edgar allan poe

Shocktoberfest 2017! Day Three: The Oblong Box

The Oblong Box (1969)

Written by Lawrence Huntington / Directed by Gordon Hessler

Just a typical Saturday afternoon for Vincent Price.

Just a typical Saturday afternoon for Vincent Price.

What would a Shocktoberfest be without at least one Vincent Price film?  The late, great horror legend practically embodies everything wonderful about the spirit of horror movies, movies that are meant to be watched during the days of October.  There's nothing like a Vincent Price movie to put you in the spirit of Halloween.  There seems to be a trend in my 2017 viewings with feature films based on short stories, two of them being Edgar Allan Poe stories so far.  The Black Cat seems to be the only one so far that was best able to pull off turning a short story into a feature length film, simply using the basic premise of the story as a jumping off point for something much stranger.  The Oblong Box makes a similar mistake as most short story adaptations by trying too hard to add subplots and silly mysteries to a perfectly good creepy little tale about a man wrongfully buried alive and seeking revenge.  Even so, the film is still good, mostly due to Vincent Price's ability to elevate any film he starred in, as well as a wonderful supporting role from Christopher Lee.  There's also something elegant about the workmanship of most 60's Edgar Allan Poe adaptations making them seem much more artfully crafted than they probably were.  Through low budget constraints, the film finds clever ways through visual language to do things like hide the face of the deformed brother.  It's impossible to say no to a Vincent Price film.  Even the films where the people behind the camera seem disinterested, Price never does.

Three out of Five Deadly Paper Cut Throat Slits

Shocktoberfest 2017! Day One: The Black Cat

The Black Cat (1981)

Written by Lucio Fulci and Biagio Proietti / Directed by Lucio Fulci

Aww!  He wants to kill me!

Aww!  He wants to kill me!

Lucio Fulci’s The Black Cat may not necessarily be scary, but it’s still delightfully gothic enough to still be horror.  Very loosely based on the Edgar Allan Poe short story, the film mostly revolves around a series of murders in a small Italian town that are being committed by a supernatural (and adorable) black cat.  As with all Fulci films, the film is constantly in a state of deliriously heightened cinematic style, making it a delight to watch.  From extreme close ups of characters’ eyes reacting in terror to POV shots of the evil cat roaming through the streets, every shot feels deliberate and unique.  When you watch a Lucio Fulci movie, you’re not watching for the substance, you’re watching for the style, and that style delivers throughout The Black Cat, only starting to drag near the last 15 minutes of the film, but even then, there’s still something to enjoy about what Fulci is doing.

Four out of Five Adorable Murder Kitties