Off Topic Messages

For horror film fans

Thu Sep 01, 2005 12:01 am

Next Tuesday the second Hammer studio horror film dvd collection will be released, as well as the long overdue dvd release of The Innocents, the classic adaptation of Henry James The Turn of the Screw that stars Deborah Kerr. And in October a dvd collection of classic Val Lewton horror/supernatural films. Lastly, for Hammer completists an October dvd release of Dracula A.D. 1972, Christopher Lee's next to last performance as the Count (for Hammer at least).

Thu Sep 01, 2005 12:49 am

This fall will bring an embarrassment of riches for horror films. The Lugosi collection will also hit the streets on Tuesday featuring the first ever DVD releases of "The Black Cat" (a near masterwork), "The Raven" with maybe Bela's best lead performance, "Murders in the Rue Morgue", "The Invisible Ray" and the underrated gangster/sci fi/fusion "Black Friday". This last film is almost a complete Karloff vehicle though and to include in a Lugosi collection is kind of false advertising. As long as it's on DVD though who cares?

You're saying "The Innocents" is set for Tuesday as well Pete?

The Hammer Collection will kill with the all-time classic "Brides of Dracula" making its DVD debut.

Karloff's "The Man With Nine Lives" is also set for release this month. We also have MGM's latest double feature series. Some titles like "The Last Man on Earth" which gives our Blue Gypsy his avatar have been released before but never from first generation studio prints. Others like "Panic in the Year Zero" an underrated little apocalypse number, with Ray Milland and a surprsingly capable Frankie Avalon, make their DVD debuts.

Most of the Lewton titles are absolutely essential.

Even the trashy cult TV flick "Devil Dog: From Hell" is supposed to hit the streets late in September.

Then top everything off in November with "King Kong". Wow!

Thu Sep 01, 2005 5:24 pm

likethebike wrote:You're saying "The Innocents" is set for Tuesday as well Pete?


Yes it is Bike. A couple of weeks ago I picked up a Masterpiece Theater version of The Turn of the Screw. It's a decent version, but The Innocents is still the definitive version in my view.

likethebike wrote:
The Hammer Collection will kill with the all-time classic "Brides of Dracula" making its DVD debut.


And Curse of the Werewolf!

likethebike wrote:Most of the Lewton titles are absolutely essential.


I'm looking forward to Isle of the Dead, which I've never seen.

likethebike wrote:Even the trashy cult TV flick "Devil Dog: From Hell" is supposed to hit the streets late in September.


Is this a tv movie that starred Richard Crenna entitled Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell? I have a vague recollection of watching this around Halloween 1978. I think at the time I had a beer buzz on. :lol:

Fri Sep 02, 2005 1:08 am

Yeah, it's the same one. Crenna was a good enough actor to make it credible. Addict for trash horror that I am, I've seen it about 10 times. It's actually modestly well done with a decent cast that also has Yvette Mimieux and some solid TV names like Ken Kercheval but it's ultimately undone by its rather silly premise. You just can't inspire terror by showing a dog panting at a camera. Still, Crenna makes it stick. To me he was really a great actor who never got the appreciation he deserved because a lot of his work was done on the small screen and because he was a character actor.

Sun Sep 04, 2005 9:58 am

Pete Dube wrote:
likethebike wrote:Even the trashy cult TV flick "Devil Dog: From Hell" is supposed to hit the streets late in September.


Is this a tv movie that starred Richard Crenna entitled Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell? I have a vague recollection of watching this around Halloween 1978. I think at the time I had a beer buzz on. :lol:


I saw this one time. Yvette Mimieux (sp?) is the Mom. There's a weird scene where she's home alone with the dog and the dog forces her upstairs thru "mental control" and they go into a bedroom. Door slams closed.

errr.....is that implying...bestia,,,whatever ? :roll:

Sun Sep 04, 2005 10:05 am

From you horror film folks, I'd like to know the name of the film, (Bela Lugosi, I think) where he looks into a little window of a door where there's some mayhem going on and he says, "I like to torture."

I've been looking for this film, because my husband really likes it, but we don't know the name of it. Thanks.

sue[/b]

Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:45 am

silver wrote:From you horror film folks, I'd like to know the name of the film, (Bela Lugosi, I think) where he looks into a little window of a door where there's some mayhem going on and he says, "I like to torture."

I've been looking for this film, because my husband really likes it, but we don't know the name of it. Thanks.

sue[/b]


That must be one of the crappy movies he made during his decline.

.

Wed Sep 07, 2005 6:16 am

Hey Guys

As most of you know I am horror fanatic but I have yet to experience the Hammer films. Could I get someone to explain to me the attraction of the movies? Are they in the same vein as the Price/Corman series?

I find the Price/Corman films to be classics...does not get much better than the Masque of The Red Death! Somehow I don't get the same impression from the Hammer collection. They almost seem like soft porn...lol (again this is just from doing a little research online).

Any info would be appreciated!

Wed Sep 07, 2005 6:29 am

I'd like to see Plan 9 From Outerspace! Bela was awesome. I'm a big horror fan myself, not as big as an Elvis though. I love horror movies though, always have. My favorite are the black and white films, like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman. Do any of you remember the short lived series on FOX back in the 80's, Werewolf? I got that whole series, it's a favorite of mine also. :D

Wed Sep 07, 2005 1:21 pm

Yeah I remember that. The girl playing the werewolf's girlfriend was a megababe.

Silver- the movie your husband is thinking of is the Karloff/Lugosi collaboration "The Raven." It was a near "A" production in its time. It is notable as the only Lugosi/Karloff teaming where Lugosi is clearly the star. "Black Cat" is about equal. It's available along with "The Black Cat" and three others in the new set.

Lugosi is kind of wonderful in it. He goes way hammy at the end but it's extremely entertaining ham like Al Pacino in "Devil's Advocate." He says the line when a self-righteous character challenges him. He says "You actually like this. You like torture." Bela responds with the famous line "Yes, I like torture." An evening better line comes around the same time when Bela ties up an old man underneath a pendulum. As the pendulum swings down on an old man he asks "What's that." Bela answers "a pendulum." What's it doing? Bela just answers with malicious glee "descending."

Say what you want about his limitations, this guy could pack a lot a line with innuendo better than anybody in the business.

The story has virtually nothing to do with the Poe story other than that Bela is an expert on Poe.

Gypsy- I believe the appeal of the Hammer films is that they are well mounted adaptations of classical material done with a European flavor. There is a lot talent there. Director Terance Fisher who did a lot of the Hammers knew how to pace a film like a machine gun and Cushing and Lee were superb leads. Also in their day they tested the lines in gore and sex although they are quite tame by today's standards. I think that's what makes them appealing to me in some way in that they kind of stake out a middle ground between the censor mad 30s to 50s and today. I think that middle ground really suits the material. I also think there was a strong visual style to many of the films with a strong purposeful use of color. Personally, I think it only really came fully to life in their vampire movies and maybe a few witchcraft type movies. "Horror of Dracula", "Brides of Dracula" and the late period "Vampire Circus" are three of the best vampires movies ever made.

Give me Universal for Frankenstein and the Wolf Man any day. Even though Hammer's work wasn't bad with these characters I thought Universal got more out of them. After watching Karloff play the monster everyone else falls flat.

In a way I can't quite explain I also like the trashy elements of some of the Hammer movies. It's trash and it's proud of being trash and I kind of have fun with that. It gives us what we want and isn't ashamed.

I too like the Corman movies although I prefer Hammer. Interestingly, in the audio commentary of "House of Usher" Corman says he thinks his films were a stylistic influence on the Hammer look. It's a nice theory but "Usher" the first Poe film was made in 1960 and Hammer had been jarring audiences with its horror tales since 1957. "Masque of the Red Death" would be my favorite but it's a little too pretentious. My favorite is "Pit and the Pendulum". It's got a lot of flaws particularly in the acting but the story is terrific and the last 15 minutes when Price goes off his nut are absolutely tremendous. As a child, I spent many rainy Sunday and Saturday afternoons watching this movie on TV. One I remember from back then that seems to have disappeared is "Diary of a Madman." It's not Corman or Poe but it's got Price and I remember enjoying it lot back in the day.

Wed Sep 07, 2005 4:11 pm

Blue Gypsy -
The attraction of the Hammer films is that they took the 'classic' monsters and added vivid color, some envelope-pushing (for the time) violence/gore/blood effects, and a sense of realism. In the case of Christopher Lee's Dracula Hammer strikingly depicted the feral menace of vampires, the snarling & hissing, the fangs, and in Lee's case the bloodshot eyes. This was a far cry from Bela Lugosi!

Hammer also featured a certain sensuality in their films. The monsters usually menaced beautiful women in low-cut gowns. Veronica Carlson in Dracula Has Risen From The Grave is the epitome of this. In Dracula - Prince of Darkness Barbra Shelly goes from an uptight, haughty upper-crust woman to a sensuous female vamp - an incredible transformation!

The Hammers were almost always extremely well-paced, particularly the films directed by Terrance Fisher. Some of the later films were basically pot-boilers, but they were still effective.

Lee and Peter Cushing were Hammer's stars, and deservedly so. Their presence boosted the more mediocre films. In this regard Hammer retained one extremely important element from the Universal films. The actors took these films seriously and played it like it was Shakespeare. There was no camp or 'wink' feel.

Some essential Hammer films: Horror of Dracula; Curse of Frankenstein; The Mummy; Brides of Dracula; Curse of the Werewolf; Dracula - Prince of Darkness.

Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:10 am

Likethebike,
Thanks for your answer. You have an excellent, cogent, factual way of writing. Does your job involve writing? Now if I could only get my kids to write that way. Some of them do have a special way of writing, however. Some of them get an element of hilarity into their writing, without meaning to; some of them do mean to. (Well, even a teacher can, sometimes, end a sentence with a preposition, under pressure.) Actually sometimes I borrow some of their phrases; one of them is "a civilized human being." This came from a kid that I asked to give me some reasons in writing for breaking a recess rule. He wrote, "I should act like a civilized human being."

Also, thanks for the clarification, because I have seen parts of the movie my husband likes and it has nothing to do with Poe, on which I thought The Raven was based. My husband thought it might be The Raven, but I hesitated to order it because: What if it wasn't the right one? Now that you have verified that it is the right one, I shall try get the set of 3 you mentioned before his birthday. You wouldn't know about blue grass, would you? Just kidding. He loves blue grass music. Wish he loved E as much as I and then his birthday wouldn't be such a problem. Thanks again. :D :D :D
sue

Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:03 pm

Have to dissagree with you there Pete, as one of the more endearing traits of the Hammer films was the "camp". Maybe not to the degree of Polanski`s "The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me but Your Teeth Are in My Neck", but still very camp.

Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:58 pm

Ezz wrote:Have to dissagree with you there Pete, as one of the more endearing traits of the Hammer films was the "camp". Maybe not to the degree of Polanski`s "The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me but Your Teeth Are in My Neck", but still very camp.


Errol -
What is it exactly that you find camp about the Hammer films? The one's I've seen are played very straight, no sign of tongue-in-cheek whatsoever. But then again I don't know about their later lesbian-vampire films as I haven't seen them ..... being lesbian vampires I reckon their could be quite a bit of, ahem, tongue-in-cheek! :)

Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:28 am

Hammer has alot of authentic-looking sets and locations
and the only "camp" caught on film would be a result of limitations of technology and special effects.

David Prowse as a Frankenstein monster looks silly. Ridiculous.

eggheaded bodybuilder in a diaper = lol, a campy look.

but it's a dark sinister film he appears in - not a campy script at all.

.

Fri Sep 09, 2005 7:41 am

Thanks LTB and Pete!

I went and got the boxset today. I will write back and let you know what I think.

Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:28 pm

Which one did you get Blue Gypsy? The new collection with Brides of Dracula; Curse of the Werewolf ect? Or the one with Horror of Dracula; Curse of Frankenstein; The Mummy? The latter is a must-have.

Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:42 pm

Graceland Gardener wrote:Hammer has alot of authentic-looking sets and locations
and the only "camp" caught on film would be a result of limitations of technology and special effects.

David Prowse as a Frankenstein monster looks silly. Ridiculous.

eggheaded bodybuilder in a diaper = lol, a campy look.

but it's a dark sinister film he appears in - not a campy script at all.


GG -
The film is Horror of Frankenstein. I saw most of it on late night cable a couple of months ago. It was a kind of black comedy remake of Curse of Frankenstein. Hammer was trying to launch Ralph Bates as their new horror star. Bates was originally going to play Dracula in Taste The Blood of Dracula, but then Christopher Lee agreed to do it and Bates was given the role of Dracula's disciple. Then they had Bates do the Frankenstein film as Peter Cushing was getting on in years, and they wanted to re-launch the franchise with a younger actor. The film didn't do too well and Bates never really caught on with the public as a horror star so they eventually ended up bringing Cushing back for one more Frankenstein film.

.

Sat Sep 10, 2005 6:56 am

Pete Dube wrote:Which one did you get Blue Gypsy? The new collection with Brides of Dracula; Curse of the Werewolf ect? Or the one with Horror of Dracula; Curse of Frankenstein; The Mummy? The latter is a must-have.


This is the one my wife picked up for me...

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... ance&s=dvd

I really liked Kiss of the Vampire (although I found the closing scene with the bats pretty lame. I could actually see the strings...lol) and Nightmare.
I will be viewing the rest later, but so far I am pretty impressed! How could I have missed out on these? Well one reason might be the titles of most of the movies, if you go by just the titles they do seem pretty camp.

Sat Sep 10, 2005 8:17 am

I pre-ordered the Hammer collection from Universal AND because of this thread I went and ordered the other Hammer Horror set. I haven't seen any of these for quite awile and it will be fun to see them again.
The Universal horror classics of the 30's-40's will still be my favorites.

jeff R

Sat Sep 10, 2005 9:27 am

I have a book written in the mid-70s about the greatest horror movies ever made and the author picks "Kiss of the Vampire" as the best of all Hammer Horrors. But he doesn't like "Horror of Dracula" so you have to take his opinion with a grain of salt.

I have had a dickens of a time finding these sets. I was in more than a half dozen stores today in Manhattan and could not find the Hammer set at all. I found one copy of the Lugosi collection in a Barnes and Noble.

Mon Sep 12, 2005 1:47 am

I'm a little disappointed in that the Lugosi collection is marketed as boxed set but is in fact a single disc. Most places are charging more than $20 for this which is a little much for a set of movies that are between 65 and 71 years old. The prints are fine (some scratches) for a set this old. Still, it would have been nice to have a two disc set at the same price instead of the easily scratched two sided disc. A two disc set, God forbid, would have allowed for some extras as well. I bet Mark A. Vieira would have been more than happy to at least provide an audio track on some of these movies. He has written about them beautifully. In his great book, "Hollywood Horror" he gives some dish on "The Black Cat" but doesn't really go too deep in the others. I would love to know more.

First time for me and "The Invisible Ray" by the way. Almost a total lack of ham from Bela in one of his most restrained performances. It is also a big change of pace in that Bela is a very sympathetic and decent character. (The films with Karloff always seemed to have three dimensional characters.) I understand in context, it is a very influential film particularly on the modern mad scientist genre that Karloff would explore for much of the rest of his career. I find the character study though as powerful as the sci-fi and horror elements. I like the ambivalence of Karloff's character. Even before the invisible ray changes him he is paranoid, arrogant and resentful. This really helps explain his quest for vengeance after the Ray affects him. I also like the interestingn and ambiguous relationships that Karloff's character has with his mother, his wife and Lugosi.

Although it is marred by more B-movie cliches including some dopey dialogue like Karloff telling a scientist an event on Earth happened "a thousand million years ago" (it sounds like little kid talking) and the love at first site between the pretty young couple, there's a lot of excellent atmosphere and craftsmanship on display. The opening scene with his blind mother in the castle delivering a string of ominous warnings during a violent thunderstorm is really spooky. Karloff's lab, supposedly left over from a Flash Gordon serial, is impressive. There is a scene on the street where Karloff sums up a potential victim to take his place in a fake death is also quite good. Special effects are tame of course by today's standards but not too corny. When Karloff jumps out the window and disintregrates half way down, it's very impressive, not CGI but impressive nonetheless.

My biggest disappointment was that Bela was not allowed to be the hero. Instead, the dull leading man was allowed to survive at his expense.

Mon Sep 12, 2005 5:19 am

I know you all are talking about something totally different of what I am getting ready to bring up but I thought I would let you all know, so sorry if I should have started another thread for this. Back in the 60's, not sure how many of you remember this, since I don't know any of your ages, but there was a Gothic Soap Opera on I think it was ABC here in the states, called, Dark Shadows. It featured witches, werewolves and vampires, particularly one vampire who ended up being the star of the series, Barnabas Collins. Anyhow, I have the first 12 volumes of this series on dvd if anyone is interested in it. Each volume has 4 dvds. This has became a favorite of mine. If you like horror movies then I'm sure you will like this. I am addicted to watching these! All episodes are in great quality, or most are, I should say. If anyone is interested just pm me :D

Re: .

Mon Sep 12, 2005 4:25 pm

Blue-Gypsy wrote:
I really liked Kiss of the Vampire (although I found the closing scene with the bats pretty lame. I could actually see the strings...lol) and Nightmare.
I will be viewing the rest later, but so far I am pretty impressed! How could I have missed out on these? Well one reason might be the titles of most of the movies, if you go by just the titles they do seem pretty camp.


Blue Gypsy -
If you liked Kiss of the Vampire you're going to love Brides of Dracula! I just watched it last week and was really impressed. I hadn't seen it in years and I don't think I had ever seen it from start to finish.

I highly recommend that you pick up the other Hammer collection. It features 3 essential films: Curse of Frankenstein; Horror of Dracula; The Mummy plus 2 Dracula sequels (Dracula Has risen From The Grave; Taste The Blood of Dracula) and 1 Frankenstein sequel (Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed).

LTB -
Do you recommend The Revenge of Frankenstein?

.

Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:40 am

Okay I have finished watching my boxset and I must say I am impressed with the Hammer films.

So far my favorite is Paronaiac with the Curse of the Werewolf a close second.