We present the series of classic films of the 37th edition of the Molins de Rei Horror Film Festival, wich will be held next November 9th to 18th, at the Sala Gotica of Molins de Rei.
A sip of fear
Maybe unwillingly, since they started with the 16 Hores, the intention of the organisers of this Festival have always been making the horror genre worth. Otherwise it would be difficult to understand that a group of cinema lovers, all of them members of the local Cinema Club, chose this genre in the now far away 1973. Yes, it’s true, they chose horror because they were certain that it deserved a marathon; definitely, real cinema lovers think that horror is at the same level as other genres. So here we are, our intention may be more straightforward and clear but it is in essence the same: put horror cinema in the place that it deserves.
We do not understand the general interest in undervaluing it, horror has been part of cinema since the beginning. According to legend, those initial screenings by the Lumiére brothers had an audience leaving the room in fear because of that train coming directly form the screen. Be true or not, there is no doubt that they introduced suspense in the cinematographic language.
Horror cinema offers the widest variety of sub-genres, many of which have become central genres for their own value. Moreover, it can make a perfect symbiosis with the rest of genres, from thriller to comedy, from drama to sci-fi. That is the reason why, many directors who unlike Carpenter, Craven, Franco o Argento, did not devote their whole career to horror, have made several incursions into it because of the creative possibilities of the genre.
Hitchcock, Polanski, Attenborough, Frankenheimer, Clayton, Russell, Reiner, Medak, Lynch, Lumet, Spilberg, Mulligan, Fukasaku, Fellini, Powell, Hellman, Shindô, LeRoy, Laughton, Clouzot, Kobayashi, Eastwood, Kubrick, Roeg, Stone, Bigelow, Friedkin, Demme, Fincher along with lots of others, have done it with interesting, outstanding of frustrating results. There is no doubt, however, that most of them took it as a challenge because horror was taking them away from their respective comfort zones.
Of course, we have not left behind Wise, Coppola, Fleischer, Tourneur, and Altman, they are the protagonists of this small selection devoted to great directors and their particular forays into horror.
Robert Wise (1945) Horror, Thriller
Versatile Robert Wise brought forth works like The set-up (1949), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), I Want to Live! (1958), West Side Story (1961), The Sound of Music (1965) or Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) among many others. Only in three of the forty films that he directed he took the chance with horror: The haunting (1963) which had a shameful remake directed by Jan de Vont in 1999, Audrey Rose (1977) and the wonder we are dealing with here, a great work based on the short story by Robert Louis Stevenson with two monsters of horror films in all senses: Boris Karloff as a protagonist and Bela Lugosi as part of the cast.
Richard Fleischer (1971) Horror, Thriller
Multitalented director with several classics in his personal list such as The Vikings (1958), Fantastic Voyage (1966) or Soylent Green (1973) among others, Fleischer succeeded several times with real murder cases seen from a thriller or dramatic side. He subtly faced the genre with The Boston Strangler (1968) and 10 Rillington Place (1971). The film that we are going to watch is the only instance in which he dared with horror. It is a distressing film with a psychopath and a great and austere setting, a terrific Mia Farrow and music by Elmer Berstein.
Jacques Tourneur (1957) Horror, Fantasy, Thriller
Jacques Tourneur devoted much of his artistic skills to noir as well as adventures and westerns, but between 1942 and 1943 he directed three master pieces of horror cinema: Cat People (1942), I Walked with a Zombie (1943) and The Leopard Man (1943), all of them made for RKO with Val Lewton as a producer. He would not go back into horror until 1957 when he directed this wonderful film about satanic sects and witchcraft. He got into horror for the last time with an incredible comedy: The Comedy of Terrors in 1963. By the way, if anyone finds any parallels with Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell (2009) they won’t be wrong because Raimi planned his film as a remake of The Comedy of Terrors, however, he was not able to get the copyrights en had to make script changes in order to avoid being accused of plagiarism. He made his own version and the result was not at all bad.
Francis Ford Coppola (1963) Horror, Thriller
This is Coppola’s second film as a director after the irrelevant comedy The Bellboy and the Playgirls, (1962). If we ignore two completely forgettable co-directions, it is worth to recover this one. With the support of the Corman factory (for whom he had worked as a film editor, sound technician as well as other diverse tasks) he directed a horror film in which there are some stylistic features of the maestro, who needed ten more years to become part of the Olympus of great directors with The Godfather (1972). Richard LeMay directed a remake of Dementia 13 which we’d rather not to mention.
Robert Altman (1972) Horror, Thriller, Drama
Robert Altman devoted the ten first years of his career to television. In 1967 he directed his first feature film, Countdown, and in 1970 he reached success with M.A.S.H. We cannot forget two of his works: The Player (1992) and Short Cuts (1993). Like Fleischer did, he faced horror only once, and the result was more than good: he got several awards including a Golden Globe. Images gets into psychological horror and it pairs in quality level with Mr. Altman’s Brewster McCloud (1970), as well as John Williams’s music. The script by Altman himself is based on In Search of Unicorns, a novel by main actress Susanah York which was published a year after the film premiere.