Tag Archives: Tod Browning

The Devil Doll (1936)

The Devil Doll (1936)

Country:  USA

Director:  Tod Browning

Main Stars:  Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O’Sullivan, Frank Lawton

Storyline:  A lunatic and a banker uses mini people to grant revenge against the ones that fraud him.

Review (Spoils): Paul Lavond (Lionel Barrymore) is a banker but he was framed for robbery and murder and placed into prison. He escapes in time and with the help of scientist friend who can create little people (reducing real people smaller) and plan revenge.

Therefore, the story begins with the tale of the banker being wrong by his associates and wants everyone to pay for that backstab (fair enough). He meets a maniac in prison named Marcel who can create creatures and reduce them to inches. After Marcel’s death, the banker uses his tools to over take his plan of revenge. He plays most of the movie as Madame Mandilip who owns a doll shop as a front to over up his revenge.

The majority of this film is Madame Mandilip (Lionel Barrymore posing as an old woman) and showing the miniature effects of people being on inches high which the movie Son of Frankenstein took from. The film is much like other Tod Browning films as he has always had a thing for people who were indifferent or have some type of disability (in this case the mute young woman).  Nothing shocking or scary with this film but it thick in plot and storyline.

 Rating:  Lionel Barrymore sticks out in the film, as he can be entertaining as he is playing multiple roles in this story. The miniature people are interesting but after a while, I found myself bored as the story line was too thick and there was not enough scares to keep me laughing or entertained.  I preferred The Unholy Three.

3/10 Beers!

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The Unholy Three (1925)

The Unholy Three (1925)

Country:  USA

Director: Tod Browning

Main Stars: Lon Chaney, Mae Busch, Matt Moore, Victor McLaglen, Harry Earles

Storyline: Three sideshow performers start a crime spree taking place from a bird shop.

mv5bmja4ntqwmdg4mv5bml5banbnxkftztgwodaymdu4mte__v1__cr23_8833312988281250_5333404541015625265396_ux182_cr00182268_al_Review (Spoils): Three sideshow performers a ventriloquist named Echo (Lon Chaney), a small man named Tweedledee (Harry Earle) and a strong man named Hercules (Victor McLaglen) start a plan to make some money. Echo will pose as an old lady (who can use his voice to make birds talk) as Tweedledee poses as a baby and they rob people as they complain about the birds stop talking at home. Ties this in with a love triangle and this is the plot of the story.

Checking out this film I was not sure what exactly I was getting into but this film is a silent gem. Lon Chaney played all his parts perfectly as the leader of the crime gang and the old lady. The facial expressions of Lon Chaney is outstanding and he really is the man of make-up. The lead actress Mae Busch is also great as she plays the strong woman of the gang but she tied between the love triangle of once being used by Echo and then following love with one of the victims.

Rating: This film does not scream blood or guts as it is a silent film from the 20s but what we do have here is a classic in the horror film genre. Tod Browning  did something like this later on called Freaks it was more over the top this is more story based then shock based. Another Lon Chaney classic!

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7/10 Beers!

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Freaks (1932)

Freaks (1932)

Country: USA

Director: Tod Browning

Main Stars: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova

Storyline: A beautiful trapeze artist is marrying the ring leader of a circus for just the money and rest of the troop have their revenge.

MV5BMTY4ODY3NDA3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDkwNTkwMDE@__V1_SX214_AL_Review (Spoils): Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova) takes an interest in Hans but only because she found out about his inheritance. What Hans does not know is she is actually in love with another performer and playing him. So time passes the wedding happens she gets hammered and tells the other circus sideshow freaks what she truly thinks of him and them. This is found out and the freaks together band together to take her out.

This is one of those classic films that I get a sick feeling in my stomach even thinking about re-watching. It seems wrong on so many levels and at the same time the film is creepy, dark and very gloomy. This is what makes this film a horror classic. Tod Browning took from what he learns from Dracula and Frankenstein and creates something even more disturbing. The film reminds me a bit of The Unknown but at the same time it is different. The misshaped people that are displayed on the screen are not your typical make-up and special effects but actually real. This pulls at the emotions that what is being displayed is wrong and misplaced but also at the same time you feel for these people for being displayed this way. This film is sad, gloomy and feels wrong. That’s what makes this a horror film.

Rating: Not your typical horror film at all but a film of broken hearts, mistrust, mistreatment and darkness. This is what makes this film a classic and sits in the legends of not just horror film but film in general.

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8/10 Beers!

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Mark of the Vampire (1935)

Mark of the Vampire (1935)

Country:  USA

Director:  Tod Browning

Main StarsBela 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.

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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.

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6/10 Beers!

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The Unknown (1927)

The Unknown (1927)

Country: USA

Director:  Tod Browning

Main Stars: Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Joan Crawford

Storyline:  An armless knife thrower from a circus is a fake and turns to the life of crime.

 

 

 

 

Review (Spoils): I ran across this film when I was searching for something new to watch but yet old. This short black and white film was quick surprise. We have a mixed up knife thrower from a circus named Alonzo (Lon Chaney )who is reaching fame for being one armed but the truth is he is a fake. Nanon (Joan Crawford) the daughter of the circus owner has stolen his heart but she is tied between Alonzo and Mirabar (Norman Kerry). Alonzo will do anything to win her.

This movie is very dark and it kept me glued to the screen for a silent film. Lon Chaney once again creates a character that is memorable and downright chilling. He truly is the Master of Horror.

Rating:  This is great movie if you do not mind silent films. Check this baby out and it has Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford so what are you waiting for!

 

 

7/10 Beers!

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Dracula (1931)

Dracula (1931)

Country: USA

Director: Tod Browning

Main Stars: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan, John Harker

Storyline: The Count Dracula goes to London England to haunt the area and capture the young Mina to become one of his female spawn. The battle between Van Helsing and Dracula begins.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: I have seen this film so many times but lately I watched this on the big screen as it was playing due to the Halloween season. I love this movie even more now! Universal films bring us the story of Dracula (Bela Lugosi) who ventures from Transylvania to England to torment a young woman.This is the first film of Bela Lugosi playing the Count and he does and amazing job with the classic accent (which has been stolen many times over).

Tod Browning focuses on the eyes of Bela Lugosi to show the power that Dracula has with his intense gaze.The castle is huge and beautiful and the scene where Dracula walks through the cobwebs on the long high staircase leads you to the mystery of the dark vampire. The lighting for this black and white film brings the undead to life on the screen.

Mina (Helen Chandler ) the leading female of the film is innocent and beautiful and fits the role perfect to become Dracula’s leading victim. She plays the character up to become something more full of life after dark after her nasty encounter with Dracula. She did a very good job.

But the leading star of this film is the Renfield (Dwight Frye) character. The crazy and madman spawn that helped Dracula get to London. Dwight Frye steals the show with his acting and plays the looney who loves to eat spiders, flies and maybe even hurt little children (if you read into the hints in the lines he presents). Renfield is even scarier than Dracula himself.

Rating: This was at one time one of the Universal films that I want sigh sure whatever but after seeing it more and more I notice that I love it. Open a pint (of blood if you may) for the first main Dracula appearance on film and enjoy this classic horror film.

 

 

8/10 Beers!

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