Author Topic: Horror: The Final Chapter  (Read 5480 times)

1SO

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2016, 11:45:10 PM »
Phantom of the Opera (1943)
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One of the more well-known films in this Marathon, from the Universal Horror Collection and starring Claude Rains as The Phantom. It's one of the more beautiful movies I've ever seen, with an attention to the color palette that shames most other films. Unfortunately, it's light on the Phantom and heavy with Opera, more of a Musical than a Horror film, and I still have yet to see an Opera scene I'm glad I sat through. A real shame because I liked the use of shadows and images of the Phantom running through the opera house with his thick cape trailing behind.

oldkid

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2016, 01:17:01 AM »
I have yet to see a version of Phantom that I was thrilled by, although this one had a lot of potential.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2016, 02:21:48 PM »
Between the color photography and Claude Rains I debated watching this again with Mrs. 1SO for Shocktober. Then came the lengthy opera during the 3rd Act only occasionally cutting away to follow the Phantom.

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2016, 02:28:48 PM »
Son of Dracula (1943)
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Like Ozu, the Universal Monster movies are all very similar, leaving you to either admire the small differences or rebuke the entire body of work. Like with Ozu, the differences aren't enough for me. Universal is to slavish to the mythology, so instead of some genuine scares or creeps we get all the expected imagery. This Dracula tale moves to the Gothic south, but tells the same exact story as Dracula. Lon Chaney Jr. plays the Count this time. I like his tortured soul performance as The Wolfman, but he's too genteel and low-key to fill the shoes of the charismatic Count. Louise Allbritton steals the film as a dark-haired vampy belle fascinated by death.

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2016, 12:50:34 AM »
Bluebeard (1944)
* * 1/2
I've heard this story mentioned in a lot of old movies, usually as a pop culture reference, so it's weird to finally watch the classic tale and discover it's so... uninspired, (and that's forgiving the ridiculous psychological motivation.) I was hoping for something more supernatural or just more memorable. The backstory on Bluebeard's compulsion is already slipping my mind and I just watched the film. It's good to see legendary character actor John Carradine shine in a showcase lead role and the direction by Edgar G. Ulmer (Detour) often dips into the unusual, but not enough to give this ultra low budget film the lift (or perhaps grime) it so needs.

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2016, 12:55:13 AM »
Did you ever see the 2009 version?  I thought that was interesting.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2016, 01:00:33 AM »
Never seen it. The closest I've come to seeing an actual Bluebeard movie is Bluebeard's Eights Wife, which is a screwball comedy that uses the story as a reference point.

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2016, 12:02:43 AM »
House of Frankenstein (1944)
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The promise of a Universal monster mash-up gave me hope for awhile, with mad scientist Boris Karloff tying together Dracula (John Carradine), the Wolfman (Lon Chaney Jr.) and Franenstein's Monster. Plus there's Sig Ruman and I believe every actor who ever played Moriarty in the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films. How quickly it all falls apart. Dracula is only the warm-up story, concluding before Karloff ever gets to castle Frankenstein. The story beats are business as usual, with a particularly abrupt ending. I'm left thinking the actors were the only ones who cared.

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #28 on: August 24, 2016, 12:39:25 AM »
Isle of the Dead (1945)
* * 1/2
Mark Robson's horror films (The Seventh Victim, Ghost Ship) always have a strong psychological pull, enough to be more Noir and less Horror than their titles suggest. This one is less successful, but it's good to see Karloff in a more original story. He gets one of his strongest characters, an overly-rigid general caught up in an outbreak of the plague, a foe he doesn't know how to fight. The disease kills indiscriminately, fanning the flames of supernatural superstition. Unfortunately, the storytelling isn't as clear as it should be, blunting the horror until the final 15 minutes, at which point it manages some solid hair-raising atmosphere.

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #29 on: August 25, 2016, 01:37:49 AM »
House of Dracula (1945)
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The last of the Universal Monster Movies before Abbott and Costello joined in is one of the dumbest, with some nonsense about spore gas that can cure The Wolfman while turning the helpful doctor into a Mr. Hyde-ish type. I wonder why Universal kept all their icons separated, with Dracula only appearing in the beginning and The Frankenstein Monster not coming to life until the climax. I continue to be most entertained by Lon Chaney Jr. as Wolfman and he's the bulk of the film, so that's good, but the franchise is running on fumes at this point.


The Mask of Diijon (1946)
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Erich von Stroheim gives a wonderfully serious and commanding performance as a magician who plots revenge after he believes a failed performance was actually sabotage by those close to him. I wish he was allowed to play it even more insane, because the story is completely broken by a lack of understanding about how hypnotism works. I tried to go with it as silly fun, but it can't even entertain on that level. This actually came to me from a Noir list and while it's mostly Horror, there are some strong Noir elements.

 

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