Horror History: Erle C. Kenton

kentonErle C. Kenton
Born Aug. 1st, 1896 – Died Jan. 28th, 1980

While Kenton didn’t make but 4 horror movies in his career, the ones he did do are pretty important. He started as an actor, but took any job in the industry to learn as much as he could. Then in 1919, he got to direct his first picture. In his career, he directed 131 films, sometimes making over 10 pictures a year. In 1924, he directed a total of 15 films. Pretty funny when you compare it to today’s working directors and how often they turn out films.

Kenton was mainly known for directing comedies, even doing a couple for Abbott & Costello. But his first entry in the horror genre was in 1932, which is probably his best, the classic Island of Lost Souls (though author H.G. Wells would probably argue that point). Kind of strange that a man known for comedies could turn out a dark film like this one. Sure, some say that Laughton’s over-acting makes it a dark comedy, though I’ve always found this film pretty disturbing and quite effective.

His remaining efforts might not be as good, but are not only entertaining, but staples in the genre. With The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), House of Frankenstein (1944), and House of Dracula (1945), he helped continue the Universal monster series with some entertaining films. Sure, they weren’t the same classics that James Whale had turned out, but us monster kids just ate them up. And even today, as dated as they might be, I still find them pretty entertaining, as do many other classic monster fans.

Cinepocalypse at the Music Box

Cinepocalypse Graphic

This November, a new film festival will be coming to Chicago’s Music Box Theatre that will give genre fans a “full week of ass-kicking genre movies!” That was a sure way to get my attention! All I can say is that it is about time for something like this to come to the Music Box. With the success of their 24-hour marathons, it is only a natural fit.

Josh Goldbloom, Founder and Artistic Director of The Awesome Fest and what was known as Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Festival, has now joined Ryan Oestreich from the Music Box to give fans something “bigger, better and scarier than any in the festivals history.”

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Mystery Photo 6-26

A little late today, but better than nothing, right? We didn’t get back until late last night from our trip to Mars, PA for this year’s Monster Bash. Had an amazing time, as usual. But let’s get down to business. The only two that sent in the correct answer, unless I lost another one, was Hoby Abernathy & Troy Howarth. The shot was from Antonio Margheriti’s Long Hair of Death (1964), starring the alluring Barbara Steele. Worth seeing if you haven’t.

Okay, so lets travel a bit more and see if you can come up with the title of this film. Just remember to send us your answers in an email, to jon@kitleyskrypt.com, and not post them here, so everyone else can have a chance. Good luck!

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Mystery Photo 6-19

Greetings, my fellow film fanatics! Here we are back for another photo puzzle on this film Monday morning. But, as always, before we get to this week’s photo, let’s recap what we posted last week. In honor of his birthday on Saturday, I thought it would nice to give him a little nod in our Mystery Photo. I’m talking about Lucio Fulci, of course. And the picture is from his 1990 film Demonia. How can one go wrong with demonic Italian nuns? Kudos to Hoby Abernathy, Doug Lamoreux and Will Wilson for sending in the correct answer.

Now, let’s get to this week’s photo. Another black and white one, but still one of my favorites. Gaze into the eye and see if the terror therein tells you the name of the picture. Worth a shot….never know.

As always, please remember not to post your answer here, but send them to us in an email to jon@kitleyskrypt.com. Good Luck!

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Movie Review: Evil Ed

Evil Ed

Evil Ed (1995)
Directed by Anders Jacobson
Starring Johan Rudebeck, Per Löfberg, Olof Rhodin, Camela Leierth, Gert Fylking, Cecilia Ljung, Michael Kallaanvaara, Hans Wilhelmsson

Back in the ’90s, when the video market was still in full swing, every gorehound was always on the prowl for a film to give them the bloody goods within the 90 minutes or so of the particular movie title. Evil Ed delivered it to those that happened upon the video box, which showed a man with his head being split open with an axe. I mean, with a box like that, how could you go wrong? Granted, it was a cheesy graphic image and not something from the actual movie, but it did get the attention of the aforementioned horror fan. It also shows what could be allowed on box art back then, something that could be seen by any youngster that might be walking down the horror aisle. Ah yes…those were the days.

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Nigel Kneale Biography Revised!

Into the Unknown Kneale book“A pioneer in science fiction.” – John Carpenter

If you’re the slightest fan of Hammer, then you’ll probably know who writer Nigel Kneale was, since he was the man responsible for sending Hammer down their path of success with the Quatermass movies, based on his original tele-plays, as well as other Hammer titles like The Abominable Snowman (1957) and The Witches (1966). He also gave us The Stone Tape (1972), a chilling made-for-TV film that needs to be seen, as well as the series Beasts that he wrote. And of course, lets not forget that Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) came from him (though it was highly re-written). John Carpenter was highly influenced by Kneale, even using the pseudonym Martin Quatermass for his film Prince of Darkness

Now, thanks to the wonderful people at Headpress, you can read all about this fantastic and imaginative writer in their fully revised biography Into the Unknown, which comes out next month. Written by Andy Murray, the book covers Kneale’s career from his childhood to his work at the BBC and beyond, which left us with countless hours of imaginative and fantastic entertainment.

This is one volume that is a must for my library, and should be for yours as well. You can either order it from Amazon, which is only the paperback version. If you want a hardcover version, you have to order that directly from Headpress themselves.

Movie Review: Brain Damage

brain damage 1

Brain Damage (1988)
Directed by Frank Henenlotter
Starring Rick Hearst, Gordon MacDonald, Jennifer Lowry, Theo Barnes, Lucille Saint-Peter, Vicki Darnell

I’m sure everyone reading this is familiar with this strange and twisted Faustian tale, that could only come from the mind of the man who gave us Basket Case (1982), writer/director Frank Henenlotter. If you haven’t, then I’m not sure what cave you’ve been living in for the last 30 years, but you need to pick it up now and watch it. It will change your life. Okay..maybe not change it, but definitely put a lot more entertainment in it. And there is even a message in there too! I mean, how can you have a tale about a parasitic creature, that looks like a cross between a turd and a deformed penis, that gets you hooked on a hallucinogenic drug that it emits, if only to keep you in control. Sure, there is a huge drug/addiction parable here, as well as the old fable of selling soul to a devil, but as crazy as it sounds, Henenlotter actually created a very well thought out story and it works quite well. The characters feel like real people, giving the dark and funny story more of an edge than most would probably take it as, about a much too common plague that still exists today. Sure, maybe not played out like it is here, but then it wouldn’t be as fun to watch, would it?

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