Vertigo (1958) Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock Screenplay by: Alec Coopel and Samuel A Taylor Based on the Novel D’Entre Les Morts by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac Produced by: Herbert Coleman Starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak, and Barbara Bel Geddes Oscar Count: 0 (Nominated for Best Sound and Best Art Direction)
After the initial critical and box office failure of Vertigo, famed master of suspense, was never allowed to make another “film.”
Don’t get me wrong. Hitchcock made plenty of crowd pleasing films, that were successful critically and commercial. But except for Psycho, Hitchcock was never free to experiment again (and he only got away with that slasher shocker because it was cheap to make). The rest of his films were fairly standard, designed with the studio’s bottom line in mind. They also conform to the rigid standards of a thriller – good vs evil, intense action sequences, and the use of the Cold War or the media obsession with violent crime in the background. There was never an exploration of humanity or with analyzing what makes us tick. Continue reading →
Over the past nine months Couchside View have been counting down what we collectively feel are the 100 greatest films ever made. With our top ten already decided we thought it’d be a cool idea to interact the readers by letting you have the final say on what position these ten films end up in. So simply reacquaint yourself with the classics highlighted below and please do your bit in voting for which film you think deserves to be number one. The poll will be left running for a number of days whilst we continue the countdown from its current position.
Psycho (1960) – Director: Alfred Hitchcock Adapted Screenplay: Joseph Stefano Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles OSCAR COUNT (0) – 4 Nominations – Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Janet Leigh), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction.
There is something very admirable about Hitchcock’s unwillingness to conform to traditional movie narratives. He set films in single rooms, thought up unusual camera techniques, turned histrailers into mini stories and subvertedaudience expectations as he pleased. Because of his unique vision, a lot of his films possess a certain cool edge lacking in a number of other golden oldies. His pictures are still striking and vital for their daring and innovative approach to handling drama.
Psycho is perhaps the prime example of Hitchcock as a cinematic rebel. Here the great man did something unthinkable and killed off the lead protagonist not even halfway through the picture. Just killing her off at all would have taken balls but Hitchcock didn’t even let her see the second hour. This is still remarkable by today’s standards. I mean can you imagine following Nicole Kidman on what appears to be a road movie only to see her brutally murdered out of nowhere. With this analogy in place it is easy to see why the famous shower sequence had so many tongues waggling. Continue reading →
The classics are revered, treasured and talked about with high regard every time the Halloween season rolls around. There are however a ton of unheraled horror gems which have either slipped under the radar, been disregarded within a patch of bad sequels, overly criticised for daring to remake a classic or simply given an unnecesarrily harsh treatment from mainstream reviews. The following list covers all these scenarios as we take a look at what I feel are the ten most underrated horror films.
10.) WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968)
Young wannabe actors up and down the country could do a lot worse than to sit down and study Vincent Price’s performance in Witchfinder General. It is perhaps the definiton of underracting – extracting so much terror through minor details such as the cold menacing shifts of his eyes and his calm, unnerving movements. He manges to embody such an intense element of horror through such little effort and it is really a thing of beauty to behold.
The film itself concerns the heinous actions of a 17th century witchunter named Matthew Hopkins who was responsbible for roughly 500 executions within a two year time span. The lack of justice at the heart of the film really gets under the skin with death sequences that are cold, authentic and brutal. The cinematography which takes in the gorgeous English countryside also brilliantly juxtaposes the savage actions of the people who inhibiit the land showing that the beautiful exterior of nature is always hiding the harsh interiror of bloodthirsty animals and man.
Witchfinder General has a pretty strong following but I feel that it is underrated because it is a film which deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as some of the more well known classics. For my money it is one of the most visually impressive and atmospheric horror films ever made.