Favorite films

  • Suspiria
  • The Seventh Victim
  • Dawn of the Dead
  • Force of Evil

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  • Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace

    ★★★

  • The Skull

    ★★★½

  • Flight To Mars

    ★★★

  • Night of the Eagle

    ★★★½

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  • The Door with Seven Locks

    The Door with Seven Locks

    ★★★

    Lilli Palmer and Leslie Banks really help this Edgar Wallace mystery, as both are incredibly charismatic in completely different ways. Banks’ character is not unlike his epic performance as Count Zaroff in The Most Dangerous Game: here he’s also presiding over a spooky mansion and menacing a group of guests while playing the amicable host. Banks’ character is a spunky adventuress trying to figure out why a stranger mailed her a mysterious key. When asked why she’s so intent on…

  • The Phantom Speaks

    The Phantom Speaks

    ★★★

    This is basically a spiritualist twist on the “scientist returns from the dead to seek revenge on those who betrayed him” plot: a medium concocts a plan to bring the spirit of an executed murder back from the dead, which goes about as well as you’d expect. The one interesting stylistic touch is the use of creepy organ music when the medium is being possessed, which sets the mood nicely. The actor playing the medium (Stanley Ridges) actually does a…

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  • So Big!

    So Big!

    ★★★★½

    Movies like this are why I love the pre-code era so much—not just because of the permissiveness or lack of moralizing, but also the ramshackle approach to plot construction in early 1930s films. This film skips around time—we get snapshots of Stanwyck’s life as a little girl, a young schoolteacher, a married farmer’s wife, and then a widowed farmer with a grown son. The film resembles nothing less than an Ozu film in its approach to plot events: significant events…

  • The Witch

    The Witch

    ★★★

    Hooptober 4.0
    Country 3/6: Finland

    While it’s from Finland and not Sweden, this film reminded me a lot of Bergman films from the late 40s and early 50s, especially the comedies. A group of upper-class archeologists and explorers sit around making jokes about sex that inadvertently reveal their various hangups and sexual dysfunctions: one guy is in love with another’s wife, one is impotent, etc. So despite the light tone, there is a disturbing sexuality lurking beneath the surface.

    This…