Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Underrated Horror - Marya E. Gates ""

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Favorite Underrated Horror - Marya E. Gates

Marya E. Gates has a B.A. in Comparative and French Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She recently moved from San Francisco to North Hollywood to work for the Warner Archive Collection and is finishing an M.F.A. in Screenwriting from Academy of Art University online. She contributed the foreword to Lew Ayres: Hollywood's Conscientious Objector available from the University Press of Mississippi. Her website is, she contributes to and can be found on Tumblr, Twitter, Mubi and iCheckMovies under the name oldfilmsflicker. Her first movie in theatres was Willow in 1988 and she's been obsessed ever since.


This list is sort of a list of my favorites, as well as underrated. One of the problems with "underrated" is it depends on who you're talking with, you know? These are films I think are great and I would like more people to have seen.

Carnival of Souls, 1962 (dir. Herk Harvey) - This has a slightly higher profile thanks to a Criterion release, but it's still a film that deserves a wider audience. It's proof that you don't need much more than the right atmosphere to be turly terrifying.

Dementia 13, 1963 (dir. Francis Ford Coppola) - I think Coppola wrote this film in like two days and filmed the thing in one weekend, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It's atmospheric and makes full use of the film's setting to make you feel uneasy from start to finish. It also inspired a line in a Tom Petty song, what else do you need in a film?

The Haunting, 1963 (dir. Robert Wise) - I think Scorsese might have had this on his list of the top scariest films of all time. I know it tops my list. When I first saw it, it was the afternoon and I was in my living room with the sun shining and everything and by the time the thing ended I was so terrified I was literally shaking. I can't imagine what it would be like to see it in a movie theater. I might die if I did, and I don't mean metaphorically.

A Bucket of Blood, 1959 (dir. Roger Corman) - My favorite Corman film starring the incomparable that guy Dick Miller. I love it so much. It's more of a comedy with horror elements, but it's also sharp satire. I guarantee you, it will be one of the most entertaining hours you ever spend.

Night Tide, 1961 (dir. Curtis Harrington) - Clearly I enjoy low-budget 60s horror films. Again, you really don't need a lot of money to scare the crap out of people if you can get the right atmosphere going and keep it up for the entire length of your film. Night Tide does just that. It stars Dennis Hopper as a sailor who falls in love with a woman who may or may not be a mermaid.

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