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Eyes Without a Face / Black Sunday / Carnival of Souls / Black Sabbath

Reed Rothchild


Which ones have you seen?  

5 members have voted

  1. 1. Which ones have you seen?

    • Eyes Without a Face (1960)
    • Black Sunday (1960)
    • Carnival of Souls (1962)
    • Black Sabbath (1963)
    • None of the above

Eyes Without a Face (1960)

Eyes Without a Face (1960) | The Criterion Collection

A surgeon causes an accident which leaves his daughter disfigured and goes to extreme lengths to give her a new face.

It's unbelievable that this came out all the way back in 1960.  There are certain scenes that are so far beyond the pale as far as what society would have been used to at the time, I have a very hard time imagining an American audience sitting in the theater and watching this.  At least, not without walking out.  Probably why it didn't get a wide release over here.

But decades later, we can fully appreciate it.  And even though Psycho gets all of the attention for horror films made in 1960, I'm deeming this the superior film.  The plights of the various women in this film stick with me, long after watching it.  Even the main character has enough dimensions to make her sympathetic, despite the horrible things happening in her name.

Black Sunday (1960)

Black Sunday - Rotten Tomatoes 

A vengeful witch and her fiendish servant return from the grave and begin a bloody campaign to possess the body of the witch's beautiful look-alike descendant.

[Note - I am talking about the original release here, not the censored American cut]

Not to be confused with that movie about the blimp. 

The first Italian film to grace the list, and an early picture from famed filmmaker Mario Bava.   Best described as a "Gothic horror film", Black Sunday takes what the Hammer films had been doing at the time, and ups the ante with additional gore and thrills.  We're talking nails being driven into eyeballs (with ensuing seeping liquids), people being burned alive, spikes driven into faces, throats being torn out.  Fun stuff.

Not to mention the great sets and shots, the awesome score, and the great cast.  Most of the remaining Italian films that will appear on this list are of a particularly different persuasion, but this is the one of the best of the bunch, and is most heavily recommended.

Carnival of Souls (1962)

Carnival of Souls (1962) - IMDb

After a traumatic accident, a woman becomes drawn to a mysterious abandoned carnival.

Yet another early example of the horror "twist."  Again, don't read anything ahead of time so as not to spoil it, though this particular trope has been copied so many times in the decades since that you'll probably see it coming anyway.  

But even that makes a pretty compelling argument for just how groundbreaking this film was.  It (alongside The Innocents, which did not quite make the cut for this list) basically laid the blueprints for 60+ years of horror films that followed.

Groundbreaking elements aside, today it still stands strong as an immensely entertaining watch, with a lean runtime that keeps you immersed throughout.  And that's why it's on this list.

Black Sabbath (1963)

Black Sabbath (1963) - IMDb

Boris Karloff hosts a trio of horror stories concerning a stalked call girl, a vampire-like monster who preys on his family, and a nurse who is haunted by her ring's rightful owner.

[Note - I am talking about the original release here, not the censored American cut]

This is the first anthology film to appear in my list, but it certainly will not be the last.  I am an absolute sucker for the stuff.  I'll watch (or read) horror anthologies or short story collections all day long.  The format is just a natural fit for trying to get under your skin, because all it takes is one disturbing image, or one horrifying scene to stick with you.  And that's especially the case here with this delightful collection of stories.  I don't want to spoil too much about any of them, but all three are super strong.  "The Telephone" involves mysterious threatening phone calls   , "The Wurdulak" is what you see in the above poster, and "The Drop of Water"... well, lets just say it has some very evocative imagery that is super effective.  I'll leave it at that.

But again, stay away from the American version.  It changes a ton of things that mess up the rhythm and tone of the original film.


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