It’s October, the month of Halloween and what would be more clichéd than doing a countdown of top horror films, so fully admitting to being a walking cliché, I will be doing a series of blogs running down the films in my own personal top 20. Here’s the previous blogs for numbers 20, Audition, 19, Night of the Demon, 18, Zombie Flesh Eaters, 17, Last House on the Left, 16, The Beyond, 15, An American Werewolf in London & 14, [REC].
At number 13, it’s Nicolas Roeg’s sublime Don’t Look Now.
Don’t Look Now is a ghost story, though it doesn’t become clear as to what or whom the ghost is til the end of the film but by then you’ve been emotionally torn apart by the story, and of course a pair of bloody amazing performances from Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie.
It is however the direction which sets this apart from other British horror films of the time which isn’t to say there’s a lot of badly directed British horror films of the time (well, yes in some cases) but that Nicolas Roeg is such an astonishing talent that other directors have a high benchmark to follow. The way Roeg manipulates time, plus the characters, and of course, the audiences perception of events is breathtaking so from the moment of the shocking loss of the opening scene to that closing scene you feel uneasy. Roeg is famous for this and it’s a huge influence upon people like Alan Moore who used this technique a lot in Watchmen.
The other thing that drags you into the film is the fact that Sutherland and Christie play people who are hugely sympathetic. You don’t want bad things happening to these people as their lives are real, so when weird things start happening which start to get bad, you feel torn apart by them. It’s a magnificent film.
I first saw it on TV during the late 70’s but being a kid I didn’t get it. It wasn’t til I saw it at the sadly long-lost Hillhead Salon as part of a double bill with another film which will appear later in this list, that I got it, fell in love with it and decided that Roeg would be my influence to become a great director. Yes, that worked.
Anyhow, watch this. It’s a hard film to take emotionally at times but it’s a worthwhile experience.
If anyone is wondering what the E=MC2 clue was in the previous blog, then here’s your answer.
Next time, it came from past Uranus…