Faces of Horror

Classic icons of the 20th Century heyday for horror movies

Faces of horror Christopher Lee Peter Cushing Vincent Price - masters of 20th Century horror movies

Faces of horror

This is a wonderful photograph although sadly shows these men somewhat faded, and without the grit, spit and tenacity that defined their roles earlier in life. I relate to them mostly for their work in Hammer Films, including two of my all time favourites – Hound of the Baskervilles (1959) with Christopher Lee as Sir Henry and Cushing as Sherlock Holmes.  A movie that infused me forever with a teenage-like adoration for the mystery and eerie bleakness of Dartmoor.  1959 was  the same year that Vincent Price starred in another classic, this time by William Castle productions, House on Haunted Hill.

The Old Dark House (1932) Directed by James Whale

The Old Dark House (1932) Directed by James Whale

But one movie that really impressed me, and I only discovered it in 2013, is the incredible The Old Dark House (1932).  Directed by legendary James Whale (Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein) it contains some of the most genuinely unnerving scenes of any horror movie from that period. No shock tactics. No music-video edit and switch cuts, no abrupt leap of soundtrack volume (cheating and lazy movie-making), but real creeping dread and unflinching, unavoidable horror. It also features my all-time favourite man of monsters, Boris Karloff as the sinister, brutish manservant, Morgan.

Boris Karloff - The Old Dark House (1932) Directed by James Whale

Boris Karloff as Morgan, in The Old Dark House (1932)

Forge For A Futuristic Mind

All of these movies and more have had a direct influence on my writing. I’m known for crafting near future science fiction (cyberpunk) stories, usually wrapped around the concept of Thriller, Action Adventure and Crime, but most of my stories have their foundations burrowed into a core of horror – either supernatural occult, or the cosmic, psychological terror of H.P.Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. The horror is usually subtly played, kept in the background to seep out and invade the characters and storyline.

The latest book, Oakfield, is generating a stack of 5* reviews (read…).  If you’re into your horror where the tension slowly cranks up with increasing tension, you’re going to adore Oakfield. Certainly a good book to read. Available from LULU (paperback) and Amazon Kindle: US ($), UK (£)

OAKFIELD: When James Spaulding’s sister inherits a house from their estranged grandfather and invites him to join her there for a week, he treats it as part of his recovery and as a chance to heal the wounds that sit deep within their family.  However, once at the house it quickly transpires the grandfather did not die of natural causes. The house holds secrets and there are monsters in the quiet places nearby.  The characters must face this horror whilst picking apart the emotional turmoil of their own relationships. A fast and tense read with deep emotional intelligence.

LINKS:

  • Travel: Dartmoor, flying a plane and communing with Elder Gods (click here)
  • Product: The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films (click here)
  • Product: The Old Dark House [DVD] (click here)
  • Oakfield launches with 5-star reviews (click here)

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Oakfield - sneak preview of novel cover of new release by science fiction dark fantasy author David J Rodger

Click now & shop

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2 thoughts on “Faces of Horror

  1. Pingback: House on Haunted Hill | LR Diffusion

  2. Pingback: Movie Picks for Friday Night | Dispensable Thoughts

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