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Old 02-17-2008, 12:35 AM
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A *new* Covenant
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 31,676
Occult Horror/ Demonic Possession

Black Sunday aka La Maschera del Demonio (1960)

"Black Sunday is a masterpiece amongst masterpieces from one of the greatest directors of all time: Mario Bava.
I really don't know what it is about Bava that I love so much. Is it his use of color? Is it his willingness to push the boundaries of all sorts of taboos? Is it his imaginative set designs, or his use of atmosphere in general? It's all these things... and so much more. There is no better example of all the subtle brilliance that made Bava a legend in Black Sunday, supposedly Tim Burton's favorite horror film of all time. and I whole-heartedly agree with Burton.
The movie starts out with a good, old fashioned, witch burning. But this is no ordinary, every day, witch burning! They put the Mask of Satan on this particular witch (played by the gorgeous scream queen, Barbara Steele, in a dual role no less!), who seems to be part vampire-part witch, to hold all of her powers in. And if the Mask should come off? Look out, good guys!!
In Steele's other role, she plays a girl who is, naturally, a descendant of the witch, who wishes to possess her body with the help of her sidekick after being brought back to life.
The plot is great, but the film is more than just the plot. It's been rated in many lists as one of the top 5 horror films ever made and it's due almost solely to the haunting atmosphere and amazingly rich set design.
Why do we watch foreign movies, and foreign horror in particular? Because directors like Bava have no interest in pandering to Hollywood spoon-fed audiences, and this results in some of the most adventurous and creative film-making in cinema history." - Knife Fight

Demons aka Demoni (1985)

"There are two main things I like about Demons:
One is the sheer aggressiveness of it. Up until recently, I was frustrated with horror movies that didn't really "go for the throat" the way Demons does. While I enjoy a fine movie that is "creepy," I was really getting tired of the amount of movies that I considered "thrillers" passing themselves off as horror movies.
But not Demons! Demons is a horror movie, through and through. A horror fanatic's horror movie, if ever there was one, with no apologies.
I just really like how, once things start turning sour for the heroes and heroines, they don't just start sliding downhill, they take a nosedive into a complete Charlie Foxtrot of utter shit... and they never really get out of it.
The second thing I like about Demons is the plot... or lack thereof. There are no explanations offered, which leaves the audience semi-disoriented and, in my opinion, adds to the horror. The premise is just kinda like, "Ok, here are these few people, suddenly thrust into this situation.... What are they (you) gonna do?"
And that's it. It's just a group of people finding themselves in a ludicrous, albeit terrifying, situation, with no explanation as to why or how.
And, for some reason, the audience (us, in the safety of our homes) buys it. What doesn't work for most movies, not having any exposition, somehow succeeds here in spades.
It's not for the faint of heart, but for those of us, like me, who enjoy a good cartoon now and again, Demons is about the most fun you'll have with your home entertainment system." - Knife Fight

Night of the Demon (1957)

The Evil Dead (1981)

"Originally titled "Book of the Dead", The Evil Dead is a horror classic that was followed by two sequels and established director Sam Raimi as a master of the genre. Also written by Raimi, it tells the tale of a group of college students who journey to a deserted cabin in the woods, where they encounter body-possessing demons. Eventually they are picked off one by one by the spirits until only Ash (Bruce Campbell, in his cult classic role) remains to battle off the forces of the evil dead.
The Evil Dead is one of a kind, truly wonderful film. This low-budget, 16mm debut by aspiring director Raimi didn’t take very long to reach cult status after its theatrical premiere in 1981. Its simple story, abundant gore and flashy directing makes it hold up very well today and still makes even the ardent horror lovers cringe in their seats." - Roshiq

"A personal favorite of mine and possibly the main reason you will never hear of me going anywhere near a secluded cabin in the woods, The Evil Dead may be the best example of what a filmmaker can do with a low budget and lots of creativity. Its very rare that a film can not only be over the top, gory, and a tad silly but also very creepy and disturbing. Here is a film that manages to balance all of this quite well. The camera work is very well done, some of the shots are just outstanding. Its fun, its energetic, and hey, its definitely gross and a bit shocking.
It is also our introduction to one of the great icons of horror, Ashley J. "Ash" Williams." - Jenna26

The Exorcist (1973)

"I'll never eat pea soup again. Projectile vomiting, spinning heads, levitating demon girl...what more could you ask for in a movie.
Another one that had people fainting in the aisles, The Exorcist tells the story of little Regan MacNeil. Who had a nasty case of demon possession and wasn't quite sure where to "put" that crucifix. Father Merrin [who had dealings with this demon in the past] comes to call with "Doubting" Father Karras in tow.
Great movie that still holds up very well. I suggest you rush to see this one...just watch your step on those stairs...
Also get the DVD version with the "spider-walk" scene....that's some freaky shit!" - Newb

Honorable Mentions:

Haxan: Witchcraft through the Ages (1922)

"I'm sure we're all familiar with the Criterion Collection. Well, here's yet another reason from them to give whomever is closest to you a high five!
The 1922 pseudo-documentary Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages has been released in a badass edition which will be the envy of all your friends... especially the ones who hate witches!
This Criterion edition contains both versions of the film. The one that is silent (you know, where ya gotta read it) and the more popular one that is shorter and narrated by none other than William Burroughs (one wonders how he gets his dirty mitts into pretty much everything).
Up until recently, though experiencing a flash-in-the-pan cult following among the Beat Generation, "Haxan" was more often heard about, rather than seen. It was best known as one of those movies that you see clips from in documentaries on the History channel about Satanism, or Hell, or something nefarious like that, and scratch your head and think, "I wonder what movie that is, because I want to see that!!!!"
Look no further, viewer of History Channel Devil Documentaries, a lot of those mysterious clips come from here!
Using a wide variety of styles, including shadow puppets and some really great makeup and special effects, the film gives us an interesting perception of the history of that most misunderstood of all religions: Witchcraft.
Most of this "documentary" is pure hokum and humbuggery of course, but it does lend itself to some very interesting scenes (most notably the ones where the devil himself makes an appearance, played menacingly by the director, Benjamin Christensen, himself). It also makes some very controversial statements about the Church... such as a scene where a priest (I think he's supposed to be a priest. perhaps a friar or something. nevertheless, he is clearly representative of a "Man of the Cloth") condemns sinners, only to turn around and reveal his own hypocrisy by attempting to seduce women.
It's actually often speculated whether this is a condemnation of witches, or of the condemners themselves. But whether you view this film in one way or another, it is a visual buffet of rich imagery, the likes of which we haven't seen in a long time.
Very highly recommended buy, especially for silent horror fans and double that for fans of stuff like "Nosferatu" or "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari." - Knife Fight

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
"If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Last edited by _____V_____; 03-07-2008 at 07:19 PM.
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