The 1960s was a pivotal period in cinema and society, with the popularity of the counterculture and the emergence of psychology as a curious way to understand human behavior. As a result, the era had films that explored human experiences with psychedelia and perversion. The genres of horror, satire, and psychological thriller defined the era as cinema collectively explored the limits of society and the human mind.
Many of these films were instant hits at the time, while others have been considered cult classics in retrospect. Each of these films added their own spin on human species and motivations as they further complicated filmmaking in the 1960s.
10 Carnival of Souls
Carnival of Souls It is a psychological horror film from the wonders of guerrilla filmmaking directed by Herc Harvey. The movie is based on the French short film Incident at On Creek Bridge He has the visual aesthetic of filmmakers such as Ingmar Bergman and Jean Cocteau. The film follows a woman who survives a car accident and is left traumatized by the accident. She moves to Utah and joins a church as an organist, but is haunted by a mysterious man who may have something to do with her past. She finds herself in an abandoned carnival, where the answer to the frightening events in her life lies. The film is known for the unsettling atmosphere it creates with its cinematography and Jane Moore’s organ score. The film has gained cult status over time and is a regular selection at many Halloween-themed festivals. Through its story, the film tells a larger story of post-traumatic stress and the downward spiral of loneliness.
Seconds It mixes several genres of psychological horror and science fiction in telling the story of a man obsessed with forging a new identity. The film influenced the art of filmmakers like Bong Joon-ho and Park Chan-wook for telling one of the most unconventional stories with a thought-provoking premise.
Arthur, played by John Randolph, is the protagonist of the film who discovers a company capable of giving a second life through plastic surgery and a new identity. As he chooses a new self as an artist in Malibu, Arthur realizes he may have made a big mistake.
The movie is known for being an immersive experience with its shocking cinematography, which confuses Arthur about his reality. The film had a long-lasting effect on many people, including musician Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, who became traumatized and avoided going to the theater for a long time after seeing the film.
8 Spider kid
Spider kid It introduces audiences to the wonders of Schlock cinema. This genre of filmmaking mostly revolves around a horror comedy made on a very small budget with outlandish plot lines, comic visual effects, and impossibly comedic jokes. The film follows three siblings who suffer from a rare mental disorder that reflects their mental age. As a result, siblings are seen as immature and not adapted to their environment. The trio have their own dirty secrets, which they hide from the world, but when their relatives get to their hearts, many skeletons come out of the closet. Directed by Jack Hill, the film has attained cult status over time due to its gritty ambiguity.
7 the journey
appropriate address the journey It is a psychedelic thriller written by actor Jack Nicholson and directed by Roger Corman. The film follows a divorced man who goes on a life-altering journey with LSD to get out of his misery. His indulgence leads to hallucinations that haunt him, as well as overwhelming his consciousness in a new way of life. Released at a time when counter culture was promoting psychedelic use, the film became a popular part of the movement. The movie was also released during summer of love, which was a hippie social gathering in the summer of 1967.
The film remains historical in many ways and is known for creating a psychedelic effect on screen, which was experimental during the time.
6 The souls of the dead
The souls of the dead is a horror anthology that includes three anthologies from the works of Edgar Allan Poe, directed by Roger Vadim, Louis Malle, and Federico Fellini. The film was a Franco-Italian collaboration in which each of the three directors gives their artistic perspective on selected horror stories. Vladim directs Metzingerstein The Countess, played by Jane Fonda, kills a man and his animals after being spared by a knight. The second story william wilson, Directed by Malle in which the man fights a deceitful doppelgänger and regrets it. The final short film is directed by Federico Fellini, in which an alcoholic actor deals with the darkness of his addiction in the dark Toby lasted. Fellini’s entry is considered the best of the three and is still seen as one of the best adaptations of Poe’s works.
beloved It is a satirical black comedy starring a 1960s Hollywood mogul, based on the satirical novel The Beloved: An Anglo-American Tragedy by Evelyn Wu. The film follows Dennis Barlow, played by Robert Morse, who joins the funeral industry after his uncle commits suicide. He falls in love with Amy, a spiritual funeral designer, but stumbles upon a sinister plan hatched by the cemetery’s owner. The film was divisive at the time for challenging the boundaries of black comedy, with some of its satirical elements actually throwing audiences off their guard. However, the film is notable for its outrageous humor and a special cameo by musical prodigy Liberace.
Objectives is a crime thriller film directed by Peter Bogdanovich and loosely inspired by the shooting on the tower at the University of Texas in 1966 by gunman Charles Whitman. In the film, Tim O’ Kelly played Bobby Thompson, a Vietnam veteran who kills his wife and mother-in-law and goes on a killing spree. The film has a parallel story of an actor, played by Boris Karloff, who is known for his horror films and is considering retirement. The two meet at a movie theater where the latter is promoting his movie at the same time the killer claims life outside the theatre.
The film was released shortly after the tragic deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, adding to the discussion of political turmoil and gun violence in America, which remains relevant even now.
3 The haunting
The haunting It is a chilling British horror film directed by Robert Wise that follows a group of people who experience paranormal activities in a haunted house. It was based on the novel Haunting Hill House It was written by Shirley Jackson and is considered one of the scariest movies of that era.
The film follows an anthropologist who investigates paranormal activities and invites two women to the supernatural Hill House. Both women have had otherworldly experiences in their pasts, and join an anthropologist and heir to the mansion in exploring the spooky house. Soon after, they begin to hear inexplicable voices and events that put their lives in danger.
The film was known for its set that was decorated in the Rococo style and was brightly lit, in contrast to the traditional dark aesthetic of horror films. The house’s ceilings were used to create a claustrophobic effect in the film, and Weisz incorporated distorted camera movements to create an unsettling aura in the film, earning him a Best Director nomination at the Golden Globe Awards.
2 Wild in the streets
Wild in the streets It is political satire that can be seen as a product of the counterculture. Directed by Barry Sher, the film questions the aptitude of young minds in political discourse. The movie is based on a short story The day it all happened dear by Robert Thom and starring Christopher Jones as Max Frost, a musician who pressures a Senate candidate to give 18-year-olds the right to vote. However, Frost’s fans are calling for the minimum age to be lowered to 15 and all hell breaks loose.
The film is a satirical take on the fusion of pop culture and politics in America. It has aged over time and is considered a ’60s cult classic. The film also starred comedian Richard Pryor as the drummer for Frost’s band, The Troopers which has become a cult of its own. The film exaggerated the social and political issues that were being fought at the time to present a dystopian view of a fascist world, which still aligns with the politics of a post-truth world.
1 Peeping Tom
There are many movies that have proven to be classics only in retrospect. Peeping Tom It is one of these films. The film is directed by Michael Powell and is a psychological thriller with a chilling premise. Carl Boehm plays Mark Lewis, who is obsessed with taking explicit photos of women in his movie studio. His obsession takes over his mind as he murders his subjects and records their fears. However, his secret is revealed after his new girlfriend, Helen, testifies to his crime. The film was controversial at the time for its problematic look at the charm of a tortured woman. However, in later years the film became a favorite of the film school for its dissection of its themes of voyeurism and the male gaze.