8 Great Horror Movies Unfairly Snubbed At The Oscars
8. The Innocents (1961)
Shot on location at a Gothic mansion in Sussex, England, this stunning
adaptation of The Turn Of The Screw sees a governess, Miss Giddens (Deborah
Kerr), hired to watch over the niece and nephew of an absent uncle at his
country estate. Little is shown explicitly,
but much is implied, and soon Miss Giddens comes to believe the children are
possessed by the sprits of their recently-deceased governess and valet.
With a beautifully crafted screenplay co-written by Truman Capote, The
Innocents is a film of creeping dread and deep psychological complexity with
Freudian overtones. It’s also a feast for the eyes thanks to director Jack
Clayton and cinematographer Freddie Francis, who generated their chills through
the use of deep focus and subtle lighting techniques. Editor Jim Clarke’s hypnotic use of dissolves
and crossfades intoxicates the viewer, planting us into the hazy mind of the
haunted and the possessed.
The Innocents failed to connect with audiences at the time of its
release, but it is today recognised not only as an all-time-great horror, but
as one of the best British films ever made. It was nominated for two BAFTA
Awards: Best British Film and Best Film from any Source. Jack Clayton received
the National Board of Review Award for Best Director. It was comfortably worthy of a nomination for the Best Picture Oscar, but the Academy felt otherwise.