HÄXAN (1922)

Holy shit guys and girls. So recently I have found myself drawn to early fantasy, science fiction, and horror of the silent film era. In the last review, we took a trip to the goddamn sun with George Meleieis Impossible Voyage. I enjoyed the films of the early 20th century for their brevity where 20 minutes was adequate time to digest wondrous travel. Now we have a film which is not only 2 hours in length but is probably one of the more dense subjects tackled in early film making.…

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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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Frankenstein 1931

Reviewing classic horror is entertaining in two ways. First of all, one is exposed to underrated gems such as last week’s The Old Dark House. Secondly, one is forced to reconsider classic movies that may not have held their value throughout the decades. I guess it is time to talk about Frankenstein. When we reviewed Dracula, there was much to discuss about not only the original literary inspiration but the stage adaptation that served as its modern incarnation. Frankenstein is very similar to Dracula in that its literary roots lay…

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