Author Topic: Horror: The Final Chapter  (Read 5900 times)

1SO

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2016, 11:46:13 PM »
The Haunted Castle (1921)
* 1/2
This is from F.W. Murnau, but early in his career before he found his style with Nosferatu. It's more of a murder mystery, with the castle haunted by a murder in the past and not a supernatural force, though there is one cool shot from a nightmare in the middle of the flat, sluggish chamber drama.



1SO

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2016, 12:11:40 AM »
Doctor X (1932)
* *
Last Shocktober, I was hugely let down by Mystery of the Wax Museum, made by many of the same people including director Michael Curtiz, producer Hal B. Wallis and actors Fay Wray and Lionel Atwill. This film includes Lee Tracy, who is to comedy what Jim Carry is to comedy today, relentless and unfunny. Until the end this plays more like a black comedy and it takes forever to introduce everyone and get going.

The film doesn't get mired in the logic problems of Wax Museum. Curtiz wisely leaves reality behind quickly which is great for the early Technicolor look and the freaky climax which contains the strongest horror imagery of the marathon so far.

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2016, 01:48:44 AM »
Kongo (1932)
* * 1/2
A number of films in this Marathon were added because they star my favorite classic actors. Such is the case with this tale of depravity and revenge in the African jungle starring Walter Huston. He's the best thing about the film, ruling over the jungle from a wheelchair with the same levels of firm command and "don't give a f---" crazy that he displayed in The Furies. His plan involves hiring the daughter of the man who crushed his spine for missionary work, where he immediately sets about hooking her on drugs and subjecting her too all sorts of sadistic humiliations. Unlike torture porn, we never see what he does, but the film wallows in the emotional toll, leaving us to imagine the horrors. Sleazy and theatrical, with a lack of much joy, except the pleasure of watching Huston.

Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2016, 07:04:53 AM »

1SO

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2016, 09:46:00 PM »
Before The Thin Man deservedly made Myrna Loy a star, she was a vamp AND a bit of a freak.

Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)
* 1/2
Archaeologists race against evil Fu Manchu (Boris Karloff) to find relics belonging to Genghis Khan that can be used to resurrect the spirit of the ancient conquerer and wipe out the white race. Casting Karloff as the Chinese madman and Loy as his daughter is typical pre-code racism. Aside from that the film is boring. Recommended by Jonathan Rosenbaum, who calls it "magnificent, imaginative stuff: bombastic pulp at its purple best." I rarely agree with Rosenbaum.

Of course there's always the option of saying "screw Rosenbaum, I'm going to watch this anyways", but why would I disregard the advice of such a reliable compass? His words are like a foghorn, warning my ship away from unnavigable waters.

Thirteen Women (1932)
* *
Slightly better because it plays like one of the earliest examples of a slasher film, with a mostly female cast. Myrna Loy plays a half-Javanese Eurasian woman who was snubbed by a sorority because of her mixed-race heritage. She takes them out one by one using unbelievable hypnotic powers. Irene Dunn plays the Final Girl. I liked a lot of this but the phony murder scenes makes it a musical with terrible singing and dancing. Loy acts like she's in a trance most of the time.

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2016, 08:58:20 AM »
The Black Room (1935)
* *
#837 on They Shoot Zombies and most notable for Boris Karloff's dual performance as twin brothers. One innocent and the other evil. There's a prophecy about the innocent one killing his twin that manages to come true in an unsurprisingly surprise way. Though I don't seek him out, I like Karloff and don't think of him as a bad or limited actor, so watching his range here isn't much of an eye-opener. The plodding story is a bit of an eye-closer.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2016, 02:24:53 PM »
That's a shame. The premise sounds pretty cool to me.

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2016, 02:35:10 PM »
I could see it working better as a 42-minute Twilight Zone episode. It's a horror fable, too thin to support even a 70-minute feature length.

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2016, 01:06:47 AM »
Dracula's Daughter (1935)
* * * - Okay
This direct sequel to the 1931 Dracula starts with police apprehending Van Helsing who stands over the body of his defeated foe. Van Helsing could stay alive with an insanity plea, but wishes to prove himself sane even though it would make him a murderer. This very interesting idea is never developed because there's the mysterious woman who is the daughter of Dracula and looks to a psychiatrist in the hope her urges can be cured. Unlike Count Dracula, when she gives in to the urge, her victim is of the same sex, giving the scene lesbian overtones. The vampire also acts her age while on the attack, giving the scene the even more overt feel of a sexual predator corrupting a young innocent. None of this is properly developed or explored either, but it's all very intriguing. Not the formula Universal monster movie I was expecting, though the moments of comedy are terrible.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2016, 01:08:18 AM by 1SO »

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2016, 12:40:08 AM »
The Boogie Man Will Get You (1942)
* 1/2
I will watch Peter Lorre in anything, including this horror comedy where Boris Karloff plays a meek scientist who is politely piling bodies in his basement. (Much of the film smacks of being a cheap knock-off of Arsenic and Old Lace.) Lorre and Karloff are charismatic and play well together, but they can only do so much. The supporting cast and flat direction made me feel like I was watching a failed TV pilot aimed at the Bewitched crowd.

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
* *
From the director of many Sherlock Holmes films, and featuring a supporting cast pulled from that series including Lastrade (Dennis Hoey) again playing a clueless homicide Inspector. There's initial promise, and the way the story combines the two horror icons into the same universe makes sense, but as it stretches logic to create an inevitable monster vs. monster showdown I started wishing for more of a team-up where the two take on all the stupid villagers. As I feared, the climactic fight looks like a bad wrestling match. Atmospheric potential squandered.

Carnival of Sinners aka. The Devil's Hand (1943)
* * * - Okay
Directed by Maurice Tourneur, acclaimed for his silent films and father of Jacques Tourneur. (You find a lot of writing about how 70-year-old Maurice released this the same year as young Jacque's Cat People.) The basic story is a routine "sell your soul to the devil for greatness" involving a cursed hand. I like the portrayal of Satan as a mild-mannered accountant and there's a knockout sequence where all of the hand's previous owners gather to tell their story. Filmed like an German Expressionist version of You're Next, it's easily the best single scene of the Marathon so far. Takes a while to get there though.