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THE ALTERNATIVES

Scary videos

October 31, 2002|Susan King | Times Staff Writer

Straight from Hammer's house

In the '30s, Universal Studios produced such horror classics as James Whale's "Frankenstein" and "Bride of Frankenstein," and Tod Browning's "Dracula." In the late '50s, the scrappy British studio Hammer Films added a few twists on the tales. Warner Home Video has released two of the best on DVD: "The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) and "The Horror of Dracula." Peter Cushing stars in "Frankenstein" as the scientist with Christopher Lee as the terrified monster brutalized by Frankenstein.

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Shocking 'Look'

Nicolas Roeg directed the brilliantly evocative and terrifying 1973 thriller, "Don't Look Now," based on a Daphne DuMaurier story. Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland are marvelously subtle, the sex scenes raised eyebrows and the finale is a shocker.

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Implied horrors

In the 1940s, Val Lewton produced a series of low-budget horror films including "Cat People," whose chilling horrors were mostly implied. Director Alejandro Amenabar continues the tradition with "The Others," centered on a young woman (Nicole Kidman) and her children, whose hypersensitivity to light keeps them indoors.

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Overlooked orphanage

Mexican director Guillermo del Toro's atmospheric ghost story "The Devil's Backbone," set during the Spanish Civil War, finds a boy abandoned at a decrepit orphanage. An overlooked gem.

-- Susan King

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