Sunday, December 4, 2016

This Week in Fright Film History December 6 to 12, 2015

Cat People (1942) a horror film produced by Val Lewton and directed by Jacques Tourneur. DeWitt Bodeen wrote the original screenplay which was based on Val Lewton's short story The Bagheeta(1930). The film stars Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph and Tom Conway and was rleased on December 6, 1942. Cat People (1942) would be the first production for producer Val Lewton.

House of Dracula (1945) a sequel to House of Frankenstein (1941) was released on December 7, 1945. The film featured three of Universal's most popular monsters: Frankenstein's monster (Glenn Strange), Count Dracula (John Carradine) and the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.). Although House of Dracula (1945) was a financially successful, it  would be  the last Universal horror movie featuring Frankenstein's monster, vampires and werewolves.

The Strange Door (1951) released by Universal Pictures on December 8,1951 starred Charles Laughton, Boris Karloff, Sally Forrest and Richard Stapley. Directed by Joseph Pevney,  The Strange Door (1951) was based on the short story, The Sire de Maletroit's Door by Robert   Louis Stevenson.

Margaret Hamilton an American film actress best known for her role as Miss Almira Gulch and the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz (1939) and 13 Ghost (1960)   was born on December 9,1902 .  Hamilton had been a schoolteacher before becoming an actor.

Edward Davis "Ed" Wood, Jr. an American screenwriter, director, producer, actor, author and film editor died from a heart attack on December 10, 1978, he was 54 years old. In the 1950s, Wood wrote, produced and directed a number of low-budget science fiction, horror and cowboy films.  In 1980, he was posthumously awarded a Golden Turkey Award as Worst Director of All Time.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

This Week in Fright Film History November 27 - December 3, 2016

House of Frankenstein (1944) Universal Studios’ sequel to Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943). House of Frankenstein, directed by Erle C. Kenton, starring Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney, Jr. was released December 1, 1944 and is considered to be the first multi-monster movie.

 John Herbert Frid known for his role as Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows TV series which ran from 1966 to 1971 and House of Dark Shadows (1970) was born on December 2, 1924.

The Return of Doctor X (1939) an American science fiction/horror film directed by Vincent Sherman and starring Wayne Morris, Rosemary Lane, and Humphrey Bogart was released on December 2, 1939. It was based on the short story "The Doctor's Secret" by William J. Makin. Despite the similarity and the names The Return of Doctor X (1939) was not a sequel to Doctor X (1933); the two films are completely unrelated.

A Blind Bargain (1922) an American silent horror film starring Lon Chaney and Raymond McKee, was released through Goldwyn Pictures on December 3, 1922. The film is based on Barry Pain's 1897 novel, The Octave of ClaudiusA Blind Bargain (1922) is considered to be lost a lost film.

London After Midnight (1927) American silent horror film based on the short story "The Hypnotist" by Tod Browning who also directed the film was released on December 3, 1927. London After Midnight (1927) starred Lon Chaney, Marceline Day, Conrad Nagel, Henry B. Walthall, and Polly Moran. In 1967 a fire in the film vault of MGM erupted destroying hundreds of silent films including the last known print of London after Midnight (1927).

Sunday, November 20, 2016

This Week in Fright Film History November 22 - 26, 2016

Frankenstein (1931)directed by James Whale and stars Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff, Dwight Frye and Edward van Sloan is released on November 21, 1931.

Jamie Lee Curtis who starred in a number of horror films including, Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), Prom Night (1980), Halloween II (1981) and Halloween: Resurrection (2002), was born on November 22, 1958.

Michael Gough, English character actor who is known for his roles in the Hammer Horror Films and his role as Alfred Pennyworth in four films of the Burton/ Schumacher Batman films was born on November 23, 1917.

William Henry Pratt aka BORIS KARLOFF the youngest of nine children was born on November 23, 1887. Karloff once said of Frankenstein's creature, a role which he immortalized in 1931, “The monster not only gave me recognition as an actor it created for me a certain niche, which has given me a career”

One Body Too Many (1944) a comedy-horror film directed by Frank McDonald, starring Bela Lugosi and Jack Haley who was best known for his role as the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz (1939) was released on November 24, 1944.

The Ghoul (1933)  a British horror film starring Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke, Ernest Thesiger, and Ralph Richardson, was released in the United States on November 25,1933.

The Phantom of the Opera (1925) an American silent horror film adaptation of the Gaston Leroux’s novel of the same title was released on November 25, 1925. The film was directed by Rupert Julian and starred Lon Chaney as the Phantom and Mary Philbin as Christine Daaé.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

This Week in Fright Film History - November 13 - 19 2016

The Invisible Man (1933) an American science fiction/horror film based on H. G. Wells' science fiction novel The Invisible Man(1897) was released on November 13, 1933. The film was directed by James Whale and stars Claude Rains, in his first American screen appearance, and Gloria Stuart. It is considered by many to be one of the greatest Universal Horror films of the 1930s.

Waxworks (1924) a German silent horror film directed by Paul Leni. Waxworks (1924)   is an anthology film that goes through several genres including a fantasy adventure, a historical film, and a horror film through its various episodes. It was released on November 13, 1924.

Goodwife Ann "Goody" Glover (died November 16, 1688) was the last person to be hanged in Boston as a witch. Three hundred years later in 1988, the Boston City Council proclaimed November 16 as Goody Glover Day.

Salem's Lot (1979) was first broadcast on American television by CBS on November 17 and 24 1979 in two 2-hours segments. Salem's Lot (1979) was adaptation of the novel of the same name by Stephen King and starred David Soul and James Mason.

Tower of London (1939) released on November 17, 1939 was an American horror film directed by Rowland V. Lee. It stars Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff and Vincent Price. The Tower of London (1939) was Price's first horror film.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

This Week in Fright Film History - November 6 - 12, 2016

Dwight Frye, best  remembered for portraying  Renfield in  Dracula (1931) and  Fritz in Frankenstein (1931) died of a heart attack while riding on a bus in Hollywood on November 7, 1943.

Abraham "Bram" Stoker the Irish novelist who created the most famous vampire in literature, Count Dracula was born on November 8, 1847 in Clontarf, Ireland.

Claude Rains an English stage and film actor whose career spanned 46 years. He was known for many roles in horror films, including The Invisible Man (1933), The Wolf Man (1941), and Phantom of the Opera (1943) was born on November 10, 1889

The Mad Ghoul (1943) also known as Mystery of the Ghoul, starred Turhan Bey, Evelyn Ankers, David Bruce, and Milburn Stone, who would later play ‘Doc” on the television series Gunsmoke.  The Mad Ghoul (1943)was released on November 12, 1943. The Mad Ghoul (1943) was the last film of director James P. Hogan, who died shortly after finishing the film.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Holiday Trivia

  • Halloween, aka All Hallows' Eve, can actually be traced back over  2,000 years to a pre-Christian Celtic festival held around Nov. 1 called Samhain (pronounced "sah-win"), which means "summer's end" in Gaelic.
  • The fear of Halloween is known as Samhainopobia.
  • Halloween is the 2nd most commercially successful holiday, with Christmas being the first.
  • Halloween candy sales average about 2 billion dollars annually in the United States.
  • Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters with Snickers #1.
  • Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.
  • In the U.S., trick-or-treating became a customary Halloween tradition after was brought over by Irish immigrants in the early 1900s.
  • Orange and black Halloween colors actually stem from the pagan celebration of autumn and the harvest. Orange symbolizes the fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.
  • It was once believed that evil spirits could disguise themselves in human form and knock on your door during Samhain asking for money or food. If you turned them away, you would suffer the wrath of the spirits.
  • According to an old Celtic myth dressing up as a goblin would fool evil spirits into thinking that you were one of them so that they would not try to take your soul.
  • Black cats were considered bad luck during the Dark Ages, when the belief witchcraft was common. Black cats were said to be a witch’s "familiar," or demonic animal that had been given to them by the devil. However, today, in Great Britain, black cats are considered lucky and are sometimes given in token form to British brides on their wedding day.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

This Week in Fright Film History - November 1 to 7

Halloween II (1981)  the second installment in the Halloween,  directed by Rick Rosenthal, written and produced by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, was  released on October 30, 1981.

Edward Van Sloan  remembered for his roles in horror films such as Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), and The Mummy (1932), was born on November 1, 1882.

The Man Who Changed His Mind (1936) a science fiction/ horror film directed by Robert Stevenson starring Boris Karloff and Anna Lee, was released in the United States on November 1, 1936 by Gainsborough Pictures. The film was also released under the titles The Brainsnatcher and The Man Who Lived Again.

Carrie (1976) an American horror film based on the 1974 novel of the same name by Stephen King was released on November 3, 1976. The film was directed by Brian De Palma, written by Lawrence D. Cohen and starred Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie and John Travolta. Carrie (1976) was the first of King's novels to be adapted for film. Sissy Spacek was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and Piper Laurie was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

Godzilla  (1954) a Japanese science fiction  film produced by Toho, directed by Ishirō Honda, and featuring special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya was rleased on November 4, 1954.

The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932) starring Boris Karloff and Myrna Loy was released on November 5,1932. Directed by Charles Brabin, this film is considered the best of the Fu Manchu films produced during the 1930s.

Son of Dracula (1943)  directed by Robert Siodmak  and  starring Lon Chaney, Jr. and Evelyn Ankers was released on November 5, 1943.   Son of Dracula (1943)  is the first film to show a vampire transforming into a bat. It was the third film in Universal Studios' Dracula trilogy, beginning with Dracula (1931)and Dracula's Daughter(1936).

The Headless Horseman (1922) an American horror film released on November 5, 1922 was  adaption of Washington Irvings The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The film featured American humorist and actor Will Rogers.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Carla Laemmle's opening words in Dracula (1931)

 The first spoken line of dialogue in an American horror film from Dracula (1931),  Carla Laemmle, niece of Universal Pictures studio founder Carl Laemmle. She was the last surviving cast member of both The Phantom of the Opera (1925) and Dracula (1931).

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Lighter Side of Vicent Price

Vincent Price known for his many horror films and outrageous sense of humor,died at age 82 from lung cancer and emphysema on October 25, 1993.

Price was known to attend showings of his films in costumes often to play pranks on moviegoers.

Price once told the story of a middle-aged woman who came up to him and said, "Oh sir, could I have your autograph? I can't tell you how many years I have enjoyed your films, Mr. Karloff."  Not wanting to disappoint her, Vincent Price signed Karloff’s rather than his own. At the time Karloff had been dead for 15 years

In his later years, when asked for his autograph, he would often sign "Dolores Del Rio" instead of his actual name. When once asked why, he replied, in complete seriousness, "I promised her on her deathbed that I would do what I could to keep her name alive!".

Price once said of his film House of Wax (1953) and the director André De Toth – “It's almost my favorite Hollywood story. Where else in the world would you hire a man with one eye to direct a picture in 3-D?”

Achieved BAT-FAME when he started an egg fight while making a guest spot as the villain Egghead on the television series Batman (1966).