thursday horror picture show
Director: Sam Newfield
Starring: George Zucco, Johnny Downs, Anne Nagel, Glenn Strange / George Zucco, Wanda McKay, Glenn StrangeIn Brief: What more does one need to know about The Mad Monster other than the fact that it has a werewolf in bib overalls? Or that the werewolf in question was created "scientifically" for the purpose of fighting the Nazis? This is exactly the sort of thing to expect from the series of "poverty row" horror pictures that British actor George Zucco made for PRC Pictures in the 1940s. This is the first and the most ambitious, which says much. The less elaborate The Black Raven is its almost-as-screwy companion feature.
Director: Karl Freund
Starring: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Edward Van Sloan, Arthur ByronIn Brief: The classic Universal horror about a 3,700-year-old reanimated mummy (played by Boris Karloff in one of his best performances) seeking his reincarnated love (Zita Johann) in modern Cairo. This is an eerie, atmospheric and even poetic horror fantasy that remains unique in the genre.
Genre: Psychological Horror
Director: Roman Polanski
Starring: Roman Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas, Shelley WintersIn Brief: Roman Polanski's 1976 psychological horror film about a Polish immigrant (Polanski) losing his own personality to that of the woman who previously lived in his apartment (and who committed suicide by throwing herself out of the window) may well be the director's best film. It is certainly his creepiest -- and made all the more so when you realize its story is both personal and obsessive.
Director: Karl Freund / Edgar G. Ulmer
Starring: Peter Lorre, Colin Clive, Frances Drake / Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, David MannersIn Brief: A double dose of classic horror with Karl Freund's Mad Love (1935), the film that first presented Peter Lorre in a horror picture, and Edgar G. Ulmer's The Black Cat (1934), the first onscreen teaming of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. The former -- a remake of the silent The Hands of Orlac (1924) -- is a film with a somewhat exaggerated reputation, but the latter is one of the top horror pictures of all time.
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.
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