Just when I was content with not getting into collecting a lot of these horror action figures or collectible figures, I hear about some of these Hammer figures that Mego is now putting out. These are all 8″ figures that pre-orders are being taken now. The two they announced last week were for The Gorgon and The Mummy. Which, while they were not bad looking and only priced at $20 each, it didn’t make me change my mind on having to collect them.Continue reading
Horror scholar David J. Skal has a new book coming out this fall, just in time for Halloween, entitled Fright Favorites: 31 Movies to Haunt Your Halloween and Beyond. Presented by Turner Classic Movies, Skal takes on 31 films ranging from the silent era, hitting a few titles from each decade through the ’80s, and a few beyond that. Most of these everyone will agree are classics, with a few comedies listed in the later day titles. The description in Amazon says they are “family-friendly” but not sure The Exorcist (1973) and The Thing (1982) are ones I would be screening for 8-year old Timmy! Continue reading
Born Jan. 16th, 1890 – Died May 3rd, 1969
Karl Freund was a German cinematographer that worked with some other top names in the business: Robert Wiene, F.W. Murnau, and Fritz Lang. When he finally made his way over to the states, Universal quickly put him under contract, where he would photograph several of their films, including a few horror films like Dracula (1931) and Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932). He would eventually direct a few films, two of them being horror, and both of which have become classics. The first one was The Mummy (1932) starring Boris Karloff, the second one was Mad Love (1935), starring Peter Lorre. This would be his last film as a director.
Freund went back to being a cameraman, because that is what he knew best. He won an Oscar for Best Cinematography for The Good Earth (1937), nominated again for Blossoms in the Dust (1941), and was given an Oscar in 1955 in the Technical Achievement department for the design and development of a direct reading brightness meter. He eventually went to work in television, specifically on the I Love Lucy show, and helped developed the 3-camera system for filming TV shows, which is still being used today. He also developed a new way of lighting the sitcoms, making them look a lot better than what they had been.
So while he was obviously a very talented cameraman, and gave the industry some amazing technical advances, he also gave us horror fans some great movies to watch, which we still continue to do today!
Because our September and October wasn’t filling up already, the Music Box has decided to screen some of the Universal classics in their Universal Horror: A Matinee Series, starting at 11:30am on each weekend listed below. Plus the fact that these are all being screened from 35mm prints! Now is your chance to see some of these essential titles from our horror history but on the big screen like they were meant to be seen! Here’s the schedule for this series:
Just to get this out there right away, my Best / Worse lists always consists of films that I watched for the first time in 2017, not necessarily that they came out. Most of the films I watch are from DVD or Blu-Ray and I don’t make it to the theater too often to see them when they first come out. Or they might be an older film that I’m seeing for the first time. So no matter when it actually came out, it still is a new movie to me.
I got through 209 films this year, 77 of them were first-time viewings for me. That is a little lower than normal for us, but I’ve been spending a lot of time working on a side project that will hopefully see the light of day this year. Then I can get back to watching more movies!
So here are the top five that I watched in 2017 that made the most impact on me this year.
The Monster Movies of Universal Studios
By James L. Neibaur
Published by Rowman & Littlefield, 2017. 213 pages.
Anytime there is a book about the Universal monster movies, then count me in, since I’m always up for revisiting these classic films. Of course, the only problem is that since this subject has been written about just a few times before, it might be tough to come up with something new and different for readers to get information that have haven’t several times before. But overall, I think that Neibaur does a good job discussing these films.
After a very brief history of Universal Studios (which could be a book on it’s own), the it follows all the movies from there that feature their main set of monsters: Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. So any film that featured one of these monsters, or possibly their descendent, the title is covered. There is a total of 29 features covered here, starting with 1931’s Dracula and ending with The Creature Walks Among Us (1956), with each chapter covering each of the titles. The credits and cast are listed, before Neibaur gets into details of each film, such as the plot, information about the people involved, and some other trivia as well.
The Turn to Gruesomeness in American Horror Films, 1931 to 1936
By Jon Towlson
Published by McFarland, 2015. 240 pages
One of the wonderful things about reading up on the history of horror films is that there is always something new and interesting that can be learned once a subject is really put under the magnifying glass. Now this isn’t to say that if you look for something you’ll find it, even if it isn’t there, but Towlson has done a great deal of research to back up his thoughts and ideas in this recent book. It also shows that no matter how long you’ve been a fan, there is always more to learn.