Well folks, we’ve made it through another year of Mystery Photos. I hope that these have been a lot of fun for you and have hopefully given you more than a few movies to seek out because of them. Our last photo was from Fritt vilt II (2008), also known as Cold Prey 2. Hard to believe that film came out 10 years ago. Time flies. Congrats to Hoby Abernathy and Lee Nattrass for sending in the correct answer.
For our last photo of 2018, I thought I’d make it a good one. Shouldn’t be too easy unless you’re a fan of a particular actor and country from where this was made. Either way, take a good look and see what you can come up with. Please remember not to post your answers here so that others can have a guess. Just send your guess to us in an email to email@example.com. Good Luck!
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
Directed by William Dieterl
Starring Charles Laughton, Cedric Hardwicke, Thomas Mitchell, Maureen O’Hara, Edmond O’Brien, Alan Marshal, Walter Hampden, Harry Davenport
It’s amazing how a movie can change over the years. Or does it? As the saying goes, a movie never changes, but the viewer does. The more movies that we watch, the more we learn about films. And the more we learn, the more we learn to appreciate them. So watching something at an older age, compared to watching something younger, can result in quite a different of effect, and opinion. This film is proof of that theory.
Because this is the 200th Anniversary of Mary Shelley’s famous tale, before the end of the year, I thought it might be a good idea to post this, just in case there might be a few out there that hasn’t seen it. This is the first filmed version of Shelley’s tale, that was thought lost for many decades, but a print was finally discovered. It is only about 13 minutes long, but if you haven’t seen it, please take the time to do so. Seeing the special effects used here might seem a bit crude, but just imagine the folks seeing this over 100 years ago.
The film was directed by J. Searle Dawley, and stars Augustus Phillips as Frankenstein, Mary Fuller as his Elizabeth, and Charles Ogle playing the “Monster” for the first time in cinematic history. So please, take a few minutes now and watch a very important piece of our horror history, and be thankful that this was even discovered.
Edward L. Cahn
Born Feb. 12th, 1899 – Died Aug. 25th, 1963
Cahn started his career as an apprentice film editor but then quickly moved into directing. He started out directing a lot of westerns, crime dramas, and comedies, mainly Our Gang titles. But in the mid ’50s, when sci-fi pictures were starting to really take off, Cahn started working in that genre and made quite a few of them in a very short time. In fact, by today’s standards, Cahn might not be considered a great director, but he was quick and efficient, which is a very good trait to have when working on the world of low budget B-movies. But even those his budgets were low and time was short, the titles he made are still entertaining, even making a few classics while at it.
In his 31 years as a director, he credited with 125 films. That is 4 films a year average, with some years he was make 10! Imagine one of today’s directors trying to accomplish something like that. In those days, time was money. It was crank out the current picture and then quickly onto the next. Though even though that was the attitude, Cahn still put some quality in them.
During those years, he did make some great fun flicks, usually ones with some memorable titles. Such as Creature with the Atom Brain (1955), Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957), Curse of the Faceless Man (1958), or The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959). Of course, probably his most famous film is the 1958 film that would go on to inspire Ridley Scott’s Alien, which would be It! Terror from Beyond Space.
So if you’re looking for a fun sci-fi/horror film for a Saturday afternoon, look up some of Cahn’s work. I think you’ll find yourself being entertained.
Directed by Greg McLean
Starring Radha Mitchell, Michael Vartan, Sam Worthington, Caroline Brazier, Stephen Curry, Celia Ireland, John Jarratt
Ever since Jaws, I’m not too fond of movies where there is some underwater beast making meals out of people. It is the one sub-genre that can still under my skin. I don’t completely avoid them, but I’m usually not in a hurry to run out and watch them. But I made an exception for Greg McLean’s Rogue when it first came out over here in the states. This film is about a very large crocodile that doesn’t like the fact that a boat tour has come into its territory and decides to make sure they don’t leave.
There are those directors that may have only worked in the horror genre a couple of times, but still have made quite a big impact. Jorge Grau was one of them. News came out today that he has passed away at the age of 88.
Grau only directed two genre films, Ceremonia sangrienta (1970), released over here as The Legend of Blood Castle, and his most famous one, No profanar el sueño de los Muertos (1974), most commonly known in the states as Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, though it has quite a few other monikers it was released under.
Watching Corpses for the first time in my youth made me aware of a few things. This was one of the first color zombie films that featured a lot of gore. I mean a LOT of gore, courtesy of Giannetto De Rossi who would later work with Lucio Fulci on many of his famous gore/living dead films. But Grau also showed audiences the European way of not following the traditional aspect of the genre. He didn’t follow the normal conventions of the zombies, putting his own spin on them, still making them very effective.
Grau directed over 30 features over in his career that spanned almost 5 decades. For him to only direct two horror films, one of which is considered a classic in the zombie sub-genre, ranking it right up there with Romero’s best, shows that he had a strong voice and vision. One that it is still seen and heard over four decades later, as much as it will be for generations to come.
Our thoughts go out to his friends and family. He will be missed, but never forgotten.
Scored to Death: Conversations with some of Horror’s Greatest Composers
Published by Silman-James Press, 2016. 356 pages.
By J. Blake Fichera
There is something to be said about film scores, something that I think most don’t know, don’t recognize, or even worse, don’t even think about. And that is the effect they have on the viewer. Sometimes a very powerful effect. The first time I can remember a film score having an effect on me was John Williams’ score for Jaws (1975), which I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. While it did bring up the tension and scare factor, I don’t think I made the full connection between the music and emotion it caused. That changed when Star Wars (1977) came out. Then it hit me how powerful of an impact a score can make. Star Wars was the first soundtrack I every purchased and I listened to it over and over. Each time, I could visualize the different parts of the film in my head and it would give me the same emotional reaction as if I was watching the film. It was at that point, I started to become more aware of a film score.
We haven’t had an update in a while with the holidays and trying to get ready for our 2018 Year Review, but we’ll be back with our regular updates starting tomorrow.
I hope everyone out there got a bunch of goodies, like Blu-rays and horror reference books, left under the tree by Cthulhu-Claws. But also that you made those connections with your friends and family, because those relations are more important and can last longer than anything bought at a store.
So from everyone here at the Krypt, we wish you a Very Scary Christmas!
Horror in Space
Published by McFarland, 2018. 248 pages.
Edited by Michele Brittany
The book’s subtitle is “Critical Essays on a Film Subgenre” and boy howdy, it sure is. If you’re looking for an easy read, one that might bring up some easy but not-too-deep thinking ideas about these movies that we love, then you might want to look for another book. When you have the words “Critical Essays” in the book’s title, that is a big hint at the kind of writing that you’ll find within those pages. The collection of authors that have been gathered here for this volume are all very intelligent scholars, from sociology teachers, doctoral candidates, to professors, so they know their stuff. So please don’t let my comments about their opinions and theories seem like I’m trying to say they are uneducated. That is not the point I’m trying to make.
Like a lot of these theory essay books, I’d make a guess that some of these are from a collage thesis or part of a future book. But I still stand by my own theory that sometimes a duck is just a duck. I know there are some films where the creators are weaving different subtext within the story, such as any version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But I feel a lot of these scholars take a subject matter and form into something that then fits a particular movie or sub-genre.
Almost didn’t get this posted today. With a busy weekend, we just didn’t get around to it until now. So hopefully this will make up for such a great start to the week, right? Before we get to the new photo, our one from last week was from The Return of Dracula (1958), starring Francis Lederer in the title role. Congrats to the following for sending in their correct answer: Hoby Abernathy, Dave Fronto, and Troy Howarth. Well done.
Okay, so because it is winter time and some of us have snow on the ground, or it is at least a little chillier than normal, I thought it would be a nice idea to go with something that was close to that. Yeah, as tempting as it was to go with a holiday one…too easy. So here it is. Take a peek and see what you come up with. As always, please remember not to post your answers here so others can have a chance. Just email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good Luck!