ultimately learn about her parent’s demonic preoccupations and devil worship.

Scenes from Horror

The painting morphs into a savage visage of Grandfather Salo The Reverend Sr. The scene is gripping and effective and brings me back to the Pilot episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, where Roddy McDowall kills his wealthy uncle and the painting which keeps changing, foretelling of his retribution on his murderous nephew. There are little pockets of powerful gusts of energy in Dante’s films.

Raine Brown plays Amanda, Jessica Pagan is Marissa, Kevin Kenny is Kevin and Chris Farabaugh (Satan’s Playground) is Fred. Felissa Rose plays an art therapist at the Rehabilitation Center. On another note Tomaselli’s casting is spot on. These actors truly bring to life these characters, make them believable and are absolutely perfect for the roles they’ve been given.

Salo Sr. is played by The Amazing Kreskin, who’m I remember from my childhood as a celebrity mentalist. I don’t remember if he was amazing!, but I think he was pretty cool, and I love that Tomaselli is utilizing his creepy vintage prestige to add to the film’s atmospherics as well as a nod to the good old days.

AND NOW FOR THE QUESTION I ASKED DANTE TOMASELLI

MY QUESTION IS THIS: (MonsterGirl and Daisy Asks)

What strikes me as a very key component to a Dante Tomaselli experience is the use of sound in your films, which you yourself do all the scoring.

The soundscapes and the utilization and presence of auditory ‘spirit’ add to the occupying level of concentration that attaches itself to your stories. It’s partly what creates a disturbing influence to the atmosphere. I’ve read that you compose the soundtrack like you were making an album.

Tell me about your experiences trying to bring to life another level of the senses ‘SOUND’ which inhabits your hallucinatory/nightmarish realms, what does the sound design mean to you? What does it add to the film or as you would say the ‘equation.’ ?

Dante Tomaselli – The Sound Hunter!

DANTE TOMASELLI’S ANSWER:

When I was a little boy, I used to play an electronic organ. I’d sit there for hours and imagine strange images: ghosts, witches, quicksand, nuns, bats and haunted houses. I’d see rolling hills…with graveyards. I had so many nightmares…endless nightmares…and I remembered them so clearly. I always imagined…or feared…another world poking through…the spirit world. Somewhere on the other side was a shadowy realm with a cage or deep hole or cobwebbed torture chamber. Now as an adult, once the film is shot, I’m left alone with my footage, I love sound mixing. I feel like I’m home. It’s like the missing link. It’s me as a child all over again…playing my horror music on the organ, seeing pictures. Channeling something from far away…or deep within, something demonic, something celestial. I’m a sound hunter. If I’m missing a certain effect, anything, then I’m on the hunt for it. I can’t rest until I find it. Since I’m the film’s sound designer, music supervisor and main composer, everything, sound-wise is my responsibility. I like that. In the studio, I work with the engineer, all alone, just like I’m making an album. It wouldn’t be my film if I didn’t design the soundtrack. It is 50% of the film’s equation. On Torture Chamber, I brought on a small group of eclectic musicians to create some additional sound fx, soundscapes and tones. These musicians didn’t compose to picture, per se. They didn’t see the film. I didn’t want them to. I’m more interested in what is in the imagination. I’ll send a section of the script with some direction. What comes back to me is sometimes totally off the mark and not usable but occasionally something really gels and there’s this odd, fresh dynamic at work. Something unexpected.

So once I choose another composer’s soundscape, I’ll grab the best moments. Then I’ll mix those highlights with my own music and sound fx, usually a lot of low tones and glacial stings.

It’s this mixture that feels like a witches brew. I like to be surprised by the result of all that swirling and stirring. I want it to feel unpredictable, a little dangerous. Composing the score, I listen to sounds individually and mix them in my mind. I fantasize and watch the footage. It stays in my head and I eventually write it down. Once in the studio, I mix and match and it feels very much like sculpting or painting. I’m painting with sounds.

A still from the upcoming Torture Chamber courtesy of Dante Tomaselli

Thank You so much Dante, for that very eloquent and enlightening answer that sheds a little more light on your working process as a film maker.

And there YOU have just a little hint at Dante Tomaselli’s world, his work. Please visit his official sites,

http://horrorthemovie.com/

http://enterthetorturechamber.com/

http://www.myspace.com/horrorthemovie

Watch one of his films, and see for yourself, what can be done with an intensely ethereal imagination and a low budget and an inner vision of the landscapes where nightmare’s live and breath.

It’s been a supreme pleasure chatting with Dante Tomaselli,

MonsterGirl thanks him, and wishes him good dreams and productive nightmares!

And Happy Nightmares To You All- Dream on- MonsterGirl

Columbo: And The Quirky Little Detective in The Shabby Raincoat Says!

From Season 3, Episode 4: Double Exposure

Original Air Date16 December 1973
Robert Culp plays Dr. Bart Keppel an opportunistic  “motivational research specialist guru” who uses subliminal cuts to commit murder. But Lt. Columbo is onto him right from the beginning as usual!

Starring Peter Falk as the inimitable & tenacious, underestimated and hyper perceptive Detective Columbo who always comes prepared with thoughtful anecdotes about his family and his ever present cigar. He’s  shabby “like an unmade bed” but always lovable. The episodes are rooted in class conflict as Lt Columbo often inhabits the role of David up against the entitlement ridden criminal who thinks they’re a Goliath yet are no match for such a subtle and agile minded wit.

Columbo – “I don’t think it’s proving anything Doc, as a matter of fact I don’t even know what it means. It’s just one of those things that gets in my head and keeps rolling around in there like a marble.”

Just a quick note about Peter Falk, one of my favorite actors who created one of the most memorable characters of all time.

On June 4 2009 wife Shera Danese released a press statement asking for Falk’s privacy after a very public battle over conservatorship by his daughter. He has since retired from the business, due to illness and Alzheimers. I write this blog quote in honor of my admiration for his past work over the years, and wish the man peace and contentment on his journey.

MonsterGirl


Sunday Nite Surreal: Russ Meyer’s Faster, PussyCat! Kill! Kill! (1965)Fabulous Tura Satana “The point is of no return and you’ve reached it!”

FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! 1965

I had the honor of being the next person interviewed right next to Tura in Indie Filmmaker Steve Balderson’s experimental art film, Phone Sex. It was a thrill to come after the vivacious and wonderful Ms Satana!

Three wild women, Tura Satana as Varla, Haji as Rosie and Lori Williams as Billie, strippers thrill seeking cross paths with a young couple in the desert. Once they get rid of the boy, they take the girl hostage and set out to steal a crippled man’s stash of cash, that he’s supposedly hiding.The old man has two sons who they try to seduce in order to get at the old man’s money. But they don’t realize that they’re dealing with something a little more than a feeble man in a wheelchair. Exploitation at it’s best. Satana is a treasure to watch. She just plain kicks ass!

R.I.P you warrior woman! (July 10, 1938 – February 4, 2011)


A Legend, Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79: Girl with the violet eyes

Today we lost a true legend. One of the most evocatively beautiful and Dionysian actresses of all time, and a passionate humanitarian. To say Elizabeth Taylor is one of my favorite people would sound contrived and pale inadequately to how much I truly love her. Dame Elizabeth was and always will be what dreams are made of.

I’m so glad that I covered her incredible performance in Butterfield 8 (1960) recently. Now in honor of her leaving us, I plan on covering many of the outstanding contributions she made. Some even obscure.

You’re with the angels now, violet eyed beauty, we will miss you terribly, but will keep the reels eternal.

With great sadness

MonsterGirl

Wonderful video tribute using Sammy Davis Jr.’s incredible song. When I Look In Your Eyes 1967

“I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I’m not afraid to look behind them.”
Elizabeth Taylor

Jo Gabriel scores “The Conjuror”/L’ Impressionniste fin de siècle (1899) for George Méliès tribute album

The song Summoning is a track off my album The Amber Sessions released in 2007 it appears on Lightwerx courtesy of the 17 Pygmies art film tribute to the great silent filmmaker George Melies as the Trakwerx CollectiveLightwerx

Released October 2009

More Women In Peril






Sisters (1973)

I Want To Live (1958)

The Honeymoon killers (1969)

Dead Ringer (1964)

The Dark Corner (1946)

The Reckless Moment (1949)

The Blue Dahlia (1946)

What Ever Happened To Aunt Alice(1969)

The File On Thelma Jordan (1950)

No Way Out (1950)

Don’t Bother To Knock (1952)

Nightmare Alley (1947)

A Woman Under The Influence (1974)

The Prowler (1951)

Lady In The Lake (1947)

Dolores Clairborne (1995)

A Street Car Named Desire (1951)

The Ladykillers (1955)

In A Lonely Place (1950)

Tattoo (1981)

Gloria (1989)

The Penalty (1920)

The Naked Kiss (1964)

Charade (1953)

Night Of the Hunter(1955)

Caged (1950)





Fear.dot.com/ Film Pilager The Devil as Little blond girl and her white ball

I suffer from remake-itus as it is.Very rarely do I have interest unless I feel that either the director or the use of technology might make the film a unique offering or an interesting addition and not a substitute.*

Special note about FeardotCom– I not only hated this film, but I was angered by the blatant rip off of Bava’s imagery of the little blond girl used as the symbolic Devil figure in Kill Baby Kill and the Toby Dammit sequence from Spirits of The Dead directed by Federico Fellini and artfully acted by the great Terence Stamp.

The use of the little eerie blond girl bouncing a white ball was a well known motif used by these directors and I wish that William Malone would have at least admitted his usage as homage. I could find no such tip of the hat to these iconic images in any of his interviews about the film, and so I dismiss this film with a certain antagonism toward pillaged workmanship. At least DePalma talks openly about his reverence to Hitchcock when he’s used similar mechanisms in his films. I wonder if Malone thought that this new contemporary film goer might not have knowledge of the great Bava. He insults my intelligence, as well as the curiosity of young people everywhere. insert (deep huff). Ti West Lucky Mckee, Fessenden,  del Toro and JT Petty manage very well to come up with inspiring imagery and unique characters in their screenplays.

And notice, as I’ve mentioned in prior posts, her mouth is slashed from ear to ear, what an original concept. This film utilizes nothing unique, I’m surprised it didn’t incorporate a “women skinning psychopath” who’s out to make himself a lady suit, a mummified mother in the basement ,the seven deadly sins and kryptonite.

Let’s throw in taking the slashed mouth from Conrad Veidt’s portrait of Hugo’s character Gwynplaine in The Man Who Laughs(1928)-MG





list of 21st century contemporary films I actually liked or found some interesting elements to

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  • 28 Days Later (2002)
  • Albert Fish (2007)
  • American Psycho (2000)
  • The Babadook (2014)
  • Borgman (2013)
  • Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
  • The Burrowers (2008)
  • The Butterfly Room (2012)
  • The Cell (2000)
  • Changling(2008)
  • Cropsey (2009)
  • The Descent (2005)
  • The Devil’s Backbone (2001)
  • Dark Waters (2005)
  • Donnie Darko (2001)
  • Dawn of The Dead (2004)
  • Death Of A Ghost Hunter (2007)
  • Durham County
  • The Dead Girl (2006)
  • Desecration (1999)
  • The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)
  • Final Destination (2000)
  • Fragile
  • Frailty (2001)
  • The Gift (2000)
  • Ginger Snaps (2000)
  • Hard Candy 2005
  • House of The Devil (2009)
  • House of Voices 2007
  • Identity (2003)
  • The Invasion (2007)
  • Jeepers Creepers (2001)
  • Let The Right One In (2008)
  • Martyrs
  • May(2002)
  • The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
  • MulHolland Drive (2001)
  • The Ninth Gate (1999)
  • The Others (2001)
  • The Order(2003)
  • The Orphanage (2007)
  • Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
  • Population 436(2006)
  • Resident Evil (2002)
  • The Return (2003)
  • The Ring(1998)
  • Satan’s Playground
  • Shiver (2008)
  • Session 9(2001)
  • The Skeleton Key(2005)
  • Stigmata (1999)
  • Silent Hill (2006)
  • Saw (2004)
  • Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
  • Surveillance (2009)
  • Suspect Zero(2004)
  • Sweeney Todd (2007)
  • The Cold Light of Day
  • The Orphanage
  • The Tall Man
  • The Woods (2006)
  • Trick R Treat 2007
  • Wendigo (2001)
  • War of The Worlds (2005)
  • Wicked Little Things (2006)
  • Wisconsin Death Trip(1999)
  • The Woman 2011
  • SPECIAL MENTION FOR TELEVISION
  • Dexter, American Horror Story, Six Feet Under, Dead Like Me and Carnival
  • CapturFiles


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Women In Peril Series Overview: A part of film history/sub genre Part I

I am starting to list some of the most memorable women in peril films over the past decades that have left an impression on me, and have made their mark on the horror/Noir/mystery/thriller genres.

Here are the films that I plan on discussing in depth with individual reviews to follow. I’m sure that I’ve forgotten some, so I’ll be periodically adding whatever films I might have overlooked during this series. Each day I’ll offer another essay on most, if not all of the films seen here. If there’s a film that you’ve notice I’ve omitted please feel free to drop me a note and I’ll gladly add it to the mix.

I’ve considered adding Rosemary’s Baby and The Mephisto Waltz, but I’d like to save them as a pair of essays on Witchcraft in cinema.

The criteria that I am using to classify what I consider to be a woman in peril film is how i view the plot narrative as seen a) through the female gaze b)there is one or several main female characters who are central to the plot and are not just on the periphery of the film. There are so many films where women characters are either victims, in danger or are targeted, and so their presence satellites around the story but does not drive the narrative enough for me to qualify it as for this sub-genre study.

As in Psycho,Dressed To Kill where the female lead is killed in the beginning these films we are following more of the Protagonist(Norman Bates) as in Peeping Tom, or Silence of The Lambs( Hannibal Lechter)where women have been murdered, they should be reserved for solo review because the plot is viewed through the Protagonist’s lens. In The Boston Strangler 1968 , there are various women victims, yet the film is shot almost sensitively facilitated by Henry Fonda’s character who guides Tony Curtis(Albert DeSalvo) through a self reflexive process in order to reassemble the time line and the motivation and substance of his insanity which lead to his crimes. It is more Psychological True Crime Police Drama

The films are not in any chronological order nor are they sorted by definition of how much I either loved the film or at least found the film entertaining. Here are some general synopsis:

You will notice that I am a huge fan of Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Anne Baxter Joan Bennett, Joan Crawford,Olivia de Havilland, Barbara Stanwyck, Gloria Grahame, Lee Remick, Simone Signoret and more. 70’s actresses like Faye Dunaway,Tuesday Weld, Joan Hackett, Barbara Parkins , Joanna Pettit, Stefanie Powers  and more.

Beware My Lovely (1952)

Stars Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan who’s volatile temper makes him a walking time bomb.

The Blue Gardenia (1953) Starring Ann Baxter and Richard Conte

Baxter gets mixed up in a murder mystery and must try and figure out whether she’s the killer or not!

Lady In A Cage (1964

Cast A Dark Shadow (1955)

Stars Dirk Bogarde as the sociopath Edward “Teddy” Bare who marries an elderly woman Margaret Lockwood, for her money. He dotes on her until the time is right, then moves onto his next victim.

Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964)

Charlotte is a wealthy southern spinster who is shunned by her community for the grisly murder some 40 years prior.

She is taken care of by her faithful servant Velma played brilliantly by Agnes Moorehead. Charlotte holds up in the house refusing to leave when she is issued an eviction notice. Enter, “Cousin Miriam” with her gentleman friend played by Joseph Cotton. Unfortunately Miriam has other motivations for coming to the Hollis Plantation. Miriam is the sole beneficiary once she can manage to have Charlotte committed for her odd and reclusive behavior.This is a tragic and twisted tale of revenge and greed.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)


Directed again by the great Robert Aldridge this was the first time he brought the two great titans together , regardless of how tumultuous their relationship was off screen.

Bette Davis plays Jane Hudson, a washed up child star living as a recluse in her mansion with her invalid sister, Blanche played by Joan Crawford. The psychological warfare that Jane wages against her sister a virtual prisoner is intense. A story of envy, jealousy, loss of youth and revenge.

Sudden Fear (1952)

Starring Joan Crawford, Jack Palance and Gloria Grahame.After an ambitious actor insinuates himself into the life of a wealthy middle-aged playwright and marries her, he plots with his mistress to murder her.

Die Die My Darling aka Fanatic (1965)

Stephanie Powers stars as Patricia Carroll who arrives in London to get remarried, and regretfully takes a detour out to the rural English countryside to see her former fiance’s mother the controlling Mrs Trefoile.Played by Tallulah Bankhead. Mrs.Trefoile blames Pat for automobile accident that killed her son.

Sorry Wrong Number (1948)

Dial M For Murder (1954)

Another Hitchcock thriller:

Ex-tennis pro Tony Wendice decides to murder his wife for her money. He blackmails an old college associate to strangle her, but when things go wrong he sees a way to turn events to his advantage.

Ray Milland plays Tony Wendice who finds out that his wife Margo played by Grace Kelly had an affair.Tony sets out to plan the perfect murder but his plans go terribly astray when the killer becomes the victim instead.Wendice trying to cover everything up, decides then to make it appear that Margo had an ulterior motive for killing the man.

 

 

The Spiral Staircase (1945)

directed by Robert Siodmak

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi4093247769/

Gaslight (1944)

Why does the flame go down? In a London house where the fixtures are gas flames. The lovely Ingrid Bergman plays Paula Anton who is being driven mad by husband Charles Boyer. Joseph Cotton plays a Scotland Yard detective who suspects that something isn’t quite right. suspects. This Oscar winning (Best Actress) dark mystery,introduces Angela Lansbury in her first acting role plays one of the servants. Also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Boyer).

Repulsion (1965)Catherine Deneuve plays a very troubled Belgian girl, Carol, who works as a manicurist at a London beauty salon. . She shares a flat with her sister Helen and her sister’s married lover, Michael.Carol has a distrust of men. The Landlord is a lecherous sort who terrorizes her, and ultimately her mind begins to unravel over a long weekend while she’s alone in the flat.  Roman Polanski directs this disturbing imaginative film. The scenes of catalepsy and hallucination are very heavy as Carol descends into madness. I wrote a song called There’s A Crack In The Wall off my neo classical album The Last Drive In as a tribute to this film.

Reflections of Murder (1974)

Directed by John Badham and stars Tuesday Weld, Sam Waterston and Joan Hackett.this is a very faithful retelling of Diabolique.

Nightmare (1964) Hammer Horror

A British thriller by the Hammer group. A young girl is released from an institution on her sixteenth birthday, after having been believed to have killed her parents. Is someone trying to drive her mad?

A Kiss Before Dying (1956)

Robert Wagner plays a perfect all American sociopath in this film about an opportunistic fellow who sets his sights on becoming successful at any cost. When girlfriend Joanne Woodward gets pregnant that puts an obstacle in his way


Scream Of Fear aka Touch of Fear (1961) Hammer Horror

Starring Ann Todd, Christopher Lee and Susan Strasberg and scripted by Jimmy Sangster

In England, the body of a young girl is found determined to be an apparent suicide In Nice, France, the chauffeur, , dutifully arrives at the airport to pick up Penny Appleby(Susan Strasberg).She is confined to a wheelchair since a long-ago horse riding accident, Penny has come to stay with her wealthy father and stepmother, Jane played by Ann Todd

All Penny knows is that she’s told her father is away, but she keeps seeing his corpse all around the house.

A Place In The Sun (1951) Based on Theordore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, stars Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor and Shelley Winters.

Games (1967)

One of Curtis Harrington’s best psychological thrillers starring James Caan, Katherine Ross and Simone Signoret. Ross and Caan are a New York City couple who like to play games. Suddenly Simone Signoret comes into their lives and now the atmosphere changes from parlor games to deadly games.

Diabolique (1955) directed by Henri -George Clouzot

and starring Simone Signoret as the mistress to a cruel head master at a private school for boys. She befriends the emotionally abused wife played by Vera Clouzot.And this friendship starts a series of events that are equally mysterious and disturbing.

What’s The Matter With Helen (1971)

Curtis Harrington’s best film, starring Debbie Reynold’s Shelley Winters and Dennis Weaver. The two film queens, play mothers of sons who are convicted of the sensational crime of murder. To escape the scrutiny of the press and the public, they move and open up a small dance studio for little girls. But terror follows them as some unknown assailant is lurking in the shadow, or is there something seriously wrong with Helen ( Shelley Winters)

Wait Until Dark (1967)

Audrey Hepburn plays Susie a blind woman who spends most of the film in the claustrophobic apartment waiting for her husband to come home. He’s been asked to hold a doll for a woman as they get off an airplane. The doll winds up in Susie’s possession.Enters, Richard Crenna and Alan Arkin who play memorable roles as the thugs who are after the doll which has been stuffed with heroine.

See No Evil aka Blind Terror (1971)After being blinded in a horseback-riding accident, Sarah Mia Farrow, moves in with her aunt, uncle and cousin.During her absence the entire family is murdered. She is unaware of this until she stumbles onto the bodies, and now  Sarah is trapped in the remote farmhouse and must try and escape the killer who is now hunting her.

Fright (1971)Susan George is the young babysitter Amanda who arrives at the Lloyd residence to spend the evening looking after their young son. There is an escaped maniac from the local asylum on the loose and soon a series of frightening occurrences in the dark old house has Amanda frightened to death.Starring Honor Blackman and Ian Bannen.

And Soon The Darkness ( 1970)

Pamela Franklin stars in this film about two British tourists, young girls who decide to travel the lovely country side of France only to encounter a psycho sexual rapist/murderer who begins to stalk them while vacationing. Very taut and claustrophobic journey of two girls out of their element and in harms way.


The Collector 1965)

Freddie (Terence Stamp) is a shy psychopathic bank clerk whose passion is collecting butterflies, When he becomes obsessed with art student Miranda Grey (Sammantha Eggar) he sets out to acquire her the same way. He prepares the cellar of the house to be a collecting/killing jar. Based on the novel by John Fowles.

 

The Stepford Wives (1972) Written and scripted by Ira Levin who also wrote Rosemary’s Baby and Boys from Brazil. It stars Katherine Ross, who unwittingly becomes the target of an elite group of men who decide that their wives in this bedroom town of successful beautiful people, aren’t quite perfect as they are. Also starring Paula Prentiss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Way To Treat A Lady (1968) Starring Rod Steiger, George Segal and Lee Remick. Directed by Jack Smight. George Segal is a nice jewish boy detective who’s under his mother’s thumb, this weary yet clever cop winds up playing a cat and mouse game with a highly dramatic and psychotic killer who is using the art of disguise to lure and trap his women victims. The element of the Oedipus complex is richly explored in this film and Steiger is masterful as a man coming undone on his mission to destroy his mother with every stroke of the redlipstick he leaves as his calling card.

Blood Simple (1984)

Joel Coen’s of the Coen Brothers startling thriller with Frances McDormand, M.Emmet Walsh and Dan Hedaya. A bar owner hires a private eye to follow his wife to make sure that she’s not cheating on him.

Night Watch (1973) Elizabeth Taylor plays Ellen Wheeler, a rich widow, who is recovering from a nervous breakdown. One day, while staring out the window, she witnesses a murder. No one especially her husband played by Laurence Harvey nor friend Billy Whitelaw believes that she’s actually seen a gruesome murder take place in the abandoned house across the courtyard.


Klute (1971)  http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi2492530969/

John Klute’s (Donald Sutherland)friend has totally disappeared. The only clue a connection with a call girl, Bree Daniels played by Jane Fond. Klute sets up shop in Bree’s apartment to try and uncover the answers to what has happened, and must guard against the allure of the beautiful New York City call-girl he enlists to help him,while putting her in grave danger.

 

 

You’ll Like My Mother (1972) made for television film

Patty Duke stars as a young pregnant woman who comes to her mother-in- law’s house after her husband dies. Something is not quite right in the house and Richard Thomas plays a really convincing psychopath in this chilling made for tv movie also stars Rosemary Murphy


Night Must Fall (1937)

Robert Montgomery plays the likable psychopath who is hiding out on the loose and keeping his victim’s head in a hat box. I prefer this earlier adaptation of the film with Rosalind Russell to the later 1964 version with Albert Finney. Robert Montgomery is spectacular as the charming psychopath, and Dame May Whitty is superb.

Undercurrent (1946)

Starring Katherine Hepburn, she plays the wife of Robert Taylor who may be a psychopath trying to kill her. Also starring Robert Mitchum.

 

 

 

 

 

Shadow Of A Doubt (1943) another Hitchcock masterpiece.

this one’s about good old uncle Charlie masterfully played by Joseph Cotton, who just might be the Merry Widow Killer. Teresa Wright is his niece who starts to see him for who he really is.

 


The Secret Behind The Door (1947)Fritz Lang

Joan Bennett and Michael Redgrave are exceptional in this tale of newlyweds Celia and Mark Lamphere. This is a Freudian journey of insanity, undying love and redemption. Is Redgrave a twisted murderer and will Bennett survive what lies behind the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Two Mrs Carrolls (1947)

Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck and Alexis Smith.

Bogart is brilliant as he plays struggling artist Gerry Carroll who meets Sally while on holiday in the country. A romance develops but he doesn’t tell her he’s already married. Suffering from mental illness, Gerry returns home where he paints an impression of his wife as the angel of death and then promptly poisons her. He marries Sally but after a while he finds a strange urge to paint her as the angel of death too and history seems about to repeat itself. The film also stars the angelic Ann Carter as Carroll’s lonely daughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking For Mr Goodbar (1977)Directed by Richard Brooks

Stars Diane Keaton as a dedicated teacher of deaf children by day but lives a dual life as she cruises the bars at night looking for abusive men to have dangerous sexual encounters with. Also stars Richard Gere, and Tuesday Weld.

 

Ladies In Retirement (1941) Starring Ida Lupino as a housekeeper trying to look out for her two emotionally disturbed sisters. One of which is the wonderful Elsa Lanchester.

The Night Walker (1964) directed William Castle and written by Robert Bloch it stars Barbara Stanwyck who’s dream lover Lloyd Bochner may or may not be real. She is haunted by these nightly visions of her dead husband. Also starts Robert Taylor.

Cape Fear (1962)

Exceptional thriller especially from great performances by Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum and Polly Bergen. Peck is the lawyer who puts Mitchum a rageful psychopath, Max Cady in jail, and now he’s out to terrorize the entire family.

Experiment In Terror (1962)

Directed by Blake Edwards, Lee Remick plays Kelly Sherwood a woman who is being terrorized by a creepy asthmatic man named Garland “Red”Lynch brilliantly played by Ross Martin. He wants her to steal $100,000 from the bank where she works. Red kidnaps Kelly’s younger sister Stefanie Powers in order to strong arm her into doing what he wants. Glenn Ford plays the cool agent on Red’s trail.

 

The Eyes Of Laura Mars (1978) written for the screen by John Carpenter

Stars Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones and Brad Dourif a very underrated actor.

Dunaway is a high fashion photographer and her models are being assailed and gruesomely murdered by a  psychopath who doesn’t approve of her point of view as art. Very disturbing and well done thriller.

Coma (1978)

Based on Michael Crichton’s book, stars Genevieve Bujold and Michael Douglas. Bujold becomes curious about several deaths where patients are inexplicably going into comas.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

A Howling In The Woods(1971) Barbara Eden stars as a woman who comes back to the family estate, only to find that her father has disappeared and her stepmother is acting strange. So are all the town folk. Vera Miles and Larry Hagman also star in this made for TV film

Death Car On The Freeway (1979)

Starring Shelley Hack and Peter Graves. There is a psychotic driver playing fiery fiddle music on his 8 track stereo as he runs women off the L.A. Freeway in his van. Fun made for tv film.

The Screaming Woman (1972)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The great Olivia de Havilland hears a woman crying from underneath the ground on her property, but no one in the area will believe her. Has Ed Nelson buried his wife alive?

Crescendo ( 1970) Scripted by Jimmy Sangster, Stefanie Powers is an American girl who goes to France to work on her thesis. She stays with the family of a famous pianist/composer, but something isn’t quite right.

Scream Pretty Peggy(1973)

Directed by Gordon Hessler, it stars Bette Davis the mother of Ted Bessell(That Girl) a sculptor who hires young girls to come and take care of his aged mother and insane sister.

The Mad Room (1969)

Remake of 1941’s “Ladies in Retirement” Stars Stella Stevens as a psychotic women who is a companion to the wealthy Shelley Winters. Stella’s younger sister and brother have just been released from an institution have believed that they killed their parents years ago.

 

 

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973) tv film

John Newland directed this really spooky film starring Kim Darby and Jim Hutton. About little evil gremlins that have been trapped in the family fireplace  down the cellar. Classic spooky tv film

When Michael Calls (1972) made for tv film

Starring Michael Douglas, Ben Gazzara and Elizabeth Ashley plays Helen who keeps on receiving phone calls from a child, who claims being her nephew Michael – but Michael died 15 years ago.

 

 

 

 

Sweet Sweet Rachel (1971) made for tv film starring Pat Hingle, Louise Latham and Stefanie Powers.

An ESP expert uses his powers to try to track down a psychic who uses telepathy to commit murder.

A Taste Of Evil (1971)

Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey, this film stars Barbara Stanwyck, Barbara Parkins, Roddy McDowall and William Windom. Barbara Parkins has been in an institution after a brutal rape as a child. Now she’s come home to her mother’s house where it happened, and strange things begin to happen. Is she going crazy or is she being assailed by an unseen stalker?

 

Picture Mommy Dead (1966)Bert I Gordon directs something other than things either growing large or shrinking into oblivion this film is starring Don Ameche, Martha Hyer,and Zsa Zsa Gabor

Susan Shelley is released from an asylum where she’s been confined to after the shock suffered over the fiery death of her mother.

Welcome to Arrow Beach (1974)

Starring Laurence Harvey a Korean War veteran who lives with his sister Joanna Petit. A girl wandering on the beach is taken in by Harvey but she soon learns of his strange appetites. Also starring John Ireland and Stuart Whitman.