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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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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THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932)

the old dark house

This is a continuing series reviewing classics and gems of the universal horror group. The universal horror group was a series of American horror films that were popular in the early to mid part of the 20th century. The classic cast of Dracula, Frankenstein, the Invisible Man, the Mummy, and the Wolfman have become iconic in the annals of cinema. While the aforementioned characters and their respected movies have become iconic of the Universal horror group, there were other films made at the same period and by the same studio….

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DRACULA (1931)

dracula

Arguably one of the most defining films in the Universal horror cannon is Dracula. Actually, come to think of it, Dracula is one of the most definitive horror films, if not characters, in cinematic history. This article is a part of an ongoing Summer series reviewing classic and forgotten horror films of the 30’s and 40’s. The last article was dedicated to Lon Cheney’s portrayal of the masked hunk, aka the Phantom of the Opera. Tod Browning’s 1931 adaptation of the 1897 gothic horror novel Dracula by Bram Stoker is…

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GODZILLA (2014)

godzilla 2014

YES! There is nothing that gets me more excited than gigantic monsters throwing each other into buildings while shooting radioactive beams in each others face. Since the early 1950’s, the Japanese Kaiju industry has been a source of entertainment using the absurdity of colossal monsters fighting over miniature cities as an allegory to nuclear terror. Godzilla, and the host of monsters from Toho Co., have been the center of both tributes and really terrible reboots. Spoiler warning: I will be discussing the new Godzilla film and important plot details. You…

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Die Nibelungen: Siegfried

Die Nibelungen

Fantasy filmmaking has had various iterations through the decades. I have spent a considerable amount of time with the films of the 1980’s due to this style reaching its most mainstream success during that time. Fantasy film, however, can be found in almost any decade of cinematic history including its early period. Furthermore, the word “fantasy” could have meant something somewhat different in 1924 as oppose to what it means now in 2014. It is sometimes interesting, and possibly even fascinating, to travel back to the primordial beginnings of what…

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TROY (2004)

Troy

I know what you are thinking, “Why in the world would you review Troy when there are so many other movies? I mean, come on.” It is true. Compared to fantasy films of the 1980’s, or even films of the same time, Troy has not had the time to marinate in the cultural crock pot. While my previous metaphor of a crock pot was silly and absurd the fact remains that Troy may be too new to have any real importance. In fact, the film’s 10th anniversary is approaching so…

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300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE

300 rise of an empire

While 300, originally released in 2006, was not the pinnacle of contemporary film-making, it was pretty damn entertaining. The film came at a time when interest in comic book movies was rising and the potential to succeed in a market of young adults with a specific interest was very real. 300, while not a critical success, was a cult hit that rode on the popularity of writer Frank Miller’s graphic novel turned movies. Particularly Sin City, which received similar treatment a year before. 300 followed the exploits of Leonidas and…

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BEASTMASTER III: The Eye of Braxus

beastmaster III

Oh for fucks sake, they didn’t make another one of these did they? -Everyone It is important to note that on the Wikipedia page, Beastermaster 3 is said to be the television sequel to the 1991 cult classic Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time. I feel that they either meant the first one or someone is off their rocker. A third possibility was that I did not understand the quality hidden in a movie with Dar driving a car in Los Angeles while the main villain goes clothes shopping….

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THE LEGEND OF HERCULES

the legend of hercules

Hercules is the now popular name for a myriad of difference legends and myths that have sort of been amalgamated into one idea. Since I always like to draw parallels between world mythology and comic books, Hercules could be thought of as Superman, where different writers and creators add to the growing narrative and through group storytelling, we are left with one sort of hazy idea. The idea Hercules portrays is a hero finding strength in the power of the gods and becoming a champion to the mortal world, whose…

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47 RONIN

47 Ronin

My wife is going to dislike this article. I feel her only defense for the new Samurai fantasy film is enjoyment. Maybe that is stronger than whatever I am about to say. 47 Ronin, the film, was a gamble to begin with. First off, a large american movie studio was attempting to portray a popular Japanese folk legend not as a historical drama but rather an action/fantasy film. While the film chose to cast popular Japanese actors, it also gave the reins to an inexperienced director with an astronomical budget….

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