In Appreciation of Black and White
I hope I’m preaching to the choir here, but I feel I can’t stress enough the value of classic Horror movies, and in particular those of the black-and-white variety. I’m certainly not alone in my love for and appreciation of that cinematic subgenre. I have a softness in my heart for all old movies, if I’m honest, or most of them, but the Horror classics hold a special place there. The folks over at iHorror compiled this list of B-and-Ws that every fan should see, and they made some fine choices. They however left off many, many others.
First, their picks: THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, LES DIABOLIQUES, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, CARNIVAL OF SOULS, PSYCHO (of course), and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. I’m not sure if the latter should qualify, since it is not an “old” movie by most folks’ definition; it was purposefully made in black-and-white; it doesn’t come from that age. And it’s sure nice to see the underrated CARNIVAL OF SOULS get some love. This is a neat, atmospheric little movie, friends. It recently got picked on by the RiffTrax people, though undeservedly so. See, CARNIVAL OF SOULS is in the public domain, so the Riffers didn’t have to PAY anybody to make fun of it. MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER jumped the shark when they ran out of cheesy films to lampoon and started trying it with GOOD movies. It doesn’t work, guys. Making fun of RETURN OF THE CREATURE and THIS ISLAND EARTH sounded the death knell for the series, and it seems that RiffTrax has likewise sailed over the squalus at this point.
Anyway, I’ve gotten off-topic. In addition to the movies mentioned above (including the last two I mentioned), I would encourage fans to seek out any of the old Universal and RKO Horror classics. Most of you have probably seen the original THE WOLFMAN, but how many of you have seen WEREWOLF OF LONDON, made a few years earlier? It’s just as good and just as important to the history of werewolves in cinema, but it often gets overlooked.
Now if you want to appreciate some truly “lost” pieces of Art, seek out the old silent films out of Germany, or the works of Lon Chaney. Nothing today can really compare to them.