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Would I like the Val Lewton Collection?

Old 01-31-06, 05:43 PM
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Would I like the Val Lewton Collection?

I can't quite get a good read on what kind of films these are. I don't like supernatural horror movies or monster/zombie movies at all, but I get the sense that these are more psychological horror/suspense films. Are they campy or serious? How's the dialogue? I'm not a big fan of B-movies either, but I've heard that these are different. What other films, if any, are they comparable to? I am sure that they are quality films for their genre and very affordable, but I'm extremely picky about what I like and what goes in my collection. Any information is appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 01-31-06, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by illennium
I can't quite get a good read on what kind of films these are. I don't like supernatural horror movies or monster/zombie movies at all, but I get the sense that these are more psychological horror/suspense films. Are they campy or serious? How's the dialogue? I'm not a big fan of B-movies either, but I've heard that these are different. What other films, if any, are they comparable to? I am sure that they are quality films for their genre and very affordable, but I'm extremely picky about what I like and what goes in my collection. Any information is appreciated. Thanks!
Looking at your collection, I think you would like them. This box set was my favorite purchase of last year. You are correct, these movies are more psychological/suspense than conventional horror. These are serious films with cheesy studio-mandated titles. The directors rely more on setting the atmosphere by use of music and what you expect to see rather than what you actually see. The movies are "B" movies with "A" movie production values. Lewton was able to re-use lots of props that were formerly used in other RKO movies to make it look like he had a bigger budget than he actually had. For example, the amazing staircase from Magnificent Ambersons is used in several of the movies. The art direction really is amazing considering how quickly these were shot. These movies are not campy at all. The dialogue is typical for the period.

There are several movies in the set that I personally thought were masterpeices including Curse of the Cat People and I Walked with a Zombie. I see you like Noir so you may be interested to know that Zombie was directed by the same guy who directed Out of the Past. Curse of the Cat People wins the award for having the most misleading movie title. It sounds like a cheapo sequel knockoff. Although it was made to capitalize on the success of Cat People, Lewton was not content to make a film like that. Instead he made a highly personal, beautiful film about the loneliness and strangeness of an emotionally disturbed child. Beautiful haunting film.

There are several other outstanding films in the set including the 7th Victim which sort of noirish and the Body Snatcher which has Boris Karloff playing his best role and the startling Leopard Man.

Cat People is a classic, although it is probably my 4th favorite of the set. The other three films Bedlam, Isle of the Dead and Ghost Ship held my interest but weren't my favorites of the set.

There are also several commentaries that are worth your time and the included documentary is decent too.

Hope that helps you.
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Old 01-31-06, 06:56 PM
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chente:

Thanks for the thoughtful response. You've more or less sold me on the set. Nice collection, by the way--our tastes definitely overlap.
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Old 01-31-06, 07:46 PM
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Also, checking out your DVD collection made me aware of the existence of the R2 Repulsion, which I promptly ordered from CD-Wow for $10 shipped. Thanks!
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Old 01-31-06, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by illennium
Also, checking out your DVD collection made me aware of the existence of the R2 Repulsion, which I promptly ordered from CD-Wow for $10 shipped. Thanks!
Heh! Good disc too. I hope you enjoy the Lewton set.
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