Category Archives: 30s Horror

Blu-Ray News #329: Creeping Horror Collection (1933-1946).

Our friends at Eureka in the UK are serving up some more 1930s and ’40s hi-def horror from Universal. There will be commentaries and other extras. Reaching for the pre-order button yet?

Murders In The Zoo (1933)
Directed by A. Edward Sutherland
Starring Charlie Ruggles, Lionel Atwill, Gail Patrick, Randolph Scott

This Pre-Code gem is considered pretty ghastly, a reputation it gleefully deserves. Lionel Atwill is insanely jealous, and if you mess with his wife, there’s a good chance you’ll be eaten by tigers, bitten by a deadly snack or God knows what else. Bonus: Randolph Scott is in it!

Horror Island (1941)
Directed by George Waggner
Starring Dick Foran, Peggy Moran, Leo Carrillo, Eddie Parker, Dale Van Sickle, John Eldredge, Fuzzy Knight

Dick Foran owns a tiny island off the Florida coast, complete with a castle and the legend of buried treasure. He sets up a fake tourist-y treasure-hunt cruise to his island, but when strange things happen and people end up dead…

This was originally paired with Man Made Monster (1941), for a perfect night at the movies.

Night Monster (1942)
Directed by Ford Beebe
Starring Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Ralph Morgan, Irene Hervey, Don Porter, Leif Erikson

Though they’re given top billing, Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill really have featured roles in this more-or-less remake of Doctor X (1932). Shot by the underrated Charles Van Enger.

House Of Horrors (1946)
Directed by Jean Yarbrough
Starring Rondo Hatton, Martin Kosleck, Robert Lowery, Virginia Grey

After playing “The Creeper” in the Sherlock Holmes picture The Pearl Of Death (1944), Universal decided to make the disfigured (due to acromegaly) Rondo Hatton their next horror star. He made two movies in 1945, House Of Horrors and The Brute Man. They would be released after his death in 1946. If you can get past how exploitive the whole thing is, the movies are as ghoulish and entertaining as other Universal horror pictures of the 40s.

Universal has always kept these films in tip-top condition, making Blu-Rays of these things a must. Each is a creepy delight — responsible for the rotted brains of lots and lots of monster kids (myself included). Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 30s Horror, Bela Lugosi, DVD/Blu-ray News, Eureka Entertainment, George Waggner, Lionel Atwill, Pre-Code, Randolph Scott, Rondo Hatton, Universal (-International), Virginia Grey

Blu-Ray News #326: The Human Monster (AKA Dark Eyes Of London, 1939).

Directed by Walter Summers
Starring Béla Lugosi, Hugh Williams, Greta Gynt

ClassicFlix is doing us all a big fat favor, bringing another Bela Lugosi picture — 1939’s Dark Eyes Of London (released in the States in 1940 as The Human Monster) to Blu-Ray.

Though distributed in the US by Monogram, this is not one of Lugosi’s infamous “Monogram Nine.” This is a British adaptation of an Edgar Wallace novel. It was the first British film to receive an “H” certificate (for “Horrific”) from the British Board of Censors. Children under 16 weren’t allowed to see it.

Lugosi sailed over on the Queen Mary to do this one, shot in about a week. He has a dual role, as Dr. Feodor Orloff and John Dearborn, in this story of a series of murders traced back to insurance policies with the Dearborn Home For The Blind as the beneficiary.

This is great stuff, and I’m dying to see it in high definition. Coming at the end of February. Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 30s Horror, Bela Lugosi, ClassicFlix, DVD/Blu-ray News, Monogram/Allied Artists

Blu-Ray News #312: Thrillers From The Vault: 8 Classic Horror Films.

Mill Creek Entertainment has two new Blu-ray sets coming in December: Thrillers From The Vault: 8 Classic Horror Films and Sci-Fi From The Vault: 4 Classic Films. Today, we’ll take a look at the horror one.

The Black Room (1935)
Directed by Roy William Neill
Starring Boris Karloff, Marian Marsh, Robert Allen, Thurston Hall

What’s better than a movie with Boris Karloff in it? Two Karloffs in the same film! He’s Anton and Gregor, sons born to the Baron de Berghman. One brother has some sinister plans for the other.

The Man They Could Not Hang (1939)
Directed by Nick Grinde
Starring Boris Karloff, Lorna Gray, Robert Wilcox
This set gives you Karloff’s “Mad Doctor Cycle” in high definition. This one is the first. Karloff invents an artificial heart, and after he’s unjustly hung, he uses it to exact his revenge.

Before I Hang (1940)
Directed by Nick Grinde
Starring Boris Karloff, Evelyn Keyes, Bruce Bennett, Edward Van Sloan
Karloff’s anti-aging serum works with one deadly side effect — he used the blood of a homicidal maniac, which sends him on a killing spree.

The Man With Nine Lives (1940)
Directed by Nick Grinde
Starring Boris Karloff,

Karloff has been trapped in a block of ice for 10 years. When he’s thawed out, he uses his enemy’s to continue his “chilling” experiments.

The Devil Commands (1941)
Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Starring Boris Karloff, Richard Fiske, Amanda Duff

Karloff’s experiments capture the brain waves of his dead wife. All he needs is a body to put them in.

The Boogie Man Will Get You (1942)
Directed by Lew Landers
Starring Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Max Rosenbloom

The fifth, and last of Karloff’s Columbia pictures plays like a spoof of the earlier ones. He’s a mad scientist, of course, trying to create a race of superhumans (for the war effort) in the basement of an old inn.

The Return Of The Vampire (1943)
Directed by Lew Landers
Starring Bela Lugosi, Frieda Inescort, Nina Foch

This time, Bela Lugosi is brought back to life when a German bomb hits his grave and cemetery workers yank the stake out of his heart.

Five (1951)
Produced, Written & Directed by Arch Oboler
Starring William Phipps, Susan Douglas Rubeš, James Anderson

Five people survive an atomic blast and try to figure out how to carry on. This post-apocalyptic story was shot at a number of LA locations, including director Oboler’s own Frank Lloyd Wright house.

The Black Room and the Karloff mad doctor pictures are all great — and will be a real treat in hi-def. The Return Of The Vampire is also a lot of fun. Looking forward to Thrillers From The Vault: 8 Classic Horror Films.

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Filed under 30s Horror, Arch Oboler, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Columbia, DVD/Blu-ray News, Edward Dmytryk, Lew Landers, Mill Creek, Nick Grinde, Peter Lorre, Roy William Neill

A Universal Halloween?

I’ve been thinking about a classic Universal monster movie for Halloween night, but there are a lot of them — and they’re all so great? (They’re represented by this wonderful ad for the Aurora monster model. Click on it and it gets, well, monstrous!)

What are your thoughts? Mummy? Frankenstein? Dracula? The Wolf Man? The Creature? Or a one-off like The Invisible Ray (1936)? Or, maybe a different direction, like something from AIP or Hammer?

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Filed under 30s Horror, Abbott & Costello, Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, Hammer Films, James Whale, Lon Chaney Jr., Peter Cushing, Universal (-International)

Blu-Ray News #188: Universal Classic Monsters – Complete 30-Film Collection (1931-1956).

If in its glory days, Universal made a movie about Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man or The Creature From The Black Lagoon, it’s in this box — in high definition. What more do I have to tell you?

Here’s what you get: Dracula / Drácula (Spanish version) / Frankenstein / The Mummy / The Invisible Man / Werewolf Of London / Bride Of Frankenstein / Dracula’s Daughter / Son Of Frankenstein / The Invisible Man Returns / The Mummy’s Hand / The Invisible Woman / The Wolf Man / The Mummy’s Tomb / Ghost Of Frankenstein / Invisible Agent / Son Of Dracula / Phantom Of The Opera / Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man / The Mummy’s Ghost / House Of Frankenstein / The Mummy’s Curse / The Invisible Man’s Revenge / House Of Dracula / She-Wolf Of London / Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein / Abbott & Costello Meet The Invisible Man / Creature From The Black Lagoon / Abbott & Costello Meet The Mummy / Revenge Of The Creature / The Creature Walks Among Us

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Thirty movies in all, and only one in color (Phantom Of The Opera). The Creature movies and Abbott & Costello Meet The Mummy are 1.85.

a-and-c-meet-dr-jekyllJust wondering: where’s Abbott & Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1953)? Guess Jekyll/Hyde’s outside their normal monster cycle.

This is a great thing, and it’s coming next week.

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Filed under 3-D, 30s Horror, Abbott & Costello, Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Curt Siodmak, DVD/Blu-ray News, Jack Arnold, Jack Pierce, James Whale, John Carradine, Julie Adams, Lon Chaney Jr., Marie Windsor, Nestor Paiva, Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, Tod Browning, Universal (-International), Vincent Price, Whit Bissell

Blu-Ray News #117: The Vampire Bat (1933).

Directed by Frank Strayer
Starring Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Melvyn Douglas, Dwight Frye

There’s some great stuff making its way to DVD and Blu-Ray these days. The Film Detective has announced the 1933 horror picture The Vampire Bat, from a UCLA restoration that even recreates the original hand-colored sequence!

Like White Zombie (1932), The Vampire Bat is one of those times when a Poverty Row studio went nuts and came up with something really special. Majestic Pictures signed Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray from Doctor X and Mystery Of The Wax Museum, took advantage of some standing sets on the major lots, and stirred in the great Dwight Frye. It’s a great example of how creepy and crazy a 30s horror movie can get. It’s coming in April, and it’s highly recommended.

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Filed under 30s Horror, DVD/Blu-ray News, Fay Wray, Poverty Row, The Film Detective