Monday, March 27, 2017

Like Vampires? Then check my new novel,  Full Blood:The Making.

Man Made Monster (1941)

Man Made Monster (1941)

Lon Chaney Jr. once said during an interview, “After witnessing the torture my father endured in his various make-ups, I was more than ready to heed his advice about not doing that type of work. And yet, I suppose the fact that I'm here proves that some people just can't escape their destiny."

 Man Made Monster (1941) would mark the beginning of a long and illustrious career as a horror actor for Lon Chaney Jr. and although the studios had been eager to cash in on his name they cast him in what would be the lowest budget film for the studio in 1941. Man Made Monster (1941)  directed by George Waggner who later produced and directed such horror classics as TheWolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) and The Phantom of the Opera (1943). The film was based on the story, "The Electric Man" which Universal had purchased for $3,300 in 1935 as a potential Boris Karloff / Bela Lugosi vehicle.

The film featured Lionel Atwill, one of Universals premier horror actors in his first role as a mad scientist.  Atwill would later play a mad scientist in The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) which also featured Lon Chaney Jr. in both films Chaney Jr. plays a monster that kills Atwill's characters with electricity. The film also features Anne Nagel and Frank Albertson, who appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) as Tom Cassidy (the client with $40,000).  Man-Made Monster (1941) was filmed in only three weeks. Yet despite it’s low budget and tight shooting schedule The Man Made Monster (1941) would become one of Universal’s better horror films for that time period.

Man-Made Monster (1941) would launch Lon Chaney Jr.'s career as a star in horror films and the film's success directly led to his casting in later horror films such as The Wolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) and Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)

Man-Made Monster (1941) was later re-released under several titles including Electric Man and The Mysterious Dr. R. In 1953, it was re-released by Realart Pictures under the title The Atomic Monster on a double bill with The Flying Saucer (1950). When Realart Pictures rereleased the film under the title Atomic Monster, Alex Gordon had titled one of his films with the same title. He sent his attorney Samuel Z. Arkoff to meet the Realart representative James H. Nicholson to discuss the matter. As a result of that meeting the three men started their own film company, American International Pictures (AIP). AIP would be noted for producing such low budget horror films  as I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957),  Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957), House of Usher (1960), The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) as well as a series of Poe based horror films in the 1960’s.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

This Week in Fright Film History March 26 - April 1, 2017

Man-Made Monster (1941) starring Lon Chaney Jr. and Lionel Atwll was released on March 28, 1941 . Man-Made Monster (1941) would launch Lon Chaney Jr.'s career as a star in horror films and the film's success directly led to his casting in later horror films such as The Wolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) and Frankenstein Meets theWolf Man (1943).


The Alfred Hitchcock classic The Birds (1963)  starring Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, and Suzanne Pleshette was released theatrically on March 28,1963.

House of Horrors (1946)  released by Universal Pictures, starring Rondo Hatton as "The Creeper". It was the second of three CREEPER films for Rondo Hatton, filmed September 1945, but released until March 29, 1946, following Hatton's death on February 2, 1946.

Lon Chaney, born Leonidas Frank Chaney on April 1, 1883 – was an American silent film actor. Chaney is known for his roles in such silent horror films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), The Phantom of the Opera (1925) and London After Midnight (1927). His legendary makeup techniques earned him the nickname "The Man of a Thousand Faces."

Sunday, March 19, 2017

This Week in Fright Film History March 19 - 25, 2017

Two Thousand Maniacs!  (1964) written and directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis,  it is the second part of  the director's  "The Blood Trilogy", a trio of films starting with Blood Feast (1963) and ending with Color Me Blood Red (1965). The film stars 1963 Playboy Playmate Connie Mason and was released on March 20, 1965.

 Peter Lorre an actor known for appearing in such horror films as The Invisible Agent (1942), The Beast with Five Fingers (1946) and  The Raven (1963) died on March 23, 1964.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)  based on the novel The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was release on March 24, 1939. The film was directed by Sidney Lanfield and starred  Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

This Week in Fright Film History March 12 - 18, 2017

The Ghost of Frankenstein, (1942) Released on March 13, 1942, The Ghost of Frankenstein was the fourth in a series of films produced by Universal Studios based on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  The film featured Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Monster, the role from Boris Karloff had played in the first three films of the series.  Béla Lugosi made his second appearance as Ygor in this film.


Val Lewton, film producer and screenwriter, noted for a series of low-budget horror films he produced for RKO Pictures in the 1940s, died March 14, 1951 at the aged 46.

 The Monster  (1925) starting Lon Chaney, Gertrude Olmstead, Hallam Cooley and directed by Roland West  was released theatrically on March 16, 1925.

Film actress Brigitte Helm was born on March 17, 1906 as Brigitte Eva Gisela Schittenhelm in Berlin.  Helm made over thirty other films during her career including Metropolis (1927) and Alraune (1928). Helm was at one time considered for the title role in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) before Elsa Lanchester was given the role. (1910) Produced by Edison Studios and was written and directed by J. Searle Dawley. This 16-minute short film, the first motion picture adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, was released on March 18,1910.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) horror silent film produced by Famous Players-Lasky and released through Paramount/Artcraft on March 18, 1920. The film, one of several was based upon Robert Louis Stevenson's novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that was one of several released during the silent era starred legendary film actor John Barrymore.

The Grinning Face (1921), an Austrian silent horror film directed by Julius Herska and starring Franz Höbling, Nora Gregor and Lucienne Delacroix was released on March 18, 1921. The film was based upon the 1868 novel The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

This Week in Fright Film History March 5 -11, 2017

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, (1943), produced by Universal Studios starring Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Wolf Man and Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein's monster was released on March 5,1943. This was the first of a series of "ensemble" monster films combining characters from several film series.

Edward Van Sloan remembered for his roles in horror films such as Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), and The Mummy (1932), died on March 6, 1964 at the age of 81 in San Francisco, California.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1908) a Selig Polyscope Company silent film starring Hobart Bosworth and Betty Harte was released on March 7,1908. This was the first of several screen adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Friedrich Wilhelm "F. W." Murnau (born Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe; is best known for directing  Nosferatu (1922), an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Murnau died on March 11, 1931 at the age of 42 form injuries he received in a car wreck. His last film Tabu premiered the following week.  Murnau was one of the most influential German film directors of the silent era.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

This Week in Fright Film History February 26 to March 4, 2017

Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, (1965) a British horror film from Amicus Productions, directed by  Freddie Francis, starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee was  released theatrically on February 28, 1965. Terror's House of Horrors was the first in a series of anthology films from Amicus and was followed by Torture Garden (1967), The House That Dripped Blood (1970), Asylum (1972), Tales from the Crypt (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973) and From Beyond the Grave (1974).

The Walking Dead (1936) directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Boris Karloff. Karloff plays a man who is wrongly executed then brought back to life by a scientist was released on Febuary 29,1936

   Jackie Coogan, child actor, World War II glider pilot and TV star best remembered as Charlie Chaplin's sidekick in The Kid (1921) and Uncle Fester in 1960s sitcom The Addams Family, died on March 1, 1984 from Cardiac arrest he was 84 years old.

Voodoo Woman (1957) directed by Edward L. Cahn and released by American International Pictures on March 1, 1957. This film is regarded as one of the worst films in cinema history.

The Curse of the Cat People (1944) an American film directed by Gunther von Fritsch and Robert Wise, and produced by Val Lewton was released on March 2, 1944 was the sequel to Cat People (1942). This film was Robert Wise's first directing credit. The screenplay written by DeWitt Bodeen who written the original Cat People (1942).

Nosferatu (1922) a  German horror film, directed by F. W. Murnau and starring Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlok was released on March 4, 1922. The film was based on Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, although the writer did change the names of the characters and the storyline it was not enough to prevent a lawsuit from Stoker’s widow. When Stoker’s widow won the lawsuit, the court ordered that all existing prints of the film be destroyed. One print did manage to survive which was  in the United States at the time where the novel Dracula was already in public domain and the German court could not force the US to destroy the film.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

This Week in Fright Film Hstory February 21 -27, 2016

Freaks (1932) an American  horror film directed and produced by Tod Browning and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was released on February 20, 1932. Browning, who had once been a part of traveling circus drew from his personal experiences while making this film.

Max Schreck (Friedrich Gustav Maximilian Schreck) a German actor who remembered for his lead role as Count Orlok in the film Nosferatu (1922) died of a heart attack on February 20, 1936 he was 56 years old.

Dwight Frye was born on February 21 1899 in Salina, Kansas. As an actor he is most remembered for portraying mentally unbalanced characters, Frye’s most notable roles were Renfield in Dracula (1931) and as Fritz, the hunchbacked assistant of Dr. Henry Frankenstein in James Wells Frankenstein (1931). He would later reprise his role as Fritz in The Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) an American horror film directed by Robert Florey is loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and stars Bela Lugosi was released on February 21, 1932.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

This Week in Fright film History February 12 - 18, 2017

Dracula (1931) premiered at the Roxy Theatre in New York on February 12, 1931.  Newspapers reported that some audience members fainted from shock. This was obviously a publicity stunt perpetrated by the film studio to help boost ticket sales.

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) directed by Jack Arnold and starring Richard Carlson, Julia Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno and Whit Bissell premiered on February 12, 1954.

Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) an American mystery horror film directed by Michael Curtiz. The film stars Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Glenda Farrell, and Frank McHugh. Released on February 18, 1933 the film is noted for being the last dramatic fiction film made using the two-color Technicolor process.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

This week In Fright Film History February 5 - 11. 2017

John Carradine an American actor, best known for his roles in horror films and Westerns was born on Febuary 5, 1906. Carradine was a member of Cecil B. DeMille's and John Ford,s stock company. He noted for being one of the most prolific character actors in Hollywood history.

The Monster Walks (1932) an American horror film directed by Frank R. Strayer and starring Rex Lease, Vera Reynolds, Sheldon Lewis, and Mischa Auer was released on Febuary 7, 1932.

The Spiral Staircase (1946) directed by Robert Siodmak based on Ethel Lina White's novel Some Must Watch was released on February 7, 1946. The film starred Dorothy McGuire, George Brent and Ethel Barrymore.

Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) written by Charles B. Griffith and produced and directed by Roger Corman was released on February 10, 1957.The film was Corman's most profitable film to date.

Lon Chaney, Jr. born Creighton Chaney on February 10, 1906 was the son of famous silent film actor Lon Chaney. Lon Chaney, Jr. was an American actor best known for playing Larry Talbot in The Wolf Man (1941).

The Uninvited (1944) was directed by Lewis Allen and released on February 10, 1944. The film  is based on the Dorothy Macardle novel Uneasy Freehold and  stars Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey. Charles Lang was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Black and White Cinematography.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

This Week in Fright Film History January 29 to February 4 , 2017

Scared to Death (1947)  directed by Christy Cabanne and starring Bela Lugosi and George Zucco, was released on February 1, 1947. The picture was filmed using the  inexpensive Cinecolor process which was usually reserved for low-budget Westerns.  Scared to Death (1947)  is the only color film to star Bela Lugosi , he did appeared in a the Technicolor film, Viennese Nights (1930) but his role was uncredited.

Boris Karloff Karloff remembered for his portrayal of Frankenstein's monster in Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), and Son of Frankenstein (1939) and his many roles in horror films died on February 2, 1969. He was 81.

The Devil Commands (1941) an American horror film directed by Edward Dmytryk and starring Boris Karloff. The story was adapted from the novel The Edge of Running Water by William Sloane. The Devil Commands (1941) was on of several in which Karloff played a mad scientist with a good heart. It was released on February 3, 1941.

George Romero an American-Canadian film director, producer, screenwriter and editor, best known for his Living Dead series of films was born on February 4,1940.