Plague of the Zombies (1966)
Directed by John Gilling
Starring Andre Morell, John Carson, Diane Clare, Alex Davion, Jacqueline Pearce, Michael Ripper
In a small Cornish village, strange happenings are a foot! Some sort of deadly disease is creeping through the town and the local doctor is clueless as to what is the cause. He sends a letter of distress to Sir James, his former teacher, for assistance in this grave matter. Cutting short his vacation, Sir James travels to the village with his daughter to see if he can be of any assistance, but has no idea the evil deeds he is about to uncover there.
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Starring Whitney Able, Scoot McNairy
Right off the bat, we need to get one thing perfectly clear. If there ever was a film that was miss-titled, this would be it. Yes, there are monsters in this film, but it is a very, very small part of this film. It is basically just the background for this simple drama. Which I wouldn’t have had as big of a problem with it had the film been called something like Finding Love…While Some Monsters Roaming Around. But when you call the film Monsters….I kind of expect some..I don’t know…maybe some monsters….maybe a LOT of monsters. The actual working title for the film was Far From Home, which I think fits a lot better. And for the other argument, yes…I get it that WE are the monsters. Still doesn’t change my previous thoughts.
The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
Directed by Erle C. Kenton
Starring Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi, Cedric Hardwicke, Ralph Bellamy, Lionel Atwill, Evelyn Ankers, Janet Ann Gallow, Barton Yarborough, Dwight Frye
There are certain movies from our childhood that still hold a type of charm over us. Ones that when watching it as an adult, even though the film might have flaws, or just isn’t the best, it still is able to recreate the same feeling it did upon that first viewing, all those years ago. The Ghost of Frankenstein is one of those for me. I still consider the original 1931 Frankenstein film one of my favorites and a much better film, but for some reason, I’d probably be more likely to sit down and watch Ghost on some afternoon than the original. Maybe because watching the original, I view it more like an adult, but with Ghost, it makes me feel like a 14 year old kid again watching it on my 13-inch black and white TV. That was when I first got to see this and I can still remember sitting there in my room, eyes glued to the little television set.
Directed by E.W. Swackhamer
Starring Jason Miller, Richard Lynch, E.G. Marshall, Michael Tucker, Joe Spinell, Barrie Youngfellow, Jonelle Allen, Jessica Walter
At a ground breaking ceremony for a new church, a huge cross towers behind the podium where a priest is blessing the site. The shadow of the cross falls across the land behind the small stage. Where the cross is casting a shadow, the earth has turned black, as if burnt, and is smoldering. Later that night, a hand breaks through the dirt, pulling its owner to the surface. Rising from his grave for the first time in 30 years, a creature of the night returns to stalk the city of San Francisco. And so starts the 1979 made-for-TV movie simply titled Vampire.
The Loreley’s Grasp (1974)
Directed by Amando de Ossorio
Starring Tony Kendall, Helga Liné, Silvia Tortosa, Josefina Jartin, Loreta Tovar, José Thelman, Luis Induni, Ángel Menéndez, Luis Barboo
Back in the early 80’s, I went to a midnight screening of some horror movie called When the Screaming Stopped. I had never even heard of it before, but they were passing out barf bags, so how could this not be an awesome movie! Years later, I would discover that this was the re-titling of a Spanish horror movie from Amando de Ossorio, the very man who gave us the Blind Dead series. But the feature at hand was actually Las garras de Lorelei, or The Loreley’s Grasp. Looking back, this was might have been my first introduction to Spanish horror, and probably the first time my eyes laid upon the beauty was is Helga Liné. But more on that later. Since they were passing out barf bags, the movie had to be gory, right? And at that time in my life, gore was what I was looking for. The film did deliver, on many levels. It would be years later before I truly appreciated it for what it is. And that, is one hell of a fun time.
El Vampiro (1957)
Directed by Fernando Méndez
Starring Abel Salazar, Ariadna Welter, Carmen Montejo, José Luis Jiménez, Mercedes Soler, Germán Robles
One of the things that I am always trying to promote here on the Krypt is to Discover the Horror, meaning always seeking out films that might be outside of your vision. Whether its older films or ones made in different parts of the world, you never know when you’re going to come across a great piece of cinema, no matter when and where it was made. And one of the reasons I’m always waving that flag is that I want people to learn from my mistakes. I wasn’t always like that, but would be happier to stay inside my little comfort zone. So many years ago, when I was a younger and dumber horror fan, I resisted any other horror sub-genre. My reasoning back then was that there was already too many of the regular titles that I hadn’t seen, so I didn’t want to add to that ever growing list. Thankfully a friend of mine, went against my wishes and sent me a few tapes with some of the Mexican horror movies from the 50’s, such as The Bloody Vampire and Curse of the Crying Woman. And after watching them, not only was I hooked, but I also started to see the errors of my way. Thanks Monster Mark! With so much great stuff out there, from all different countries, you really don’t want to limit yourself. You will miss a lot. Trust me.
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)
Directed Dario Argento
Starring Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Enrico Maria Salemo, Eva Renzi, Umberto Raho, Renato Romano, Giuseppe Castellano
This is a very important title to Italian horror fans. It is, of course, the directorial debut of Dario Argento, and what would be the first film in his ‘animal trilogy’. It was this picture that would start Argento down his path as one of the most popular Italian directors, whose career has spanned more than five decades. Sure, some might frown upon some of Argento’s later films, even from the last couple of decades. But no matter how bad you might consider those films, that doesn’t change the fact that the titles in the early part of his career still are stunning classics and, more importantly, still effective today. As Troy Howarth points out in his commentary that is featured on this new disc from Arrow Video, “His reputation as one of the most influential and imaginative of genre filmmakers can never be taken away from him.” So there you go.