Robert Horton is a Scarecrow board member and a longtime film critic. He will be contributing a series of “critic’s notes” to the Scarecrow blog—a chance to highlight worthy films playing locally and connecting them to the riches of Scarecrow’s collection.
This week we’d just like to remind you that the new “semester” of Scarecrow Academy begins Saturday February 8 at 2 p.m., with a screening and discussion of F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, the classic (and silent) vampire film. The free sessions, led by yours truly, will go for ten weeks, with the focus on directorial style in the horror genre.
Check out our list here, and join us on Seattle’s sure-to-be-gloomy Saturday afternoons.
F. W. Murnau: Nosferatu (1922)
The great German filmmaker took Dracula and shaped a silent Expressionist masterpiece out of it, with the vampire played by the memorable Max Schreck.
James Whale: Frankenstein (1931)
A foundational film, from Universal Pictures’ great horror cycle of the 1930s. The cultivated Whale made a memorable adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel, with help from star Boris Karloff.
Carl Theodor Dreyer: Vampyr (1932)
The Danish master Dreyer followed his celebrated Passion of Joan of Arc with this eerie occult gem, a strange and somnambulistic experience.
Jacques Tourneur: I Walked with a Zombie (1943)
The low-budget producer Val Lewton created a series of poetic horror films in the 1940s, including this “voodoo Jane Eyre,” directed by a master of shadowy atmosphere, Jacques Tourneur.
Howard Hawks: The Thing from Another World (1951)
Hawks was one of Hollywood’s prestigious directors, which may be why he didn’t take onscreen credit as the director of a monster flick. But there’s no doubt who’s in charge of this frosty classic.
Alfred Hitchcock: The Birds (1963)
More of a traditional monster movie than Hitchcock’s Psycho, The Birds displays the Master’s customary technique along with new inspirations borrowed from European cinema of the era.
Roman Polanski: Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Poor, lonely Mia Farrow endures the pregnancy from hell in Polanski’s impeccably made chiller, a great film about bad neighbors and urban anxiety.
George Romero: Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Shot on a shoestring in Pittsburgh, Romero’s politically-charged zombie picture changed the nature of horror moviemaking in countless ways.
Stanley Kubrick: The Shining (1980)
A filmmaker who re-invented the cinema with each movie, Kubrick turned his attention to a Stephen King novel for this magnificent story of madness and cabin fever at the Overlook Hotel.
John Carpenter: The Thing (1982)
A re-make of the 1951 Hawks film, but closer to the short story upon which both are based. Halloween director Carpenter gets attitude and gore into his version of terror in the Antarctic.