Favorite Horror Films of the 1940s: Cat People




In 1942, producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Torneur, advanced the making of horror films by expanding the possible topics and boundaries. This extraordinary film is not one that relies on a standard “monster”; instead, Torneur employs psychological suspense and subtle development of terror.

This film offers a sophisticated and understated treatment of sexuality and its impact on people. The main character, Irena, a fashion designer, born in Serbia, and played by Simone Simon combines the modern world of high fashion in New York City with the old world beliefs that she is descended from people who are shape-shifters and who turn into big cats when sexually enticed and aroused. Torneur builds a new variation on the established theme of lycanthropy, in which a male changes into a wolf. Additionally, the film demonstrates the tension between science and superstition, the modern era versus the medieval times, and religion versus secularism.

While to a contemporary audience, this movie might seem dated and subdued, I believe it still carries great impact in its study of horror that is felt rather than seen, slowly created rather than visceral, and suggestive rather overt.

Cat People did very well at the box office, but it received a mixed range of reviews at the time. Since the 1940s, it has come to be seen as one of the more important horror films of the 20th Century.  If you have the opportunity, I recommend watching Cat People.





Happy Friday the 13th!




Hello to everyone who might read this post.  If you are worried about bad luck on this day, Friday the 13th, please relax. This date is no more dangerous than any other; people simply notice when bad things happen and connect it to the date.

If, however, you are a member of The Knights Templar, The Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ, and the year is 1307, then you probably are not going to have a very good day.  A great deal of mystery surrounds the actual events concerning The Knights Templar, and as such, has become a fertile soil to grow the roots and trunks of many a mystery and thriller novel.  We do know, however, that King Philip the IV, sometime called “The Fair,” although today that would be more ironic in judgement of his actions than an accurate portrayal, needed money.

The Templars had discovered something in Jerusalem during the Crusades–again no one is sure what that was–and they became powerful and expanded rapidly.  Their power became so strong that they created the first real banking system in Europe and protected, for a fee, the money of their depositors.

Philip, coveting their funds, ordered their capture under cover of night. The day this happened, of course was Friday the 13th, 1307.  For the next few months, torture and burning at the stake was visited on the leaders and many members.  What is also strong material for writers is that the bulk of the fortune was never found, and many escaped, leaving questions: what happened to the escapees? where did their fortune go? and what had they discovered?

So yes, if you lived in 1307 and were a member of this order, it would have been prudent to be careful on that day. Today though, it is simply another day.



My suggestions are enjoy yourselves today, have a treat, go to a movie, read a book, spend time with your loved ones, and simply live life!

Have a great Friday the 13th!