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What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby charliechaplinfan » June 23rd, 2011, 1:51 pm

I'm sure the film isn't generous to Poe and his memory but it's fine entertainment, down in most part to the performances of Bela and Boris. The plot against the house guests gets wilder and wilder, with the father who disagees with the match between his daughter and he surgeon getting attached to a table with a pendulum descending and the young soon to be married couple getting locked into a room by Vollin/Lugosi, the rooms purpose is to crush them to death. Somewhere Bateman/Karloff's heart has been touched by the girl and he saves the day but not his own life. I've said before I'm not a big lover of horror movies, I don't want to have nightmares but these kind of horror stories with this stylisation hit the right note with me.

I learned so much about the genre just reading about Boris Karloff, I was amazed by how much he had to go through to become Frankenstein and how he suffered in later life. Karloff is a fine actor, the book scratches the surface about Bela Lugosi, supposedly a great actor in Hungary but reduced by Universal to playing only horror roles. He's not valued as highly either being paid far less than Karloff for his roles, I found this surprising, Lugosi, I think had took Dracula to Broadway and was a bigger name than Karloff before he starred in Dracula, Karloff had made his mark in some precode movies but wasn't a headliner. Perhaps his unusual accent and apparent refusal to learn English held back his earning power. Whilst I believe that he might have been reluctant to learn the language he spent many years in the USA he must have eventually picked up the language.
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MichiganJ
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby MichiganJ » June 23rd, 2011, 1:54 pm

I watched the MGM on-demand DVD Burn, Witch, Burn! (aka Night of the Eagle) (1962) and can't recommend it enough. The anamorphic widescreen picture is nearly flawless, especially for a film that essentially flopped and was relegated to the bottom half of a double bill upon it's initial release. It's certainly a film whose reputation will only rise now that it's available on home video. It's pretty great.

A college professor learns his wife is practicing witch craft and orders her to stop, despite her pleas that the spells are used to protect him. After burning all of her protective charms and talismans (including an icky, dead spider), bad things start to happen…

Like many great horror flicks, you never find out if witchcraft was really at work or not. Indeed, each time watching the film, I've come to different conclusions. Hard not to highly recommend a film that can legitimately do that!

This film is wonderfully and genuinely creepy, and goes in unpredictable but totally appropriate directions. Written by Richard Matheson (who wrote, among other classic horrors, many of the greatest Twilight Zone episodes--including that one!) and Charles Beaumont (who wrote that other great episode of Twilight Zone), Burn, Witch, Burn! is an absolute must see for British classic horror fans.

Make this great film even better and pair it with Night of the Demon. Lights out!
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MichiganJ
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby MichiganJ » June 23rd, 2011, 2:53 pm

charliechaplinfan wrote:...Lugosi, I think had took Dracula to Broadway...

Lugosi played Dracula on Broadway before the Universal film version. (He toured Dracula off and on throughout his declining career, too). Universal had not originally wanted Lugosi for the role, but he eventually was cast and the film became one of Universal's biggest money makers for 1930. (A great book chronicling all things Dracula is Hollywood Gothic by David Skal).

It's likely that Universal offered the role of the monster in Frankenstein to Lugosi, and the story goes that Lugosi turned it down because the monster in the original film had no lines. (There is some irony here, because when Lugosi did play the monster in Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, because the Monster now has Igor's brain, the Monster speaks like Igor! Well, even the then heads' at Universal saw how ridiculous that was, so simply erased the soundtrack--meaning Lugosi's performance as the Monster is almost comical).

Lugosi, like Karloff, didn't necessarily want to be typecast as horror actors, but Karloff accepted it better than Lugosi did. And unfortunately, there developed a jealous rivalry between the two (mostly on Lugosi's end, it seems), and the really sad thing is that rivalry even filters down to the fans. (The only thing I hate about Tim Burton's otherwise brilliant film, Ed Wood, is the Lugosi coda at the end, relating that Bela's memorabilia outsells that of Boris'. Of course there's less Lugosi memorabilia, but who's counting.)

Other than Dracula, there are plenty of must-see Lugosi movies including:
White Zombie; Murders in the Rue Morgue; The Black Cat (1934 not 1941); Island of Lost Souls ("Are we not men?"); Mark of the Vampire; Return of the Vampire (not actually playing Dracula, but very close); Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (only other time playing ol' Drac on screen); Ninotchka, etc.

Boris and Bela were paired in many films, all of which are recommended. Other than The Black Cat (1934)--surely one of the pre-codiests of horror films featuring Satan worshiping, torture and skinning alive, performed in some marvelous German Expressionistic sets--the best Karloff/Lugosi film (to me) is The Body Snatcher (which features one of Karloff's greatest performances). The Body Snatcher is the first of three Val Lewton films that Karloff was in, and all three are must see (the other two being Isle of the Dead and Bedlam).
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby ChiO » June 24th, 2011, 10:17 am

Other than Dracula, there are plenty of must-see Lugosi movies including:


Although it is often written off as cheap and cliche (as if those are bad things), I do enjoy INVISIBLE GHOST (1941). Sam Katzman was its co-producer at Monogram. Lugosi's performance is quite good, and the film is appropriately gothically atmospheric. And, maybe most importantly, it marks Joseph H. Lewis' real break from the Westerns he was directing and his movement toward film noir.
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby knitwit45 » June 24th, 2011, 3:49 pm

written off as cheap and cliche (as if those are bad things),


HA!!!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby charliechaplinfan » June 26th, 2011, 1:17 pm

The rivalry between the two is hardly touched on in Karloff's biography, mentioned as Lugosi's problem bu then there is an occasion when someone says that Karloff had little time for Lugosi on set. Karloff paid generous tribute to Lugosi and I think felt sorry for him and his lot. Karloff was paid more and it's not apparent why this was in the earlier films. One thing that stands out that Karloff said was how Lugosi, knowing Karloff to have back problems and having to be carried by Karloff in The Son of Frankenstein, when Karloff bent down to him, Lugosi stood up so that actor didn't have to take the strain.

I've seen the Bodysnatchers and I enjoyed it, watching it late at night after catching it on TV just as I was going to bed. I loved The Black Cat too. I'm going to look out for The White Zombie.

My first memory of Frankenstein and Dracula was when I was a babysitter whe I was 14/15. I used to watch these movies and then be scared stiff by the slightest noise outside. I remember loving the style back then, it's a feeling that's never left me.
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feaito

Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby feaito » June 26th, 2011, 8:53 pm

Today I watched a film that along with "The Haunting" (1963) and "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" (1973) had haunted me for years, since I saw them as a kid -and was not able to sleep well after seeing them!! :shock: In fact, while watching TH I had to turn off the TV because I was trembling of fear, literally!! The film is "Legend of Hell House" (1974), which I found as creepy, scary, disturbing and impressive while watching it today than more than 30 years ago...It's bloodier than the other two, well paced and acted...and the mystery lingers until its ending. Loved it and will watch it again sometime!

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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby Mr. Arkadin » June 26th, 2011, 11:53 pm

MichiganJ wrote:Boris and Bela were paired in many films, all of which are recommended. Other than The Black Cat (1934)--surely one of the pre-codiests of horror films featuring Satan worshiping, torture and skinning alive, performed in some marvelous German Expressionistic sets--the best Karloff/Lugosi film (to me) is The Body Snatcher (which features one of Karloff's greatest performances). The Body Snatcher is the first of three Val Lewton films that Karloff was in, and all three are must see (the other two being Isle of the Dead and Bedlam).


All good choices. I'd also recommend The Invisible Ray (1936), where both actors show how a great performance can raise the bar on an average script.

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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby Mr. Arkadin » June 28th, 2011, 8:10 pm

MichiganJ wrote:Watched a few lady vampire films:

Daughters of Darkness (1971) A film that is slow as molasses but just as sweet. It's all atmosphere, as a young newlywed couple visit a nearly deserted resort in it's off season. Then two new guests arrive, one being Delphine Seyrig, who is perhaps more motionless in this resort than she was in Marienbad. That is until…

It really is all atmosphere, and the washed out color palette, used throughout, adds to the hypnotic feeling, so that when the blood starts to flow it's wonderfully jarring.

Twins of Evil (1971) One of Hammer's best later films, Twins has it all: burning witches, satan worshipers and vampires. It's all held together by yet another amazing performance by Peter Cushing, whose character is quite complex and is both evil and, well, less evil. A little more sax and violins as this is the early 70s, but hardly gratuitous (well, maybe not hardly; the "twins" were Playboy Playmates after all), Twins of Evil is the third in the Karnstein Trilogy (following The Vampire Lovers and Lust For a Vampire), and may well be the best.

Blood and Roses (1960) Haunting, sensual and beautifully shot (by Claude Renoir), there is no question that this is director Roger Vadim's masterpiece. Starring Vadim's wife (at the time), Annette Vadim is hauntingly gorgeous, and plays the (perhaps) possessed Carmilla as sympathetic and sinister. The plot works fine, but the film is really about the look and atmosphere. There are plenty of Jean Cocteau-like dream sequences, which are surprising, haunting, gorgeous and demand multiple viewings.

The U.S. version is shortened and has a voice-over that negates some of the plot's mystery, and worse, it's pan-and-scanned! And STILL the movie is a visual feast.

Vadim-Masterpiece? Who'd a thunk? (Barbarella notwithstanding of course.)


I've been away so long that I missed these previous posts and am working backwards through the thread.

Daughters of Darkness is an incredible film. The original Blue Underground release was a 2 disc set with lots of extras, but that is now gone with The Blood Spattered Bride (1972) --an interesting film in its own right-- taking the place of the extras disc.

I've never seen Twins of Evil, but it sounds interesting.

Yes, Blood and Roses is an amazing forgotten gem. The European cut has no voice over, nudity, different scoring, and the ending is more ambiguous. Both versions are great, but I lean slightly toward the U.S. version, possibly because of the harp score. Perhaps this will come to DVD someday in a beautiful widescreen print!

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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby MichiganJ » June 29th, 2011, 7:11 am

Mr. Arkadin wrote:Daughters of Darkness is an incredible film. The original Blue Underground release was a 2 disc set with lots of extras, but that is now gone with The Blood Spattered Bride (1972) --an interesting film in its own right-- taking the place of the extras disc.

I have the Anchor Bay DVD of this (the one with the horrible cover) but upgraded to the Blue Underground blu-ray, which does include, among many other special features, The Blood Spattered Bride. Despite the gruesome (but magnificent) title, the film is a good modern take on the Carmilla story. (Those Karstein's sure get around.)
Mr. Arkadin wrote:Yes, Blood and Roses is an amazing forgotten gem. The European cut has no voice over, nudity, different scoring, and the ending is more ambiguous. Both versions are great, but I lean slightly toward the U.S. version, possibly because of the harp score. Perhaps this will come to DVD someday in a beautiful widescreen print!

I wasn't aware the the scores were different, which is a shame because the harp adds quite a bit to the overall effect of the film. I also hope a DVD will be forthcoming, and since I'm wishing, let's hope both versions of the film are included. Seems right up Blue Underground's alley, so maybe…
Mr. Arkadin wrote: I'd also recommend The Invisible Ray (1936), where both actors show how a great performance can raise the bar on an average script.

It's great seeing the duo in a sci-fi film (with some horror elements, too). I have to admit, though, Karloff's perm hairdo takes some getting used to.
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 3rd, 2011, 8:58 am

I think this qualifies as a horror movie, I wrote it up on another thread also.

Last night I watched Targets, I'm not sure the best place to review it, it's the first movie directed by Peter Bogdanovich and I decided to watch it after reading Boris's biography, the synopsis of the plot sounded interesting. There is a juxtaposition of a segment about Byron Orloc, Boris Karloff an aging horror film actor, based very much on Karloff apart from Karloff wasn't going to retire and a man who goes crazy shooting his family and then becoming a sniper. In parts it has quite a strong impact, the shooter is a very ordinary man, no temper, no troubles that we can see, an ordinary person from an ordinary background, who very calmly starts shooting people. I think the story of how the film came about made it interesting to me, Karloff available for only two days, Bogdanovich had to create a film around it. Byron Orloc is trying to retire, his last engagement is at a personal appearance at a drive in where the sniper is shooting his targets, here the stories converge and Orloc disarms the shooter. It's possible to see how much in pain Karloff was and how his legs were bowed. An amusing scene has Karloff and Bogdanovich passed out after a drinking session. The DVD had a lovely segment with Bogdanovich talking about the movie and Karloff himself.
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby RedRiver » July 29th, 2011, 10:22 am

I'm cheating. I haven't watched THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN recently, but I love an excuse to comment on it. This superb fantasy is my favorite of the genre. It's a close race with THEM! ISLAND OF LOST SOULS is sensational. But this inspired Richard Matheson story, perfectly staged by Jack Arnold, is inventive, exciting, sad and spiritual. I've seen few movies like it.

I love the small, quiet look of it. A modest home, a booth at the drug store. The mandatory black and white. There's no way this story could be told with bright, colorful distractions. The gradual way the main character comes to realize his plight hits the audience in the same manner. We pick up the clues and follow the trail, even though we know what's going to happen. We see it through the eyes of the subject.

And that spider! Holy Moley, is that scary! What a spectacular, heart stopping scene. The story moves from confusion to resistance. And finally to acceptance. Because "In God's eyes, there is no nothing."

This is not simply a great fantasy film. It's an example of intimate, creative, poetic storytelling. It's one of the better movies I've seen.

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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby Mr. Arkadin » August 7th, 2011, 10:28 am

I recently revisited Off Balance AKA Phantom of Death (1988), where a famous piano virtuoso (Michael York) is afflicted with a rapid aging disease. Although he initially kills to cover up his secret, the ability to control life and death in others soon becomes a growing fascination, while playing a cat and mouse game with the local police inspector. York gives a spellbinding performance that embodies evil, but still evokes pity, elevating an average thriller into a tour de force.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1etFxhKEJ4&feature=related[/youtube]

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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby MichiganJ » August 27th, 2011, 8:45 am

I finally got to see The Black Sleep, which is Bela Lugosi's final film (not counting Wood's home movie) and which features a virtual who's who in classic horror, including: Lon Chaney, Jr., Basil Rathbone, John Carradine and Tor Johnson!

It's far better than I'd imagined, and there are one or two decent scares. Both Lon and Bela play mutes (and Lon's name is "Mongo", which doesn't help), with poor Bela having little to do but look tired. John Carradine, however, is wildly fun, and Rathbone is a lot like Peter Cushing in that they both can rattle off inane dialogue with an innate authority that makes it believable.

First time seeing Queen of Blood, too, but it certainly wont be the last! Lots of plot in this sci-fi cheapie, and the unexpected turns are quite fun, even when other plot strands are left hanging.

The odd juxtaposition of pretty effective special effects with some sets that would make Ed Wood cringe is explained by the fact that American International used footage from Russian produced sci-fi films. (Check out the lettering on the side of the "American" rocket. Although I suppose in the future--1990, when the film takes place, we might change the spelling of U.S.A. to CCCP.)

Would make a great double-bill with Robinson Crusoe on Mars.

These are my first forays in MGM's "Limited Edition Collection" on-demand DVDs and the prints on both films are very nice.
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby srowley75 » September 2nd, 2011, 11:13 am

Just bought my ticket for this year's Columbus "Shock Around the Clock" 24-hour horror marathon. Everything else aside, I think it'll be fun just to get to see the movies with an audience.

This year, the films are said to include The Bride of Frankenstein, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Goke: Body Snatcher from Hell, The Pit and the Pendulum '61, Fulci's The Beyond, plus several others that sounded pretty good. I'm not exactly delighted by the prospect of their showing Human Centipede II (perhaps I'll catch some shut-eye then, if that's possible), but most of the others sound pretty good.


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