Monday, August 13, 2018

79 Days to Halloween- 1940 The Ghost Breakers

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the 1940 horror comedy "The Ghost Breakers" starring Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Willie Best, and directed by George Marshall.




The Ghost Breakers (1940)
Dir- George Marshall

A woman inherits a mansion and plantation on a small Cuban island only to get a dire warning not to take possession of the property. She is joined by a radio broadcaster who is fleeing a mob boss and along with his servant only to find that something menacing may be afoot in the old house. One of the most famous early horror comedies, The Ghost Breakers was a huge hit for Bob Hope who is joined by Paulette Goddard, Willie Best, Richard Carlson, Paul Lukas, and Anthony Quinn. The movie would be remade with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis under the title Scared Stiff in 1953 and would be an inspiration to the Ghostbusters franchise of the 1980s. 

80 Day to Halloween- 1939 Son of Frankenstein

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the 1939 horror film Son of Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone and directed by Rowland V. Lee.


Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Dir- Rowland V. Lee

Boris Karloff's final appearance as the famed monster. In this sequel to the classic movie Bride of Frankenstein, we find Basil Rathbone playing the son of a famed doctor who happens to discover the still living monster in the ruins of the laboratory. Lugosi is perfect as Ygor, who has cared for the monster in time before his discovery. Great settings and an impressive score only help to make this movie a classic. This film was a huge success and helped to reinvigorate the market for monster movies after a brief hiatus due to issues with British censorship and the Hays Code.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

81 Days to Halloween- 1938 I Accuse

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the French Anti-War film I Accuse (1938) starring Victor Francen and directed by Abel Gance.


I Accuse
Dir- Abel Gance

A scientist survives the horrors of the first world war and dedicates his time to developing a device that will prevent conflicts from being fought. Years later after he perfects the machine, he is then troubled by his Government wanting to use it against their potential enemy with World War 2 on the horizon. He then decides on an unorthodox method of convincing his government not to fight. This anti-war film draws on the horrors of the First World War to help show the audience that the grief and misery that motivate the main character are reflected by many and that making the mistake of waging another war will only bring more suffering and death. "I Accuse" is considered one of the most important anti-war movies ever made and comparable to Johnny Got His Gun and All Quiet on the Western Front.

Friday, August 10, 2018

82 Days to Halloween- 1937 Song at Midnight

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the Chinese language film Song at Midnight (1937) starring Jin Shan, Gu Menghe, Zhou Wenzhu and directed by Ma-Xu Weibang



Song at Midnight (1937)
Dir- Ma-Xu Weibang

This adaptation of Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera is the first horror movie made in China and puts more focus on local politics as a subplot. The story focuses on the disfigured Song Danping who was thought dead after he was left to die when the Opera house was burned down by the angry father of the woman he pursued. Years later he now occupies the rebuilt theater hoping to guide their new star. Song at Midnight is considered an important film in China and is listed among the top 100 best films in China by Asian film critics. The movie has been remade four times with the latest entry in 2005.

We're gonna need a much bigger boat


The Meg (2018)
Dir- Jon Turteltaub

It has been over 40 years since Jaws terrified the nation and pretty much-demonized sharks in the minds of most moviegoers. So, of course, you have to up the ante, and the logical step is to make the shark bigger, meaner and scarier. The Meg is based on Steve Alten's 1997 novel "Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror" yet the movie makes a few changes that don't really change too much of the story. Jason Statham is diving expert Jonas Taylor who was disgraced after a botched deep sea rescue leaves him to take the blame for events that were the result of an unknown attack on a damaged navy sub. Five years later he is brought in after a research team is stranded in a deep part of the ocean after an attack by a similar unknown creature. Hoping to vindicate himself he volunteers to assist despite finding out the doctor who deemed him crazy is part of the crew. What he discovers will put the lives of the research team at further risk as he is determined to destroy the creature that is putting all of them in peril. There is nothing profound or complicated in the plot of The Meg, its a conventional game of survival for a group of people who just happen to be in the path of the mega-sized shark. The Meg is a B movie with a big budget and star power that includes Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Li Bingbing, Winston Chao and Cliff Curtis. The creature effects and sets are impressive and make for a thrilling ride. The real problem that the audience will deal with is the PG-13 rating that tones the violence down, make no mistakes the film does have plenty of shark action and attacks, but we don't see the level of gore that was present in Piranha 3D or Shark Night. The other issue is the slower first half that sets the stage for a wild and exciting ending. The Meg will not win any Oscars for acting, but it will bring in the crowds, leaving them entertained and will make them once again feel that it was never safe to go back in the water.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

83 Days to Halloween- 1936 The Devil-Doll

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the 1936 horror thriller "The Devil-Doll" starring Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O'Sullivan and directed by Tod Browning.


The Devil-Doll
Dir- Tod Browning

The Devil Doll focuses on a man who was sent to prison wrongfully and his desire to seek revenge on those he feels were responsible for framing him. He utilizes a shrinking formula developed by a scientist he befriended and when he gets back to his home he puts revenge scheme to work only to find that others may want the formula for their own purposes. The Devil Doll made effective use of camera tricks to simulate the smaller size of the characters showing techniques that were mastered by King Kong and The Invisible Man. The film was not a financial success but did get good reviews from the critics of the day.



Wednesday, August 8, 2018

84 Days to Halloween- 1935 Bride of Frankenstein

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the sequel to Universal Pictures 1931 classic Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester and directed by James Whale.


Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Dir- James Whale

The monster having survived the fire in the mill that had supposedly killed him is taken in by a blind hermit.  He teaches him to speak and falls under the evil influence of another scientist who presses him to demand a mate from Dr. Frankenstein. A rare sequel that is better than its predecessor, the film marks the reappearance of Boris Karloff as the monster and Elsa Lanchester as both Mary Shelley and the classic bride we all remember.