Sunday, May 1, 2016

This Week in Fright Film History May 1 to 7, 2016

Black Sabbath (1963) Italian horror anthology film directed by Mario Bava. The film is centered around three separate tales that have an introduction and conclusion from Boris Karloff.  The film was released in the United States on May 6 1964. The heavy metal band Black Sabbath appropriated their name from the title of the film.

The Hands of Orlac (1924) an  Austrian silent horror film directed by Robert Wiene and starring Conrad Veidt, Alexandra Sorina and Fritz Kortner was released on May 6, 1924.

Vampyr (1932) was a French-German horror film directed by Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer was released in Germany on May 6, 1932. The film was written by Dreyer and Christen Jul based on elements from J. Sheridan Le Fanu's collection of supernatural stories In a Glass Darkly. Vampyr was financed by Nicolas de Gunzburg who starred in the film under the name of Julian West. Vampyr was Dreyer’s was first sound film and had to be recorded in three languages. To overcome this, very little dialogue was used and much of the story is told with silent film-styled title cards.  Vampyr opened to generally negative reception from audiences and critics. At a showing Vienna, audiences demanded their money back. When the theater manager refused, a riot broke and the police were called to restore order.

Val Lewton  an American film producer and screenwriter, noted for a series of low-budget horror films he produced for RKO Pictures in the 1940s. was born on May 7,1904 in Yalta, Imperial Russia.  He is noted for creating  the "Lewton Bus” technique.  The "Lewton Bus” is  a scene that slowly builds tension and then gives the viewer an unexpected jolt with something that turns out to be completely harmless. The Lewton Bus was first used in Cat People (1942) and is a technique that is still used today, especially slasher films such as the Friday the 13th and the Halloween series films.

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