10 Shots From 10 Horror Films: 1973 and 1974

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, dir by Tobe Hooper, DP: Daniel Pearl)

4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films.  I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we take a look at two very important years: 1973 and 1974!

10 Shots From 10 Horror Films: 1973 and 1974

Female Vampire (1973, dir by Jess Franco, DP: Jess Franco)

Don’t Look Now (1973, dir by Nicolas Roeg, DP: Anthony Richmond)

The Wicker Man (1973, dir by Robin Hardy. DP: Harry Waxman)

Lisa and the Devil (1973, dir by Mario Bava, DP: Cecilio Paniagua)

The Iron Rose (1973, dir by Jean Rollin)

The Exorcist (1973, dir by William Friedkin, DP: Owen Roizman)

Black Christmas (1974, dir by Bob Clark, DP: Reginald H. Morris)

Deathdream (1974, dir by Bob Clark, DP: Jack McGowan)

The Ghost Galleon (1974, dir by Armando de Ossorio, DP: Raul Artigut)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (dir by Tobe Hooper, DP: Daniel Pearl)

Lisa Marie’s Grindhouse Trailers: 12 Trailers For Halloween

For today’s Halloween edition of Lisa’s Marie Favorite Grindhouse Trailers, I present to you, without comment, the trailers for my 12 favorite horror movies.

Happy Halloween!

  1. The Shining (1980)

2. Suspiria (1977)

3. A Field in England (2013)

4. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

5. Zombi 2 (1979)

6. The Exorcist (1973)

7. Halloween (1978)

8. Two Orphan Vampires (1996)

9. Near Dark (1987)

10. Scream and Scream Again (1970)

11. Horror of Dracula (1958)

12. Messiah of Evil (1973)

Horror Book Review: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Which is better, the movie or the book?

That’s a question that’s often asked and I think the knee jerk reaction is always to say that the book was better but that’s certainly not always true.  There are a few notable cases where the film has been dramatically better than the book.  Just check out The Godfather, if you don’t believe me.  Occasionally, you’ll run into something like the recent two-part adaptation of Stephen King’s It.  The first film was dramatically better than the novel while the second film was significantly worse.

And then occasionally, you’ll have a case where the book and the movie are equally good, albeit for different reasons.  That’s the case with William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel, The Exorcist.

The book and the movie both tell the same story.  Perhaps because Blatty served as both the writer and the producer of the film version, the movie sticks closely to the basic plot of his novel.  Regan McNeil, the daughter of an atheist actress named Chris McNeil, is possessed by a demon called Pazuzu.  It falls to Father Merrin and Father Karras to perform an exorcism.  Unfortunately, Merrin is old and in bad healthy while Karras fears that his faith might not be strong enough to defeat the demon.

Though the plot does remain the same, there are, of course a few differences between the film and the book.  As befits a novel written by a screenwriter, the book gets a bit more gossipy when detailing the production of Chris’s film.  The book also spends a good deal more time on Inspector Kinderman’s investigation into the deaths of characters like film director Burke Dennings.  In the film, Kinderman only appears in a few scenes.  In the book, he’s as important a character as Karras and it’s rather obvious that he was Blatty’s favorite character to write.  (It’s not a surprise that Kinderman was subsequently the main character in Legion, which was filmed as The Exorcist III and which starred George C. Scott as Kinderman.)  The book also spends a good deal more time on Karras’s crisis of faith.  In the film, Karras was portrayed as being initially hesitant to accept that Regan was possessed.  In the book, Karras researches the history of exorcisms and considers almost every other alternative before committing himself to performing the exorcism.  When the book was first published, those scenes were included to make the reader themselves question whether or not Regan was actually possessed.  Modern readers, however, already know that answer to that.

Myself, I appreciated the extra time that the novel spent with Kinderman and Karras.  As written by Blatty, they’re both engaging characters and Karras’s crisis of faith is actually handled with a good deal more skill in the book than in the movie.  If the movie is a nonstop roller coaster of terror, the book is a bit more thoughtful.  Whereas the movie shocks you into accepting its premise, the book actually tries to convince you that demons are real and that they’re responsible for the evil in the world.  (The books opens with a series of quotes from real-life dictators and mobsters.)  The movie aims for your gut while the book’s horrors are often more cerebral but they both get under your skin and inspire you to make sure that every door is locked and every window is closed.  Not that any of that would protect you, of course.  Both the movie and the novel understand that the scariest thing about what happens to Regan is that it’s out-of-her-control and could, in theory, happen to any of us.  Demons are going to do whatever they can.  Both the book and the film are fantastically effective and worthy of being known as horror classics.

This October, definitely be sure to watch The Exorcist and The Exorcist III.  Hell, maybe even watch The Exorcist II.  It’s not that bad!  (Okay, well, actually, it is.  But still, it’s kind of …. fun, in its way.)  But also take the time to read the books.  Doing one without doing the other is only getting half the story.

4 Shots From 4 Films: The Exorcist, Female Vampire, Ganja and Hess, The Wicker Man

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, we’re using 4 Shots From 4 Films to look at some of the best years that horror has to offer!

4 Shots From 4 1973 Horror Films

The Exorcist (1973, dir by William Friedkin)

Female Vampire (1973, dir by Jess Franco)

Ganja and Hess (1973, dir by Bill Gunn)

The Wicker Man (1973, dir by Robin Hardy)

6 Trailers For 6 Films That Still Scare Lisa

I love horror movies but, unfortunately, many of them tend to get a bit less scary upon repeat viewings.  Once you already know where the vampire is going to be hiding or who the werewolf is going to attack next, it becomes a bit more difficult to fall under in the film’s chilling spell.

So, on this Halloween, I’m going to do a very special edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film Trailers.  Here are six trailers for six films that still scare me, even after repeat viewings:

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

To be honest, all of the Body Snatcher films scare me, even the really bad ones.  Invasion of the Body Snatchers deals not only with the horror of conformity but also the horror of knowing what’s going on but being helpless to stop it.

The Exorcist (1973)

Maybe it’s because of my Catholic background but, despite the fact that it’s been endlessly imitated, this film scares me every time that I see it.  I think a lot of it has to do with the documentary approach that William Friedkin takes to the material.

Shock (1977)

Mario Bava’s final film gets me every time.  Even though I now know how many of the big scares were actually pulled off, this movie still makes me jump.  In this film, Daria Nicolodi gives the best performance of her legendary career.

The Shining (1980)

Agck!  Those little girls!  That elevator full of blood!  The way Wendy kept interrupting Jack while he was trying to write!

Sinister (2012)

Sinister gave me nightmares the first time that I saw it and it still does.  That ending.  AGCK!

The Conjuring (2013)

This is definitely one of the best haunted house films to come out over the past ten years.  This film is scary because you actually care about the family in the house.  They’re not just disposable victims.  Also holding up well is The Conjuring 2.

Happy Halloween!

“Happy Halloween!”

4 Shots From 4 1973 Horror Films: The Creeping Flesh, The Exorcist, Night Watch, The Wicker Man

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Since I just reviewed 1973’s Don’t Look Now, here are 4 shots from 4 other horror films that were released the same year.

4 Shots From 4 1973 Horror Films

The Creeping Flesh (1973, dir by Freddie Francis)

The Exorcist (1973, dir by William Friedkin)

Night Watch (1973, dir by Brian G. Hutton)

The Wicker Man (1973, dir by Robin Hardy)

4 Shots From 4 Films: Oscar Winning Horror!

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking. There’s a lot of buzz about horror themed movies GET OUT and THE SHAPE OF WATER winning Oscars tonight, but there have been a handful of horror movies nominated in the past, some even taking home the coveted statuette! Here are 4 Shots from some Academy Award winning tales of terror!:

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Paramount 1931; Best Actor Fredric March)

The Picture of Dorian Gray (MGM 1945; Best Cinematography, Harry Strandling Sr)

Rosemary’s Baby (Paramount 1968; Best Supporting Actress Ruth Gordon)

The Exorcist (Warner Brothers 1973; Best Adapted Screenplay William Peter Blatty, Best Sound Mixing Robert Knudson & Chris Newman)


Horror Book Review: Hollywood Hex, edited by Mikita Brottman

Do you believe in curses?

Personally, I could go either way as far as curses are concerned.  I went through a period of time when, though I kinda kept it to myself, I was really into learning about the history of magick and trying to learn how to cast hexes and all the rest of that but then I realized that I could continue to wear black without necessarily having to tap into any supernatural powers.  As well, I’ve never bought into the idea that karma’s going to get anyone.  To me, the universe is a pretty random place.  Not everything happens for a reason.  That said, I would never say that I’m a complete unbeliever.  A rational world is a boring world.  If I had to choose between hanging out with teacher at Hogwarts or Neil DeGrasse Tyson, I’m going with the wizard.

I may not completely believe in curses but I do find them interesting to read about.  That’s why I’ve always enjoyed reading Hollywood Hex,  a copy of which I found at Recycled Books in Denton, Texas.  (This was during the same shopping trip that led to me finding and buying A Taste of Blood and House of Horror.  It was quite a productive trip for this lover of all things horror!)

Hollywood Hex is a tour through the history of morbid Hollywood, providing details on not only the death cults that have sprung up around certain ill-fated actors but also the films that have, for whatever reason, come to be known as cursed.  Many of these films, like Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, were originally sold as being cursed as a publicity stunt before real-life events caused even the most sober of minds to wonder if maybe there really were demonic forces at work.  (The chapter that covers both the production of Rosemary’s Baby and the crimes of Charles Manson is especially creepy.)  Some of the other films — like Twilight Zone — The Movie and The Crow — were cursed by onset negligence.  And, finally, there’s the incredibly tragic stories of the Poltergeist franchise.  If any films could truly claim to be cursed, it would be those films.

Hollywood Hex is fascinating reading for both the morbidly and cinematically-minded.

Halloween TV Havoc!: Richard Pryor Meets The Exorcist on SNL!

cracked rear viewer

Back when SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE was actually funny, guest host Richard Pryor (making his first and only appearance on the show) starred in an EXORCIST parody called THE EXORCIST 2, which is no relation to the later film (and much better!). Pryor and Thalmus Rasulala (BLACULA ) play two priests battling Satan for a little girl’s soul, with Laraine Newman in the Linda Blair role. Enjoy this priceless Halloween spoof from 1975:

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