Next SFF Author: Joseph Fink
Previous SFF Author: Gemma Files

Series: Film / TV


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Two Frightening Films Starring William Shatner

Born in Montreal, Quebec, in 1931, William Shatner, over the course of the last nine decades, has managed to carve out for himself a reputation that surely borders on the legendary. Whether playing the youngest captain in Star Fleet history, a cop, a lawyer, or any of the other dozens of roles he has essayed over the years, Shatner has always been one of the most entertaining of all actors to watch, no matter if he is playing it straight or engaging in some of his well-loved overemoting. And, the man has succeeded in pulling off the double hat trick – plus two – of having appeared in no fewer than eight of my favorite television shows of the 1960s: Route 66,


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A Witchy Double Feature

Is there any figure more commonly associated with the Halloween season than the good ol’ witch? I think not. Or perhaps I should more properly say, “the wicked ol’ witch,” as not many witches that we tend to encounter during the Shocktober season are of the Samantha Stevens variety, to put it mildly! Below, thus, you will find a pair of films dealing with witches of the nastier ilk; a pair of films that might make for a perfect double feature one dark and stormy October night…

WOMAN WHO CAME BACK (1945)

In the little-seen 1945 chiller Woman Who Came Back (not,


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Psychic Killer: Show me the fireball!

Psychic Killer directed by Ray Danton

We’ve all heard the expression “if looks could kill,” but how about thoughts? What if it were possible to kill somebody, no matter the distance, using the power of the mind to manipulate objects? Well, that is precisely the setup of Ray Danton’s 1975 horror outing Psychic Killer, an undeniably shlocky yet undeniably fun exercise in out-of-body homicide. In the film, we meet a 33-year-old mental patient named Arnold Masters (Jim Hutton, father of Timothy, 42 here in his final film), who repeatedly declares his innocence of the charge of murdering his dying mother’s doctor (his mother had had no health insurance,


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A Quartet Of Grisly Gialli, Volume 4

For the fourth and final time this Shocktober season, I would like to shine a light on the giallo films that were so very popular in Europe during the 1970s and early ‘80s. Today’s gathering features a trio of very unusual examples of the genre, as well as one typically head-scratching offering. But each one of them, need I even mention, would make for perfect viewing fare one evening this Halloween season…

IN THE FOLDS OF THE FLESH (1970)

Viewers who sit down to watch Sergio Bergonzelli’s 1970 offering, In the Folds of the Flesh,


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Five Horror Anthologies From Amicus

When most people think of the British horror film, they probably – almost invariably – think of Hammer Studios, and for good reason; Hammer was indeed something of a relentless factory when it came to producing well-crafted horror fare in the late 1950s to early ‘70s. But the studio did have its rivals, one of the foremost of those being Amicus Productions. Formed by two American producer/screenwriters, Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg, the studio was active from 1962 till 1977, and was responsible for such wonderful horror fare as The Skull (1965), Scream and Scream Again (1970),


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The Birds: Book vs. film

The Birds by Frank Baker

In 1963, Alfred Hitchcock, following the cinematic marvels Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959) and Psycho (1960), brought to the screen his fourth masterpiece in a row, The Birds. That latter film, I had long believed, was based on a short story from 1952 by London-born author Daphne du Maurier, also called “The Birds,” and indeed, at the very beginning of the 1963 film a title card does tell us “From the story by Daphne du Maurier.” It is only recently,


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Four Horrors From Merry Ol’ England

In today’s Shocktober column, I would like to shine a light on four terrific horror films from merry ol’ England. Three of these, as might be expected, hail from Hammer Studios, the foremost English purveyor of shuddery films in the 1960s, while one is a product of the rival studio Amicus Productions. But all four of these, as might well be expected, will provide the requisite thrills and chills one dark and stormy October night…

THE SKULL (1965)

On paper, the 1965 Amicus Productions film The Skull would seem to be a surefire winner.


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A Quartet of Grisly Gialli, Volume 3

In today’s Shocktober column, I would like to take another look, for the third time this Halloween season, at some of the giallo films that were so very popular during the 1970s. But in this quartet of films, you will find a few that press the questions “Just what is a giallo? Can a film be a giallo if it does not hail from Italy, or if it is not all that particularly violent in nature?” As far as I’m concerned, all of the four spotlighted below most assuredly fall into the giallo camp.


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A Quintet of Italian Horrors

Although the Italian horror industry in the late ‘60s and throughout the 1970s seemed to be fairly well focused on the giallo film, and that genre’s stylish and often grisly murder mysteries, other types of horrors were still being produced for the ever-hungry audiences of the day. In today’s Shocktober column, I would like to focus on a quintet of Italian horrors that veered away a bit from the strict formula of the giallo. Thus, here you will find films dealing with rejuvenation, murders in a sanitarium, a vampiric countess, Frankensteinian hijinks, and modern-day zombies … all with a distinctively Italian zest.


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Three Frankenstein Outings From The House Of Hammer

In 1957, Hammer Studios in England came out with the first of their full-color horror creations, The Curse of Frankenstein, starring Peter Cushing as the good doctor and Christopher Lee (for the first and only time) as The Monster. The film was such a hit that it not only spawned an entire Frankenstein series from the studio, but would also cause the producers there to begin on a Dracula series and a Mummy series, eventually leading to Hammer becoming one of the preeminent creators of Gothic horror in the 1960s and ‘70s. The Frankenstein series would extend to seven films in all: The Curse of Frankenstein,


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Next SFF Author: Joseph Fink
Previous SFF Author: Gemma Files

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