Die Monster Die! (1965)
Director: Daniel Haller
Main Stars: Boris Karloff, Nick Adams, Freda Jackson, Suzan Farmer
Storyline: A wheelchair bound scientist brings on evil to his estate when he welcomes a green glowing meteorite
Review (Spoils): Nahum Witley (Boris Karloff) has no idea what he has brought to his house when discovers a meteorite and see’s a as a godsend. When a young man visits his girlfriend Susan (Suzan Farmer) to her estate with her wheelchair bound father we learn all is not as it seems. The mysterious Letitia (Freda Jackson) lies behind a curtain in her bed and the staff are dropping dead. But Nahum has kept the great rock locked in the basement where it can glow and present such glory to the family.
While watching the film I was not sure what to expect but it had a Hammer feel to it. When the movie starts to go about half way through there was some stuff in that surprised me that I felt Evil dead took from. The plant over taking Susan and the ending with Letitia and the melting head. The movie has some goo, lots of green glowing and even some cheesie special glowing man effects.
Rating: This film was more sci-fi than an actual horror film. But Boris and Suzan Farmer dragged me into the film to check it out. Plus, it had monster in the title. The movie is a bit silly at times and even laughable towards the end, but I did like the parts that reminded me of the Evil Dead.
Filed under Monster, Occult
Isle of the Dead (1945)
Director: Mark Robson
Main Stars: Boris Karloff, Ellen Drew, Marc Cramer, Katherine Emery
Storyline: On a Greek island during the war people are quarantined on the island due to a plague
Review (Spoils): During the war of 1912, people are trapped on an island located on the side of Greece. Legend and tales from a peasant woman is spread that there is a haunting presence of an undead spirit vampire known as the vorvolaka. The people on the island are told by the general (Boris Karloff) that they cannot leave due to a plague that is causing people to feel ill, weak and then slow death. The battle of legend and politics starts to happen between the people on the island as the sickness spreads. Does the faith in the goddess over power the tales of the spirit of evil.
The setting of this film is well done as it builds the backdrop of the war and the environment of the island. We have Boris Karloff not playing really the monster in this case but instead the hardheaded general who is trying to protect the people but at the same time contain the plague. Katherine Emery plays the part of the woman who fears of being buried alive which does come to terms within the film. Of course, we have the lovely Ellen Drew playing the lead woman who may or may not be a vorvolaka spirit.
Rating: This is actually not a bad film but there is something that is missing from the formula. Not sure if it was because they did not get into the details of the haunting evil spirit idea or it was lacking scares. Ellen Drew was great and of course so was Boris Karloff but something when it came to the horror of the tale was missing. Except of course, the scene of live person in a coffin scratching is a nice touch.
Director: Mark Robson
Main Stars: Boris Karloff, Anne Lee, Billy House
Storyline: A madman owner of an asylum takes revenge on a young woman.
Review (Spoils): Nell Bowen (Anne Lee) becomes interested in the people and the well being of the Bethlehem Asylum. When she enters into the asylum she starts to show concerns on how the place is ran by Master Sims (Boris Karloff). He does not like someone pussy footing around in his sick business so he plays a master plan of having Nell committed to the asylum.
I personally have to admit I love the Master Sims character, Boris Karloff did a fantastic job playing the role out and it made the film fun to watch. The conflict between both main characters Nell and Sims was enjoyable and it built the plot up and the main storyline. The film does not really scare as it is not meant too but instead works on dialogue and the chances of what it would be like to be the sane one in an asylum.
Rating: This was a fun film and the relationship between the two main characters kept me glued to the screen. Sure it is not a classic Universal monster film but it holds a darkness and gloomy mood which falls under horror. Grabs some beers and watch Boris Karloff become another classic villain.
The Raven (1963)
Director: Roger Corman
Main Stars: Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, Hazel Court
Storyline: A magic user has been turned into a raven and turns to his former sorcerer to help him.
Review (Spoils): This is based on the Edgar Allan Poe poem which Vincent Price is known to do. What we have is Bedlo (Peter Lorre) comes to Dr. Craven (Vincent Price) for help as he has been turned into a raven from an evil wizard named Scarabus (Boris Karloff). Through this we also learn that Scarabus has enchanted Craven’s long lost wife Lenore (Hazel Court) who he believed to be dead!
The acting is well done in the film but the horror is lacking in this Poe film unlike other films that Vincent Price has done. This is film is more of spoof then actually to be taken serious even the special effects are a little silly. Nothing shocking here except some crazy spell effects.
Rating: As for Vincent Price films this one lacks as there are a lot better ones out there to checkout for the king of macabre.
House of Frankenstein (1944)
Director: Erle C.Kenton
Main Stars: Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr, John Carradine, Anne Gwynne, Elena Verdugo, Glenn Strange
Storyline: Dr. Niemann and his hunch back assistant escape the asylum. In their journey they revive Count Dracula, the Wolf Man and find the Frankenstein Monster.
Review (Spoils): Being the fourth in the Frankenstein series this movie kind of falls all over the place. First we Dr. Niemann (Boris Karloff) and his hunchback assistant trapped in prison. They escape by a strange lightning storm that hits the building. The doctor stumbles upon the coffin of Dracula (John Carradine ) from a freak show circus and they revive him from removing the stake. To add to the madness of their plan they come across the frozen body of the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr) and the Monster (Glenn Strange). They start a fire and revive both to use in their plan for revenge. All in this jumble of a storyline the hunchback falls in love with a gypsy woman (Elena Verdugo) but learns that she truly loves Larry Talbot which a silver bullet leads to both their deaths.
Boris Karloff does an amazing job playing a madman that wants to bring all the monsters back to life for his own revenge and pleasure. The ending scene is memorable to the fate of the Dr. Niemann character.
Lon Chaney Jr always plays the Larry Talbot character perfectly. In my eyes he will always be the Wolf Man.
Rating: This movie was not bad but it was a kind of all over the place with storyline. The whole Dracula plot could have been left out as it held not meat top the film. As time grows with the Universal films of horror they do become weaker.
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 Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Director: James Whale
Main Stars: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, Ernest Thesiger, Dwight Frye
Storyline: The Monster of Frankenstein story continues right after the burning of the mill. The Monster lived and he is on the hunt for friendship so that he can understand this world. A mad scientist named Doctor Pretorius talks Dr. Frankenstein into creating a new monster to continue the dream of the man made race.
Review (Spoils): The movie starts out with Mary Shelley (Elsa Lanchester) describing her book that she is writing and how the story does not end with the burning of the mill the night the Monster (Boris Karloff )supposedly died. This is a nice added touch to the film and it is a nice change to what was done in the first film. Actually this film does a lot different than the original film bringing some more humanity to the Monster such as the longing for friendship and love. The film touches this with the Monster coming upon the blind man and filling in companionship with drink, smoke, eating and even the lessons of speech. This added a nice touch to the film even though I’m a not a huge fan of the talking Monster. The film is also graced with two madmen this round who are the true monsters of the film. We have the classic Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) again andnow an even more macabre madman named Doctor Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger) it was excellent acting on both parts. This film was a perfect sequel to the classic film.
The only parts that I felt did not mend well with the film were the experiments of Dr. Pretorius with the little people which just make it more silly than interesting. Another part that was too bad was the lack of the presence of the bride herself (Elsa Lanchester) who did an outstanding job with the twitchy movements and her gorgeous eyes that help her become more sinister and shocking. More screen time of the bride would have been great as she was great in this film.
Rating: This is a must see for horror fans and it is an awesome piece to add to the Frankenstein series. Elsa Lanchester does a breath taking job playing the bride it is just unfortunate on the lack of the character in the movie.