40 is the new 30. When it comes to cinema, this may well be true. After all, just to think that some truly iconic films will turn 40 in 2020, gives that nostalgia and the fact that the years are passing for us too. Whoever grew up in the 1980s, will begin to feel the weight in this decade that has arrived.
And to start feeling older, CinePOP decided to look at a specific genre, which we love so much: terror! Come with us to meet the horror classics that turn 40 in 2020.
An absolute classic not only of the genre, but of cinema in general, this film by master Stanley Kubrick is considered one of the best works of terror ever produced in the seventh art. That is, in the opinion of a large part of the public and critics, because if it depended on the creator of the text, Stephen King, the film would be doomed to failure. Eccentric genius thing. And all because Kubrick changed a lot of the book (and improved) of the author. As a celebration of the anniversary of this immortal masterpiece, Warner made a sequel to The Shining in theaters last year. Doctor Sleep is also based on a book by King.
It all started here! The Friday the 13th franchise became one of the most popular in slasher cinema, and in the 1980s it reigned absolute, releasing a feature film a year basically. The idea of producer and director Sean S. Cunningham was to hitchhike the success of Halloween (1978), which had premiered two years earlier, guaranteeing for himself a terror created along the same lines (mysterious psychopath chases youngsters) and a brand with the title of an iconic date related to terror. Other differences were that the urban environment of the city gave way to a summer camp (thus creating its own subgenre) and the identity of the killer was maintained until the final revelation – and no, it was not Jason.
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Speaking of Halloween, before producing the sequel to his mega independent success, creator John Carpenter created this work, which has an original premise, but which unfortunately did not emerge in the taste of critics and the public as his previous work. More ambitious, Carpenter's next film told a story of cursed ghost pirates, who would make the Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) blur themselves in their pants of fear. In fact, this can be considered the first unofficial continuation of the filmmaker's previous film, as it features Jamie Lee Curtis in the lead and the script and production by Debra Hill, the director's partner on Halloween. The feature won a remake in 2005.
The Mansion of Hell
Following with great names of terror, we jump from John Carpenter to the Italian Dario Argento. The filmmaker has always been in the underworld, never entering the mainstream, and is still unknown to a large part of the public. However, its importance is undeniable, and Argento is considered a master for film buffs and experts in the genre. He was one of the parents of the subgenre Giallo – the type of film that helped create American slasher productions in the 1980s. But Argento also worked on supernatural themes, as in his absolute classic Suspiria (1977), which was recently remade. And The Mansion of Hell is precisely the spiritual continuation (or should we say, haunted) of Suspiria – or as it became known, the mothers' trilogy. The focus is again on the witches' lair, previously seen in a dance school in Germany, this time occupying Rome and New York simultaneously, where two brothers investigate each in their respective cities.
Mind blowing trips
One of the best and most underrated films of the 1980s, director Ken Russell's feature is based on a book, the screenplay of which was written by the same author, Paddy Chayefsky. The protagonist is William Hurt, as a young scientist in the process of receiving a grand prize for his research. His new experiments involve a very strong hallucinogen, which he begins to test on himself. The subject's hallucinations begin to become more and more real, and their structure and DNA begin to be altered, in a kind of regression to a past life. The film was nominated for two Oscars: best sound and soundtrack.
Also known for its original title, Prom Night, and for the name that the remake received (Death Invites to Dance, 2008), this routine slasher has as protagonist the “scream queen” of the time, Jamie Lee Curtis. The plot revolves around a masked psychopath, seeking revenge against four teenagers at his high school prom. The young women were accidentally responsible for the death of a classmate six years earlier. In addition to Curtis, the cast features Leslie Nielsen, who would later be known as the protagonist of besteirol comedy films. The remake's plot changes the story to an abusive psychopath, obsessed with a schoolgirl. Interestingly, this film yielded a continuation for the cinema (and two others direct on video), which decided to focus on the supernatural content, bringing the spirit of a dead girl, back from the grave to exercise her revenge at school.
Controversial due to its explicit violence for the time, The Maniac is another film on the list that won a remake – this one released in 2012 and starring the good boy Elijah Wood, playing the disturbed serial killler. In the plot, a psychotic guy, who in the past experienced a series of childhood abuses, decides to go out on a killing spree across New York, collecting his victims' scalps as trophies. The original maniac was played by actor Joe Spinell, whose physical appearance is heavy and intense. In the cast of the original, the actor and expert in practical effects for horror films Tom Savini, who took care of some of the most famous sequences in the film, such as the shotgun blast through the car's windshield – which made the critic of Gene Siskel cinema withdraw from the exhibition. The remake bets more on the psychological content of its complex protagonist, and brings in the cast, in the role of the young lady, the beautiful Frenchwoman Nora Arnezeder.
Alligator: The Giant Alligator
This is for the nostalgic of the endless SBT reruns. Also known as The Jacaré Assassino, this film was even shown in the daytime sessions of the man in the chest channel – which, I am sure, must have traumatized many children. Whoever grew up at the time, undoubtedly remembers this feature with a trashy look (but how well produced for the time, or is it just affective memory speaking?). The plot talks about an alligator cub being thrown in the toilet and ending up in the sewers, where after ingesting meat from dogs used as guinea pigs for genetic experiments and spawned on the spot, it ends up changing its adult reptile size, turning into an adult almost dinosaur walking around the city. Those who were not shocked by the animal swallowing a child in the pool in the middle of a birthday party, do not know what it was like to live in the 80s. It remains only to find out if the film was based on the urban legend about alligators in the US sewers, or if it inspired it.
Returning to talking about controversial and banned films, Cannibal Holocaust was for many years considered one of the most shocking and inappropriate works due to the high level of graphics in its violence. It must also be argued that the film by Italian director Ruggero Deodato was the father of torture porn – from films such as The Mortal Games and The Hostel (and even The Human Centipede), which would disturb Greeks and Trojans a few decades later. This film was the precursor to the disagreeable idea of showing deaths explicitly – even if they are fictional. In addition, it also fits into the sub-genre of found footage, as the story is told when a teacher finds footage of a team of documentary filmmakers violently murdered by a tribe of cannibals in the Amazon rainforest. It is not a remake, but Canibais (The Green Infenro, 2013), by director Eli Roth (the same as in O Albergue), is his own version / tribute of this sadistic terror.
The Terror Train
Veteran Jamie Lee Curtis began her career by cementing her name as one of the most prominent horror stars of the time. The title “Queen of the Scream” was no accident. After the success of Halloween, many other scripts of the genre appeared on your doorstep, and only on this list, it appeared in three. Here, the action takes place inside a train (and this seems to be the only differential of the thousands of slasher of the time). Again, just like prom, a game ends tragically, and years later the young people involved are hunted down by a masked killer at their graduation party – this time, spent on a moving train. Unlike the genre films starring Curtis previously, this one didn’t get a remake. A curiosity is that in the cast we have the magician David Copperfield playing himself (or a version of himself), as an illusionist hired for the party, and the beauty Vanity (actress and deceased model) also in a participation.
Do you know that story about "the answer is this, but it does it differently"? After the success of Alien (1979), a new subgenre was born in the cinema, and several productions focused on a team inside a spaceship traveling through space, with some monstrous creature in pursuit. And such works often contained names beyond well known and prestigious. This is the case of this science fiction, directed by none other than Stanley Donen, responsible for the immortal Singing in the Rain (1952). The plot, presents a space station located in the asteroid fields of Saturn, hence the title, populated …
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