Val Lewton Presents

Val Lewton Presents

11 Episodes

Terror lives in the shadows in the moody masterpieces of maverick producer Val Lewton, who turned our fears of the unseen and the unknown into haunting excursions into existential dread. As head of RKO’s horror unit during the 1940s, Lewton, working with master director Jacques Tourneur, was handed a threadbare budget and a sensationalistic title—CAT PEOPLE—from which he produced a tour de force of psychosexual anxiety that revolutionized the horror genre by wringing chills not from conventional movie monsters but from brooding atmosphere, suggestion, and anticipation. Its success led to a string of similarly innovative and subversive B movies like the poetically hypnotic I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, the darkly terrifying THE LEOPARD MAN, and the stunningly nihilistic THE SEVENTH VICTIM, each a master class in how creative vision can triumph over limited means.

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Val Lewton Presents
  • Val Lewton Presents Teaser

    Episode 1

  • Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows

    Episode 2

    Written and directed by author, filmmaker, and New York Film Festival director Kent Jones, this seventy-seven-minute 2008 documentary, presented and narrated by Martin Scorsese, explores the life and career of the legendary Hollywood producer Val Lewton.

  • Cat People

    Episode 3

    Directed by Jacques Tourneur • 1942 • United States
    Starring Simone Simon, Kent Smith

    The first of the horror films producer Val Lewton made for RKO Pictures redefined the genre by leaving its most frightening terrors to its audience’s imagination. Simone Simon stars as a Serbian émigré in Manha...

  • The Ghost Ship

    Episode 4

    Directed by Mark Robson • 1943 • United States
    Starring Richard Dix, Russell Wade, Edith Barrett

    Perhaps the least well known of Val Lewton’s groundbreaking horror films (due to a plagiarism suit that kept it out of circulation for decades), this atmospheric thriller concerns a young sailor (Rus...

  • I Walked with a Zombie

    Episode 5

    Directed by Jacques Tourneur • 1943 • United States
    Starring James Ellison, Frances Dee, Tom Conway

    Following the enormous success of CAT PEOPLE, the second collaboration between producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur pushes the horror film to even more abstract, hallucinatory heights...

  • The Leopard Man

    Episode 6

    Directed by Jacques Tourneur • 1943 • United States
    Starring Dennis O’Keefe, Margo, Jean Brooks

    The inky shadows and frightening sense of uncertainty that distinguish Val Lewton’s landmark horror films are used to virtuoso effect in this eerie psychological thriller, the last of the legendary pr...

  • The Seventh Victim

    Episode 7

    Directed by Mark Robson • 1943 • United States
    Starring Tom Conway, Jean Brooks, Kim Hunter

    One of the most stunningly nihilistic films ever made, this existential horror masterpiece follows a young woman (Kim Hunter, in her film debut) who leaves her boarding school to travel to Greenwich Villa...

  • The Curse of the Cat People

    Episode 8

    Directed by Gunther von Fritsch and Robert Wise • 1944 • United States
    Starring Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph

    Val Lewton’s often overlooked quasi-sequel to CAT PEOPLE is, fascinatingly, less a straightforward horror film than a darkly poetic fairy tale. As a lonely little girl (Ann Car...

  • Isle of the Dead

    Episode 9

    Directed by Mark Robson • 1945 • United States
    Starring Boris Karloff, Ellen Drew, Marc Cramer

    The great Boris Karloff stars in this chillingly atmospheric tale of madness, premature burial, and demonism on a desolate Greek island gripped by paranoia and the plague. Taking its name from the famo...

  • The Body Snatcher

    Episode 10

    Directed by Robert Wise • 1945 • United States
    Starring Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi

    Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi star in a classic Robert Lewis Stevenson tale . . . which was itself based on a true story of notorious grave robbers. To conduct his humanitarian research, a doctor in Edinburgh need...

  • Bedlam
    Episode 11


    Episode 11

    Directed by Mark Robson • 1946 • United States
    Starring Boris Karloff, Anna Lee, Billy House

    Boris Karloff gives an uncanny performance in this story of a corrupt government official and the young woman who tries to speak out against the horrors of a London’s most notorious insane asylum, St. Ma...