The Horror Honeys: Halloween Movie Traditions (Part II)!

Halloween Movie Traditions (Part II)!

A Supernatural Honey Hexmas List by Suzanne

Last week I gave you a peak into my Halloween movie traditions. Continuing that list, leading up to Halloween is also the time I drag out my tried and true Amicus anthologies. Visual short stories, sometimes engaging and sometimes silly, but all created with that Amicus panache. These are in no particular order.

Asylum (1972)
A young psychiatrist is being interviewed for a potential position at a psychiatric facility where one of the doctors has lost his mind and is now residing as a patient. As part of the interview process, the hospital’s director to evaluate and identify which one of the current patients is that former doctor.  The four resident patients reveal their stories and it’s up to both the young doctor and the audience to determine who is really crazy. Directed by Roy Ward Baker and starring Peter Cushing, Barbara Parkins, Charlotte Rampling and Herbert Lom, to name a few, the Asylum stories involve marital revenge, a suit to wake the dead, sibling rivalry, and robots.

Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965)
Starring Amicus regulars Peter Cushing, as the titular title character, Dr. Schreck, and Christopher Lee, with the familiar faces of Michael Gough and Donald Sutherland, and directed by Freddie Francis. Five strangers board a train, bound for parts unknown, when a fortune teller offers to read their tarot cards. The five stories involve a werewolf, a vampire, voodoo, a disembodied killer hand, and a creeping vine that out for blood. Can their futures be altered? You won’t find out until the end.
The House That Dripped Blood (1971)
This is hands down my favorite of ALL Amicus films. The central figure in this anthology is a house, rather than a person. A police inspector from a big city travels to a small town in search of a missing actor. As he looks for answers, a real estate agent and local police tell him tales of the old house and its previous inhabitants. The stories are written by Psycho scribe, Robert Bloch and involve a wax statue that possesses the hearts of men, a writer who creates a real life murderer with his typewriter, a young witch, and an actor who finds the original cape of Count Dracula. Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Denholm Elliott, Jon Pertwee, and Ingrid Pitt star.

From Beyond the Grave (1974)
This is the last of the Amicus anthologies and centers around the idea of karma. Temptations Ltd. is an antiques shop whose tag line is "Offers You Cannot Resist." Whenever someone tries to cheat the proprietor (Peter Cushing), they suffer terrible consequences. The offerings here include a haunted mirror, a stolen medal of honor, a vengeful poltergeist, and a door that leads to the past. I wrote a more detailed review of this particular film earlier in the year as it is a favorite and I do watch it more frequently than just Halloween. This anthology also stars David Warner, Donald Pleasence and Ian Bannen.

Torture Garden (1967)
Sadly, even with all of the talent behind it, this anthology cannot be saved and it is my least favorite of the bunch. Still, I watch it because it’s like comfort food. Burgess Meredith stars as Dr. Diablo, who runs a torture exhibit in a sideshow. In similar fashion to Dr. Terror, Diablo attempts to warn his patrons of their potential futures if they continue on their paths. Diablo’s victims face witchcraft, stardom, and obsession, both natural and unnatural, all due to their greed. Written by Robert Bloch and directed by Freddie Francis, Torture Garden also stars Peter Cushing and Jack Palance.

Two films I have not mentioned are Tales from the Crypt (1972) and Vault of Horror (1973). My omission has only to do with the fact I watch these at Christmas. Don’t ask. I don’t have a good answer. 

Most of these films are available on DVD or streaming and the Tales/Vault double feature blu-ray will be released on December 2nd from Scream Factory. It will be the first time Vault is released uncut. In fact, the special edition will include 3 different cuts of the film. It’s definitely on my “must have” list.

Happy Halloween you fiends! The Supernatural Honey loves you.