Format: DVD from NetFlix on laptop.
One of the problems of a lot of Code-era horror films is that they aren’t really that scary. There are a few that genuinely try to get there, but especially the Gothic stuff is more fun than it is frightening. Some really do go for at least disturbing implications. That’s absolutely the case with The Picture of Dorian Gray, a film based on the classic Oscar Wilde novel. There’s nothing here that would cause most modern horror fans to consider this much of a horror movie because there’s nothing here that is really overtly horrific. All of the horror is much more internal and much more subtle, which makes it so much better.
It’s likely that you already know the basic story. Just in case you don’t the elevator pitch is pretty simple. A young man named Dorian Gray (Hurd Hatfield) has a portrait painted of himself. Due to the influence of the morally bankrupt Lord Henry Watton (George Sanders), Gray makes a wish that he remain young while the portrait ages. This wish more or less comes true. Dorian Gray remains a young man while the portrait ages. However, the portrait doesn’t merely get older; it also essentially reflects the quality of Gray’s soul. As his physical being no longer reflects any consequence of his actions, Dorian Gray becomes more and more morally bankrupt and his portrait becomes more and more terrible as the years progress.