Monday, October 17, 2016

A Cinematic History of Horror for Hallowe'en On Roku - DAY 17: Ghosts, Psychos & Hauntings! (1959-1962)

Welcome back, Boils & Ghouls...

... to 'Day Seventeen' of "A Cinematic History of Horror for Hallowe'en On Roku" in which I shall bring you my next batch of fright flicks from the enormous back-catalogue of macabre movies that have been thrilling cinema-goers for more than a century and can now be streamed to your television sets via the magic of Roku player - so, let's dim the lights... and enjoy some more frights! :-O

If you read my special hallowe'en blogathon preview - FOUND HERE - which I published at the end of September, then you'll know that I plan to post one Hallowe'en / Horror related article each day, throughout the month of October, and to feature one horror movie per year from cinematic history, starting in 1895 and ending in 2016. This should average out at about four films per day, so you'll have plenty of choice for your macabre movie viewing as we count down the days to Hallowe'en! ;-)

To get things started, in the first week of this blogathon, we went all the way back to the end of the 19th century for some of the earliest horror cinema ever recorded. The movies on day one were from 1895 - 1898 (inclusive) and featured beheadings, vampires, skeletons and nightmarish dreams. For my second article on day two of this series, I shared four films (one for each year) from 1899 - 1902 (inclusive) and those featured ghostly apparitions, aliens and selenites, plus a visit from the devil to a convent. In my next post on day three, I shared four films (again, one for each year) from 1903 - 1906 (inclusive) and those featured impish devils, demons and ghost brides, plus a man who practices entomology being pinned to a cork like an insect. For my fourth article on day four in this series of posts, I shared four more films (one for each year) from 1907 - 1910 (inclusive) which featured evil spectres, haunted houses, plus the first filmed version of the story of Frankenstein's monster. Following that post, on day five, I shared four films (again, one per year) from 1911 - 1914 (inclusive) and those were all based on works of literature by either Dante Alighieri, Robert Louis Stevenson or Edgar Allan Poe. Next up, on day six, four more films were shared (one for each year) from 1915 - 1918 (inclusive) and those included one about a spooky portrait, another about the victim of a kidnapping, plus a Faustian tale told from a female perspective and another about an artificial creature produced by a mad scientist. For my next post, on day seven, I (again) shared four more films (one for each year) from 1919 - 1922 (inclusive) and those featured an epic account of the horrors of war, plus tales of vampires and phantom carriages, as well as a hypnotist who used a somnambulist to commit acts of murder!

To kick-off the second week of my month-long blogathon, on day eight of this series, I shared another four films (again, one per year) from 1923 - 1926 (inclusive) and those included tales of hunchbacks, phantoms, and a pact with the devil plus a pianist whose hands were replaced by those of a murderer (following a train accident) after which he discovered they had a will of their own! Then for my next post, on day nine, I shared four films (one for each year) from 1927 - 1930 (inclusive) and those included a truly stunning "mood piece" based on the work of Edgar Allen Poe, along with the story of a master criminal who terrorized the occupants of an isolated country mansion, plus the creepiest, spookiest, mystery melodrama ever produced, with an early animated horror short thrown in for good measure. After that, on day ten, I shared four more films (again, one for each year) from 1931 - 1934 (inclusive) and those told various tales of terror, including: two American honeymooners trapped in the home of a Satan-worshipping priest, a colossal gorilla hitting the heights in New York with a movie starlet, a tale of love between a siren, a giant and a dwarf from a circus sideshow, plus the story of the strangest passion the world has ever known! Following on from there, on day eleven, I shared four more films (one per year, as before) from 1935 - 1938 (inclusive) and those featured the story of an escaped convict who used miniaturized humans to wreak vengeance on those that framed him, more tales of the horrors of war, and a Chinese ghost story (of sorts) plus the film which, when first released, was billed as the super shocker of the twentieth century! In the subsequent post, which I made on day twelve, four more films were shared (one per year) from 1939 - 1942 (inclusive) featuring strange creatures such as Werewolves, Cat People and The Hound of the Baskervilles, as well as some light-hearted comic relief (of the horror variety) courtesy of Bob Hope! Yesterday... the four films that I shared, on day thirteen, were from 1943 - 1946 (inclusive) and there was (again) one film per year - as there has been for each of my previous posts from this series. That batch of macabre movies included films about ghosts, zombies, and severed hands, plus what is widely believed to be the forerunner of all the horror anthology films that would follow it - a British film, from Ealing Studios! Yesterday, on day fourteen, I shared four more films spanning the years from 1947 to 1950 (inclusive) with one movie per year (as previously) Those included faceless killers, hidden secrets and a tale of human avarice, plus further light-hearted comedy (of the 'tongue-in-cheek' horror variety) courtesy of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello!

Then, as we entered week three of this month-long blogathon... on day fifteen, I shared another four films (again, one for each year) from 1951 - 1954 (inclusive) and those featured a dinosaur-like beast out to destroy the world, an artist (out for revenge) who created wax sculptures from human cadavers, a woman who visited her local shaman and was turned into a white reindeer vampire, plus... the tale of the thing that turns your blood ice-cold, as it creeps and crawls, then strikes without warning! For my previous post, on day sixteen, I shared four more (one film per year) from 1955 - 1958 (inclusive) and those included the tale of of a sadistic boarding school headmaster whose wife & mistress plotted to kill him, another about a doctor with a demonic curse put upon him by a devil cult leader, and one from Hammer Films involving Count Dracula, plus the extraordinary tale of the most awesome fate that ever happened to earth people... with the invasion of the body snatchers from another world! All of which brings us rather nicely to this post, in which I aim to share four films (again, one per year) from 1959 - 1962 (inclusive) and these are set to feature a "Haunted House" party where the guests must deal with ghosts, murderers, and other terrors, as well as the tale of a woman who, when caught while driving in a storm, gets off the highway and pulls into a remote motel managed by a quiet young man who seems to be dominated by his mother, and another based on a ghost story written by Henry James wherein a woman experiencing apparitions must confront these evil spirits & exorcise the demons head onplus another story... "so unusual, it will burn itself into your mind!". As with other movies shared (thus far) in this series (bearing in mind the time period during which they were made) some do have visible signs of wear and tear, but they are none the less watchable as further examples of early films whose influence can still be seen in far more modern horror movies.


First up today... is a feature-length film from the USA, directed by William Castle, which was first released in 1959 under the original title of "House on Haunted Hill"... and loosely based upon / inspired by the Agatha Christie novel, "And Then There Were None", together with another novel, "The Haunting Of Hill House" - so, you know we're talking pedigree "horror" here, right?! However, if you need more convincing, it stars no lesser talent than Vincent Price... who, in my book, makes pretty much any horror film worth watching! :-) Anyway, it tells the story of five people who have agreed to be locked-in (overnight) in a large, spooky, rented house with an eccentric millionaire, Frederick Loren (Vincent Price), and his wife, Annabelle Loren (Carol Ohmart) for what they claim to be a "Haunted House" party... with the promise that, whomever stays the whole night, will earn themselves a $10,000 reward. What transpires, once the party gets underway, is that the guests are then trapped inside the house with all manner of ghosts and murderers, plus many other terrors!

Leona Anderson in House On Haunted Hill (1959)

House On Haunted Hill (1959) [British Quad Poster]

House On Haunted Hill (1959) [USA "Suitable Only for Adults" Poster]

POINT OF INTEREST:- This "Suitable Only for Adults" poster for "House on Haunted Hill" (1959) removes the "offending" severed head, from the hand of Vincent Price, and the "gruesome" sight of a woman in her evening dress, left dangling from a noose, in the hands of a skeleton! Although, there are some people out there for whom (I'm sure) the portrayal of the "Haunted House", complete with monster-size skeleton, in this "censored" image would be enough to terrify the life out of them! ;-)

Anyway... if you were to use the "Search" feature, found on all current-generation Roku streaming media players, and type in the title of this film... the first result that pops-up is the option to watch this movie for FREE via the Roku channel from 'SnagFilms' - the icon for which is shown below:-

You will find 'SnagFilms' under "Film & TV" in the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store... although you could, of course, simply install it using the Roku "Search" feature and add it from there. The good news is... that it's FREE-TO-ADD and offers thousands of FREE-TO-STREAM movies besides this one. So, if you haven't yet added it to your own Roku channel selection, I recommend you install it because there are some great movies to be found within the 'SnagFilms' content library! :-) To see the details for this movie, or to watch via a web browser, visit the 'SnagFilms' website via this link:-

SNAGFILMS LINK:- House on Haunted Hill (1959) [IMDB Rating: 6.9]

Those of you who are interested will find lots more info about this particular film in an earlier post which I wrote for 'Day Twenty-Five' of "Another CreatureFeature Guide To Hallowe'en On Roku" back in 2014... and that includes several more vintage movie posters from around the world! :-)


Our next film today is a feature-length film from the USA, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and first released in 1960 under the original title of "Psycho", which I'm fairly sure most of you will have heard of... even if you haven't yet managed to see it. What is interesting about this film, in the context of the one which precedes it, is that it was due to the success of "House on Haunted Hill" at the box office that Alfred Hitchcock decided to create his own, low-budget, horror film... "Psycho"! Anyway, for those who may be unfamiliar with it, this film tells the story of a Phoenix office-worker, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), who is fed up with the way life has treated her. She meets with her lover, Sam Loomis (John Gavin), during her lunch breaks, but they can't get married because he gives most of his money away in alimony. One Friday, Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer on behalf of a client. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam's workplace. Tired after the drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel - a remote guesthouse managed by a quiet young man, called Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), who would appear to be dominated by his over-bearing mother!

WITH THANKS TO:- Col Needham of IMDb for his contribution to the storyline.

Janet Leigh in Psycho (1960) [Movie Still] - PHOTO CREDIT:

Psycho (1960) [Movie Poster] - PHOTO CREDIT:

So, while the BIG NEWS might be that "Psycho" is "Hitchcock's greatest chiller!"... as far as Roku owners are concerned, the EVEN BIGGER NEWS is that "Hitchcock's greatest chiller!" is available on their devices and FREE-TO-STREAM thanks (once again) to the Roku channel from 'OVGuide'. Now, if you have yet to add this to your channel selection, you can install it easily using "Search" on your Roku device - either from the 'Home' screen, or via the built-in channel store - by identifying the following channel icon from your search results, or else under "Film & TV"in the channel store:-

Once you have it installed... and, by the way, it's also FREE-TO-ADD to Roku devices, you'll find that it offers thousands of FREE-TO-STREAM movies (including 700+ under "Horror" alone) over and above this one. So, if it's not yet a part of your own Roku channel selection, I recommend you install it, since there's plenty of FREE MOVIES & TV available in the 'OVGuide' content library! :-) To get details for this movie, or watch it via web browser, visit the 'OVGuide' website via this link:-

OVGUIDE.COM LINK:- Psycho (1960) [IMDB Rating: 8.5]

Before I move on to the next film... I would just like to add that, for those with a 'Sky Cinema' pass from NowTV (formerly, NowTV Movies Month Pass), you will find that "Psycho" is also available via the "Movies" section of the 'NowTV' channel for UK Roku devices. If you have not previously subscribed to the NowTV movies pass (in either of it's guises), then you could (effectively) watch this movie without cost... thanks to the FREE 14-DAY TRIAL from NowTV for new subscribers. That being the case, look out for this 'NowTV' channel icon in the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store via the "Featured", "Most Popular" or "Film & TV" genres (i.e. categories) and add it to your device:-

As with 'SnagFilms' and 'OVGuide', mentioned previously, you can also take advantage of the Roku "Search" function to find and install the 'NowTV' channel on your Roku streaming media player. It is FREE-TO-ADD to your UK Roku devices, and the range of no-contract monthly passes for movies, entertainment, sports and kids' programming means there's plenty of flexibility over what you pay for as well as lots of great content to be had whenever you find the free content on other channels is not quite cutting the mustard, so-to-speak, when it comes to newer releases and such like. Not forgetting, of course, there's plenty of "old classics" like this Hitchcock thriller to be had as well! ;-)

Speaking of which... if you'd like additional information on "Psycho", you'll find more details - as well as the option to watch it via web browser, by visiting the 'NowTV' website via this link:-

NOWTV LINK:- Psycho (1960) [IMDB Rating: 8.5]


Our third film today is a fantasy horror which was a collaborative effort between the USA and UK, while directed by Jack Clayton. Released in 1961 under the original title of "The Innocents"... it was based on the Henry James' novella, "The Turn Of The Screw," - a terrific ghost story in it's own right. For this adaptation... an inexperienced governess, Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr), is hired to care for two orphaned children, Paula (Pamela Franklin) and Miles (Martin Stephens), who live in an isolated British manor. Soon after her arrival, she comes to believe that the spirits of the previous governess, Miss Jessel (Clytie Jessop), and her brutish lover, Peter Quint (Peter Wyngarde), are trying to possess the souls of the children. Being a decent woman "who loves children," she decides to fight back by confronting & exorcising the evil head on... but, does it truly exist? Or, is it all in her own mind?!

WITH THANKS TO: JemmyTee for their contribution to the above storyline.

Deborah Kerr in The Innocents (1961)

The Innocents (1961) [Movie Poster]

Very much a thinking person's film, it relies more on subtlety, imagination and psychological elements than the more obvious approach to horror... so fans of "The Others", or "The Shining", should give this a try - it's one that keeps you guessing and likely to stay with you long after it's over! Fortunately for us, I was able to find this film on 'YouTube'... which means we can all get to enjoy it (again) by streaming it for free on our Roku devices. It also means we have the choice to watch this movie online, or else use the link to cast it from the 'YouTube' app (via our Roku players) and watch it on the big screen for maximum enjoyment! Whichever you prefer, here is the link to stream it...

YOUTUBE LINK:- The Innocents (1961) [IMDB Rating: 7.9]


Our last film for today, is another feature-length film from the USA... but, this time, it was directed by Herk Harvey, and first released in 1962, under the original title of "Carnival of Souls", although some Roku users in the USA might (possibly) know this fantasy horror mystery by the alternative title that was used for the re-issue of this film, namely "Corridors of Evil". Either way, this movie tells the story of Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss), whom we see (as the film begins) enjoying her day riding around in a car with two friends. When challenged to a drag, the women accept, but are forced off of the road, over the side of a bridge. It appears that all are drowned, until Mary, quite some time later, amazingly emerges from the river. After recovering, Mary accepts a job in a new town as a church organist, only to be dogged by a mysterious phantom figure that seems to reside in an old run-down pavilion. It is here that Mary must confront the personal demons of her spiritual insouciance!

WITH THANKS TO: Rick Gregory for his contribution to the above storyline.

Candace Hilligoss in Carnival of Souls (1962)

Herk Harvey in Carnival of Souls (1962)

Carnival of Souls (1962) [Movie Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: CineFantastique Online

Anyway... you probably guessed already but, if not, this film (like the others from this article) is also available online and can be easily streamed on Roku devices. I was unable to find this particular film on 'YouTube' but, as with "Psycho" above, I was able to find an alternative 'OVGuide' link that I can share with you. As before, please feel free to watch this movie online, or use the details obtained from following the link (below) to search for the film within the 'OVGuide' channel (on your Roku) and then watch it on the big screen. Either way, here is where to find it...

OVGUIDE.COM LINK: Carnival of Souls (1962) [IMDB Rating: 7.2]


Anyhow, that's all I've got time for today... but do remember to come back again tomorrow, for more macabre movies from the history of horror cinema, when I serve-up another batch of four films on 'Day Eighteen' of "A Cinematic History of Horror for Hallowe'en On Roku" right here on this blog. Meanwhile... please be sure to visit the Countdown To Hallowe'en website and show your support for this annual online Hallowe'en extravaganza... PLUS don't forget to use the links you find there and check out all the other 'Cryptkeepers' taking part this year. I know they'll appreciate it if you visit their blogs & share your thoughts on the contribution(s) they've made.


BEFORE I GO: Don't forget that, aside from all the Hallowe'en / Horror-themed ghastliness going on around these parts for the next month, you can always keep up with all the UK Roku action (as it happens) by following the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels where you will find that up-to-the-minute info on all things Roku-related is posted on a daily basis (well, almost).

Until the next time, then...

That's all folks !!

No comments:

Post a Comment