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Rick wrote:�maybe it's time we proudly planted the Horror�Film flag on THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE and claimed it for our own
A young, traumatized, family-less caregiver; a dying bed-ridden matriarch who knows more
than she’s saying; a repressed bourgeois master of the house; his smirking,
decadent, and vaguely sinister half-brother; and a labyrinthine mansion, lashed
by a rainstorm and boasting dark corners, banging shutters, and a spooky,
cluttered basement-wine cellar… This febrile RKO gothic meller is formulaic,
but it’s as good a formula as the recipe for Grandma’s tasty chocolate-chip
cookies, and wouldn’t you like to tuck into a plate of those right now?
I watched this the other night during a wicked late-night
summer thunderstorm… I can’t remember when I saw it last (probably after school
in the fifth grade on the “4:30 Movie”) and I’m amazed that it didn’t make a
bigger impression on me back then, especially given the German Expressionist tidbits that
Robert Siodmak sprinkles around here & there . It’s certainly not
perfect—for example, there are a score of giallo-like narrative holes and
inconsistencies that you really shouldn’t ponder. And try this drinking game:
every time a character in THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE walks unnoticed into a room in
the mansion and sees/hears/does something that she/he wasn’t supposed to, drink
a shot of whiskey. But there are a lot of worthwhile things that do work here,
from Dorothy McGuire rockin’ her silent-movie chops to Nicholas Musuraca’s cinematography
to Elsa Lanchester getting wasted on a bottle of her boss’s brandy.
Overall, Rick is right—isn’t it time that we planted the
horror movie flag in this one?
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todmichel wrote:Quote: "Maybe there was an actor who specialized in "sinister eyes."
Maybe Ben Turpin?
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