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…
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.