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Could Ingmar Bergman Be Considered A Horror Master?

Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish film writer, director and producer, with over 60 films credited to his name. Known for his contributions to European Art Cinema, Bergman isn’t the type of director that typically comes to mind when one thinks of horror films. However, as an aesthetically innovative filmmaker, some of his best films employ the usage of horrific images in an effort to convey his “art cinema” visions.

One such work is Bergman’s complex and experimental 1966 film, “Persona.” The movie begins with an assortment of disturbing images, including those of a tarantula spider, the slaying of a lamb, a crucifixion and a boy surrounded by corpses. These scenes leave the viewer feeling isolated and afraid in a way very similar to how the main character is portrayed to feel. In his 1968 movie, “Hour of The Wolf,” Bergman draws on iconographic elements of surrealism and horror to tell the tale of a reclusive painter plagued by demons. As the movie progresses, these demons begin to take disturbing external forms, haunting the artist until they ultimately destroy him.

Other works that showcase the director’s talent for horror include the 1960 film “The Virgin Spring,” which was remade into the exploitation film “The Last House on the Left” by Wes Craven, and the 1957 film “The Seventh Seal,” where the main character challenges Death to a game of chess. Can’t get enough? There’s more: Ingmar Bergman: Intermezzo (2004)

June 19th, 2012

Slasher Films: Did The 1980s Ruin Horror Films?

The 1980s definitely changed the horror genre in regards to movies. The most popular slasher films were Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. You can look at those three movies as a broad genre, but that’s a common mistake. If you really look at these three films, they’re different from one another.

Out of those three movies, or movie franchises, Halloween is the most impressive. It holds a deep story that takes it beyond just horror. Nightmare on Elm Street also has a deep and intriguing story. The difference there is that it came to the scene later, which made it less impressive. The only true slasher movie is Friday the 13th. The story is weak and the movie is really more about shock value than anything else. That said, it had a tremendous impact on the genre.

In the 1990s, Scream followed suit. After that, horror movies began to get creative again. Hits like Saw and The Ring prove this. However, the genre has sunken back into the abyss with constant attempts at found footage films and zombie films, which have taken place of slasher films.

The horror genre is cyclical, and great thought-provoking movies are likely to return soon.

June 17th, 2012

Alfred Hitchcock’s Studies In Dream And Psychological Horror

Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1990) was the master of suspense. His quirky sensibility spearheaded 60 films, looked upon even today as blueprints of suspense and horror.

What is overlooked, in today’s carbon copy, uninspired product called horror and suspense, Hitchcock was the King of Intellectual Suspense. He never catered to the lowest common denominator. Hitchcock challenged his audience to pay attention.

Playing heavily on the psychological, opposed to the physical, aspect of being terrified, the director focused on being isolated. Such films as 1943′ s Lifeboat, set entirely on a lifeboat; Rear Window (1954), played from the point of view of a crippled man; and expansive films like 1959′s innovative North by Northwest, finds a character alone in horrendous situations.Check out this link here. His films utilize the director’s fixation with being separated and threatened, even in Norman Bates. This character, though the antagonist, epitomizes being scared, alone and in hiding.

Even more than his films, Hitchcock’s television show was definitely a palette of the insecurities, frailties and common fears we don’t want in our dreams, let alone our lives.

Hitchcock was brilliant at creeping under the skin. Even when making us laugh, we cringed. He has left an unparalleled legacy of dream and psychological horror.

June 16th, 2012


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