The Black Sleep (1956)
Directed by Reginald Le Borg
Starring Basil Rathbone, Akim Tamiroff, Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Bela Lugosi,
Herbert Rudley, Patricia Blair, Phyllis Stanley, Tor Johnson
Basil Rathbone stars as Dr. Joel Cadman, who is obsessed with discovering the mysteries of the human brain. His wife is in a coma due to a brain tumor, so he is determined to discover a way how to save her, even if this means through un-ethical experimental operations on live patients to find that cure. He saves a fellow doctor, Dr. Ramsey, from the gallows who was wrongly accused. He does this by use of a drug he found in India, which he calls the Black Sleep. Once taken, it makes the person appear to be dead, even to the prison’s doctor. Once another injection is given, the “dead” comes back to life. For this favor, Cadman wants the young doctor to assist him in his experiments. But once Ramsey discovers that Cadman is experimenting on live subjects, he realizes he must find away to escape this madness.
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.
This interview was conducted on June 27th, 1999, and was my very first interview for the Krypt. I was nervous as hell, but I have to say I couldn’t have picked a nicer guy for my first one. I’d been a fan of Hill’s work, especially Spider Baby, so this really was a thrill for me. This was done back right before the first DVD release of Spider Baby was coming out. Hope you enjoy it.
Kitley’s Krypt: How did the idea or concept of Spider Baby come about?
Lon Chaney Jr. – Horror Film Star, 1906 – 1973
By Don G. Smith
Published by McFarland & Company, 1996. 236 pages
Doug Hobart is a name that up until a couple of years ago, I had no idea who he was. But because of an unusual birthday cake my wife Dawn made for me, not only would I find out just who Doug Hobart was, but I would eventually get to interview him. Every year for my birthday, I screen two movies in our backyard for a bunch of friends. This one particular year, the films were two Florida based movies, ZAAT and Sting of Death. For the cake (pictured below), my wife made a battle between the two title creatures from these movies. It was such an amazing cake, that once I posted a photo of it on Facebook, it was getting a lot of responses, even from people like cult directors Frank Henenlotter, Fred Olen Ray, and even William Grefe, who directed Sting of Death. Well, Fred Olen Ray made a comment and tagged someone named Doug Hobart. So I looked up the name on IMDB and was shocked not only to find out that he was the guy who played the jellyfish creature, but was on Facebook as well. So I quicky sent him a note, asking if he’d be willing to do an interview with me. A short time later, I was on the phone with him, hearing some amazing stories of his life in show business, which you’ll find below.