Monday, August 13, 2012

If violent films are bad for some people, at least they've been around since the 50s on TV replays


Do violent movies really do affect unstable people?

I do recall when growing up that my own parents would let me see anything with violence or murder as the main themes until I was a teenager.  I found out about all those “good movies” (like the first “House of Wax”) at a summer day camp (despite being called "lazybones" by the "other boys")..

In the early 1960s, the  WTTG station (now Fox) aired a Saturday night series called “Chiller”, starting at 11 PM.  Everything was in black and white then, and  many of the films followed a predictable pattern, o planting little clues in an ordinary setting (like a school) until the monster shows up in the last twenty minutes. “Blood of Dracula” and “The Werewolf” followed that pattern.  (Remember the archtypical lady English literature professor in the Dracula movie, writing the names of classics on the board?)  But a couple of the sci-fi ones were pretty graphic, such as a couple of mountain climbing misadventures “The Crawling Eye” and “Beast with a Million Eyes” (which used the scherzo of the Shostakovich 10th Symphony, at the time only recently recorded at all).  “Invasion of the Animal People” had a curious mismatch of aliens in Scandanavia (foreshadowing “Troll Hunter”).  And there was Roger Corman’s original “Little Shop of Horrors” (with the famous scene in the dentist’s chair invoking the Masochist and the Sadist), much funnier than the remake. A few were nasty in spirit, such as “The Hypnotic Eye”.  Sure, don’t ever let anyone hypnotize you from a television set or stage show (watch out for that “Prestige”).  And “Donovan’s Brain” probably caused (or capitalized on) the future 2008 financial meltdown.

In the early 50s, we even had Saturday morning “Movies for Kids” with the serialized “The Clutching Hand” (which did invite copycats), and “The Woolworth Mystery” which seems to have vanished into thin air.

There was plenty of stuff in the movies then (the late 50s to early 60s), re-aired on television, that could have further perturbed the already unstable.


See review o Corman biography here Jan. 20, 2012. 

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