1960, A Year of Much Much
The year of many scientific achievements, a presidential race which was watched by 70 million people and the year Senegal, Ghana an Nigeria gained their independence. But also the year for Psycho, Village of the Damned, Eyes without a Face, The Time Machine, 13 Ghosts, The Fall of the house Usher and Revenge of the Vampire… oh yeah.
This year was great for horror. With the new decade a whole new type of horror was emerging, bloodier, sexier and weirder. I'm going to mention a few of the greatest titles being released this year starting off with..
..one of my all time favourite films and my number two favourite horror film of all time.
If I could only choose one director, one that will rule them all, it would be Alfred the master himself Hitchcock. He is one of the few film makers who've created perfection. Well I'm not gonna start rambling on Hitchcock, since I will never stop.. So, Psycho. The film everyone knows the whole story and every scene, but a surprisingly high number who've never actually seen it. If you haven't. Get on it, like yesterday. Norman Bates, Motel owner, gets a late night customer to his remote motel. Young Marion Crane is her name, she is on the run after stealing 40.000 dollars from her employer, and plans on staying one night in The Bates Motel. Big Mistake. As everyone knows, Norman is under the influence of his dead mother, and she does not like women.. hence, knife, iconic music, legendary shower scene and death. Well this film for me is perfect from beginning to end. And also, so scary that I can't to this day, watch it alone.
Rod Taylor..in..The Time Machine! Yes, this great sci-fi classic based on H.G. Wells' masterpiece is of course in the list of what was great in 1960. A young brilliant scientist, suitably named H. George Wells, tells a story to his friends at a dinner party. A story of him and his journey forward in time with his Time Machine.. He arrives in a time where he expect to find perfect harmony and full development, a utopia. But none of that can be found in the time where humanity has divided in to two hostile species.
A very typical 60s film I think. How the women look, how it's shot and how it's stylized. A great adventure movie which I've seen so many times it's crazy. Whenever I've been visiting my mother who has TCM. it's been on for some reason.
In Revenge of the Vampire, (also known as Black Sunday or La Maschera del Demonio), a young beautiful witch, Asa Vajda, is burned for sorcery by her own brother. Before her ultimate demise, a metal mask is put on her, attatched with sharp spikes. She vows revenge and two centuries later, she's back.
Asa's plan is to find a vessel to gain youth and immortality and she find one in beautiful young Katia..
This was Italian Horror Master Mario Bava directorial debut, and this paved the way of his future as an amazing horror director.
This truly was a great year for horror, and another great example of this is French George Franju's classic Eyes Without a Face. A brilliant surgeon, Dr. Génessier and his assistant kidnap young women. He then removes their faces.. to replace the face of his daughter, which through an accident, was destroyed beyond recognition. The victims dies of the surgery, but Dr. Génessier keep looking for women.. to try to restore his, once beautiful daughter. Franju created something spectacular here, a new type of horror, filled with blood and gore in a more subtle way than Romero or Argento later would be know through.
You all know by now that I love Peter Cushing and Hammer produced films from the 60s. So this next one was a given on my list. The Brides of Dracula. This is one of the two Dracula films made by Hammer not featuring Christopher Lee as Dracula. This focuses on a young schoolteacher who, on her way to her new position, encounters a Baroness and her handsome son, whom she rescues from the shackles his mother put him in. She comes to regret that decision however, since the man she rescues.. is a member of the undead.. Well what can I say, Hammer + Vampires + Cushing = Awesome.
In The Fall of the House Usher a terrible curse dominates a family. Vincent Price (yei!) plays Roderick Usher, brother to Madeline, who together with her husband just reentered the house. Roderick tells the husband, Philip, of this curse, which affects the Usher family with madness and debauchery. And when Madeline suddenly dies but mysteriously disappears form her grave, Philip finds out just how real the curse is. Roger Corman directed this adaption of Edgar Allan Poe's classic tale, with Vincent Price in the lead. So it has everything it needs to be an eerie, weird and great horror film.
Village of the Damned. Another great horror film, this one is mostly sci-fi though. I wrote about this creepy vicious-children-with-power film in an earlier blog post. Read Here
There are obviously plenty more good films released in that year, Peeping Tom, 13 Ghosts, Last Woman on Earth, The City of the Dead, Flesh and the Fiend
So all and all 1960 was a great for sci-fi/horror, and it was the beginning of all those bloody, gory and creepy films which dominated the 60s and 70s.