Val Lewton

Val Lewton

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Cat People (1942) Review


Good
Long before Nastassja Kinski went catty on us in 1982's Cat People, this Val Lewton original subtly scared the bejesus out of people with its tale of a woman (Simone Simon) who believes she suffers from a curse that can cause her to turn into a panther. Her husband doesn't really buy it, so he sends her to the head shrink... which doesn't really help. Moody and intense, the film is hardly a gore-fest, and the body count is minimal. But the way it messes with your head -- and Jacques Tourneur's deft ability behind the camera -- make it quite the '40s standout.

Continue reading: Cat People (1942) Review

Bedlam Review


Good
One of Val Lewton's final films, this collaboration with Boris Karloff is also one of his most tragically underrated. The story is reminiscent of Shock Corridor, with a wealthy do-gooder (Anna Lee) investigating conditions in the notorious St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum -- aka Bedlam. No sooner has she arrived than the head of Bedlam (Karloff) has her committed on the spot, whereupon she discovers the horrors of Bedlam firsthand. Lee is appropriately scatterred as the heroine who wants to do good, but Karloff owns the show as the creepy Master Sims. The set is also fantastic.

Continue reading: Bedlam Review

The Curse Of The Cat People Review


Grim
This rather silly follow-up to Cat People isn't so much unwatchable as it is merely unnecessary. For starters it's got nothing really to do with the original, focusing on the daughter, Amy, of the heroine from the original. Amy is hallucinating and dreams up an imaginary friend or two: Dad's dead first wife. There's really nothing in here that has to do with cat people, but allegedly the film was used in college psychology classes to study disturbed children. Of course, if that's any benchmark, you should see some of the movies they made me watch in school....

Continue reading: The Curse Of The Cat People Review

The Seventh Victim Review


Good
Best known for its "pre-Psycho" shower scene, this mid-career Val Lewton horror film has Kim Hunter in search of her missing sister (Jean Brooks), who has unfortunately fallen in with a bunch of devil worshippers. (This may explain why she has a goth haircut now.) Foreboding and creepy, it's not a traditional slasher flick, and there's no gore to speak of. Rather, it's a very well-made psychological thriller (before such a term even existed) filled with good performances.

Aka The 7th Victim.

Continue reading: The Seventh Victim Review

Cat People (1942) Review


Good
Long before Nastassja Kinski went catty on us in 1982's Cat People, this Val Lewton original subtly scared the bejesus out of people with its tale of a woman (Simone Simon) who believes she suffers from a curse that can cause her to turn into a panther. Her husband doesn't really buy it, so he sends her to the head shrink... which doesn't really help. Moody and intense, the film is hardly a gore-fest, and the body count is minimal. But the way it messes with your head -- and Jacques Tourneur's deft ability behind the camera -- make it quite the '40s standout.

Continue reading: Cat People (1942) Review

The Curse Of The Cat People Review


Grim
This rather silly follow-up to Cat People isn't so much unwatchable as it is merely unnecessary. For starters it's got nothing really to do with the original, focusing on the daughter, Amy, of the heroine from the original. Amy is hallucinating and dreams up an imaginary friend or two: Dad's dead first wife. There's really nothing in here that has to do with cat people, but allegedly the film was used in college psychology classes to study disturbed children. Of course, if that's any benchmark, you should see some of the movies they made me watch in school....

Continue reading: The Curse Of The Cat People Review

The Seventh Victim Review


Good
Best known for its "pre-Psycho" shower scene, this mid-career Val Lewton horror film has Kim Hunter in search of her missing sister (Jean Brooks), who has unfortunately fallen in with a bunch of devil worshippers. (This may explain why she has a goth haircut now.) Foreboding and creepy, it's not a traditional slasher flick, and there's no gore to speak of. Rather, it's a very well-made psychological thriller (before such a term even existed) filled with good performances.

Aka The 7th Victim.

Continue reading: The Seventh Victim Review

Bedlam Review


Good
One of Val Lewton's final films, this collaboration with Boris Karloff is also one of his most tragically underrated. The story is reminiscent of Shock Corridor, with a wealthy do-gooder (Anna Lee) investigating conditions in the notorious St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum -- aka Bedlam. No sooner has she arrived than the head of Bedlam (Karloff) has her committed on the spot, whereupon she discovers the horrors of Bedlam firsthand. Lee is appropriately scatterred as the heroine who wants to do good, but Karloff owns the show as the creepy Master Sims. The set is also fantastic.

Continue reading: Bedlam Review

Val Lewton

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