Macabre films, your favorite?

dracula

So it’s that time of year when horror movies reign supreme. When I was a teenager, I watched them all. But then in my late twenties, I discovered I couldn’t be in a room alone or God forbid I had to spend the night alone by myself. Guess what scares me? The dark, clowns, mannequins, corn fields (problematic coming from Illinois), basements, cemetaries, spiders, flies on windows, dark lakes, masks, and chain saws. The Exorcist firmly terrified me forever–and that is why I gave up watching horror films.

But, I do like the macabre! Give me tension, thrills, chills, creepy, black and white versions of horror–hail to The Mummy, The Wolfman, The Blob, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Vincent Price, and Frank Langella as a vampire. Here’s a list of my favorite macabre films. Which are yours?

1962. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Vincent Price is awesome in my book. The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) has wonderful old-fashioned cinemagraphic tricks like psychedelic color and askew camera shots to create suspense. It’s so much fun to watch.

Sure, Psycho. But there was something about the stalking of the birds that chilled me to the bone.

Dark and delicious, The Black Swan

1994, The Crow. RIP Brandon Lee.

What’s your favorite macabre favorite?

29 thoughts on “Macabre films, your favorite?

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  1. Those are all great ones, Cindy. The one that comes instantly to mind, for me, is the ’77 Michael Winner horror film, itself a film adaptation of a Jon Kravitz classic from a few years earlier, THE SENTINEL. I actually screened it in my projectionist days. If you’ve never seen it, you’d be in for a macabre treat.

  2. Vincent Price is pretty hard to beat! The Tower of London (1939) is a fav, with Basil Rathbone as a really evil Richard III, and Boris Karloff in the mix for good measure… 🙂

    1. Love your choices. His voice and ability to create a sinister character is perfect. I love how he personified suspense and sympathy in his E.A.Poe characters. ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ is another good film adaptation.

  3. Thanks for the list, which I’ll keep as a reference to stay away from (lol), :). Even reading the Exorcist when I was younger and presumably much braver kept me up the entire night, and when I came to end, I kept my light on and waited till day break.

  4. Hi Cindy, well I’m not a horror fan and I definitely have not seen a lot of the classic horror films. I did see The Exorcist and it still scared the heck out of me to this day!

    I quite like The Crow too, so sad what happened to Brandon Lee 😦

    1. For a great ol’ classic, try watching ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’ Bette Davis is magnificient as a crockety old sister to angelic Joan Crawford. It’s really creepy but not in a slasher/gory kind of way. Suspenseful and dark.

  5. I know you share my admiration for Clint Eastwood so I thought I’d mention The Beguiled.
    Also a couple of macabre comedies I thought of were An American Werewolf in London and Death Becomes Her, Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis are brilliant in that one.

    1. YES! Death Becomes Her. I forgot all about that one. I love the contrast of comedy and horror, so my two favorite dark comedies happen to be ‘American Werewolf in London’ and “Shawn of the Dead’–two very gory films but somehow I laugh myself silly and they don’t traumatize me. I have yet to see ‘The Beguiled’ so will add it to my list! 🙂

    1. I was thinking of ‘The Others’ what a nice twist of an ending. Wicker Man had me for about half the film, then it got silly and unbelievable. Islands make great creepy settings, no? Reminds me I should have added ‘Shutter Island’ very macabre for me!

    1. It was Kubrick weekend on IFC last weekend and I watched Clockwork and ‘The Shining’ again. For the first time I saw ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ and had to leave before the ending. I’m dying to rewatch it. I think Kubrick is a genius.

  6. There’s a pretty thin line between Macabre and what happens when Macabre fails – or crosses that line. Then it can just become vulgar or bad taste.
    Hitchcock walked that line and most of the time was successful.
    But, all and all, I don’t go there. It’s not my thing.
    In truth, I am ultra sensitive. When I watch any kind of movie like this – horror or whatever – it pulls inwardly to the places that it originates from. In some circles this is called Soul Travel. And these are REAL places, populated by … certain entities. Others seem not be affected at all, but for me some of this stuff can affect me for quite a while. So I prefer not to open that door or put my attention there. And this is my personal responsibility – what I expose myself to – or invite into my consciousness.
    But … happy viewing.

    1. Thanks so much for your heartfelt reply! You speak of opening doors and the effects horror films create. I couldn’t agree with you more. I can’t watch them, they affect me so. But suspense is thrilling and I like the experience and the art that’s there when it happens.

  7. Hi, Cindy:

    Very interesting question and critiques!

    I’ve always enjoyed the 1979, ABC Television movie, ‘Dracula’. With Frank Langella as the Count and Sir Laurence Olivier as Van Helsing. Oozes atmosphere!

    Also Corman/Coppola’s early ‘Dementia 13’ for its creepy mood. Add on Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee in ‘The Wicker Man’ from 1973. Superb locations and an uneasy, eerie mood through superior cinematography! And ‘Daughters of Darkness’ and its updated take on Lady Bathory.

    For fun. There’s always William Castle’s ‘House on Haunted Hill’. And ‘Theater of Blood’ with Vincent Price and gender bending Diana Rigg.

    1. Hiya, Jack! Always glad when you pop around….YES! I forgot all about the infamous Elisabeth Bathory. What a bizarre history and though I have not seen the 1971 version, or any, for that matter,seems like a no-brainer story for today’s insatiable thirst for the decadent and perverse personalities. I remember as a girl coming home from school and turning on ‘Dark Shadows’ and thought that was the creepiest show. 🙂

      1. Hi Cindy:

        My older sister, by eighteen months was a huge ‘Dark Shadows’ fan. I never got the hang of it, outside of the cool period costumes and sets. And Angelique. 😀

        Still trying to figure out the scary old crone in ‘House on Haunted Hill’ and how they made her move so smoothly and fluidly after her one scene frightening the audience.

        1. Yes, I loved Vincent Price as Frederick Loren. I think it’s the dialogue and Price’s voice that is so mesmerizing. I often felt he was a reencarnation of E.A. Poe. Price just got him….

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