The Pleasure and Pain of Cult Horror Films

An Historical Survey

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About the Book

The horror genre harbors a number of films too bold or bizarre to succeed with mainstream audiences, but offering unique, startling and often groundbreaking qualities that have won them an enduring following. Beginning with Victor Sjöström’s The Phantom Carriage in 1921, this book tracks the evolution and influence of underground cult horror over the ensuing decades, closing with William Winckler’s Frankenstein vs. the Creature from Blood Cove in 2005. It discusses the features that define a cult film, trends and recurring symbols, and changing iconography within the genre through insightful analysis of 88 movies. Included are works by popular directors who got their start with cult horror films, including Oliver Stone, David Cronenberg and Peter Jackson.

About the Author(s)

Bartłomiej Paszylk is the author of the Polish–language horror film history Leksykon filmowego horroru. His articles, reviews and interviews have been published in popular magazines and websites in both Poland and the United States. He is the editor of the magazine Czachopismo.

Bibliographic Details

Bartłomiej Paszylk
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: 42 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020 [2009]
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8178-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5327-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

PART I: THE ROOT OF ALL HORROR

The Phantom Carriage (Körkarlen) (1921)      6

Between Two Worlds (Der Müde Tod) (1921)      8

Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922)      10

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)      12

Faust (Faust—Eine Deutsche Volkssage) (1926)      16

Vampyr (Vampyr, Der Traum des Allan Grey) (1931)      19

The Old Dark House (1932)      21

Doctor X (1932)      23

Freaks (1932)      26

White Zombie (1932)      29

WereWolf of London (1935)      31

Mad Love (1935)      34

Mark of the Vampire (1935)      37

PART II: MONSTERS AND MADMEN

Dr. Cyclops (1940)      42

The Mad Monster (1942)      43

I Walked with a Zombie (1943)      45

The Body Snatcher (1945)      48

Dead of Night (1945)      49

The Beast with Five Fingers (1946)      51

The Thing from Another World (1951)      53

House of Wax (1953)      56

Tarantula (1955)      58

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)      60

The Fly (1958)      63

I Bury the Living (1958)      65

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)      67

A Bucket of Blood (1959)      71

Horrors of the Black Museum (1959)      73

Eyes Without a Face (Les Yeux Sans Visage) (1959)      75

PART III: TO SCARE THE WORLD

Black Sunday (1960)      80

The Blancheville Monster (1963)      82

Blood Feast (1963)      84

At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (À Meia-Noite Levarei Sua Alma) (1964)      86

Kwaidan (Kaidan) (1964)      88

The Saragossa Manuscript (Rdkopis Znaleziony w Saragossie) (1965)      91

Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965)      94

The Reptile (1966)      97

The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967)      99

The Sorcerers (1967)      102

Viy (1967)      104

Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen) (1968)      106

The Cremator (SpalovaV Mrtvol) (1968)      109

Murder à la Mod (1968)      112

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (L’Uccello dalle Piume di Cristallo) (1970)      114

Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (Una Lucertola con la Pelle di Donna) (1971)      116

Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971)      119

Vampyros Lesbos (1971)      121

Raw Meat (1972)      123

Flesh for Frankenstein (1973)      125

Scream Blacula Scream (1973)      126

Horror Express (1973)      129

Seizure (1974)      131

Frightmare (1974)      133

Black Christmas (1974)      135

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)      136

The Beast (La Bête) (1975)      140

Shivers (1975)      142

The House with Laughing Windows (La Casa dalle Finestre Che Ridono) (1976)      144

Eraserhead (1977)      146

Martin (1977)      149

I Spit on Your Grave (1978)      151

The Driller Killer (1979)      153

PART IV: THE NASTY EIGHTIES

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)      158

Hell of the Living Dead (Inferno dei Morti Viventi) (1980)      160

Possession (1981)      162

The Living Dead Girl (La Morte Vivante) (1982)      164

Basket Case (1982)      166

Escape 2000 (1982)      169

Swamp Thing (1982)      170

Q—The Winged Serpent (1982)      173

Sleepaway Camp (1983)      176

The Toxic Avenger (1985)      178

Bad Taste (1987)      180

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)      182

Night of the Demons (1988)      184

Society (1989)      187

PART V: THE NEW WEIRDNESS

Begotten (1991)      190

Benny’s Video (1992)      192

Schramm (1993)      194

Dark Waters (1994)      196

The Day of the Beast (El Día de la Bestia) (1995)      199

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001)      201

No Such Thing (2001)      204

Bubba Ho-tep (2002)      206

The Stink of Flesh (2004)      208

Calvaire (2004)      210

Lunacy (Sílení) (2005)      212

William Winckler’s Frankenstein vs. the Creature from Blood Cove (2005)      215

Bibliography      219

Index      221

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Note to horror know-it-alls, do not, I repeat DO NOT make any genre-related bar bets with Bartlomiej Paszylk, because he will slay you. [Paszylk] quotes from seemingly every damn academic article, Interview and notable review related to the movies he covers, and imparts enough factoids about the flicks to make one suspect he’s really just a glowing brain and a set of eyes floating in a jar, absorbing genre-related information all day…. That said, don’t assume this is a stuffy academic tome. Rather, Paszylk has written knowledgeable yet approachable two-page essays on 88 movies, ranging from the silent era to the mid-2000s”—Rue Morgue
• “Paszylk adopts a casual style of writing, yet his work is well researched and scholarly. This does not detract from the book, indeed, it makes it more accessible…wryly entertaining and observant…extremely intelligent but warmly embracing”—Hellnotes
• “I found everything I wanted to know about my cult fave films in this comprehensive volume…brilliant”—The Tomb of Dark Delights