Scare Fare: Jovanka Vuckovic

Who: Jovanka Vuckovic, author and filmmaker.
What: Five killer black and white horror films.
Where: Toronto, Ontario.
Latest Projects — FILM: The Captured Bird, BOOK: Zombies! An Illustrated History of the Undead.


Flame-haired Jovanka Vuckovic's striking
color coordination should
make Dario Argento proud.
(Photo credit: Nix.)

1. NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955) — “Actor Charles Laughton steps behind the camera for the first and last time to direct this masterpiece starring Robert Mitchum as a charlatan preacher who terrorizes a widow and her children in pursuit of their father’s hidden money. There’s nothing quite like this suspenseful, Expressionist southern Gothic thriller.”

2. ONIBABA (1964) — “There’s a reason this black and white Japanese film got the royal treatment from Criterion. It’s a masterpiece. Desperate women lure Samurai soldiers to their deaths in Kaneto Shindô’s take on the classic Japanese folk tale of female jealousy and rage.”

3. THE HOUR OF THE WOLF (1968) — “Ingmar Bergman is most well known for his stunning allegory of man’s search for meaning in The Seventh Seal, but it is his only horror film that keeps me coming back. The Hour of the Wolf is captivating in its depiction of an artist’s loss of sanity. Depressing and nightmarish, like all good horror films should be.”

4. THE INNOCENTS ­(1963) — “Forget The Others and track down a copy of The Innocents, the original haunted heiress movie. It operates on the same level as The Haunting (1963) and Rosemary’s Baby (1968), asking you to figure out what is really going on. The chill of this film sets in like a winter fog, slow and quiet.”

5. VAMPYR (1932) — “Subtitled The Dream of Allen Gray, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s oneiric vampire film (based on a book by Sheridan LeFanu) details the experiences of a occult-obsessed traveler who is caught up in a maddening nightmare when he beds down at a French inn that is under the grip of a vampire. Vampyr eschews narrative logic in favour of poetic visuals and eerie sound design — all culminating in an overbearing sense of dread. Unconventional, moody and menacing, it’s easy to see the influence of Vampyr on filmmakers such as Jess Franco and David Lynch.”


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