Sunday, October 15, 2017

This Week in Fright Film History October 15 - 21, 2017

The Evil Dead (1981) written and directed by Sam Raimi and executive produced by Raimi and Bruce Campbell. Campbell also starred in the film with Ellen Sandweiss and Betsy Baker. The Evil Dead (1981) released theatrically on October 15 1981.

Dr. Renault's Secret (1942) is an American horror movie that was released on October 19, 1942. Directed by Harry Lachman was written by William Bruckner and Robert Metzler, the B-rated film revolves around the mad scientist, Dr. Renault. The film starred J. Carrol Naish, Shepperd Strudwick, Lynne Roberts, and George Zucco.

Béla Lugosi (Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó) a Hungarian-American actor, famous for his starring role in Dracula (1931) and his various roles in other horror films, was born on October 20, 1882.

The Old Dark House (1932) a comedy/horror film directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff was released on October 20, 1932. The film was based on J. B. Priestley’s 1927 novel Benighted.

Night Monster (1942) a Universal horror film featuring Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill  and directed by Ford Beebe. For publicity top billing was given billing was given to Lugosi and Atwill, who both played supporting roles. The film was released on October 20, 1942.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is the fourth installment of the Halloween film series, directed by Dwight H. Little and written by Alan B. McElroy. The film was released on October 21, 1988.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

This Week in Fright Film History - October 08 to October 14, 2017

Ed Wood Jr. an American screenwriter, director, producer, actor,
author and film editor was born October 10, 1924. In the 1950s, Wood wrote, produced and directed a number of low-budget science fiction, horror and western films.  In the 1960s and 1970s, he began making pornographic movies and wrote over 80 pulp crime, horror and sex novels. In 1980, he was posthumously awarded a Golden Turkey Award as Worst Director of All Time. 

The Door with Seven Locks (1940) a British film directed by Norman Lee and starring Leslie Banks, Lilli Palmer, Romilly Lunge, and Gina Malo. Released in Great Britian on October 12, 1940 the film was based on the novel The Door with Seven Locks by Edgar Wallace. The Door with Seven Locks (1940) was released  in the United States by Monogram Pictures retitled as  Chamber of Horrors on December 20, 1940.

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) the fifth installment in the Halloween film series directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard and starring Donald Pleasence again as Dr. Sam Loomis, was released on October 13, 1989. The film has the distinction of being the only Halloween movie that has never released in Italy.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

This Week in Fright Film History October 1 - 7, 2017

George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1959) premiered at the Fulton Theatre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 1, 1968, admission by invitation only and was met with a standing ovation.Night of the Living Dead (1968) was George A. Romero's feature debut and became one of the most successful independent films ever made.

The Brute Man (1946) an American horror film starring Rondo Hatton, Tom Neal and Jan Wiley and directed by Jean Yarbrough was released on October 1, 1946 to very negative reviews. Rondo Hatton suffered from a condition called Gigantism and Universal Studios attempting to capitalize on his condition for shock value, signed Hatton on for a six movie contract. The studio publicity department would often promote the fact that Hatton had no need for special makeup. Unfortunately Hatton died before the release of The Brute Man (1946).  Some film historians claim Universal was so embarrassed at exploiting Hatton’s illness for shock value that it sold the film to the Producers Releasing Corporation rather than issue it directly. Once considered a lost film it has been rediscovered and was released to home video in 1982.

Tod Browning, best known as the director of Dracula (1931), Freaks (1932) and a number of classic silent films with Lon Chaney, died from lung cancer on October 6, 1962, he was 82.

Edgar Allan Poe, an American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, died on October 7, 1849 under mysterious
circumstances. The actual cause of his death still remains a mystery.

Friday, September 29, 2017

This Week in Fright Film History September 25 – 30, 2017

The Mummy (1959) directed by Terence Fisher and starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing was released theatrically on September 25, 1959.

Charles Samuel "Chas" Addams an American cartoonist known for creating the comic strip  The Addams Family” died on  September 29, 1988.

 The Ape (1940) a Monogram Pictures film produced and directed by William Nigh and, starring Boris Karloff was released on  September  30, 1940. This would be the last film in Boris Karloff's 6-picture contract with Monogram. He would however return in 1958 for "Frankenstein-1970."

 Kongo  (1932) a nearly forgotten and rarely seen film is an American horror film released on October 1, 1932. The film was directed by William J. Cowen, and starred Walter Huston, Lupe Vélez, and Virginia Bruce. Kongo (1932) is a remake of the 1928 film West of Zanzibar, directed by Tod Browning and starring Lon Chaney and Lionel Barrymore, which was also based on the 1926 play Kongo.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

This Week in Fright Film History Septmeber 17 - 23, 2017

Before I Hang (1940) a science fiction/ horror film released by Columbia Pictures, directed by Nick Grinde starring Boris Karloff was released on September 17, 1940. 

Revenge of the Zombies (1943) directed by Steve Sekely, starring John Carradine and Gale Storm was released on September 17, 1943. This film released during World War II depicts the story a mad scientist attempting to create a race of living dead warriors for the Third Reich.

The Haunting (1963)  directed and produced by Robert Wise was released on September 19, 1963. The screenplay was  adapted by Nelson Gidding from the 1959 novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.  The film  stars Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, and Russ Tamblyn.

The Mummy's Hand (1940) released on September 20, 1940 was the first of a series of films featuring the mummy named Kharis. Tom Tyler played Kharis in this film but it would be Lon Chaney, Jr., who would take over the role for the following three sequels.

Herbert George "H. G." Wells, an English writer known for his work in the science fiction genre was born on September 21, 1866. His most notable science fiction works include The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

This Week in Fright Film History Septmeber 10-16, 2017

Maniac aka Sex Maniac, (1934) is an American exploitation/horror film, directed by Dwain Esper and written by Hildegarde Stadie, Esper's wife, as anadaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe story "The Black Cat" was released on September 11, 1934.  John Wilson, the founder of the Golden Raspberry Award, named Maniac(1934)  one of the "100 Most Amusingly Bad Movies Ever Made" in his book The Official Razzies Movie Guide.

The Man Who Changed His Mind (1936) a science fiction/ horror film directed by Robert Stevenson starring Boris Karloff and Anna Lee, was released in Great Britain on September 11, 1936 by Gainsborough Pictures. The film was also released under the titles The Brainsnatcher and The Man Who Lived Again.

The Blob (1958) an American horror/science-fiction film was released on September 12, 1958 and was Steve McQueen's debut leading role. The film's title song  written by Burt Bacharach and Mack David became a nationwide hit in the U.S.

Paul Wegener, the German actor, writer and film director known for his pioneering role in German Horror cinema died on September 13, 1948. He is best none for The Student of Prague (1913),The Golem (1915),The Golem and the Dancing Girl (1917) and The Golem: How He Came into the World (1920).

Sunday, September 3, 2017

This Week in Fright Film History September 3 - 9, 2017

Dead of Night (1945) is a British horror film produced By Michael Balcon the individual stories were directed by Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer. The film stars Mervyn Johns, Googie Withers and Michael Redgrave. Dead of Night (1945) is noted for being one of a very few British horror films produced during the 1940’s. the film was released in Britain on September 4, 1945.

Max Schreck (Friedrich Gustav Maximilian Schreck) a German actor who remembered for his lead role as Count Orlok in the film Nosferatu (1922) was born on September 6, 1879.

The Cat and the Canary (1927) is an American silent horror film adaptation of John Willard's 1922 play of the same name. Directed by German Expressionist filmmaker Paul Leni, the film was released on September 9.1927 and is considered by many to be a major influence in the "old dark house" genre of films produced from the 1930s through the 1950s.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

This week in Fright Film History August 28 - September 2, 2017

IThe Haunted Palace (1963) released on August 28, 1963. The film starred Vincent Price, Lon Chaney Jr., and Debra Paget and was directed by Roger Corman.  Although marketed as "Edgar Allan Poe's The Haunted Palace," the film is actually based The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, a novella by H. P. Lovecraft.

The Fly (1958) directed by Kurt Neumann and starring David Hedison, Patricia Owens and Vincent Price was released on August 29, 1958. The screenplay, written by James Clavell , was based the 1922 short story "The Fly" by George Langelaan.  The Fly (1958) was the biggest hit for director Kurt Neumann, unfortunately  he died a month after the premiere.

Isle of the Dead (1945) directed by Mark Robson and starred Boris Karloff was released on September 1, 1945.  The film was inspired by the painting Isle of the Dead by Arnold Böcklin. 

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) directed by Wallace Worsley, starring Lon Chaney, and produced by Carl Laemmle and Irving Thalberg was released on September 2, 1923. The film was Universal's "Super Jewel" of 1923 and was their most successful silent film, grossing over $3 million. The film is noted for its remarkable sets as well as Lon Chaney's performance and special effects make-up.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

This Week in Fright Film History August 20 - 26, 2017

The Seventh Victim (1943) starring Tom Conway, Jean Brooks, Isabel Jewell, Kim Hunter (in her first film), and Hugh Beaumont, directed by Mark Robson was released August 21,1943.

Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949) a comedy/ horror film starring Abbott and Costello and Boris Karloff was released on August 22, 1949. The full onscreen title is Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff.

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The Student of Prague (1913), with a run time of 1 hour 25 minutes, is hailed as the first true feature length film in history. The film premiered on August 22, 1913. It is reported the some of the audience members actually screamed when the student’s image steps out of the mirror. Although this effect was achieved with the ever so common double exposure technique that effect had never been seen by the movie going audience at that time and it did make quite an impression.

Lon Chaney, 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) died on August 26, 1930 from bronchial lung cancer, he was 47 years old.

The Head of Janus (1920) a German horror silent film directed by F. W. Murnau and written by Hans Janowitz . The film was an unauthorized adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the German authorities did not recognize the source material due to the changes in the names of the characters. The director F.W. Murnau is best known for his film Nosferatu (1922) which was unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The film was released on August 26 ,1920

The Abominable Snowman (1957) was directed by Val Guest and released by Hammer Film Productions on August 26, 1957. The film is based on a 1955 BBC television play, The Creature, written by Nigel Kneale, who also wrote the screenplay adaptation for the film. The Abominable Snowman (1957) was released in the United States under the title of The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas.