Beast with Five Fingers 1946
Beast with Five Fingers directed by Robert Florey and written by Curt Siodmak stars Andrea King as the heroine nurse Julie Holden, Peter Lorre as Hillary Cummins a creepy astrologist and personal assistant to the eccentric pianist Francis Ingram (Victor Francen), and Robert Alda. The film is a classic supernatural horror centered around a disembodied hand (which is locked in a safe). The original tale was written by W. F. Harvey, and published in 1919.
The story is set in a turn-of-the-century secluded Renaissance mansion in a remote Italian village and revolves around the eerie events that unfold after the death of its tyrannical owner, a wheelchair-bound recluse Ingram. Following a visit from a scam artist (Robert Alda), Ingram crashes down the stairs to his death — and a plague of bizarre events ensues that are attributed to the musician’s disembodied left hand. Lorre is superb as usual as he experiences a feverish delirium – persecuted by the five-fingered nightmare.
Ingram a brilliant but reclusive scholar and collector of ancient manuscripts has amassed a remarkable collection, but his greatest fascination lies in the world of the occult and at the heart of the mystery lies the severed hand that possesses a malevolent intelligence of its own.
Brain From Planet Arous 1957
It Will Steal Your Body And Damn Your Soul!
The Brain from Planet Arous is a cult science fiction film directed by Nathan Juran and released in 1957. The movie’s premise revolves around an evil brain from the planet Arous that takes control of a human scientist’s body (John Agar), leading to a battle of wills for control over the Earth.
When a brilliant scientist named Steve March (played by John Agar) stumbles upon a strange, glowing rock in the desert cave, he inadvertently becomes the host for Gor, an evil extraterrestrial brain from the planet Arous. Gor’s intelligence far surpasses that of humans, and he uses his newfound control over Steve’s body to embark on a nefarious plan to dominate Earth. He demonstrates his powers to destroy any target using his mind and his black-eyed radar stare. As Gor’s sinister actions escalate, Steve’s girlfriend, Sally (played by Joyce Meadows) and her father played by Thomas Brown Henry become increasingly suspicious of his erratic behavior. With the help of a benevolent brain from Arous named Vol, who inhabits the body of Steve’s dog, they discover the truth about the alien invasion.
A high-stakes battle of wills ensues as Vol and his human allies attempt to thwart Gor’s diabolical schemes and save Earth from his malevolent control. The fate of the planet hangs in the balance as they race against time to stop the brain from Planet Arous.
The Brain from Planet Arous is a campy and entertaining example of 1950s B-science fiction cinema, known for its over-the-top performances and quirky premise.
Blood of Dracula 1957
Blood of Dracula is a 1957 horror film directed by Herbert L. Strock. It’s a part of the sub-genre of the 1950s horror genre that focuses on teenagers, the supernatural, and the rampant sexuality of burgeoning youth.
Nancy Perkins (played by Sandra Harrison) is a troubled teenager who is sent to the Sherwood School for Girls due to her rebellious behavior and her mother’s new romance which motivates the couple to abandon Nancy. At the school, she becomes the unwitting victim of an experiment conducted by the school’s science teacher, Miss Branding played by Louise Lewis), who secretly wants to release Nancy’s primal force by using an ancient amulet to regress her unleashing her primal nature.
Branding uses Nancy as a test subject for her bizarre and sinister experiments, injecting her with a serum derived from Dracula’s blood. As a result, Nancy undergoes a dark transformation, developing a newfound taste for blood and exhibiting vampire-like tendencies.
As her behavior becomes increasingly erratic and dangerous, the film follows Nancy’s descent into darkness and her attempts to resist the vampiric urges that now consume her.
Blood of Dracula is a classic example of 1950s teen horror cinema, blending elements of the vampire myth with the era’s fascination with juvenile delinquency and science fiction. The film co-stars Gail Ganley as Myra, Heather Ames as Nola, Thomas Brown Henry as Mr. Paul Perkins, Mary Adams as Mrs. Thorndyke, and Malcolm Atterbury as Lt. Dunlop.
The Black Torment 1964
The Black Torment is a British Gothic horror film released in 1964.
Set in the rural English countryside during the 18th century, The Black Torment follows the ominous events that unfold at the mansion of Sir Richard Fordyke (played by John Turner). Sir Richard has recently returned home after marrying the beautiful Elizabeth (played by Heather Sears) from a nearby village.
Shortly after their arrival, strange and unsettling occurrences plague the Fordyke household. Local villagers claim to have seen Sir Richard committing acts of violence and cruelty, including the brutal murder of a young woman. However, Sir Richard vehemently denies these allegations, asserting that he is the victim of a sinister conspiracy.
As tensions rise, the truth behind the accusations remains elusive. Sir Richard’s loyal servants and his new wife, Elizabeth, are torn between their loyalty to him and the mounting evidence of his alleged crimes. Elizabeth becomes determined to uncover the dark secrets hidden within the mansion.
As the suspense builds, the film explores themes of paranoia, betrayal, and the supernatural. It delves into the mysterious history of the Fordyke family and their connections to the vengeful spirits of the past. Elizabeth’s quest for the truth takes her on a harrowing journey through the mansion’s shadowy corridors, where she confronts the malevolent forces that threaten to tear her world apart.
Blood Bath 1966
Directed and written by Jack Hill and Stephanie Rothman, Blood Bath (1966)is a unique and atmospheric horror film that takes viewers on a surreal journey into the twisted mind of an artist turned murderer. Set against the backdrop of 1960s Southern California, the film follows the enigmatic and disturbed character of Antonio Sordi, portrayed by the charismatic William Campbell. Sordi is a deranged artist whose obsession with his belief that he is the reincarnation of a vampire, and this macabre fixation drives him to commit a series of gruesome murders. He uses his victims as subjects for his paintings, turning their violent deaths into grotesque works of art. As the bodies pile up, the police are baffled by the bizarre and seemingly unrelated murders, while the art world begins to take notice of his disturbing creations.
Blood Bath is a visually striking cult classic that blurs the lines between reality and nightmare. With its psychedelic visuals, eerie soundtrack, and a mesmerizing performance by William Campbell, the movie creates a dreamlike, nightmarish atmosphere. The film co-stars Marissa Mathes as Daisy Allen, Lori Saunders as Dorean, Sandra Knight as Donna Allen, and Hill regular Sid Haig as Abul the Arab.
Blood on Satan’s Claw 1971
I’ll be doing a Saturday Nite Sublime to further explore this atmospheric nightmare, for now, enjoy the trailer/teaser.
Blood on Satan’s Claw is a 1971 British horror film set in the 17th century. The story unfolds in a rural English village, where the peaceful community’s harmony is shattered when a young farmer uncovers a mysterious, demonic skull while plowing his field. This gruesome discovery triggers a series of disturbing events as the villagers, particularly the children, become increasingly possessed by an evil force.
As the malevolent influence spreads, the villagers’ behavior takes a dark turn, marked by witchcraft, sadistic rituals, and a descent into madness. A local judge, played by Patrick Wymark, attempts to unravel the sinister mystery and confront the evil that has taken hold of the community.
Blood on Satan’s Claw is a chilling tale of folklore, superstition, and the battle between good and evil, as the villagers must confront the demonic presence threatening to consume their souls. It’s a classic example of British folk horror, known for its atmospheric tension and disturbing imagery. The film is co-stars Linda Hayden as the enigmatic Angel Blake and directed by Piers Haggard credited as assistant director on Blow-Up 1966.
The Bat People 1974
The Bat People (1974) is a chilling and atmospheric horror film that combines elements of science fiction and creature-feature genres. The movie follows the terrifying transformation of a man into a vampire bat-human hybrid and the nightmarish consequences that follow. The bat-man makeup was designed by the great Stan Winston.
Dr. John Beck (played by Stewart Moss) and his wife, Cathy (real-life wife Marianne McAndrew), decide to spend their honeymoon exploring remote caves in rural Texas. Unbeknownst to them, these caves are inhabited by a colony of bats carrying a strange virus. When Dr. Beck is bitten by one of the infected bats, he soon begins to undergo a horrifying transformation into a monstrous creature.
As John’s condition deteriorates, he becomes a nocturnal predator with a thirst for blood. Fearing for his wife’s safety, he isolates himself in a hidden chamber deep within the caves. Meanwhile, Cathy is desperate to find her missing husband and uncovers the shocking truth about the deadly virus and its origins.
This obscure horror film directed by Jerry Jameson from the 1970s is a suspenseful and eerie tale of a man’s descent into madness and monstrousness. With its atmospheric cinematography by Matthew F. Leonetti (a slew of made-for-TV movies – Poltergeist 1982 and the remake of Dawn of the Dead in 2004), creepy cave settings, and practical creature effects, the film delivers a sense of dread and tension. As the Beck’s marriage is put to the test and the townsfolk become suspicious of the mysterious disappearances, “The Bat People” explores themes of isolation, transformation, and the primal fear of the unknown.
“The Bat People” (1974) is a cult classic that offers a unique twist on the vampire genre, blending science fiction and horror that also co-stars horror genre regular Michael Pataki.
Beyond the Door 1974
Beyond the Door is a 1974 supernatural horror film starring Juliet Mills in a role that pays its dues to Linda Blair, featuring episodes of bile-spewing disgust. In one scene underscored by a chilling heightened low-pitched soundtrack by Franco Micalizzi that radiates a disturbing aura of infernal euphoria, Mills floats up to the ceiling in her spectral white nightgown reminiscent of The Exorcist 1973.
Juliet Mills portrays a devoted wife and mother of 2 children, Jessica Barrett, a young pregnant woman living in San Francisco with her husband, Robert (played by Italian stage actor Gabriele Lavia with dubbing), and their two children. Their seemingly ordinary life takes a terrifying turn when Jessica begins to experience bizarre and increasingly disturbing supernatural phenomena.
Jessica’s peaceful life is shattered when her ex-lover, Dimitri (portrayed by Richard Johnson), meets a tragic demise in a car accident. Yet, as Dimitri’s car races toward the precipice of a cliff, an ominous pact is forged between him and a malevolent spirit, granting him an extra decade of existence on earth in return for aiding the devil in a wicked scheme: impregnating a virtuous woman with his evil offspring. Jessica finds herself mysteriously pregnant with an unplanned third child, while Dimitri lurks about. As Jessica’s pregnancy progresses, her behavior becomes erratic, and she appears to be possessed by a malevolent force. Her family is thrown into a nightmarish ordeal as they witness her undergo terrifying transformations, including levitating and speaking in strange tongues.
Co-directed by grindhouse virtuoso Ovidio G. Assonitis the 1974 horror film has acquired a distinct allure over the years. Unforgettable is the film’s remarkable beginning, as Satan himself delivers a captivating introduction. The narrative unfolds with dramatic head-swiveling and disturbing manifestations of demonic possession, It’s an unconventional start to a bizarre take on the ’70s possession flick.
It’s known for its eerie atmosphere, shocking special effects, at times delving into absurd abstractions and idiosyncrasies. The lovely Juliet Mills gives a compelling performance as a woman caught in the grip of a malevolent entity. It remains a classic of 1970s horror cinema, offering a unique and memorable take on the possession subgenre that delivers some unsettling moments. The film also delves into unsettling 1970s sensibilities, including eerie and ambiguous elements such as a possessed Jessica in a scene with her young son that evokes the oddly fixated kiss between Deborah Kerr and Martin Stephens in Jack Clayton’s The Innocents 1961.
Bad Dreams 1988
Bad Dreams is a 1988 horror film directed by Andrew Fleming. The movie revolves around a young woman named Cynthia (played by Jennifer Rubin) who, as a child, survived a mass suicide at a cult led by a charismatic and sinister leader named Harris (played by Richard Lynch). Cynthia wakes up from a 13-year coma to find herself in a psychiatric hospital, haunted by disturbing nightmares of the cult’s traumatic events.
As Cynthia struggles to piece together her past and deal with her traumatic memories, she becomes increasingly convinced that Harris’ malevolent spirit is still pursuing her and the other surviving cult members. The film explores themes of psychological horror and the blurred lines between reality and the supernatural as Cynthia and the other patients in the hospital are plagued by terrifying visions and gruesome deaths.
Richard Lynch (read my piece The Premonition here:) is a prolific actor known for his distinctive appearance, psychological intensity, and commanding presence, often portraying intense villains and the primary antagonists throughout his career in movies and television shows. His acting style was characterized by a brooding intensity and a knack for playing menacing, enigmatic, and morally ambiguous roles conveying torment, obsession, and madness convincingly.
His tall stature, chiseled features, and deep, gravelly voice made him an ideal choice for roles such as sadistic criminals, menacing cult leaders, and power-hungry villains. He had a unique ability to convey a sense of malevolence through his physical presence and facial expressions. Lynch was also adept at portraying characters with layers and complexity, often driven by personal demons. He made a significant mark in the thriller, horror, science fiction, and fantasy genres.