Feind is finally back dialing it back another decade to 1964
1964: Horror Takes A Turn
Welcome Scribbler fans! Old Man Feind is back with the second to last edition of Decades of Descent. This time I’m finally back to a year I wasn’t alive in:1964. Scanning through the horror movies that came out in ’64 one thing became glaringly obvious. 1964 was a time of transition from the ‘50s style traditional to something new, darker and gorier as ’64 is the year that spawned one of my Scribblin’ partner’s favorite Bs, 2000 Maniacs by the infamous Herschell Gordon Lewis. My first thought when I began this was to do a review of 2000 Maniacs but of course then I started writing and this became something different. Plus Cult stole my thunder by doing a nice B-view of 2000 Maniacs already, take a look at that.
A few old favorites of mine can be found in 1964 because one of my favorites was still very active at the time, the late, great Vincent Price. As a kid I couldn’t get enough of Price. His love of Edgar Allen Poe encouraged a young man to pick up a collection of Poe tales and my love of horror really began. My favorite is The Cask of Amontillado because I just find it damn wicked. But back to ’64 movies and good ol’ Mr Price. He had a couple come out that year, one The Masque of the Red Death is based on the Poe story and another more Twilight Zone-esque film, The Last Man on Earth. Both of these are excellent Vincent Price films and as you can see below since both are available for you to watch 100% free!
There were also still throwbacks to the Universal Monsters as they deteriorated through the 50s to sometimes below B class. Films like Face of the Screaming Werewolf, The Incredibly Strange Creatures, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb and on and on really in an never ending string of rip offs, knock offs and just plane bad flicks such as The Creeping Terror or I Eat Your Skin (Hey, Cult B-viewed that hunk of trash too!). In 1964 horror was only beginning to go into darker territory and too much gore meant your film wasn’t getting played at any theater back then.
But then along came Herschell Gordon Lewis (check out the interview I found at the bottom of this post) with 2000 Maniacs which surprisingly, when I looked it up, did very well financially in comparison to other ’64 flicks ending in the Top 20 grossing films of the year (17th if I remember correctly) which meant people wanted some nasty. As the 60s moved along they certainly got it with other HGL films but toward the end of the 60s there were the very weird Psychedelic Gore films. They were meant as propaganda against acid depicting normal people who dropped acid then started killing everyone in sight. Funny as fuck now and we can laugh but at the time it scared the uptight (mainly white crowd) in America that acid was an evil drug. I’ve never done it (No, I’m not lying just because my mom may read this. There’s no shame in Feind’s game.) but I have nothing against it either and the Psychegore films were awesome, funny and damn weird.
Alfred Hitchcock, another of my favorites especially as a kid, started the 60s off with a bang with the classic Psycho which if you haven’t seen it I just have no words for you, go watch it or you’re no horror fan! I love most of Hitchcock’s films and in ’64 he did another suspense crime thriller with Marnie (starring Sean Connery and Tippi Hedren of The Birds fame). Even when Hitchcock wasn’t doing horror per se there were always elements of horror in most of his movies. Perhaps this is where my love of suspense comes from. Hitchcock never went for shocking gore, he went for great story always. His entire body of work influences what films I love or hate still today.
So yes, I’m just kind of rambling it seems but looking through the films of ’64 nothing jumped out at me as one of those “I fucking loved that!” films so it gives me the opportunity to instead tell you a little about Vincent Price and Alfred Hitchcock who were major influences on me becoming a horror lover at a young age. Not all of their films are great but most are pretty damn good. Again if you’ve never seen Psycho or The Birds you’re missing two of the best films ever made not just two of the best horror films. Come on, only Hitchcock could make docile birds scare the crap out of ya!
By the end of the 60s the gore really started to flow leading to my tribute last week to Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and beyond to favorites of my Scribblin partner like Bad Taste and Cannibal Holocaust. It may not have directly started in ’64 but all those mentioned above were certainly influential. Enjoy the old and the new horror and I’ll be back with the final part next week with a look back to 1954. Until then watch some great horror and find what you love best.
Hear from the Godfather of Gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis, in this 4 part interview that will give you some insight into those early days of low budget gore. Can you believe 1963's Blood Feast was made for a meager $24K!?!
Only one more part to go, my apologies for this being a little late but I don't think anyone minds. Share your thoughts with us below and I'll be back next week with the final installment of Decades of Descent with a look back to 1954!
Scribbler Movie Reviews
Feind loves watching movies of all kinds so if we watch it, we tell whether you should as well. I'll share mostly horror but I also enjoy everything from big Blockbusters to micro-budget Independent films.
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