Whatever floats your boat...
Val Lewton's Horror Pictures from Geoffo on Vimeo.
On the starting clip: It's like the Tell Tale Heart. The ticking clock can create such suspense. Silence , a ticking clock or a heartbeat can create such fear in a viewer. The lighting is so effective in these films. "The Body Snatcher", a concept that's got to scare anyone.
Cat People - i never saw the original but loved the remake with Bowie.
I notice finger biting in old horror films...there's a bit of mixed message always with that
Suspense trumps gore. Having a limited budget doesn't necessarily mean you can't produce a great movie if you have access to all the right tools. Lewton was lucky to be able to use RKO's property and employees. Probably the best part is, like you hinted at, is that the camera/lighting/props/personnel have all been used in/on similar films. They've already worked out the kinks and know what to do in order to avoid those pitfalls. Win/Win for Lewton :D .. I still enjoy the old "Hammer" films, even though they were so cheesey :P
TG, the remake of "Cat People" is good. It's a rethinking of the story by people who obviously appreciate the original but want to riff on the ideas and make them new. Similar, in that respect, to the remake of another low budget classic, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers".
Scott, I haven't seen all that many Hammer films, but one that stands out for me is "The Horror of Dracula". You hit the nail on the head about Lewton cleverly reusing things that had already proved their worth. The apartment hallways and staircase in "Cat People" had been used in "The Magnificent Ambersons." Lewton gave Robert Wise, the editor of "Citizen Kane," his first directing job on "The Body Snatcher". Parts of the medieval Paris set for "Hunchback of Notre Dame" represented 1830s Edinburgh. I guess you can get away with a lot if you throw the shadows around artfully.
re: "Suspense trumps gore."
I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I'll go for the gross-out. I'm not proud.
Love the King quote :P .. Hitchcock was great at suspense, with little to no gore. Same with the original 1931 Dracula with Bela Lugosi. No blood dripping fangs, just intensity.
WRONG! I totally jumped when that bus pulled up with the air brakes hissing! Just about out of my skin.
I never knew these were low-budget films. The lighting in both of the films you selected was superb, especially in The Cat People. I agree with ThatGirl about the sound track. Ticking and silence can create a lot more suspense than a loud horn and string orchestra.
It's been years since I've seen these films. I look forward to checking them out again.
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