EXODUS: Gods and Kings (2014)

exodus gods and kings

Editors Note: That cant be the real fucking poster can it. No. that is a joke mock up for the real poster. Come on. Exodus: Gods and Kings came out during a special year in which I had already spent a considerable amount of time reviewing newer sword and sandal films such as 300: Rise of an Empire, Pompeii, and both Hercules films. 2014 seemed to be a ripe time not only for a mild resurgence of overstuffed sand fantasy films but also possibly the return of the large budget…

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THE MUMMY (1959)

The Mummy 1959

I love when things come in series. This especially holds true for a series which sustains it’s quality throughout. Having an entity grouped together makes the whole much easier to process, compare, and contrast with other entities. Of course, history does not usually allow for such symmetry but when it does happen, it is marvelous. Take for example, the revitalization of the classic universal monsters with three films made from modest budgets in the span of three years. The Curse of Frankenstein, The Horror of Dracula, and The Mummy all…

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HORROR OF DRACULA (1958)

Horror of Dracula 1958

Many things I mentioned in a previous review of The Curse of Frankenstein can be applied the (Horror of) Dracula. Both films were early installments in the Hammer era of horror films, directed by Terrence Fisher, starred Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, and were vehicles which unearthed classic monsters in new vivid color. Additionally the Hammer film’s gothic style, modest budget, and limited set locations has lead to a distinguishable feel to these films. (Horror Of) Dracula was the second film to reanimate characters that had laid long buried. Though…

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THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957)

The Curse of Frankenstein

When originally taking on the classic horror project, I thought I was going to review all classic horror in the months of September and October as a way to celebrate the Halloween season. It is now the beginning of November and I am not even half way through. Traveling from Dracula (1931) to House of Dracula (1948) saw a wonderful story of legendary creatures and villains who spiraled out of control into near self parody. The end of the 40’s ended with rally films mashing up popular characters into skeletal…

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HOUSE OF DRACULA (1945)

House of Dracula

When traveling through classic horror, it is entertaining to categorize the movies by theme and decade. This helps in processing any trends and eras which might assist in framing multiple films. If the 1920’s for classic horror was the primordial inception and the 1930’s was the genesis of all of the soon to be renowned characters, then the 1940’s was the era of sequels, crossovers, and continuations of the characters into the ground. It is also enlightening to take into account what else was happening in the world at the…

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HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1944)

House of Frankenstein

In my previous reviews of classic horror films, I had a difficult time containing my excitement for the eventual crossovers and rally films. Beginning with Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, the rally films saw various individual horror icons mashed together despite whether or not the idea made any sense. Way before crossovers would become a staple in comics, these rally and mash films gave audiences a chance to see their favorite villain fight against their other favorite villain. This was a time when studios kept throwing everything in the fire to…

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THE MUMMY’S CURSE (1944)

The Mummy's Curse

It is important to note that I reached into a metaphorical bag of Mummy themed movies and pulled out The Mummy’s Curse with seemingly random chance. This film is the last of a four part reboot of the original Mummy character, Imhotep, originally played by Boris Karloff. The Mummy’s Hand, The Mummy’s Tomb, The Mummy’s Ghost, and the Mummy’s Curse were all released within 4 years of each other and, aside from the first film, all star Lon Chaney as Kharis the lumbering goon. The Mummy’s Curse ends a cycle…

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SON OF DRACULA (1943)

Son of Dracula

I feel that I could spend a year just watching old horror and still not get through the entire collection. Son of Dracula is the third installment in the eponymous series of Dracula-centric films. Before this was Dracula’s Daughter, an odd film that has since gained notoriety for its lesbian undertones. The original Dracula became famous for its lead star Bela Lugosi and his eventual casting in every horror film of the 40’s. Son of Dracula is interesting because it continues the work of Lon Chaney Jr., who was seen…

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FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN (1943)

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman

For all of the time I spend with classic horror, I never truly reviewed a monster film. Previous films watched ranged from interesting adaptations of literary horror to latent cultural fears inscribed upon film. All of these were at least original or reasonable sequels to a growing franchise. While Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy were certainly films with monsters in them, it was not until Frankenstein meets the Wolfman that the genre of the monster film moved away from classic horror. It was this 1943 film in which the institutions…

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WHITE ZOMBIE (1932)

White Zombie

It is time to depart the realm of Universal based horror films to somewhere else. While all recent horror reviews have centered around the iconic films of the early 20th century, as well as gems made from the same studio, there were others to consider. White Zombie, by all definitions and terms, was an independent film that was pieced together with thin budgets and a condensed schedule. The film’s “star” Bela Legosi was hired for an undisclosed amount of money and served as the film’s sole draw. It is not…

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WEREWOLF OF LONDON (1935)

werewolf of london

Watching old horror films can illuminate certain trends among films that may have been previously missed or latent. Cinema, as well as other forms of art, can be thought of as a projection of present cultural attitudes. The renaissance of cinematic horror, which populated the early half of the 20th century, is as full of transparent fears and desires as it is with monsters in makeup. The character of the Wolfman does not illustrate humanities’ fear of wolves, rather this 1935 horror film continues the theme of horror by way…

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THE MUMMY (1932)

The Mummy 1932

The Mummy is interesting for a variety of reasons. First of all, it continued Boris Karloff’s reign as the horror heavyweight in yet another memorable film. Secondly, it began a series of unrelated films that featured an ancient Egyptian corpse as the central villain. Last, and probably most importantly, it has little to do with what we think of as the Mummy monster. While the 1932 film undoubtedly has references to the still wrapped corpse brought back to life, stalking around present day, the actual trope of a white bandaged…

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THE INVISIBLE RAY (1936)

The Invisible Ray

Along with The Old Dark House, The Invisible Ray is not a movie that comes up much in discussions on classic horror. This is strange, seeing how the film was also produced by Universal and starred two horror heavyweights Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi at the height of their respective careers. Despite the casting and the production company, The Invisible Ray differs from the rest of the Universal monster group as an oddball for many reasons. Perhaps the producers could never find a way to get a death ray to…

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HERCULES

Hercules 2014

Though people may not know it yet, 2014 is the year of sword and sandal. Unlike its fraternal twin, sword and sorcery, sword and sandal trades magic for history as its battles are set in the lush landscapes of ancient Greece, Babylon, Rome, and Egypt. At this point in the year, we have already seen 300: Rise of an Empire, Pompeii, and the first Hercules adaptation. On the horizon, audiences can look forward to the Ridley Scott retelling of Moses, aptly named Exodus: Gods and Kings. At this very moment…

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