Friday, October 30, 2009

My favorite directror picks his favorite scary movies

Martin Scorsese, AKA The Man AKA Sir Critic's favorite director has listed 11 favorite scary movies in a great column for The Daily Beast.

I would say that I'm sorry that I haven't seen many of his choices - but I'm not sorry. That just means there's more for me to discover.  So I look forward to someday seeing Isle of the Dead, The Uninvited, The Entity, Dead of Night, The Changeling and  Night of the Demon.

Here is my commentary on his selections that I have seen.

The Haunting: The kind of mess-with-your-head horror that we see too rarely these days. If you've only seen Jan de Bont's lousy remake, I pity you. But besides it's scary pleasures, the movie does offer the added kick of seeing Russ Tamblyn play kind of a tough skeptic, only one year after playing a Jet in West Side Story, also directed by Robert Wise.

The Shining: It's never been one of my absolute favorites, but I do quite like the film. For me, the most eerie part of the movie is not what we see but what we hear - the sound of Danny's Big Wheel moving on and off the carpets. Brrr.

The Exorcist: Well-deserved, as long as its the original and not "The Version You've Never Seen" with a lame ending that ruins the mood at the end.

The Innocents: Truly unnerving and unsettling tale of a governess (Deborah Kerr) frightening by some very troubling children. One of its best features is the eerie cinematography by Freddie Francis, who later shot Cape Fear for Scorsese. Many shots slowly dissolve away, creating a startling "ghostly" effect.

Psycho: Well, YEAH! Plus it helps I've met Janet Leigh.

Now I'm off to watch some scary movies on my DVR/DVD player. Selections include the The Bad Seed, the 1941 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Bad and the Beautiful.

OK, that last one's not a horror movie but it does have a great scene in which the characters talk about making a scary movie.

Viewing recommendation: TCM has a GREAT triple play on Halloween. At 3:30 they will play the Scorsese-narrated documentary about Val Lewton, the great low-budget horror producer. Following that are two of Lewton's finest, Cat People and Curse of the Cat People. The original Cat People rips the remake to shreds, and the sequel - the first movie directed by Robert Wise - is  in many ways is even more fascinating and chilling. Do yourself a favor and check them out.

What scary movies will you/did you  watch for Halloweeen?

Note: After the jump, check out three YouTube clips I've found of Scorsese talking about his favorite movies. It plays like a condensed version of his essential documentary, A Personal Journey through American Movies.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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