thursday horror picture show Articles
Director: Brian De Palma
Starring: Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon, Dennis FranzIn Brief: After the somewhat tepid response to The Fury, Brian De Palma went out of his way to court controversy with this splattery — and more than a little sleazy — 1980 thriller. And however you feel about it, the flick certainly worked to draw audiences with its sex, nudity and over-the-top violence. Designed as a mystery (even if not a very good one), the film succeeds mostly by virtue of De Palma's nonstop stylishness.
Director: T. Hayes Hunter
Starring: Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke, Ernest Thesiger, Dorothy Hyson, Anthony Bushell, Ralph RichardsonIn Brief: Long considered to be a lost film, The Ghoul is back in circulation and not merely the curio you might expect a 1933 British picture to be. It's a full-fledged classic of the horror genre from its richest era. Set in the creepiest old, dark house imaginable, filled with a first-rate cast and directed with great skill by its little-known director, this yarn about an Egyptologist (Karloff) coming back from the dead can now take its rightful place with the great Hollywood horrors of the 1930s.
Genre: Horror Comedy
Director: Albert S. Rogell (The Last Warning)
Starring: Basil Rathbone, Broderick Crawford, Hugh Herbert, Bela Lugosi, Anne GwynneIn Brief: No, it's not the 1934 classic, nor does it have anything to do with Edgar Allan Poe (though it claims otherwise). The 1941 film called The Black Cat is an old dark-house comedy thriller that's a very obvious attempt by Universal to cash in on Paramount's Bob Hope comedy thrillers. OK, so Broderick Crawford is no Bob Hope, but the results are an agreeable little movie that's both funny and atmospheric -- and sometimes surprisingly grim.
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.
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