Sunday, December 1, 2013

This Week in Fright Film History December 1 to 7, 2013

House of Frankenstein (1944) Universal Studios’ sequel to Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) directed by Erle C. Kenton, starring Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney, Jr. was released on
December 1, 1944.  House of Frankenstein (1944) was the first multi-monster movie.


The Return of Doctor X (1939) an American science fiction/horror film directed by Vincent Sherman and starring Wayne Morris, Rosemary Lane, and Humphrey Bogart was released on December 2, 1939. It was based on the short story "The Doctor's Secret" by William J. Makin. Despite the similarity and the names The Return of Doctor X (1939) was not a sequel to Doctor X (1933); the two films are completely unrelated.

A Blind Bargain (1922) an American silent horror film starring Lon Chaney and Raymond McKee, was released through Goldwyn Pictures on December 3, 1922. The film is based on Barry Pain's 1897 novel, The Octave of Claudius.  A Blind Bargain (1922) is considered to be lost a lost film.

London After Midnight (1927) American silent horror film based on the short story "The Hypnotist" by Tod Browning who also directed the film was released on December 3, 1927. London After Midnight (1927) starred Lon Chaney, Marceline Day, Conrad Nagel, Henry B. Walthall, and Polly Moran. In 1967 a fire in the film vault of MGM erupted destroying hundreds of silent films including the last known print of London after Midnight (1927).

Cat People (1942) is a horror film produced by Val Lewton and directed by Jacques Tourneur. DeWitt Bodeen wrote the original screenplay which was based on Val Lewton's short story The Bagheeta (1930). The film stars Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph and Tom Conway and was released on December 6, 1942. Cat People (1942) would be the first production for producer Val Lewton, who was a journalist, novelist, and poet who later became a story editor for David O. Selznick. RKO hired Lewton to produce horror films on a budget of $150,000. Lewton would go on to produce other horror classics such as I Walked with a Zombie (1943), The Curse of the Cat People (1944), The Body Snatcher (1945), and Bedlam (1946).

House of Dracula (1945), a sequel to House of Frankenstein (1944), was released on December 7, 1945. The film featured three of Universal's most popular monsters: Frankenstein's monster (Glenn Strange), Count Dracula (John Carradine) and the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.). Although House of Dracula (1945) was a financially successful, it would be the last Universal horror movie featuring Frankenstein's monster, vampires and werewolves with the exception of  the comedy film, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

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