PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1962)
This was our family movie last Saturday. Scary enough my son had to leave the room at one point! This was the version done by Hammer, and according to Wikipedia had an unusually large budget for a Hammer film, including renting out Wimbledon Theatre in London for on-location filming. The movie reflects the extra money, as it’s beautifully done. The music the Phantom plays is Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, which seems natural, although apparently this is the only movie version that uses Bach.
Story/Plot/Characters–Great acting, all the characters are well-motivated, pacing is natural and moves well, though with a couple slow scenes. (3.5 points)
Special Effects–Not an effects heavy movie, but a fire scene and the various theatre scenes are well-done and effective. Bonus points for great period costuming and sets. On the other hand, the Phantom’s face, when we see it, is…less than horrific. (1 point)
Scariness–Some frightening moments. (.5 points)
Atmosphere/Freakiness–Highly atmospheric London settings. (1.5 points)
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954)
We watched this movie during our Halloween film series last year. Kids liked it a lot, and I found it entertaining if cheesy. Follows a team of anthropologists and their Brazilian crew as they explore a remote Amazon lagoon where a previous team disappeared after a major fossil discovery–a well-preserved specimen of an ancient amphibian man. Unfortunately, the species turns out not to be extinct!
Story/Plot/Characters–Acting is wooden, characters do a lot of stupid things because it moves the plot forward rather than out of believable motivation. Drags in parts. (1 point)
Special Effects–One of the first movies to use SCUBA gear for underwater filming. The Creature’s costume is rather laughable today but credible compared to other movies from the period. (1.5 points)
Scariness–Not really. (0 points)
Atmosphere/Freakiness–Some sense of isolation as the team finds themselves trapped in a remote Amazon upriver area. (1 point)
Here’s the master list of horror movies I’ve rated so far, and let’s also add to it the color ranking I use with the comic movies.
Green=excellent Blue=pretty good Black=Okay Red=avoid
King Kong (1933)=8 points
Village of the Damned (1960)=8 points
Jaws (1975)=7 points
Phantom of the Opera (1962)=6.5 points
The Thing (1982)=6 points
Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)=3.5 points
The Wolf Man (1941)=3 points