Val Lewton isn’t quite the household name he ought to be. Today, his films are seen as prime examples of low budget horror that rely on simple lighting and strong storytelling rather than special effects makeup or schlocky monsters.
My latest for DVD Netflix focuses on Alfred Hitchcock’s output during the 1940s, a decade fraught by global war. It was a time laced with suspicion, doubt, daring, and misplaced trust. He knew what plagued an audience’s psyche. These stomach-knotting thrillers use the paranoia and instability of World War II to his advantage.
Along with a slew of decadent musicals came a slate of fast-talking, raucous comedies. Divorce-remarriage plots, fish out of water stories, and fierce, funny women all figure in the genre.
Some of my favorite silent films — from Buster Keaton antics to stunning double exposure to experimental stop-motion and early wildlife documentaries. These are movies that have truly stayed with me over the years.
For many, winter signals blazing firesides and hot cocoa. But just beyond the frosted windows is a cold, unforgiving night. Short days, bare trees, deep snow, eerie quiet. Enjoy these shivering tales that will make your frostbitten fingertips tingle.