Curtis Harrington

1926 - 2007 Artist

Page Contents


Curtis Harrington grew up in Beaumont, CA. He attended Occidental, USC and received his degree from UCLA in film studies. He counted fellow filmmaker Kenneth Anger amongst his closest friends and the two men shared a love for the macabre and art cinema. The two men frequently attended experimental film screenings at both Art in Cinema in San Francisco and in Los Angeles at the American Contemporary Gallery. While at USC he made FRAGMENT OF SEEKING an experimental horror film that anticipated Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO.

In 1949 Harrington published ‘The Dangerous Compromise’ on the work of early auteur Josef von Sternberg in the leftist publication ‘Hollywood Quarterly,’ as well as ‘Personal Chronicle: The Making of An Experimental Film’ in which he hailed the arrival of a new generation of creative, experimental filmmakers. This generation of filmmakers included Harrington’s peers Gregory Markopoulos and Sidney Peterson.

In 1961 Harrington completed his first feature NIGHT TIDE starring Dennis Hopper. Like his short avant-garde works, the film, the story of murder at a carnival, experimented with mysticism and the horror genre. Harrington continued making horror films throughout the 1960s and 1970s and completed features including WHOEVER SLEW AUNTIE ROO? (1971) and WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH HELEN? (1971).

Harrington died in Los Angeles in 2007.