Directed by Hal Roach and Hal Roach, Jr.
Starring Victor Mature, Carole Landis, Lon Chaney, Jr., John Hubbard
One Million B.C. (1940) has dinosaurs that are real lizards with fins and stuff glued on. It’s got a guy in a pretty primitive Godzilla-type suit. It’s got Lon Chaney Jr. as a caveman. Some of it was shot at the Iverson Ranch. Oh, and the beautiful, tragic Carole Landis is in it. And even if you haven’t seen it, you’ve no doubt seen stock footage from it in something.
One Million B.C. is one of those movies that’s suffered the horrible injustice of having been available in all sorts of shoddy tapes and discs over the years. VCI Entertainment seems to be about to change all that with an upcoming Blu-Ray transferred the 35mm negative. Hopefully, come July, they’ll have pre-history looking brand new.
Universal’s next Complete Legacy Collection — each Blu-Ray set covers everything featuring a particular Universal monster — concerns The Mummy. Providing Universal can come up with the proper number of tana leaves, this edition will be available in May. It spreads six movies over four discs.
The Mummy (1932) is one of the most visually-splendid movies I can think of. Karl Freund packs one incredible shot after another in this thing — and Karloff is at his brilliant best.
The first sequel (or maybe it’s more of a remake), The Mummy’s Hand (1940), has Tom Tyler doing a great job filling in for Boris Karloff — and Wallace Ford is a welcome addition to anything.
Jack Pierce turns Lon Chaney Jr. into Kharis.
The next three Mummy movies — The Mummy’s Tomb (1942), The Mummy’s Ghost (1944), and The Mummy’s Curse (1944) — with Lon Chaney, Jr. as a rather portly mummy making his way through Massachusetts and Louisiana, are a real hoot in that 1940s Universal Monsters kinda way. I love these things.
Then there’s Abbott & Costello Meet The Mummy (1955), which throws in Marie Windsor, my all-time favorite actress, for good measure. It was A&C’s last picture for Universal, a studio they pretty much saved in the 40s. Eddie Parker, Chaney’s double on the three previous Mummy movies, plays Klaris throughout this one.
All six Mummy movies are black and white, with Meet The Mummy in 1.85 widescreen — and they’re all sure to look marvelous on Blu-Ray.
Directed by Roy Del Ruth
Starring Beverly Garland, Bruce Bennett, Lon Chaney, George Macready, Richard Crane
Anolis Entertainment, a company out of Germany, has announced a DVD/Blu-Ray combo release of The Alligator People (1959) from 20th Century-Fox and Robert Lippert’s Associated Producers, Inc.
This is one of those 50s monster movies that is 100% carried by its cast. Beverly Garland, one of my favorite actresses, is terrific here — as she always was in these things. This kind of hokum needs just the right touch to really work, and Bruce Bennett, Lon Chaney and George Macready are on hand to help pull the whole thing of.
Garland’s new husband (Richard Crane) suddenly disappears during their honeymoon. It takes her a couple years, but she tracks him down to his family’s Southern estate, where a botched medical treatment has turned him into an alligator.
It’s clearly inspired by The Fly (1958), and it’s a load of fun. 20th Century-Fox proudly boasted that The Alligator People (and its co-feature The Return Of The Fly) were in CinemaScope, no longer releasing their black-and-white Scope pictures under the Regalscope banner. The domestic DVD presents the picture in gorgeous widescreen and stereo. The Blu-Ray can only be stunning.
Thanks to John Knight for the tip.
The world may be falling apart, but there’s never been a better time to be a fan of classic monster movies. Hi-def sets of Hammer Horror and now the Universal Monsters are on the way. The Frankenstein and The Wolf Man Complete Legacy Collections give you every classic Universal monster movie in which they appear. Buy them both, and you’ll certainly have some overlap since the monsters overlap in the “Monster Rally” pictures — and even in the mighty Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), but who cares? They’ll come creeping to your mailbox in September.
Maybe Presley and I started out summer monster series a bit too soon?
Since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to watch the great Universal monster movies in order. One of the problems was having all the movies. DVD and Blu-ray takes care of that. Then there’s which ones and in what order? All those monster-geek newsgroups and stuff offer up some proposed lists, and I found one I like.
Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)
Dracula’s Daughter (1936)
Son Of Frankenstein (1939)
The Wolf Man (1940)
Ghost Of Frankenstein (1942)
Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man (1943)
Son Of Dracula (1943)
House Of Frankenstein (1944)
House Of Dracula (1945)
Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
My daughter and I are about to kick the whole thing off. (School may be out, but her education keeps going!) When we’re finished with these, we’ll take on The Invisible Man and Mummy movies (I love the first two Mummy things). And we can’t forget those two Karloff-Lugosi Poe films: The Raven (1935) and The Black Cat (1934). Has anyone else tackled these? If so, how’d you go about it?
The image up top is Karloff and makeup genius Jack Pierce in a color test for Son Of Frankenstein, my favorite of the Frankenstein films. It has some of the most incredible set designs I’ve ever seen. The subject line comes from the ads for House Of Dracula.
Directed by Reginald Le Borg
Starring Basil Rathbone, Akim Tamiroff, Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi, John Carradine, Patricia Blair, Tor Johnson
Kino Lorber’s announced The Black Sleep (1956) for a Blu-ray release in early 2016. It’s been ages since I’ve seen this one, and I’m dying to revisit it. A lot of fans of cheesy 50s horror have a soft spot for this one.
Here’s a terrific picture of Lon Chaney, Jr., Tor Johnson and Bela Lugosi have lunch during production.