In honor of this most frightfully festive season, we unearthed some underappreciated horror flicks that are worth popping into your DVDplayer. By Bryan Reesman
CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962)
Stars: Candace Hilligoss, Herk Harvey
Whena young organist survives what should be a fatal car crash, she findsherself being shadowed by mysterious ghouls and drawn to a decayingamusement park. Herk Harvey’s black-and-white low-budget chiller isimmortal due to Candace Hilligoss’s terrific performance, the spookycinematography, and Gene Moore’s hypnotic organ score. A new reissuealso has a colorized version, if you like a little more hue in yourhorror.
DEAD OF NIGHT(1945)
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Mervyn Johns, Googie Withers
Sixstrangers meet at an English countryside cottage and trade storiesabout supernatural experiences -- under the pretense that they may allbe characters in one man’s recurring dreams. The most effective chillerin this six-part omnibus, about a ventriloquist’s possessed dummy,remains incredibly unnerving decades later.
DON’T OPEN THE WINDOW (1974)
Stars: Ray Lovelock, Christine Galbó, Arthur Kennedy
JorgeGrau’s gory, fun zombie fest uses the beautiful rolling Englishcountryside as a backdrop for monstrous mayhem. The film -- about anultrasound device used to kill farm insects that starts reanimatinglocal corpses -- contains great visuals and sets, crafty zombies thatredefine the term heavy breather, and comic relief from policebuffoonery.
THE LEGACY (1978)
Stars: Katherine Ross, Sam Elliott, Roger Daltrey
Whena young American architect and her boyfriend move to rural England,they discover she is one of six potential inheritors to an estate ofevil. As much a whodunit as a scare-fare film, The Legacy shows howsprawling mansions can be upsetting, even without ghosts.
Stars: Lance Henriksen, Jeff East
Thelate effects wizard Stan Winston concocted all sorts of memorablemonsters, and Pumpkinhead is one of the most beloved. The creepy titlecreature is summoned by a bereaved father after motorbiking teensaccidentally kill his son. The “big-city folk versus country bumpkins”story line is transcended by dazzling visuals and American Gothicatmosphere. A 20th-anniversary DVD was recently released.
Stars: Ha-Neul Kim, Jin Ryu
ThisKorean shocker mutes the clichés of most Asian horror films as it tellsthe tale of a high school amnesiac who learns she is linked to a tragicaccident, which no one will reveal to her. Ryeong surpasses standardspook stories because of its emotional resonance and well-constructedplot.
Girl, Put Your
Saw star Tobin Bell plays bad guys on film, but in real life, he’d ratherplay ball -- and he thinks some of his devilish on-screencontemporaries could be dangerous on the field too. By J. Rentilly
IN THE WORLD OF SCARY MOVIES,Tobin Bell is best known for laconically pontificating and using grislyRube Goldberg–like devices to deliver doses of Old Testament–stylejustice in the wildly successful Sawfilm franchise. But in the real world, 66-year-old Bell -- aclassically trained actor -- is a soft-spoken, thoughtful father whospends most of his free time coaching his 12-year-old son in flagfootball and Little League Baseball .
“You can never go wrongtalking baseball with me,” says Bell, who played college ball at BostonUniversity . “The happiest days of my life were on the playground as akid. You go out in the morning and don’t come home until you lose theball. That’s a good life.”
As the release of Saw Vcreeps closer -- “It’s a real symphony, this movie, with lots of puzzlepieces indicating how Jigsaw came to be,” Bell teases -- we wonder whatit would be like if his two worlds, personal and professional, were tocollide. We asked Coach Bell to pick his dream team of classic movievillains, and he was willing to play ball. The resulting lineup, wethink you’ll agree, is to die for.
1. The Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton),
The Wizard of Oz
“She’s fast -- in and out in a cloud of smoke. She’s a real fan favorite, though most of her fans are minions and monkeys.”
2. Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro),
“Goodspeed, a lot of steals. When the pitcher looks over at him, he won’t beintimidated. He’ll just say, ‘You lookin’ at me? I said, you lookin’ atme?’ ”
3. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins),
Silence of the Lambs
“A real heavy hitter. With that mask, he’s not afraid to get hit. He stays right in there.”
4. Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb),
On the Waterfront
“If anybody reeked of power, it was Lee Cobb. A scary, scary genius. That’s what you need in the cleanup spot.”
5. Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep),
The Devil Wears Prada
“Meryl Streep can play any position, anywhere, anytime. She does it all. She brings class to her game.”
6. Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins),
“Although he misses his mom greatly on road trips, he’s good stuff.”
7. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino),
“Very steady, great talent, smart guy, hard-working -- the kind of guy you need in this part of your lineup.”
8. Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem),
No Country for Old Men
“The designated hitter, right? He’s the right man for the job -- a quick hit, calm in a pinch.”
9. Lentulus Batiatus (Peter Ustinov),
“Everytime I see Ustinov in a movie, I’m blown away by his greasy, sweatyevilness. Also, he showed up for spring training lean and mean.”