Terence Fisher – The Brides of Dracula (1960)

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The vampire Baron Meinster (David Peel) terrorizes a girl’s academy, and it’s up to Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) to stop him…

Following the phenomenal success of their 1958 version of Dracula (released in the U.S. as Horror Of Dracula), Hammer Studios mulled over the idea for the inevitable sequel. 1960’s The Brides Of Dracula is misleadingly titled, in that Dracula himself never appears, but it’s a worthy follow-up that, for many fans, actually eclipses the original. Precisely why Dracula doesn’t factor into the narrative is open to speculation. Hammer was obviously looking to capitalize on their biggest success, so why not bring back Christopher Lee to essay the role that made him famous? Some sources indicate that Lee refused a sequel, fearing that he’d become typecast in the role just as Bela Lugosi had been before him. Yet other sources, including Lee himself, refute this claim. Regardless, despite its title, Brides Of Dracula charts the exploits of Dracula’s disciple, Baron Meinster. Establishing continuity between the two films is the heroic/obsessed Dr. Van Helsing, played once again by Peter Cushing. Continue reading Terence Fisher – The Brides of Dracula (1960)

George Waggner – The Climax (1944)

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In old Vienna, Count Seebruck (Thomas Gomez) is the impresario for the Royal Theatre. His biggest headache is his soprano diva, Jarmila (Jane Farrar). That’s why he’s more than willing to listen his aide Carl’s nephew, Franz (Turhan Bey), and Franz’s fiance, soprano Angela (Susanna Foster). Her voice sounds remarkably like the Royal Theatre long-lost star, Marcellina (June Vincent), who mysteriously disappeared ten years before.
Her disappearance is no mystery to Dr. Friedrich Hohner (Boris Karloff), the theatre’s physician. Spurned by former lover Marcellina, Dr. Hohner remembers back (in a flashback) to the night she finally rejected him, as well as her strangulation death — by his own hands. When Dr. Hohner hears Angela sing, he at first thinks it’s Marcellina, come back to haunt him again. However, when he sees Angela, he immediately schemes to silence her singing voice. Will Angela sing for the King’s (Scotty Beckett) command performance of The Magic Voice? Well…. Continue reading George Waggner – The Climax (1944)

Ewald Andre Dupont – The Neanderthal Man (1953)

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Wheeler, a tourist-hunter in the California High Sierras, is not believed by the patrons of Webb’s Cafe when he claims to have run across a live tiger with tusks. Among the scoffers is game-warden Oakes – until he is driving home later that night and the critter hops on the hood of his car. Oakes convinces a skeptical Dr. Harkness, state university zoologist, to come to the small town to investigate. At Webbs’, Harkness meets Ruth, fiancée of Prof. Groves who maintains his home and lab outside the town, and thru her meets Groves’ daughter, Jan. Groves himself is down in the city, angrily trying to convince the Naturalists’ Society of the truth of his theory that the size of skull and brain equate with intelligence, and therefore Neanderthal man was equal, if not superior, to Homo sapiens. He is rejected, and by the time he returns home, seems completely unhinged, rejecting his fiancée and secluding himself in his lab. There, he has developed a serum with which he is experimenting. After Harkness and Oakes kill the tiger – indeed, a sabre-toothed tiger, which vanishes when they go to Groves’ for help retrieving the body – they begin hearing of a grotesque humanoid in torn clothing, which has killed a couple of local men and assaulted Nola, Webbs’ waitress; and join the Sheriff in attempting to solve this new mystery, which is clearly connected to Groves’ experiments. Continue reading Ewald Andre Dupont – The Neanderthal Man (1953)

Ferdinand Diehl – Die Sieben Raben AKA The Seven Ravens (1937)

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A peasant father sends his seven sons to fetch water for their sickly young sister but when he curses them for not returning soon enough, they turn into ravens and disappear. Many years later when the sister is grown up, she sets out in search of her brothers but that will be a long and dangerous journey.

This very gothic horror fantasy animation from the Third Reich is a masterpiece. It is based on one of the German fairytales by Grimm brothers and about 120 puppets were used during the production. Continue reading Ferdinand Diehl – Die Sieben Raben AKA The Seven Ravens (1937)

Jennifer Kent – The Babadook (2014)

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THE BABADOOK was the breakout horror hit of Sundance 2014, and has been terrorising audiences around the world ever since. This creepy, expertly crafted feature has been a critical and audience scary favourite, winning a slew of awards for best film, best actress, best director etc. Which suits Mister Babadook just fine because he is a conceited asshole and loves people heaping praise on his film. Continue reading Jennifer Kent – The Babadook (2014)

Carl Boese & Paul Wegener – Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam aka The Golem: How He Came Into the World [+Extras] (1920)

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Classic Horror Review :

Emanating from Jewish folklore, the legend of the “golem” has transfixed audiences for centuries. Although when used pejoratively the word “golem” describes a moronic person easily manipulated, the word often refers to any mythical creature animated from inanimate materials such as clay, sand, or stone.

One of the most popular “golems” appears in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Spelled “Gollum,” Tolkien’s character shares similarities with creatures that haunted Jewish legends, particularly the golem featured in director Paul Wegener’s 1920 silent classic, The Golem. Both suffer from split personalities and possess hybrid traits: Gollum is part human, part frog, fish, etc.; many Jewish golems, including Wegener’s, are monsters made of inanimate objects that carry human traits. Both have been damned or punished, and in both instances, the creatures start well intentioned but transform into evil beings, usually due to gluttony, greed, wrath, envy, or pride. Thus, they are morally “gray,” and like Wegener’s monster, Tolkien’s has often been depicted as gray in color to symbolize this amorality, most notably in Peter Jackson’s recent films. Continue reading Carl Boese & Paul Wegener – Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam aka The Golem: How He Came Into the World [+Extras] (1920)

Pierre Chenal – La foire aux chimères aka Carnival of Illusions (1946)

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A word from an expert on the area: dbmonteil of the IMDb:

“La Foire aux chimères” is a jewel, a sparkling diamond. It would deserve one hundred comments, and that would not be enough.

Pierre Chenal was a film noir director who made moderately successful movies before the war: “L’Alibi” which featured von Stroheim too and his first version of “The Postman always rings twice “, “Le Dernier Tournant (1939). But the 1946 work is much superior, being at once a film noir, a baroque melodrama and a fairy tale.

Frank, a disfigured man (von Stroheim) meets at a fair a beautiful blind long-haired blonde Jeanne (Madeleine Sologne) who is a knives thrower’s partner; this man, Robert, has a lover, Clara. Jeanne marries the ugly man, undergoes an operation and recovers sight. But,as says Marilou, Frank’s housekeeper a proverb says “happiness is a misfortune you cannot see”. Continue reading Pierre Chenal – La foire aux chimères aka Carnival of Illusions (1946)