Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Cinematic History of Horror for Hallowe'en On Roku - DAY 18: Ravens, Repulsion & Red Death (1963-1966)

Welcome back, Boils & Ghouls...

... to 'Day Eighteen' 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 those lights... and get on with the 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 next 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! For my previous post, on day seventeen, I shared another four films  (one for each year) from 1959 - 1962 (inclusive) and those featured a "Haunted House" party where the guests had to spend their night with ghosts, murderers, and other terrors, and; the tale of a woman, caught in a storm while driving, who got off the highway and pulled into a remote motel managed by a quiet young man who seemed to be dominated by his mother, and; another based on a ghost story written by Henry James, wherein a woman experiencing apparitions had to confront the evil spirits & exorcise the demons head onplus one more story... "so unusual, it will burn itself into your mind"! All of which brings us rather nicely to this post, in which I will share four more films (again, one per year) from 1963 - 1966 (inclusive) and these are set to include tales of ravens, repulsion, The Red Death and a Gothic horror from Mario Bava! As with other movies shared (thus far), bearing in mind the time period in which they were made, some may 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 Alfred Hitchcock, which was first released in 1963 under the original title of "The Birds"... and, about which, Hitchcock once said, "It could be the most terrifying motion picture I have ever made", so you know it's going to be good! ;-) Anyway, it tells the story of a wealthy San Francisco socialite, Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) who pursues a potential boyfriend, Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), to the small Northern California town of Bodega Bay, where Mitch spends the weekends with his mother Lydia (Jessica Tandy) and younger sister Cathy (Veronica Cartwright). Not long after her arrival, however, the birds in the area begin to act strangely. A seagull attacks Melanie while she is crossing the bay in a small boat, and soon after that, Lydia finds her neighbour dead - with his eyes pecked clean from his skull - as the result of what can only be another bird attack. Soon after... birds of all kinds arrive, in their hundreds & thousands, and begin to attack anyone they find outdoors. Nature continues to run amok, as these vicious attacks by birds on people continue, with no obvious reason as to why this might be happening. As the birds begin to assemble on a large climbing frame, with their beady eyes set on a group of schoolchildren, it becomes even more clear that it's an "us or them" situation - with survival being the main priority!

The Birds (1963) [Movie Still] - PHOTO CREDIT: imdb.com

The Birds (1963) [Movie Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: The Hitchcock Zone

The Birds (1963) [Alternative Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Dark Highway Press

The Birds (1963) [French Movie Poster]

The Birds (1963) [Alternative French Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: the.hitchcock.zone

The Birds (1963) [Italian Movie Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: the.hitchcock.zone

The Birds (1963) [Spanish Movie Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Rato Movie Posters

The Birds (1963) [Alternative Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: pinterest.com

Eyeless Corpse of Lydia Brenner's Neighbour in The Birds (1963)

Unfortunately, I was unable to find any FREE-TO-STREAM sources (compatible with Roku devices) when I performed an online search for this film. So, in so far as I am aware, the only place you will be able to watch this film on UK Roku devices is via the 'NowTV' channel. Those in other regions may have other sources available to them but, at the time of writing, this was the only option for UK users of Roku streaming media players. So, for those with a current 'Sky Cinema' pass from NowTV (formerly, NowTV Movies Month Pass), you will find that (as with "Psycho", from yesterday's post) Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" is also available via the "Movies" section of the 'NowTV' channel for UK Roku devices. The good news is... if you have not previously subscribed to the NowTV movies pass (in either of it's guises), you could (effectively) watch this movie without incurring any charges, 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 mentioned previously, you can also take advantage of the Roku "Search" function to find and then 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 the two afore-mentioned Hitchcock thrillers to be had as well! ;-)

Speaking of which... if you'd like additional information on "The Birds", 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:- The Birds (1963) [IMDB Rating: 7.7]


Our next film today is a collaborative effort between the USA and UK, directed by Roger Corman, and released in 1964 under the original title of "The Masque of the Red Death"... which it shared with the novel, written by Edgar Allan Poe, on which it was based. This film adaptation tells of the evil Prince Prospero (Vincent Price), who is riding through Catania when he notices that the peasants of this village are dying of a plague known as "The Red Death"... something which he finds so offensive that he orders the village to be burnt, along with those infected by this plague. Two of those whom Prospero condemned to die are Gino (David Weston) and his father-in-law, Ludovico (Nigel Green), but Gino's young & beautiful wife, Francesca (Jane Asher), pleads with Prospero to spare the lives of her husband and father. After some consideration, Prospero agrees to bring them all back (alive) to his castle, where he believes he can then corrupt Francesca and have his way. Prospero also worships the devil and his castle becomes something of a refuge for his noble friends who turn it into a shelter of depravity... while the plague continues to stalk across the surrounding countryside. Among those taking shelter in the castle are would-be Bride of Satan, Juliana (Hazel Court), who aims to achieve her goals of total acceptance by Satan in order to secure her hold on Prospero. When they hold a masked ball at the castle, Prospero spies a red-hooded stranger and believes that Satan (himself) has attended the party. However, it doesn't take long before he finds out who this stranger really is!

Hazel Court in The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
PHOTO CREDIT: monsters4ever.com

The Masque of the Red Death (1964) [Movie Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: The Manchester Morgue

The Masque of the Red Death (1964) [USA Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: pinterest.com

The Masque of the Red Death (1964) [Italian Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: mauronline.it

The Masque of the Red Death (1964) [French Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: pinterest.com

The Masque of the Red Death (1964) [Spanish Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: tmdb.org

The Masque of the Red Death (1964) [Movie Stills]
PHOTO CREDIT: Brutal As Hell!

Those wishing to bear witness to "the squirming, teeming terrors in this orgy of evil", as the tagline reads on the U.S. poster for this movie, will be pleased to hear that it's available on UK Roku 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 the built-in channel store - by identifying the following icon from your search results, or else looking for it under "Film & TV"in the Roku UK 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 750+ 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:- The Masque of the Red Death (1964) [IMDB Rating: 7.1]


Our third film today is a feature-length drama horror thriller, which was directed by Roman Polanski. Released in 1965, under the original title of "Repulsion", it was based on an original screenplay by Roman Polanski and Gérard Brach. This UK joint-production from Compton Films and Tekli British Productions (uncredited) [as Tekli-Film Productions Ltd.] tells the story of a Belgian immigrant to the UK, called Carol Ledoux (Catherine Deneuve), who shares an apartment (in London) with her older sister Helen (Yvonne Furneaux), and works as a manicurist at a beauty salon. Helen uses the word "sensitive" to describe Carol's overall demeanour ,which basically means she's a bit of a wallflower... who, it seems, is also prone to walk around in an almost permanent daze and rarely offers an opinion on anything. When she does speak up, it is generally on something over which she obsesses, such as Helen's boyfriend Michael's invasion of her space at the apartment. She also seems unable to rebuff the advances of a male suitor, called Colin (John Fraser), who is clearly infatuated with her. Things go from bad to worse, for Carol, when her sister Helen leaves with boyfriend Michael (Ian Hendry) for a vacation in Italy. From that point on, Carol chooses (largely) to lock herself in the apartment, ditching work in the process. While living there alone, she appears almost as if hypnotised and suffers delusions, as well as horrific visions of rape and violence, while slowly sinking into depression...

Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion (1965)
PHOTO CREDIT: theweeklings.com

Repulsion (1965) [Movie Poster]

Repulsion (1965) [Italian Poster]

Repulsion (1965) [Spanish Movie Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: movie-sheets.com

Repulsion (1965) [U.S. One Sheet Poster]

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 chilling horror on the big screen for maximum effect! Whichever you prefer, here's the link...

YOUTUBE LINK:- Repulsion (1965) [IMDB Rating: 7.8]


Our last film for today, is a feature-length film from Italy, which was directed by Mario Bava, and first released in 1966, under the original title of "Operazione Paura"... although (perhaps) better known to American audiences by the alternative title of, "Kill Baby, Kill", which also happens to be the world-wide English title used for this movie. That said, British audiences would have known it as "Curse of the Dead" when it first hit these shores... and that, in turn, formed the basis of the title used for the U.S. re-issue of the movie, as "Curse of the Living Dead". To add to the confusion, there was also the literal translation, of "Operation Fear", as well as "Don't Walk In The Park" (don't ask!) and a myriad of international variations. However, regardless of which title you know it by... what you get, when you watch this engrossing horror mystery, is the story of an 18th century village in Europe that is haunted by the ghost of a murderous little girl. After the opening scenes, in which a woman loses her life under mysterious circumstances, Dr. Paul Eswai (Giacomo Rossi Stuart) is called to the village, by Inspector Kruger (Piero Lulli), to perform an autopsy on the deceased. Shortly thereafter... despite help from the village witch, a sorceress named Ruth (Fabienne Dali), Inspector Kruger is killed and it is revealed that the deaths of the woman and other villagers were caused by the ghost of a young girl, called Melissa Graps (Valerio Valeri), who exacts revenge on her victims - fueled by the hatred of her grieving mother, Baroness Graps (Giovanna Galletti) [credited as Giana Vivaldi] - encouraging her to kill, and kill again. The film comes to a climax when Dr. Eswai, along with a local nurse called Monica Schuftan (Erika Blanc), gets lured into a fateful confrontation at Villa Graps...

Valerio Valeri in Operazione Paura [aka Kill Baby, Kill] (1966)
PHOTO CREDIT: Below The Radar

INTERESTING FACT:- The "Ghost at the Window" in the photo is Melissa Graps, the 'ghost girl' around whom the story revolves, whose role was actually played by a boy, billed as "Valerio Valeri"!

Operazione Paura [aka Kill Baby, Kill] (1966) [Italian Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Deep Fried Movies

Operazione Paura [aka Kill Baby, Kill] (1966) [Alternative Italian Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: The Filmgoers' Guide

Operazione Paura [aka Kill Baby, Kill] (1966) [USA Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: youtube.com

Operazione Paura [aka Kill Baby, Kill] (1966) [Alternative USA Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: drfreex.wordpress.com

If you're not familiar with the work of Mario Bava, he was one of the true masters of Gothic horror with an incredible eye for film. If you watch this movie, not only will you be treated to some amazing imagery... but, also, you'll get to soak-up the eerie atmosphere of fog-bound graveyards, black cats, and shadowy figures creeping through dusty the corridors of buildings in this Transylvanian setting!

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. As with "Repulsion", I was able to find this film on 'YouTube'... which (again) means we can all get to enjoy it by streaming it for free on our Roku streaming media players. 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 this Gothic horror on the big screen for maximum effect! Whichever you prefer, here's the link...

YOUTUBE LINK:- Operazione Paura [aka Kill Baby, Kill] (1966) [IMDB Rating: 7.1]


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 Nineteen' 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 !!


  1. Have you heard the rumours about Roku pulling out of the Uk?
    Have you heard anything?

    1. Hi, Steve!

      Thanks for taking the time and trouble to leave a comment.

      It's much appreciated! :-)

      However, while I've yet to hear anything concrete about the future of Roku device support for the UK, I wouldn't worry about it at this stage.

      The "rumours" surrounding the article you linked to on Roku Forums all started when Roku released their next-generation Roku Stick in North America around six months ago. When it became clear that the UK was not going to get that device (at that time) people simply began to speculate, as they often do (myself included), about the reason(s) why. Of course... the fact that this came on top of the new(er) 'Roku 3', with Voice Remote, not being marketed in the UK - as well as the lack of any 'Roku TV' models in this part of the world - doesn't help either!

      When you couple all that with the recent release of two new 'Roku Express' models, and two new 'Roku Premiere' models, plus the new 'Roku Ultra' to replace the 'Roku 4' (which, let's not forget, was another Roku device that never made it to these shores) and not one of these latest Roku devices are being marketed outside of the Americas (USA, Canada and Mexico) you begin to wonder what Roku has in mind for their other previously established regions (Ireland, UK and France) when it comes to refreshing their device line-up.

      Fortunately, we are still seeing important new additions from Roku channel developers in the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store (like Wuaki.TV and We Are Colony - to name but two) and Roku recently added 'All 4' to their Roku "Search" feature in the UK... so, there is still evidence to show that their current generation (UK) devices are still being supported. So, until sometime down the line - when the Roku devices we have in the UK are no longer up to the task, or meet the requirements of Roku channel developers (as happened with all the pre-2011 Roku devices in the USA) I think we'll be okay. However, when that day comes (and it WILL come) we will know for sure what Roku intends to do in "other" regions (outside North America). Let's hope we get some new devices from them before then!

      In the meantime, my own feeling is that Roku may have come to an agreement with Sky about European markets. The recent rebranding of Sky Online to NowTV in one or two countries from mainland Europe suggests to me that it will be "Roku-Powered" 'NowTV' boxes being marketed in Europe (and not Roku-branded ones) from now on. This could well include the UK and Ireland (as well as France) but we'll have to wait & see...like I say, that's just my personal hunch on things, as I see it ;-)

      Hope that has given you some food for thought, without being too negative. I guess the old motto of "Keep Calm and Carry On" is what best applies to Roku streaming in the UK, until we hear otherwise! :-)

      Thanks for reading the blog ;-)