Director: Rafael Baledón
Starring: Enrique Rambal, Abel Salazar, Martha Roth, Ofelia Guilmáin, Ana Laura BaledonIn Brief: A pianist sells his soul to the devil in exchange for becoming the greatest pianist in the world. The downside is that he tends to turn into a kind of dopey looking werewolf. Mayhem of that peculiar Mexican kind ensues -- as does a good deal of entertainment.
Genre: Ghost Story Horror
Director: J.A. Bayona
Starring: Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep, Mabel Rivera, Montserrat Carulla, Geraldine ChaplinIn Brief: A couple and their adopted son move into the old orphanage where the wife spent her early childhood, planning to turn it into a school for children with special needs. However, the son disappears at a party -- in a manner that suggests his possibly not-so-imaginary friend was involved -- and things turn into an ever more feverish effort to find the child, revealing a dark secret about the orphanage.
Genre: Horror Musical
Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jamie Campbell BowerIn Brief: Tim Burton's ultra-stylized and stylish -- not to mention bloody -- film version of the Stephen Sondheim musical about the infamous "Demon Barber of Fleet Street" is not likely to please theater purists or Sondheim junkies, but it is undeniably brilliant filmmaking that effectively blends theater, horror and music into a unified whole.
Director: Tom McLoughlin
Starring: Thom Matthews, Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen, Renée Jones, Kerry Noonan, C.J. Graham, Ron PalilloIn Brief: The sixth (obviously) in the seemingly unstoppable (for a while anyway) Friday the 13th movies may not be exactly a good movie in the strict sense, but it's easily the best in the series. It delivers the expected slicing and dicing in something of a post-modern vein, but it also spoofs itself, the whole slasher genre and its audience in an enjoyable manner -- albeit one that's never actually condescending. And you get three Alice Cooper songs in the bargain.
Director: Robert Florey / Louis Friedlander
Starring: Bela Lugosi, Sidney Fox, Leon Waycoff, Bert Roach / Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Irene WareIn Brief: A double dose of Bela Lugosi from his classic years at Universal. First in Robert Florey's Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), and then in Louis Friedlander's The Raven (1935) -- the latter also boasts Boris Karloff in its cast, but it's really Lugosi's show. They may not be Lugosi's absolute best films, but they contain two of his most treasured performances, which is what matters.
Director: Paul Morrissey (Blood for Dracula)
Starring: Joe Dallesandro, Monique van Vooren, Udo Kier, Arno Juerging, Srdjan ZelenovicIn Brief: Paul Morrissey's famous X-rated take on the Frankenstein story (better known as Andy Warhol's Frankenstein) is of the bathful-of-blood-and-a-bucket-of-entrails school of deliberately schlock horror -- with occasional time-outs for sex. The aim is more laughs than chills, though it may be too gruesome for the timid. It's all about a misguided mad scientist who mistakes a would-be monk as having the perfect head for his male zombie, whom he wishes to mate with his female zombie and breed a master race.
Genre: Suspense/Conspiracy Thriller with Paranormal Aspects
Director: Brian DePalma
Starring: Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Amy Irving, Carrie Snodgrass, Andrew Stevens, Fiona Lewis, Charles DurningIn Brief: Brian DePalma's originally misunderstood -- and mismarketed -- conspiracy thriller with paranormal aspects, now plays much better than it originally did when no one quite knew what to make of its mash-up of genres. Slickly professional and excitingly executed, with moments of creative and inventive filmmaking.
Director: Walter Summers (The Return of Bulldog Drummond)
Starring: Bela Lugosi, Greta Gynt, Hugh Williams, Edmun Ryan, Wilfred Walter, Alexander FieldIn Brief: A curious Bela Lugosi film to come out of Great Britain in 1939, Dark Eyes of London (The Human Monster) remains perhaps the single most disturbing film in the actor's entire filmography. There is not a drop of sympathy to be found for his murderous Dr. Orloff, the unhinged architect of a murderous insurance scheme, who seems to be greatly enjoying every sadistic murder. A classic in its own peculiar way.
Genre: Old Dark House Horror Comedy
Director: Paul Leni
Starring: Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale, Forrest Stanley, Tully Marshall, Gertrude Astor, Flora Finch, Arthur Edmund CareweIn Brief: The classic tale of relatives gathering at an old mansion for a late-night reading of the will -- one of those documents with an alternate heir that is little short of an invitation to drive the real heir (or heiress in this case) insane in order to usurp the inheritance. Still shuddery, with tons of atmosphere and horrific set-pieces -- and a liberal dose of comedy.
Genre: Exploitation Horror Comedy
Director: Larry Cohen
Starring: Michael Moriarty, Candy Clark, David Carradine, Richard Roundtree, James DixonIn Brief: A giant, winged Aztec serpent god (living in the top of the Chrysler Building) terrorizes New York -- and the only hope seems to be a bottom-rung hood who knows where the monster is lurking. Cheeky horror fun -- with the usual dose of social commentary -- from exploitation filmmaker Larry Cohen.
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