I’m trying to expand my taste from 1960s-1980s Euro-art/cult/horror films and would really love some recommendations for earlier films, preferably from 1900-1959.
I’ve just gotten the Val Lewton box set and fallen in love. ‘Cat People’ & ‘The Seventh Victim’ along with similar dark/dreamy films such as ‘Freaks’ and ‘The Night Of The Hunter’ are among some of my favourite films of all time. Otherwise my knowledge of pre-60s film is rather limited, apart from these 30s/40s gothic classics, the only other films of this era that have strongly stuck with me are Douglas Sirk’s beautiful colour melodramas and films such as ‘Johnny Guitar’.
Any ideas on where I should go next? Preferably anything with a surreal & grotesque atmosphere and a slightly sexual or kinky undercurrent. I also prefer stories with leads who are ‘outsiders’ or experiencing some kind of identity crises.
Since you already know Lewton and Night of the Hunter….
American Fritz Lang films like Scarlet Street and House by the River are as dark and kinky as Classical Hollywood gets
Pre-Code horror like Island of Lost SoulsThe Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a good gateway to dark and dreamy silent films
F W Murnau’s Faust
Paul Wegener’s The Golem: how he came into the world
Haxan: witchcraft through the ages
(Whoah! This is the whole freakin’ movie!)
If you love the phantasmagorical black and whites like the Val Lewtons (which I also love) you may also dig the Hunchback of Notre Dame (Charles Laughton version), The Old Dark House (also featuring Laughton, with Boris Karloff), Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible, and that leads me to one of my personal favorite directors – Josef Von Sternberg, especially a couple of his Deitrich films – my favorites being Scarlet Empress (which Eisenstein saw and apparently inspired him to change his style and do Ivan) and Blue Angel.
(this scene literally has the most amazing montage I’ve ever witnessed – Sternberg surpassed Eisenstein at his own game!)
Ivan the Terrible
I should be able to come up with some more – it sounds like you’re into the same kind of stuff I am. I’ll look around at my collection and hit myself on the side of the head until a few more fall out.
Oh – one I have to mention – I’m not really a Busby Berkely fan, but I absolutely love one number from his Gold Diggers of 35 – Lullaby of Broadway. Not sure how to embed videos – let me try this:
Well lookie there! It works. Here’s the rest of it:
And since that worked, I’ll see if I can find trailers or clips for the others I mentioned too. Of course, by now, you’ve already seen them above… this is getting a bit surreal, isn’t it? Muahhahhahh!
Ivan the Terrible (Eisenstein)
Safe in Hell (Wellman)
Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (Bunuel)
L’age D’or (Bunuel)
Scarlet Empress (Van Sternberg)
Sherlock Jr. (Keaton)
Beauty and the Beast (Cocteau)
always good to see another fan of the seventh victim
The Seventh Victim is freaking awesome!!!!
Oh, and maybe I’ll add a few others:
Daughter of Horror aka Dementia
Stranger on the Third Floor
The Shanghai Gesture
Three pre-code films immediately came to mind:Thirteen Women (1932)Black Moon (1934)
All are dark and atmospheric, with black magic elements
The most vivid and hallucinatory display of color in cinema history:
he who gets slapped (1924)the unholy three (1925)the unknown (1927)the man who laughs (1928)nightmare alley (1947)
Daughter of Horror aka Dementia- Good one!
Ealing Studio’s 1945 Dead Of Night- the dummy segment with Michael Redgrave is brilliant.
dr mabuse: the gambler (1922)the testament of dr mabuse (1933)
i’ll add carnival of souls (1961) but you’ve likely seen it already. i have the soundtrack and it popped up randomly on my mp3 player today; so creepy
Carnival of Souls!!! YES!!!
right ^ i realized that after i wrote it down d’oh. and then darkm@tters got all enthused so i couldn’t delete it lol
But it’s excused for that by its sheer awesomeness!
yeah free pass for awesomeness xD
lol Ok, to try to make up for my enthusiasm, more…
(Scroll past the too-dark part on the beginning – gets easier to see around the 1:00 mark)
West of Zanzibar – Lon Chaney and Todd Browning:
Moar Lon Chaney, as an armless knife thrower in The Unknown:
Fires on the Plain:
And now I see Ruby already beat me to posting Lon Chaney silent awesomeness.
Huh weird – why is it that you can no longer click to see embedded clips fullscreen or even click through to YouTube so you can fullscreen there? New stupid YT policy?
Ok nvrmnd – looks like you just have to click “use old Embed code”. Screw it – I’m not redoing them all! But now I know.
i cant believe no one has posted this:
the pearl (1929)
good work sonja, i’d forgotten that house of usher, there’s another one too
ha @ruby we both posted the fall of the house of usher! good taste!
this one above is only 13 mins long ^ check it out. strangely enough they were made in the same year. i’ve never seen epstein’s but i’m gonna remedy that right now xD
If you can find it, Gustav Machaty’s Erotikon is wonderful; not horror but very surreal and sexually frank for it’s time. Marcel L’Herbier’s L’Inhumaine is also a great surreal silent featuring an uncommon romantic relationship. Other surreal silents not mentioned yet that may be of interest are Salome (1923) and Satan’s Rhapsody (1915). For early campy melodrama, Cecil B. DeMille is the master. Some of my favorites by him are The Affairs of Anatol, Male and Female, Don’t Change Your Husband, and Madam Satan. If you are looking for early bizarre exploitation cinema, Child Bride and Chained for Life stand out.
Les Yeux Sans Visage (George Franju)
Les Diaboliques (Henri-Georges Clouzot)