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Creaky Thrills...

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Posted 24th April 2009 at 02:13 PM by Sam@Cult Labs

Night of the Eagle

A sensible university academic played by Peter Wyngarde is looking forward to a bright future until he finds out that his wife has been concealing magical charms around their home, believing that they will protect and bring good luck. He tells her to destroy them but this turns out to be a grave error as his luck is about to change, bringing a whole mess of trouble.

A quirky old fashioned little spook show, Night of the Eagle plays up to the old cliches of women's intuition and their binding hold over the lives of men, pushing the conceit further, bringing the viewer into a world of witchcraft and curses behind the closed doors of a university campus. Beneath the respectable facade of academia is a seething whirl of envy, petty jealousies and demonic manipulation building toward a weird climax in which Wyngarde is pursued by a rather unconvincing stone eagle. Dodgy and dated special effects aside, this is an effective, old fashioned tale of witchery and evil that makes good use of an obvious low budget.

Circus of Horrors

A retro horror rollercoaster of shocks held together by just enough plot to stop it descending into outright stupidity, Circus Of Horrors is a classic over the top fright flick. In post war England a plastic surgeon in trouble heads to France when he botches a procedure, leaving a patient badly deformed. Once he arrives he operates on a circus owner's daughter, whose face was disfigured by a bomb blast. He later takes over the whole show and gradually uses his skill with a knife to transform his muse into the beautiful star of the show.
But when women who have expressed a desire to leave the circus start expiring in bizarre accidents, Scotland Yard begins sniffing around and the doctor is their prime suspect...

Although not as all out gruesome as todays gore drenched horror, it still holds it own when the accidents start happening. The surgeon is a classic arrogant movie villain who uses everyone for his own ends while the film keeps racking up the suspense throughout, producing a fine early 60s shocker that's luridly colourful and has just the right amount of ham acting to remain constantly enthralling.

Masque of the red death

Roger Corman conjured miracles out of miniscule budgets when he scored a succession of B-Movie hits with his 60s series of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations. Vincent Price was a frequent collaborator and his arch, hammy acting style was a perfect match for the heavily draped Gothic splendour of the movies. In Masque of the Red Death, Price plays an unfeeling medieval prince who brings fear and tyranny to the local peasants while using his castle as a refuge from a terrible plague called 'The Red Death'. Essentially fiddling while Rome burns, he entertains similarly corrupted rich folk while the world falls apart. The prince, Prospero, holds a fine masked ball but becomes perturbed by the arrival of a hooded stranger clad in red. Could this newcomer be his master, Satan? Or is his identity even more horrific?

Masque of the Red Death is one of the best 60s horror movies out there, with gaudy, colour saturated sets, trippy dream sequences and a string of over acted, mad characters to enjoy. Topped off with a still spooky 'Danse Macabre' sequence towards the end, Masque... is a fun, old-fashioned horror movie that combines the high camp of similar, contemporary pictures with a dose of satanic creepiness.
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