Author Topic: Hal's 2010 Horror Marathon Reviews  (Read 29207 times)

hal9g

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Frankenstein
« Reply #45 on: October 13, 2010, 11:15:45 PM »


Title: Frankenstein: Classic Monster Collection
Year: 1931
Director: James Whale
Rating: NR
Length: 70 Min.
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio: English: Dolby Digital: Mono, Commentary: Dolby Digital: Mono
Subtitles: English, French

Stars:
Colin Clive
Mae Clarke
John Boles
Boris Karloff
Edward Van Sloan

Plot:
Boris Karloff stars as the screen's most memorable monster in what many consider to be the greatest horror film ever made. Dr. Frankenstein dares to tamper with life and death by creating a human moster out of lifeless body parts. It's adaptation of the Mary Shelley novel blended with Karloff's compassionate portrayal of a creature groping for identity that makes "Frankenstein" a masterpiece not only for the genre, but for all time.

Extras:
Scene Access
Audio Commentary
Feature Trailers
Featurettes
Gallery
Production Notes
DVD-ROM Content
"Boo!" a short film

My Thoughts:
For me this is the grand-daddy of horror films and the epitome of the genre.  This movie gave me nightmares as a child, and for many years, until I was a young adult, I would not watch it.  Watching it today, all of those old feelings came swooping down on me, and just proved that i was not just childhood fears that scared me way back then.  From the setting to the timing to the music to the acting, this is a classic for all time.

Rating:

hal9g

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Dracula (1931)
« Reply #46 on: October 16, 2010, 08:21:29 PM »


Title: Dracula: Classic Monster Collection
Year: 1931
Director: Tod Browning
Rating: NR
Length: 75 Min.
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio: English: Dolby Digital: Mono, French: Dolby Digital: Mono, Spanish: Dolby Digital: Mono, Music Only: Dolby Digital: 5.0, Commentary: Dolby Digital: 2-Channel Stereo
Subtitles: English, French

Stars:
Bela Lugosi
Helen Chandler
David Manners
Dwight Frye
Edward Van Sloan

Plot:
This DVD edition contains three special versions of Dracula!

Dracula (The Restored Version)
Although there have been numerous screen versions of Bram Stoker's classic tale, none is more enduring than the 1931 original. The ominous portrayal of Count Dracula by Bela Lugosi, combined with horror specialist director Tod Browning, help to create the film's eerie mood. Dracula remains a masterpiece not only of the genre, but for all time.

Dracula (Featuring New Music By Philip Glass)
The original version of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi has been remastered to feature a specially composed musical score by world-renowned composer Philip Glass and performed by the Kronos Quartet. Glass' music lends greater depth to an already timeless classic!

Dracula (Original Spanish Version)
Filmed simultaneously with the English language version, the Spanish version of Dracula is a completely different, yet equally ominous vision of the horror classic. Utilizing the same sets and identical script, cinematographer George Robinson and a vibrant cast including Carlos Villarias and Lupita Tovar deliver this chilling and evocative tale.

Extras:
Scene Access
Audio Commentary
Feature Trailers
Featurettes
Gallery
Production Notes
DVD-ROM Content
New Isolated Music Score

My Thoughts:
Although there are some good scenes in this film, overall, I think this was overacted and way too melodramatic.  Legosi's handling of this role (even though it is the one he is best known for) is just too much for me and unrealistic to the point of being laughable.  The mood and setting of the film was good, but I think the "effect" of brightening the eyes of the vampires was overdone.  It is interesting how some of the mythos of Dracula was all established in this early film; e.g., fear of garlic, wolfbane, sunlight, crosses; lack of reflection in mirrors, death by wooden stake through the heart, changing into bats and/or wolves, having to rest in soil of the "homeland", sleeping in coffins during the day.  Some of these have endured the test of time; others have not.
I suppose given the age of this film it has many merits, but I cannot rate it any higher than a 3.

Rating:
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 10:05:04 PM by Hal »

hal9g

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The Mummy
« Reply #47 on: October 16, 2010, 09:57:59 PM »


Title: The Mummy: Classic Monster Collection
Year: 1932
Director: Karl Freund
Rating: NR
Length: 73 Min.
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio: English: Dolby Digital: Mono, Commentary: Dolby Digital: Mono
Subtitles: English, French

Stars:
Boris Karloff
Zita Johann
David Manners
Arthur Byron
Edward Van Sloan

Plot:
Boris Karloff’s legendary performance has become a landmark in the annals of screen history. As the mummy, Im-Ho-Tep, he is accidentally revived after 3,700 years by a team of British archaeologists. It is revealed in a flashback that he was a high priest, embalmed alive for trying to revive the vestal virgin whom he loved, after she had been sacrificed. Alive again, he sets out to find his lost love.

Today, over 50 years after The Mummy was first released, this brooding dream-like film remains a masterpiece not only of the genre, but for all time.

Extras:
Scene Access
Audio Commentary
Feature Trailers
Featurettes
Production Notes
Web links

My Thoughts:
This film is truly more of a love story than a horror film.  Karloff gives an excellent performance and the supporting actors/actresses are all credible in their roles, not to mention the beauty of Zita Johann.  The film provides quite a bit of the historical background for the story of Imhotep that is missing in many other later films which simply have a mummy rise up still wrapped in cloth and go on a killing spree.  Surprisingly, only two people die in this version, and there is absolutely no gore.  It is amazing how the dread of what is happening can be portrayed without the blood and guts required today.  I really enjoyed watching this again.

Rating:

Offline Antares

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Re: The Mummy
« Reply #48 on: October 17, 2010, 12:28:52 AM »
It is amazing how the dread of what is happening can be portrayed without the blood and guts required today.  I really enjoyed watching this again.

This is the reason I prefer my Horror to be from this time period, as opposed to post 1978.

hal9g

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The Invisible Man
« Reply #49 on: October 17, 2010, 12:41:14 AM »


Title: The Invisible Man: Classic Monster Collection
Year: 1933
Director: James Whale
Rating: NR
Length: 71 Min.
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio: English: Dolby Digital: Mono, Commentary: Dolby Digital: 2-Channel Stereo
Subtitles: English, French

Stars:
Claude Rains
Gloria Stuart
William Harrigan
Henry Travers
Una O'Connor

Plot:
Claude Rains delivers a remarkable performance in his screen debut as a mysterious doctor who discovers a serum that makes him invisible. Covered by bandages and dark glasses, Rains arrives at a small English village and attempts to hide his amazing discovery. But the same drug which renders him invisible slowly drives him to commit acts of unspeakable terror. Based on H.G. Wells’ classic novel and directed by the master of macabre James Whale, The Invisible Man not only fueled a host of sequels but features some special effects that are still imitated today.

Extras:
Scene Access
Audio Commentary
Feature Trailers
Featurettes
Gallery
Production Notes
Closed Captioned

My Thoughts:
An interesting story with some pretty incredible special effects given that this movie was made in 1933.  The acting wasn't really great, but I enjoyed seeing Gloria Stuart (elderly Rose in Titanic) as a young woman and I think Henry Travers is just a marvelous character actor.  A fun time.

Rating:

hal9g

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The Bride of Frankenstein
« Reply #50 on: October 17, 2010, 02:49:24 AM »


Title: The Bride of Frankenstein: Classic Monster Collection
Year: 1935
Director: James Whale
Rating: NR
Length: 75 Min.
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio: English: Dolby Digital: Mono, Commentary: Dolby Digital: 2-Channel Stereo
Subtitles: English, French

Stars:
Boris Karloff [Karloff]
Colin Clive
Valerie Hobson
Ernest Thesiger
Elsa Lanchester

Plot:
One of the most popular horror classics of all time and an acclaimed sequel to the original Frankenstein. The legendary Boris Karloff reprises his role as the screen's most misunderstood monster who now longs for a mate of his own. Colin Clive is back as the overly ambitious Dr. Frankenstein, who creates the ill-fated bride (Elsa Lanchester). Directed by the original's James Whale (his last horror film) and featuring a huanted musical score, The Bride Of Frankenstein ranks as one of the finest films not only of the genre, but for all time.

Extras:
Scene Access
Audio Commentary
Feature Trailers
Featurettes
Gallery
Production Notes

My Thoughts:
A fun, almost humorous sequel to Frankenstein.  I like the way they worked Mary Shelley, the author of the original book, in as the story teller of what happened after the Monster was supposed to have died in the mill fire.  She then plays a double role as the monster's mate.  The scene with the blind fellow is always touching.  I'm not sure where they came up with the hairdo for the "bride", but that alone should have won an Oscar.  Her quick, stilted movements gave her an interesting mechanical feel, and her hissing reminded me of a really pissed off cat.  An OK sequel.

Rating:
« Last Edit: October 17, 2010, 02:54:34 AM by Hal »

hal9g

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The Wolf Man
« Reply #51 on: October 17, 2010, 04:28:19 AM »


Title: The Wolf Man: Classic Monster Collection
Year: 1941
Director: George Waggner
Rating: NR
Length: 70 Min.
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio: English: Dolby Digital: Mono, Commentary: Dolby Digital: Mono
Subtitles: French

Stars:
Claude Rains
Warren William
Ralph Bellamy
Patric Knowles
Bela Lugosi

Plot:
The original horror classic that introduced one of the screen's most infamous monsters! Lon Chaney, Jr. portrays Larry Talbot, who returns to his father's castle in Wales and meets a beautiful woman. One fateful night, Talbot escorts her to a local carnival where Jenny's fate is revealed by a mysterious gypsy fortune teller. The dreamlike atmospheres and elaborate settings combined with a chilling musical score make The Wolf Man a masterpiece not only of the genre, but for all time!

Extras:
Scene Access
Audio Commentary
Feature Trailers
Featurettes
Gallery
Production Notes
Closed Captioned

My Thoughts:
This is classic horror at it's best.  The werewolf mythology is explained in the opening scene and the story starts building on it immediately.  With leads played by Chaney, Rains, Bellamy and Legosi, Universal couldn't go wrong.  The foggy marshes, the gypsy camp, the fortune telling, the sign of the pentagram...all just great touches.  The way Chaney slowly comes to the realization of what has become of him and the horror of knowing what he's done is done superbly.  The beginning of a great legacy!

Rating:
« Last Edit: October 17, 2010, 04:32:15 AM by Hal »

hal9g

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Phantom of the Opera
« Reply #52 on: October 18, 2010, 02:02:39 AM »


Title: Phantom of the Opera: Classic Monster Collection
Year: 1943
Director: Arthur Lubin
Rating: NR
Length: 93 Min.
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio: English: Dolby Digital: Mono, Commentary: Dolby Digital: Mono
Subtitles: English, French

Stars:
Nelson Eddy
Susanna Foster
Claude Rains
Edgar Barrier
Leo Carrillo

Plot:
This spectacular retelling of Gaston Leroux's immortal horror tale stars Claude Rains as the masked phantom of the Paris opera house -- a crazed composer who schemes to make a beautiful young soprano (Susanna Foster) the star of the opera company and wreak revenge on those who stole his music. Nelson Eddy, the heroic baritone, tries to win the affections of Foster as he tracks down the disfigured "monster" who has begun murdering those who resist his mad demands. This lavish production remains a masterpiece not only of the genre, but for all time.

Extras:
Scene Access
Audio Commentary
Featurettes
Production Notes

My Thoughts:
Although included in the Classic Monster Collection, I'm not sure it really belongs.  It is really a story of unrequited love and obsession.  The setting provides a grandeur for the cinematography which is spectacular with vibrant colors for the on-stage opera players, and even though I am not a big opera fan, the score was simply marvelous.  Claude Rains gives his usual stellar performance and Susanna Foster handles her "can't make up my mind between two suitors and my career" role quite nicely.  If yo do like opera, the music is splendid.  The "underworld of the "phantom" makes for a stark contrast from the "play" world from which he has been cast out.  Very well done!!!

Rating:
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 02:09:49 AM by Hal »

hal9g

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Creature from the Black Lagoon
« Reply #53 on: October 18, 2010, 04:02:42 AM »


Title: Creature from the Black Lagoon: Classic Monster Collection
Year: 1954
Director: Jack Arnold
Rating: NR
Length: 79 Min.
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio: English: Dolby Digital: Mono, Commentary: Dolby Digital: Mono
Subtitles: English, French

Stars:
Richard Carlson
Julie Adams
Richard Denning
Antonio Moreno
Nestor Paiva

Plot:
Scientists drug and capture the creature, who becomes enamored with the head scientist’s female assistant (Julie Adams). The lonely creature, “a living amphibious missing link,” escapes and kidnaps the object of his affection. Chief scientist (Richard Carlson) then launches a crusade to rescue his assistant and cast the ominous creature back to the depths from where he came. Well-acted and directed, and with Bud Westmore’s brilliantly designed monster, Creature From The Black Lagoon remains an enduring tribute to the imaginative genius of its Hollywood creators.

Extras:
Scene Access
Audio Commentary
Feature Trailers
Featurettes
Production Notes
Closed Captioned

My Thoughts:
Along the lines of King Kong, the Creature falls in love with the lovely maiden and kidnaps her to have her all to himself.  Not a very original plot.  About the only things that make this film worthwhile are the creature's design and the underwater photography which was a fairly young art at the time.  A couple of "tense" moments during the fight scenes were about as scary as it got.

Rating:

hal9g

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Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
« Reply #54 on: October 24, 2010, 12:10:36 AM »
    Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943/United States)

Universal Home Video (United States)
Director:Roy William Neill, Erle C. Kenton
Writing:
Length:74 min.
Video:Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio:English: Dolby Digital: Mono
Subtitles:English, French, Spanish

Stars:
Ilona Massey as Baroness Elsa Frankenstein
Patric Knowles as Dr. Frank Mannering
Lionel Atwill as Mayor of Vasaria/Inspector Arnz
Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein's Monster
Maria Ouspenskaya as Maleva, the Old Gypsy Woman

Plot:
Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein's Monster and Lon Chaney, Jr. as the cursed Wolf Man collide in one of the great classic horror films of the 1940s. Beginning as a moody chiller, director Roy William Neill sets the stage for an unforgettable clash. The resurrected Wolf Man, seeking a cure for his malady, enlists the aid of mad scientist Patric Knowles, who claims he will not only rid the Wolf Man of his nocturnal metamorphosis but will also revive the frozen body of Frankenstein's inhuman creation.

Extras:
  • Scene Access
  • Feature Trailers
  • Production Notes


My Thoughts:
A decent sequel to both Frankenstein and The Wolf Man although the special effects did not progress much in the intervening four years.  I thought that Boris Karloff did a better job as The Monster in the original than Bela Legosi did in this version.  It's unclear what motivated the doctor to follow Talbot from England Frankenstein's castle or what made him change flip-flop at the end, but at least in this one there's the Baroness to add a little beauty and sophistication, and boy seems to get girl in the end!

Rating:
« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 12:16:21 AM by Hal »

hal9g

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House of Frankenstein
« Reply #55 on: October 24, 2010, 01:48:32 AM »
    House of Frankenstein (1944/United States)

Universal Home Video (United States)
Director:Roy William Neill, Erle C. Kenton
Writing:Edward T. Lowe
Length:71 min.
Video:Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio:English: Dolby Digital: Mono
Subtitles:English, French, Spanish

Stars:
Boris Karloff as Doctor Niemann
Lon Chaney as Larry Talbot
John Carradine as Dracula
Anne Gwynn as Rita
Peter Coe as Carl Hussman

Plot:
House of Frankenstein
Deranged scientist, Gustav Niemann (Boris Karloff), escapes from prison and overtakes the director of a traveling chamber of horrors. Pulling the stake out of a skeleton, he revives the infamous Count Dracula (John Carradine) and commands him to kill the man responsible for his imprisonment. He then finds the frozen Frankenstein Monster (Glenn Strange) and the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.) buried under the ruins of the infamous Frankenstein laboratory. When he brings them back to life, the Monster is uncontrollable and drags him to a watery grave.

Extras:
  • Scene Access
  • Feature Trailers
  • Production Notes


My Thoughts:
Well, another sequel, this one featuring Frankenstein, The Wolf Man and Dracula, with only Lon Chaney playing his original role.  Although we don't see much of The Monster (at least alive) in this film, Glenn Strange does a credible job (better than Legosi in Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man).  I think John Carradine does an excellent job portraying Dracula, even if it was a rather short sequence in the film.  Boris Karloff, as usual, is excellent as Niemann and I enjoyed the sequences with the young Gypsy girl.  All-in-all, an entertaining short (71 min.) movie.

Rating:
« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 01:58:55 AM by Hal »

hal9g

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Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Mummy
« Reply #56 on: October 24, 2010, 04:01:38 AM »
    Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Mummy: Comedy Legends (1955/United States)

Universal Home Video (United States)
Director:Charles Lamont
Writing:John Grant (Screenwriter), Lee Loeb (Original Material By)
Length:80 min.
Video:Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio:English: Dolby Digital: Mono, French: Dolby Digital: Mono, Spanish: Dolby Digital: Mono
Subtitles:English

Stars:
Bud Abbott as Pete Patterson
Lou Costello as Freddie Franklin
Marie Windsor as Madame Rontru
Michael Ansara as Charlie
Dan Seymour as Josef

Plot:
Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy is loaded with surprises in this continuation of the "horror comedy" series of films spoofing the horror film genre of the 1930's. This was their last movie at Universal Studios after fifteen years of comedy films. Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy just happens to be one of the best films of their entire career.

Pete and Freddie (Abbott And Costello) overhear a Cairo archaeologist's chatter about discovering a legendary mummy and decide to apply as chaperones for the corpse's journey to America. But when they arrive at the archaeologist's home, he has been murdered, they mummy seems to have disappeared and to top it all off, the boys become owners of a sacred medallion that holds the key to the location of an ancient buried treasure that many would kill for! Learning that the medallion is cursed, Pete hides it in a most appetizing place and Freddie bites the bait. Then it's up to the bumbling Americans to preserve the legend of the mummy and keep the treasure from falling into the wrong hands. Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy is loaded with surprises. One of the most interesting is Lou Costello's daughter Carole appearing as a cigarette girl who pours water all over her dad! This gem of a film is filled with laughs for everyone in your family–especially Mummy!

Extras:
  • Scene Access
  • Feature Trailers
  • Production Notes
  • Closed Captioned


My Thoughts:
Not a "horror" movie at all, but a spoof of them, if you have an hour and a half to kill with some silly comedy with mummies thrown in for laughs, this might be your cup of tea.  Although not a big fan of Abbott and Costello, they are pretty good in this film, but Richard Deacon cast in the role of an evil Egyptian cult leader, somehow just doesn't ring true for me.  I guess all those appearances on The Dick Van Dyke Show all but make it impossible for me to take him seriously.  Marie Windsor was particularly good in her role, but the studio sets used were pretty bad!  The scene where they road the horses up to the tomb of the princess was really atrocious.  You can't expect much from a low-budget "b" movie I suppose.

Rating:
« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 06:37:22 PM by Hal »

hal9g

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Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein
« Reply #57 on: October 24, 2010, 06:29:05 PM »
    Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein: Comedy Legends (1948/United States)

Universal Home Video (United States)
Director:Charles T. Barton
Writing:Robert Lees (Screenwriter), Frederic I. Rinaldo (Screenwriter), John Grant (Screenwriter)
Length:83 min.
Video:Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio:English: Dolby Digital: Mono, Commentary: Dolby Digital: Mono
Subtitles:English, French

Stars:
Bud Abbott as Chick
Lou Costello as Wilbur
Lon Chaney, Jr. as Lawrence Talbot
Bela Lugosi as Dracula
Glenn Strange as Monster

Plot:
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein continues the horror-comedy series and features "the boys" with their usual quota of familiar routines providing the backbone of the plot by becoming Count Dracula's victim for a brain transplant. Lon Chaney, Jr. appears as the Wolf Man along with Dracula played by Bela Lugosi and Glenn Strange as the Frankenstein monster.

Abbott and Costello, as railroad baggage clerks, receive a strange shipment–the last remains of Dracula and Frankenstein's monster. But this deadly duo is still very much alive. So when the shipment arrives at the House of Horrors, the Monsters are not in their crates but have disappeared to a secret hideaway island. Blamed for the disappearance, Abbott and Costello follow their trail to the island where not only do they meet up with Dracula (Bela Lugosi) and the Monster (Glenn Strange), but a Mad Scientist wants to switch Costello's brain with that of the Monster. With everyone chasing each other, the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.) shows up to scare them all. In the end everything works out: Costello finds romance and the Monsters find their final resting places…or do they?

Extras:
  • Scene Access
  • Audio Commentary
  • Feature Trailers
  • Featurettes
  • Gallery
  • Production Notes
  • Closed Captioned


My Thoughts:
Another silly classic horror spoof, featuring Frankenstein's Monster (Strange), Dracula (Legosi), the Wolf Man (Chaney) and a brief glimpse of the Invisible Man (Price).  This is a good blend of horror and comedy and a decent cast, although the McDougal character (Frank Ferguson) was horribly over-played.  I was a little surprised that Karloff was not in this movie.  Since this takes place in the U.S., I wonder how they all (the monsters) get back to Europe for the subsequent sequels??  Not sure if this is true of all copies of this release, but mine has a very annoying thin, white line running down the left side of the frame throughout the entire film.  Looks like the framing is off by a couple of pixels.  I had the same problem with The Creature form the Black Lagoon (Universal Monster Collection) except the line was bright blue....extremely irritating.

Rating:
« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 06:36:55 PM by Hal »

Najemikon

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Re: Hal's 2010 Horror Marathon Reviews
« Reply #58 on: October 24, 2010, 07:12:05 PM »
How did you find Legosi in this, Hal? On a recent documentary, it was suggested that his involvement in the project should have been the final embarrassing straw for his careers decline, but in fact, he comes out of it very well and gives a much better Dracula than in the original film.

hal9g

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Re: Hal's 2010 Horror Marathon Reviews
« Reply #59 on: October 24, 2010, 09:08:40 PM »
How did you find Legosi in this, Hal? On a recent documentary, it was suggested that his involvement in the project should have been the final embarrassing straw for his careers decline, but in fact, he comes out of it very well and gives a much better Dracula than in the original film.
I would agree with you that his performance here was better than the 1931 film.  Not nearly as melodramatic or over-acted, and I think because it was a "comedy horror" he handled the part a bit more light-hearted, which to me was more entertaining.