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Beware the Creeper!

Iain's life as a psychotic crimefighter

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24 Hours of Horror

Or terror in my case, as I'm not a big gore fan by any means and lately horror's become synonymous with the rending of flesh rather then the tearing of the mind - I prefer more subtle terrors as my choices indicate:

12pm - 1:40pm

Dead of Night

Dead of Night

Let's start with a classic (and the second earliest film on my list.) Dead of Night was made by Ealing Studios (yes the same production company that brought you The Lavender Hill Mob, Kind Hearts and Coronets and other classic comedies) in 1945. It was a portmanteau film (now known as an anthology film) and composed of four segments linked by a wraparound narrative. It's tempting to just go with the ventriloquist segment with Michael Redgrave, but there are some good moments in the rest of the segments as well, and the narrative wraparound has its own peculiar force.

The Haunted Mirror story tends to be overlooked, and the adaption of HG Wells "A Golfing Story" is just silly enough to balance what follows.

And it's a nice gentle lead in to:

1:40pm -  2:10pm

Caterpillar from Rampo Noir

Yes, another anthology movie, but this time only the one segment - to prove that I'm not screwing around. Caterpillar is one of the nastiest short films ever made, based on a story by one of the nastiest of the old school short story writers, Edogawa Rampo. Directed by Hisayasu Sato, the Caterpillar of the tile is a crippled war veteran (and by crippled, I mean no arms, no legs and no sight) "taken care of" by his sadistic wife. It starts in a dark place and gets much, much worse.

Just the thing for Halloween.

2:10pm - 4:00pm

Cemetery Man or Dellamorte Dellamore

And now for something a lot lighter. A zombie film. A funny zombie film, directed by Michele Saovi (a protege of Dario Argento's) and starring Rupert Graves. Possibly the only zombie film to carry tributes to Rene Magritte - this should be a palate cleanser before:

4:00pm - 5:40pm

In the Mouth of Madness

Every list seems to have a Carpenter film and this is my favourite one. It's also based (without attribution) on one of my favourite books Land of Laughs by Jonathon Carroll. Not so dead authors and a not so sane Sam Neil mixed up with Elder Gods and end of the world shenanigans. Lots of fun and it has the added bonus of making your head really hurt at the end.

5:40pm - 7:20pm

The Fly

Just in time for dinner (make sure you order pizza!) Cronenberg's great love story / entomological study / cancer/aids analogy. Starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis as you've never seen them before - as a couple in love. No other film better defines the "...for worse" part of the marriage vow. This film left a Fulci-loving friend of mine in shock.

7:30pm - 9:30pm

Kairo / Pulse

Let's make the horror a little less personal and a little more ontological shall we? Kiyoshi Kurosawa's masterpiece is one of the most frightening films I've ever seen - not just for what it shows, but also for what it means. If this one doesn't scare you - well maybe you need the much less subtle frights of:

9:30pm - 11:05pm

Deliria / Stage Fright


Michele Soavi (there's that man again) directed this superior slasher film cribbing everything he could from Argento. It's short, brutal and completely merciless. You don't know who's going to die next, you don't know how they're going to die, you just wish they could find their fucking way out of the theatre.

11:05pm - 12:05am

Baby - episode of Beasts


Well this sure scared the shit out of me when I saw this on television. Standard setup - young couple move into haunted farmhouse, the wife is pregnant and the house has a history of causing - I think you can pretty much work out where this is going. Did I mention it was written by Nigel Kneale? He'll be showing up again too.

12:05 - 1:35am

Carnival of Souls


The other influential living-dead infused independent film of the sixties. Just past midnight may be the perfect time to see it as it possesses a liminal, oneiric quality quite unlike other films of the era

1:35am - 2:00am

The Mascot

And whilst we're still in the half world - why not one of the scariest animated films ever made all about a cute stuffed dog who has to recover his ball. Unfortunately the ball bounces all the way to hell... (Fans of Millennium will recognise part of this from the episode "The Curse of Frank Black".)

2:00am - 3:40am

The Descent

I love the remorselessness of this film. A caving expedition goes terribly, terribly wrong as the all female team find themselves with no other choice than to descend as far as they can. The caving sequences alone are chilling, but when they find they're not alone...

3:40am - 6:00am

Lost Highway


And who does nightmares better than David Lynch? Nobody, that's who...

6:00am - 7:30am

Kill Baby Kill


Except maybe Mario Bava. I really haven't seen enough of his films, but this one has that suffocating nightmarish quality that works so well after a night of no sleep. As does...

7:30am - 8:45am

Next Door


Two girls move next door to a man who's recently lost his girlfriend. However, this is not porn, it's pretty much the opposite. A nightmare from Norway that sears into the memory.

8:45am - 10:30am

The Nameless

As the sun rises higher in the sky - something more to darken the light and the mood. Jaume Balaguero's adaption of Ramsey Campbell's novel captures the dissonant and disturbing nature of his prose effectively. And, unlike many other adaptions, the movie improves on the ending of the book, something Campbell himself has recognised. A mother grieves for her dead child, only to receive a call from her six years later - her daughter had been taken by a cult so secret neither it nor its members have a name.

10:30am - 12pm

The Stone Tape

The Stone Tape

And to bring our proceedings to a close - the most frightening television movie ever made. I remember catching NIgel Kneale's masterpiece as an episode of Stuart Wagstaff's World Playhouse and being chilled to the bone. 30 years later I managed to see it again, and none of its impact is lost. A team of scientists and recording engineers are checking the recording properties of stone in a haunted house. They want a new medium - what they get is much worse.

And there you have it (finally) my very own picks for the 24hourhorrorpeople project.

Coming up next - links to everyone else's.

Happy Halloween!

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Are you making your wife watch this?

She saw about two minutes of The Descent and doesn't want to go near it (she's claustrophobic - exactly the wrong demographic for that film.)

I think she'd like Dead of Night, The Mascot and The Stone Tape - the others - not so much.

Dead on. How did you get to know mw so well?

I love In the Mouth of Madness like the Cthulhuloid I never had, but it has some small problems that really annoy me. For totally flawless Carpenter Horror, nothing beats The Thing.

I'm impressed by "The Thing" (and I think the Rick Baker effects have never been surpassed) but I actually prefer the original.

ITMOM has two things going for it:

1) Sam Neill
2) Based on a book by one of my favourite authors (albeit unofficially)

Except maybe Mario Bava. I really haven't seen enough of his films

Have you seen Lisa and The Devil? I think it's his masterpiece. And it is, or at least was, available in Region 4 at a ridiculously low price. Telly Savalas in his career-best performance. Stop laughing - he's actually extremely good in this one! It's very arty, and it's apparently the only time Bava got to do a film exactly as he wanted to do it. Unfortunately the producers later hacked it to pieces, but the Region 4 DVD is more or less Bava's original version.

Lisa and the Devil should be on its way to me as part of the second Mario Bava boxed set (in fact, if I'm very lucky, it might be already waiting for me at home.)

The boxed set contains both versions with a commentary by Tim Lucas.

I've heard great things about it from another respected source, so I'm looking forward to it.

(And you've encouraged me to give Jean Rollin another try - is there no end to your evil?)

What Jean Rollin movies have you seen?

Was it "Lips of Blood" that SBS has shown a couple of times? The one where the "hero" recognises a castle on a poster in a travel agency so goes back there to find his lost love, or something. I didn't stick with it. Back in Year 12 (oh, so long ago) my horror loving friends dismissed Rollin but you (and I think it was an article in the Eyeball anthology) have piqued my interest.

Yes, that would be Lips of Blood. Lots of hardcore horror fans don't like his stuff, because he's really more of a surrealist film-maker than a horror film-maker. The Living Dead Girl is a good place to start because it's a bit more horror than his early vampire movies. It even has some gore. But it still has the Rollin visual poetry. Grapes of Death is another of his zombie movies that has more full-blown horror content compared to his early work.

My favourite Rollin movie is The Iron Rose, but it's even less like a conventional horror movie than his other stuff. I also loved his recent Two Orphan Vampires.

PS - I thought Telly was very good in Horror Express. I don't actually think he's a bad actor at all - he's just been unfortunate enough to be typecast as a TV cop with a catch-phrase. I understand the original Kojak telemovie "The Marcus-Nelson Murders" was very solid and gritty for the time.

Yes, Telly was great in Horror Express, a movie that is terrific fun.

(Deleted comment)
I don't have all of these .

The only ones I actually own are:

Rampo Noir
Carnival of Souls
Cemetery Man
Kill Baby Kill

and The Descent (though it's not a good copy and has to be replaced.)

That was me (used the wrong browser)

Oh, my god. I'm typing in my sleep.

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