Friday, August 31, 2018

61 Days to Halloween- 1958 The Fly

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 1958 sci-fi horror film "The Fly" starring David Hedison, Patricia Owens, Vincent Price and directed by Kurt Neumann.

The Fly (1958)
Dir- Kurt Neumann

A man is found dead, crushed under an industrial press and his wife takes the blame for the crime. Facing possible charges of prison, she is hiding a terrible secret. Vincent Price plays the brother of the dead scientist, and in his investigation, he hears a most shocking tale that seems unbelievable. The scientist was working on a machine that teleported matter from room to room. A tragic mistake results in his transformation into a monster, half man, half fly. Based on a short story by George Langelaan, The Fly boasted excellent special effects and great acting, especially Price and David Hedison, who plays the scientist. Good nods to the director and writer for turning a straightforward and silly sounding tale and delivering an excellent story of tension and regret. The ending is a classic and its infamous phrase "Help Me!" was even used in the remake.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

62 Days to Halloween- 1957 Curse of the Demon

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 1957 British horror movie "Curse of the Demon" starring Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins, Niall MacGinnis and directed by Jacques Tourneur.
Curse of the Demon (1957)
Dir- Jacques Tourneur

A psychologist who is skeptical of the supernatural finds himself in real trouble when he is marked for death by a black magician and to die at the hands of a hideous monster. A real scary film that is considered to be one of the best monster movies of the fifties. The demon was so scary looking that it was shown at the beginning against the wishes of its director as to not scare the audience, don't you just hate when they do that. Great acting, good use of plot and setting and a very well made monster contribute to Jacques Tourneur's classic. The movie was trimmed for it's US release, and thankfully it is available uncut. The film is also known as Night of the Demon.

A wild trip to on this bus will leave you in a fight for your life



Bus Party to Hell (2017)
Dir- Rolfe Kanefsky

A young lady looking to escape a creep in Las Vegas joins a random group of partygoers taking a bus to the Burning Man Festival looking to indulge in all sorts of debauchery and youthful indiscretions. Their bus appears to stall in the middle of the desert as their weird driver disappears leaving them stuck with no cell coverage or means of help. The group is then surrounded by a bloodthirsty satanic cult who kill many of the passengers and demand of the survivors that they turn over the chosen one. Bus Party to Hell is a gory fun time that offers viewers plenty of naked bodies and bloody body parts in a film that despite the violence is more camp then grindhouse. Fans of Tara Reid will be disappointed to learn that the Sharknado star is only in less than 5 minutes of Bus Party to Hell however, this should not deter you as the rest of the movie offers plenty to look forward to. The rest of the cast consists of lesser known actors with Sadie Katz, Devanny Pinn, Aaron Groben, and Stefani Blake standing out as the besieged survivors who use what few items are on the bus to fight back. Bus Party to Hell is a fun indie horror film that makes good use of practical effects and buckets of fake blood to show that even B Horror movies can be as much fun as big studio releases.



Wednesday, August 29, 2018

63 Days to Halloween- 1956 The Bad Seed

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 1956 psychological horror thriller "The Bad Seed" starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart and directed by Mervyn LeRoy.


The Bad Seed (1956)
Dir- Mervyn LeRoy

Long before we were cursed by any Macauley Culkin movies, Mervyn LeRoy directed what has to be one the earliest and darkly humorous evil child movies. Christine Penmark (Kelly) has what every young woman dreams of, a loving husband, a perfect home, and a little girl with pretty pigtails. Little Rhoda Penmark (McCormack) is far from being the sweet little girl everyone sees. We witness her stealing a sports medal from a boy, lying to any adult who is gullible to believe her and possibly much worse. Making matters worse are the recurring nightmares of Mrs. Penmark and their dire warnings that may be a clue to Rhoda's unhealthy behavior. As the town becomes aware of Rhoda's behavior and actions, little Rhoda uses her sick influence to trick her mother and avoid blame and punishment. Ultimately Mrs. Penmark discovers her daughter's dark secrets and must then decide how to deal with them. Maxwell Anderson based the Bad Seed on a play, and when it was released caused quite a stir. The original ending was revised by the producers due to pressure from the Motion Picture Boards who objected to its twisted conclusion; the released version has one which I feel is much more appropriate and quite funny. Pay particular attention to this ending and the cast credits that offer a most humorous conclusion. If little girls are indeed made of sugar and spice, this one has a bit too much cyanide mixed in.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

64 Days to Halloween- 1955 Diabolique

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 1955 mystery thriller "Diabolique" starring Simone Signoret, Vera Clouzot, Paul Meurisse and directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot.


Diabolique- (1955)
Dir- Henri-Georges Clouzot

One of the most influential horror/thrillers of its day, Diabolique pretty much set all the standards by which most thrillers often imitate. The movie is set in France at a boarding school where the tyrannical Headmaster maintains an iron grip on both his students and employees. His battered wife and his former mistress both conspire to murder him and get rid of his body during a student holiday. They travel to the mistress's hometown and lure the headmaster to his wife where she poisons and drowns him in the bathtub. They then bring the body back to the school and dump it in the neglected pool, hoping to use his intoxication as an alibi for his death. A few days later the pool is drained, and the body is found to be missing. In the course of the film, subtle clues are found which lead the two to believe that the headmaster is either still alive or that someone knows of their deed. A retired investigator who wishes to find the real answers to the mystery then follows the wife. The finale is both shocking and well worth the wait. Over the many years since its release, many films have imitated and ripped off the style of Diabolique. The style and overall technique are very reminiscent of an Alfred Hitchcock film, so much so that Hitchcock tried unsuccessfully to remake Diabolique. One of the most influential thrillers of the period, Diabolique remains a great film that would inspire so many movies and directors for years to come. Remade several times over the years, most recently in 1996 with Sharon Stone, Isabelle Adjani, Kathy Bates and Chazz Palminteri.

Monday, August 27, 2018

65 Days to Halloween- 1954 Creature From the Black Lagoon

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 1954 monster movie "Creature From the Black Lagoon" starring Richard Carlson, Julia Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno and directed by Jack Arnold.


Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)
Dir- Jack Arnold

Arguably the most recent of the classic Hollywood movie monsters and one of the most misunderstood. While on an expedition in the Amazon looking for a link between land and seas creatures, explorers discover an amphibious Gill-Man who is captured and later escapes. It then returns and kidnaps the beautiful woman onboard and takes her to its lair only to face off with the crew who seek to rescue the lady. In a time when monster movies were the rage, The Creature From the Black Lagoon stood out for its underwater effects and the fantastic creature costume created for the movie. More than just a simple monster movie, the Gill-Man creature was a complex, intelligent individual, who was looking for companionship and understanding. Filmed in 3-D, the movie would lead to 2 sequels that did not live up to the charm and originality of this classic creature feature.

66 Days To Halloween- 1953 The House of Wax

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 pre-Hays Code 1930 mystery thriller "The Cat Creeps" starring Helen Twelvetrees, Raymond Hackett and directed by Rupert Julian.


House of Wax- (1953)
Dir- Andre DeToth

Vincent Price plays a mad sculptor who produces superbly realistic wax figures for his museum. With the adoration of his patrons, no one is aware that the sculptures are real humans dipped in wax. The movie makes good use of the surroundings to create an atmosphere reminiscent of 19th century Victorian London. Although the film was based on the 1930's film Mystery of the Wax Museum, House of Wax makes a radical change in the story by employing a finale more reminiscent of Phantom of the Opera. A film that seems to bank entirely on the performance of its star and, in this case, was quite successful.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

67 Days to Halloween- 1952 The Black Castle

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 1952 horror thriller "The Black Castle" starring Richard Greene, Boris Karloff, Stephen McNally and directed by Nathan Juran.


The Black Castle (1952)
Dir - Nathan Juran

An Englishman named Sir Ronald Burton travels to Austria to search for two of his friends who disappeared there. Arriving at the estate of Count von Bruno, Sir Ronald learns that the Count may harbor ill feelings toward his friends and that he may be at risk as well. This movie was made and released by Universal Studios with veteran horror movie actor Boris Karloff adding his expertise to the role in the way Karloff excelled at. The film was one of the last of Universal's classic horror films, yet the movie did earn praise for the art direction atmosphere and photography. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

68 Day To Halloween- 1951 The Thing From Another World

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 1951 Science Fiction Horror "The Thing From Another World" starring Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, James Arness and directed by Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks.


The Thing From Another World (1951)
Dir- Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks

Scientists in an Arctic base discover a flying saucer buried under the ice with a humanoid creature that is returned to their base for study. Once thawed the creature comes to life and wrecks havoc on the station with the scientists and military crewmembers debating on the best way to handle the situation. "The Thing From Another World" was based on the 1938 novella "Who Goes There" written by John Campbell, yet changes were made to make the creature more human-like with a cell structure that was plant-based. The novella featured a shape-shifting creature that would be better imagined in the 1982 John Carpenter film "The Thing." The movie is considered a classic in both Sci-Fi and Horror movie genres and remains one of the best movies of the Atomic Monster era that emerged in the 1950's due to the threat of the Cold War.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

69 Days to Halloween- 1950 El Hombre Sin Rostro

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 1950 Mexican horror crime thriller "El Hombre Sin Rostro" starring Arturo de Cordova, Miguel Angel Ferriz and directed by Juan Bustillo Oro.


El Hombre Sin Rostro (1950)
Dir- Juan Bustillo Oro

This crime thriller focuses on a detective with a complicated past searching for a serial killer who appears to him in visions without a face. The murders weigh heavy on him as he faces criticism from his superiors and the press. He turns to a psychiatrist to help him understand his visions as the details of his past reveal secrets that may tie into the motives of the killer. This Mexican horror drama utilizes dream sequences that show the troubled life of the detective especially with his mother and his inability to settle down. The sequences with the faceless killer are presented in a surrealist and expressionist manner in an era when film noir was at its peak.  This movie premiered 10 years before Psycho showed us a similar mother dominated soul who may be troubled mentally.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

70 Days to Halloween- 1949 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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 1949 cartoon short "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" narrated by Bing Crosby.


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)
Dir- Jack Kinney, Clyde Geronimi, James Algar

Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow " was produced as a cartoon short along with "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame by the Disney Studio with Bing Crosby narrating the segment on Sleepy Hollow.  Ichabod Crane was a lanky bookworm who arrives in the town of Sleepy Hollow to take the job as the school headmaster. He soon wins over the women of the village despite being a dandy that the local men make fun of especially the brutish Brom Bones. The two men soon compete for the attention of the beautiful Katrina van Tassel who is the daughter of the wealthiest man in town. After discovering that Ichabod is superstitious, Brom weaves a terrifying tale of a headless horseman who haunts the roads of the town on Halloween. Ichabod rides home and soon finds that he is being pursued by a headless rider that seems to be very real and scary. The cartoon would become a television staple years and would be included on some Disney Halloween specials and be turned into a feature movie the changes the story substantially. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

71 Days to Halloween- 1948 Abbott and Costello Meet 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 1948 horror comedy "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lon Chaney, Jr, Bela Lugosi, Glenn Strange and directed by Charles Barton.


Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
Dir- Charles Barton

The dynamic comedy duo Bud Abbott and Lou Costello play Chick and Wilbur who are baggage clerks who get a warning from Larry Talbot about a package that contains the remains of Dracula and Frankenstein's monster meant for a wax museum. Dracula awakens and revives Frankenstein's monster taking hypnotic control over Chick whom he hopes to use as a brain donor for the monster. Larry Talbot arrives from Europe and sets a plan in motion to stop Dracula from completing his devious plan. This was the first of a group of films that would pair Abbott and Costello against one of the Universal Monsters. This production features Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Glenn Strange as Frankenstein's monster and Lon Chaney, Jr as Larry Talbot aka the Wolf Man.

Monday, August 20, 2018

72 Day to Halloween- 1947 The Headless Woman

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 1947 Argentinian horror comedy "The Headless Woman" starring Nini Marshall, Angelina Pagano and directed by Luis Cesar Amadori.


The Headless Woman (1947)
Dir- Luis Cesar Amadori

A gypsy performer and friend flee the circus troop they work for and find an old house to take refuge. Little do they realize that the house is haunted when they encounter strange men, frightening apparitions, and secret passages. This horror movie parody was released in Argentina under the name Una mujer sin cabeza.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

73 Days to Halloween- 1946 Bedlam

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 1946 period thriller "Bedlam" starring Boris Karloff, Anna Lee, Billy House and directed by Mark Robson.


Bedlam (1946)
Dir- Mark Robson

During the 18th Century, a young woman Nell Bowen (Lee) seeks to reform the St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum (Bedlam) in London, England. The asylum is run by the unscrupulous Master Sims (Karloff) who allows paying guests to observe the patients all while hiding the institution's cruel practices from the general public. When Miss Bowen threatens to expose the real nature of the asylum Master Sims decides to make her an unwitting guest. Bedlam was inspired by the real-life Bethlem Royal Hospital with Karloff playing a fictionalized version of the infamous head physician John Monro. The movie was directed by Mark Robson and produced by Val Lewton. 

74 Days to Halloween- 1945 The Body Snatcher

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 Body Snatcher" starring Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Henry Daniell and directed by Robert Wise and Produced by Val Lewton.


The Body Snatcher (1945)
Dir- Robert Wise

A Finely crafted atmospheric tale from a Robert Louis Stevenson short story about a doctor played by Henry Daniell, who is forced to deal with the sinister character portrayed by Boris Karloff to get bodies for experiments. Like many films of this type what we see is the medical ethics conflicting with the morals of society. This beautifully shot period piece sets the scene in the last film to team Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Their scenes together are eerie and compelling. A great movie that was one of the few notable horror films of the 1940’s and one of the best of producers Val Lewton's thrillers.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

75 Days To Halloween- 1944 The Uninvited

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 1944 supernatural thriller "The Uninvited" starring Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Gail Russell and directed by Lewis Allen.


The Uninvited (1944)
Dir- Lewis Allen

In a seaside town in England, a brother and sister purchase an old house from a local man who is selling it for a low price. Once they arrive they meet the granddaughter of the seller and the brother is soon drawn to her. The house soon reveals itself to be haunted by an entity that the local girl is familiar with and the mystery behind the spirit's intent will soon reveal itself. A supernatural story that was more than a silly ghost movie, The Uninvited was one of the first movies to portray ghosts as serious storyline and not one for comic relief.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

76 Days to Halloween- 1943 I Walked With a Zombie

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 1943 horror "I Walked With a Zombie" directed by Jacques Tourneur and produced by Val Lewton


I Walked With a Zombie (1943)
Dir- Jacques Tourneur

A nurse is hired to care for the wife of a sugar plantation owner on an island in the Caribbean. She meets the owner and his half-brother as well as the wife who ill and unresponsive. A conversation with the maid exposes her to the rituals of the island and the dark secrets that may be affecting the plantation owners wife. This was the second film produced by Val Lewton with RKO studio and drew some inspiration from Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre as well as Haitian voodoo practices. The film has been praised for its use of supernatural elements making it a horror film unlike any other from this era.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

77 Days to Halloween- 1942 Cat People

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 1942 horror thriller "Cat People" produced by Val Lewton, starring Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph, Tom Conway and directed by Jacques Tourneur.


Cat People (1942)
Dir- Jacques Tourneur

I found myself enticed by the beautiful and exotic Simone Simon, the French actress who portrays the tragic Irena. The story begins at the zoo, where a strange and charming lady named Irena draws a young ship designer named Oliver; she is strangely attracted to the Panthers and sketches them with great pleasure. The two hit it off, and they soon marry. However, Irena becomes withdrawn and expresses her fear of intimacy. She believes she is one of the Cat People, a race of Serbian exiles who mated with Panthers when the King drove them out centuries before. Oliver is distressed and turns to an associate for comfort, even though he loves Irena he discovers a jealousy that seems to possess Irena when Oliver turns to his coworker. When they move on to a psychologist, he seems more interested in seducing her than helping poor Irena. The film boasts some excellent scenery including a chase where Irena seems to stalk her husband's friend as a human and a cat and a pool sequence that is frightening. Although the remake focuses more on the sexual aspects of the story, we find a beautiful film with great visuals and a decent script. The tragic conclusion is both enlightening and depressing in positive ways. A great movie and I highly recommend it for those who have seen the 1982 remake and to admire one of the first horror films produced by Val Lewton. If nothing more them to watch the lovely and seductive Simone Simon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

78 Days to Halloween- 1941 The Wolf Man

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 1941 horror film "The Wolf Man" starring Lon Chaney, Jr, Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy, Bela Lugosi, Evelyn Ankers and directed by George Waggner.



The Wolf Man (1941)
Dir- George Waggner

One of the finest and best-remembered horror films ever made: Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr) is an unlucky heir bitten by gypsy werewolf Bela Lugosi and survives to carry the curse himself. The outstanding cast includes Claude Rains as the unknowing father, Evelyn Ankers as his perplexed girlfriend. Kudos go to Maria Ouspenskaya as the wise gypsy woman who foretells his fate and attempts to care for him. Although one of the later of the classic monster movies to appear it is Lon Chaney Jr's excellent portrayal that leaves us with such a great and memorable monster classic. Literate and very engrossing, with superb makeup by the maestro Jack Pierce, atmospheric music (re-used in many other Universal chillers) by Charles Previn and Hans J. Salter with a script by Curt Siodmak.

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.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

85 Days to Halloween- 1934 The Black Cat

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 pre-Hays Code 1934 horror film The Black Cat starring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff.


Black Cat (1934)
Dir- Edgar G Ulmer

A young couple on honeymoon in Hungary meets an older psychiatrist who they share a train compartment with. The doctor intends to visit an old friend he has not seen since the war and invites the couple to join when the young wife is hurt in an accident. When they arrive the couple learns that the two friends have unsettled business and that their lives may be at risk as their host has other intentions besides hospitality in mind. The Black Cat shares the name of an Edgar Allan Poe short story but not much else. The cast featured Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in the first of many collaborations between the two horror icons. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

86 Days to Halloween- 1933 King Kong

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 pre-code 1933 monster adventure King Kong starring Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot and directed by Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack



King Kong (1933)
Dir- Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack

King Kong will always be remembered as the monster on the rampage, but even more, it is a classic in every sense and will be known as an FX triumph. Fay Wray plays the fair maiden who soothes the giant ape as he is taken from his island home to New York where he escapes and climbs the Empire State building where he meets his sad fate. Tragic and Endearing, Kong is so convincing that the viewer forgets he is not real and sees him as a tragic victim of circumstance. Another classic that would be followed by inferior sequels and a number of big-budget remakes that failed to live up to this Hollywood classic.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

87 Days to Halloween- 1932 The Mummy

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 1932 Universal horror thriller "The Mummy" starring Boris Karloff and directed by Karl Freund.


The Mummy (1932)

Dir- Karl Freund

Boris Karloff once again sets the screen afire with yet another excellent performance as a classic monster. He portrays an excavated mummy who is brought back to life by a Sacred Scroll. Ten years later the mummy, who is now in the guise of a scientist seeks to return his beloved princess with whom another modern woman matches. All the elements are present in this beautiful classic horror film that would be followed by many inferior copycats, Hammer remake, and a few recent productions.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

88 Days to Halloween- 1931 M

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 1931 German Horror Thriller M  starring Peter Lorre and directed by Fritz Lang.



M (1931)
Dir- Fritz Lang

Set in a dark industrial world, M is the tale of a frightened city held hostage by a serial killer who is targeting children. The search is so intensive that the local crime organization joins in because the killer's reign of fear is bad for their business. Once identified with the eponymous M, the killer finds himself at the mercy of an angry mob out for revenge. M was an intense film for its time with a subject matter that was a warning to families about watching out for their children. The film also tackled the important topic of the crime and what sort of justice can be had if it's at the hands of an angry mob. A powerful German Crime/Drama that has great Horror elements and will remain a classic of all three genres. Peter Lorre's first film and one of Director Fritz Lang's greatest movies.

Friday, August 3, 2018

89 Days to Halloween- 1930 The Cat Creeps

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 pre-Hays Code 1930 mystery thriller "The Cat Creeps" starring Helen Twelvetrees, Raymond Hackett and directed by Rupert Julian.


The Cat Creeps
Dir- Rupert Julian

A remake of the 1927 film "The Cat and the Canary" based on the story by John Willard, this version of the classic silent film featured sound and was one of the early horror films by Universal Studios. The movie is about a woman who stands to inherit a fortune unless she is found to be insane, this proves important as someone is plotting to drive her to insanity after the lawyer disappears under mysterious circumstances.  Unfortunately, "The Cat Creeps" is a lost film as no complete copy is available and only short clips remain to view. Despite this, "The Cat Creeps" featured a good cast and was directed by Rupert Julian who directed The Phantom of the Opera. The surviving clips of the film were made into a short film called "Boo!"

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

91 Days to Halloween- 1928 The Man Who Laughs

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 1928 American silent romantic drama The Man Who Laughs directed by Paul Leni and starring German actor Conrad Veidt


The Man Who Laughs (1928)
Dir- Paul Leni

A boy named Gwynplaine who was disfigured with a permanent smile after his Lord father was executed grows up working in the circus and finds love with a woman who is blind but true to him. Once his royal title is revealed he then must decide if he wishes to take his father's title or live the life of a commoner with the woman he loves. The Man Who Laughs is not really a horror story but like The Phantom of the Opera is a romantic tale that is best remembered for the disfiguring appearance of the main character. In a role created for Lon Chaney, German actor Conrad Veidt took up the task and created a character that would inspire one of the great comic book villains of all time The Joker. His role as Gwynplaine would be remembered for its freakish grin even if his name is not as well known as Lon Chaney.

92 Days to Halloween- 1927 London After 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 eighth film presented here is the 1927 American silent horror classic London After Midnight directed by Tod Browning and starring actor Lon Chaney. 



London After Midnight (1927)
Dir- Tod Browning

The sudden death of a wealthy man made to look like suicide sets into motion a mystery as to what may have lead to his death. A police inspector intends to uncover the truth of the suicide and will have each suspect undergo hypnotism to seek the truth while a mysterious man in a top hat accompanied by a thin woman seems to menace all the suspects. Lon Chaney appears in two roles as the Inspector and the mysterious man. It should be noted that this film was lost after the last copy was destroyed in a fire. Fortunately, a working film has been partially restored thanks to the effects of Turner Classic Movies.