As a young horror fan, Boris Karloff was the first of my horror heroes, and all of these years later, remains my all-time favorite. He was the first one that I knew the name of the person who was behind the monsters that he played. That came from probably his most famous role as the creature in James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931), or possibly because he narrated the Grinch, but I would later learn and appreciate more and more of his roles.
One reason for this was due to Richard Bojarski’s book The Films of Boris Karloff, which I checked out so often from my middle school library that I was told I couldn’t check it out any longer, to apparently give others a chance to check it out. I would page through there, looking at all the different roles that he appeared in, especially the horror ones, and dream of the day when I might be able to stumble across it on TV some Saturday afternoon. Oh, how naïve we were back then, huh?
While we all love monsters, there is something about films that can still be creepy in what they don’t show us instead. Producer Val Lewton was a genius at that. In this episode, we delved into the light within the darkness, deep into the shadows, where atmosphere is king. We cover three titles from the talented producer, but Lewton was so much more than just that. While he only produced a handful of films, the ones he did in the early ’40s remain not only classics but set the standard for what a low budget horror film could look like when you had the talent behind it.
Sit back, turn the light down low, and get ready to learn about how you can show very little onscreen, but still make some well-acted, smart, and scary little films.
The films mentioned in this episode are:
The Body Snatcher (1945), The Cat People (1942), Cat People (1982), The Curse of the Cat People (1944), Curse of the Demon (1957), The Haunting (1963), House of Frankenstein (1944), Isle of the Dead (1945), I Walked with a Zombie (1943), King of the Zombies (1941), The Last Patrol (1934), Revenge of the Zombies (1943), Revolt of the Zombies (1936), The Tale of Two Cities (1935), White Zombie (1932), Zombie (1979)