Night Watch (1973 Britain)

Ellen Wheeler (Elizabeth Taylor) is stuck in a loveless marriage with John Wheeler (Laurence Harvey). There’s also a deserted mansion right next door to her. One dark and stormy night she sees a dead body in that house. She’s terrified and calls the police. They come but find nothing. Her husband and best friend Sarah (Billie Whitelaw) try to convince her she was seeing things but she’s positive it was there. Soon she can’t sleep or eat and is slowly going mad. The viewer may also be driven mad by the pace of this flick: its slower than a broken clock. And that describes about the first eighty minutes of running time. So be patient.  [Read more…]

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And Now The Screaming Starts (1973 Britain)

This period horror film has all the right ingredients to be a success. It’s got atmosphere, nice sets, Peter Cushing, an experienced horror director, a severed hand with a mind of it’s own…but despite all this, it just doesn’t work as it should. One of the studio’s rare non-anthology movies, it suffers from a very uncertain script. The opening narration suggests a gothic melodrama along the lines of `Rebecca’, but it all-too quickly goes over the top. Familiar genre faces such as Patrick Magee pop up only to fall foul for a disembodied hand (a left over from the studio’s `Dr Terror’s House Of Horrors’) and the whole thing falters. [Read more…]

Return Of The Blind Dead (1973 Portugal)

return-of-the-evil-dead-ataque-de-los-muertos-sin-ojos-1The Bad News: The old Gothic feel of the first one is pretty lost here, replaced by a fast-paced feel that still delivers shocks but doesn’t feel as overwhelmingly atmospheric as the first one felt. It also borrows elements liberally from other films, so it does have a seen-that-before element to it that the first one didn’t have. The Good News: while it has a couple of seen-it-before elements to it, this is still arguably the best film in the series. [Read more…]

Seven Deaths In The Cat’s Eye (1973 Italy)

seven-deaths-in-the-cats-eyes-1973-antonio-margheriti No prizes for guessing which actor is the star of this flick. I’ll give you a clue. He or she ain’t human. A very unusual kind of giallo film, taking place as it does not in modern times, but rather in what appears to be the early 20th century. Is it a giallo or is it a Gothic murder mystery with a high body count? Who cares when a picture is as fun as this one. [Read more…]

ROBIN HOOD (1973 United States)

Prince-john-moneySuch an underrated Disney classic, one of the company’s top ten best. A wonderful motion picture for children, young and old. I love this film because its about kindness, fun, defending, escaping, disguising, being mean and romantic –  I also like all the characters, even the nasty ones. [Read more…]

DRACULA (1973 United States)

dracula_palanceThis average yarn about the notorious vampire was produced for television in America, and released theatrically in Europe. (I think watching this on a big theatre screen would be very interesting) Director Dan Curtis and writer Richard Matheson turn Dracula  into a tortured, sympathetic character haunted by his distant past and the woman he lost centuries ago. Sound familiar? I do admire its matter-of-factness though. More like a play than a movie. [Read more…]

WESTWORLD (1973 United States)

westworld_1It may not look like much, but it’s much more than what it looks like. This pre-Star Wars flick was almost a cutting-edge piece of sci-fi cinema back in the day. This is a key seventies sci-fi film that conceals some significant level of intelligence beneath a deceptively bland look. [Read more…]

THE WICKER MAN (1973 Britain)

The-Wicker-Man-1When I rented this dvd from my library, the lady behind the counter warned me it was offensive to Christians. “You won’t like it,” she said with conviction. “Listen, er…(name tag check)… Gayle”  I replied: “My eyes lost their virginity long ago. I’m sure I can handle it.” Later that evening, at the midnight hour to be precise, [Read more…]

The Legend Of Hell House (1973 UK)

catOn a first watch this is a very unsettling motion picture. The synthesized ‘score’ just creeps me to the bone every time, very effective, much more than straight music would have been; totally ahead of its time. It feels like some kind of un-natural percussion is performing drum fills inside my stomach. Yikes! I have seen this so many times but I still have to look away from the screen during the ‘ectoplasm’ scene (“leave a sah-mple in the jah, please”) though to get to the end of this film without flinching a number of times is difficult. [Read more…]

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