Sacred to Death (1947)
Director: Christy Cabanne
Main Stars: Bela Lugosi, George Zucco, Molly Lamont
Storyline: From the morgue a young woman describes the tales of her death
Review (Spoils): The movie starts with the young Laura (Molly Lamont) lying on a slab in the morgue as she describes her tale of what has led to her being there. (with some added music each time). This story is flawed very bad and the acting and lines within the film is a disaster. Laura believes that she is being held against her will by her father in-law and husband and is being haunted by some unknown character in a blue green mask. The unknown connection between the haunting masked character, the father in-law doctor (George Zucco), the traveling professor (Bela Lugosi) and the over reacting Laura is explained. Sorry it never is really explained as the whole story line is a mess.
The film gives us a freight train thrown off the tracks for story line and acting. The film tries to be funny and fails. The film tries to scary and it fails. There is not a lot going for this film to be honest as it is a complete mess.
Rating: The only thing going for this film is it’s a rare colored filmed with Bela Lugosi. The idea of her telling the tale is super annoying and you can drink to it every time you hear the very bad eerie music after each scene she introduces. I hate to be hard on this film, but I really cannot find one thing that I did enjoy about it. It was boring, confusing and long. This was a bad idea from the start and when the ending happens finally you are still mad at it.
Night Monster (1942)
Director: Ford Beebe
Main Stars: Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Leif Erickson, Ralph Morgan, Irene Hervey
Storyline: A rich recluse invites doctors to come to his mansion located in the swamp to meet their deaths.
Review (Spoils): Crippled Kurt Ingston (Ralph Morgan) lives in the swamp with his daughter Margaret. Her sanity is being checked as she is acting strange but seems healthy. All the doctors that have been assigned to her and her father are invited to the lonely mansion located in the swamps. During the visit one of the doctors end up murdered and they must track down the killer before more die.
I personally started off this film picturing this to be a monster film staring Bela Lugosi, wow was I wrong. He is barely in the film and plays a secondary part in the film as a spooky butler. Instead the film becomes a murder mystery surrounding around the mysterious Ingston family and the medical professionals that were involved with them. The film is dark and has lots of fog as that is what you get when you live in the swamp. The sound effects in the film also play a nice game as when the murders happen the sound goes blank.
Rating: The film is actually not bad for something that I thought would have a monster movie. But yet again it is a more of murder mystery than a horror film even though the energy of the film is very dark. The plot and aspect of the film did not make sense what’s so ever but the characters were well acted and written so it can be forgiven.
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
Director: Edward D.Wood Jr.
Main Stars: Gregory Walcott, Tom Keene, Mona McKinnon, Tor Johnso, Bela Lugosi, Maila Nurmi
Storyline: Aliens invade the world to create zombies and vampires to create the perfect world.
Review (Spoils): A man and his wife die within days of each other and get captured by aliens and bring them back to life. The aliens hope to stop mankind from creating a powerful bomb that could affect the whole universe. But to make matters worse we have a flying hubcap of a spaceship being spotted by people and they call the army for help!
Ok not sure where to start with this cult classic except that man this film is bad……………..real BAD. The acting and the writing is just put together last minute and does not make sense. We have scenes switching from day to night back to day in the same damn scene. We have some cheesy effects, cardboard acting and background and a never ending replay of Bela Lugosi scene shot (as he died during the making of the film). We have a sci-fi thriller that has no thrills but at the same time is not the worse piece on my screen.
Rating: Ok some good points of the film, don’t take it serious, the last film of Bela Lugosi, we love Tor Johnson, we have Vampiria and it is suppose to be horrible. The bad points of this film, the storyline is weak and after eight attempts you would think to give up? A cult classic and a Ed Wood classic, it’s a film you need to see just to say that you did.
Filed under Vampire, Zombie
Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)
Director: Robert Florey
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Sidney Fox, Leon Ames
Storyline: Dr. Mirakle kidnaps women and injects them with ape blood to prove evolution.
Review: Dr. Mirakle (Bela Lugosi) is trying so hard to prove evolution and the connection of man and ape. He starts to kidnap young women as the city thinks he is mad and a pagan. He uses his ape to kidnap the young beautiful Camille (Sidney Fox) and this starts an investigation. All points to the mad doctor and he tries to inject her with the formal before being found but in the end it leads to a roof top chase with the ape carrying the maiden and police having a shoot out, as the mad doctor dies at the hands of the ape.
This movie is like Frankenstein meets King Kong. The villains are well played the lead woman is a damsel in distress. The roof top scene is a classic for me when it comes to b/w horror and it is memorable.
Rating: This is a classic horror film; it is driven with character build and plot. We have a classic ape and classic Bela Lugosi.
Mark of the Vampire (1935)
Director: Tod Browning
Main Stars: Bela Lugosi, Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan, Carroll Borland
Storyline: A body has been found drained of all its blood and he has bite marks on the neck. Vampires are to be blamed.
Review (Spoils): Sir Karell Borotin is found dead drained of all blood. Vampires that are located near the village are too blamed for this. Count Mora (Bela Lugosi) and his very gothic and strange daughter Luna (Carroll Borland) are believed to be the murders. Professor Zelin (Lionel Barrymore) uses the beautiful daughter Irena (Elizabeth Allan) of the victim as trap to lure the vampires out.
The storyline itself is not very thick but the gothic intensity of the film is. Tod Browning did it again with this film as it is very dark, gloomy and the sound effects are awesome for its time. Bela Lugosi steals the show with his presence this time as Count Mora. Carroll Borland plays the very dark and perfect goth girl Luna in which she has no lines her presence speaks for itself. Her eeriness and loneliness fills the screen with dread. The only real down fall of this film is Lionel Barrymore who I fell overacted the part.
Rating: Bela Lugosi brings himself to the screen again but this time as another leading vampire by the name of Count Mora. The gloom and darkness of the rare gem is enough to hold as a classic film. Not as great as Dracula but it still holds its own.
White Zombie (1932)
Director: Victor Halperin
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy
Storyline: A young man goes to a witch doctor to help him lure a woman he loves from her fiancé but instead she becomes a zombie slave to do his bidding.
Review (spoils): A young man loves the beautiful eyed Madeline (Madge Bellamy) but she is engaged to another man. This leads him to go to Legendre (Bela Lugosi ) for help. What he finds out that he is a man of voodoo and he creates her like other members of his cult into a zombie slave under his control. He controls the young girl by carving a wax candle into her liking and uses it to his control. In the end the man wants to save her from being a slave and kills Legendre by pushing him off a rocky cliff and releasing her from his mental grasp.
The camera work in this film is well done (lots of eye shots) and the scenery is beautiful. But the storyline itself is kind of flawed and boring. Once Legendre is killed Madeline gets released so she can love again but the other zombies under his control walked off the cliff? This just seems cheesy and botched. The movie dragged on too long with the plot.
Rating: Sure it’s a classic and it has Bela Lugosi but there are better ones out there that involve zombies even if this one was one of the first. It sure is worth watching at least once if your into the voodoo type zombie films.
Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943)
Director: Roy William Neill
Main Stars: Ilona Massey, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr.
Storyline: Larry Talbot has escaped death from the grave and is still battling his infliction. He finds the Frankenstein monster in a block of ice and releases him. The two battle to the destruction of the Frankenstein castle.
Review (Spoils): Once again Lon Chaney Jr. Graces the screen as the Wolfman and tries to find a cure for his disease. He comes across the Baroness Elsa Frankenstein (Ilona Massey) in hope to cure him. During all this he travels into the ruins of the castle and finds the remaining monster (Bela Lugosi) trapped in a block of ice. He frees him in hope to use the monster to get the Baroness to help him.
The film can be slow moving and really how many offspring can there be for the Frankenstein family line? The over acting of Ilona Massey is painful and so is the accent that she tries to pull off. Bela Lugosi has never been a good Frankenstein monster as he is body type just does not fit the part. But as for the bright side of the film Lon Chaney Jr. steals the show as the Wolfman yet again.
Rating: This movie is more of miss than a hit which is too bad. The Wolfman is the best part of the whole film but the rest is over acting and terrible makeup. The storyline is starting to become the same over and over again.
Director: Erle C. Kenton
Main Stars: Lon Chaney Jr, Cedric Hardwicke, Ralph Bellamy, Bela Lugosi, Evelyn Ankers, Lionel Atwill
Storyline: Right after the public destroyed Ygor and Frankenstein monster they both reemerge from the ruin castle. They fee to the second of Dr. Frankenstein to hide themselves away.
Review (Spoils): This is forth in the Universal Frankenstein series and this time Ygor (Bela Lugosi ) returns and resurrects the monster (Lon Chaney Jr). They head to the second son of Dr. Frankenstein Ludwig (Cedric Hardwicke) and look for some shelter to hide from the torch barring public. Before the meet the doctor the Frankenstein monster meets with a young girl and helps her get her ball from a high area in the town square the people read his intentions wrong and he gets arrested and goes to court. The monster is chained to the chair while the question him which is useless. Ludwig decides to take the monster in his care as it was his father’s creation. All through it all Ludwig gets visited by his father’s ghost telling him resurrect the monster after changing its brain with a smart brain. In this confusion Ludwig’s assistants gets talked into by Ygor to use his brain instead without telling Ludwig. This is done without the doctors knowledge till the voice of Ygor goes out of the monsters mouth. In the finally battle again the monster is in a crumbling building that is in flames.
The cast does a great job in this film and I was actually impressed with Lon Chaney Jr playing the monster. (I was worried with this) Bela Lugosi steals the show again as playing the creeping Ygor. Evelyn Ankers might not have a huge part in the storyline but she was very entertaining but once again a real charmer of the film. The low part of the film is the ghost itself which was very lame and it did not look like Colin Clive at all, very dumb scene.
Rating: For being the fourth in the series this was not too bad. Sure it can be a little repetitive with the doctors, the assistants and ending in a burning building but Lon Chaney Jr did a great job playing the monster. Grabs some beers and have a final toast to Ygor!
Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Director: Rowland V. Lee
Main Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone
Storyline: The son of Dr. Frankenstein fines his father’s creation and revives him. What he did not know is that Ygor is the one controlling him.
Review (Spoils): Following up from The Bride of Frankenstein Wolf Von Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone) returns to the manor with his wife and son and they are not overly welcomed by the residents due to his father’s past. Igor (Bela Lugosi) is living in the basement as he was his father’s last assistant but he has a surprise for him as the monster (Boris Karloff) is here but in a coma. The monster gets revived and loses all speech and starts from scratch. The film is all star when it comes to cast we have Boris Karloff playing the monster for the last time in his sheep wool vest and leather and Bela Lugosi plays the classic Igor the strange broken neck assistant of the late Dr. Frankenstein. Yes Basil Rathbone is not as strong as the past doctor character of the past two films but still memorable as it ends this great trilogy from Universal. The settings of the scenery are breath taking and being a third film of the series the movie has not lost its charm. The castle alone is worth the viewing in this film. Rowland V. Lee continues what James Whale started.
Rating: This movie is a great third part of the Universal series. We have some of the most classic horror characters with Frankenstein monster and Igor steals the show as it is Bela Lugosi at one of his best (next to Dracula of course). Yes the son Billy can be annoying and just does not fit in the film but this is one of favorites of the Universal films.
The Wolfman (1941)
Director: George Waggner
Main Stars: Lon Chaney Jr, Claude Rains, Bela Lugosi, Evelyn Ankers
Storyline: Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr) goes back to Wales and stays with a group of gypsies. During this stay a werewolf (Bela Lugosi) attacks the group and Larry gets bite during the battle. Larry Talbot becomes the Wolfman and haunts the nearby forest as he battles his inner curse.
Review: Another great Universal Film of horror. We have Lon Chaney’s son playing the cursed Wolfman to become one of the most classic horror characters of its time. This film has a very solid storyline and the haunting wood is done very well. This is one of my favorites of this time period and the make-up is very well done for its time. Yes the film editing can be lame when the Wolfman (Lon Chaney Jr) does the transformation but hey its 1941!
Rating: We have Lon Chaney Jr and Bela Lugosi together what can go wrong? Great storyline and I love the added touch of the pentagram. Crack out the pints as this werewolf howls a good time!