Directed by Nathan Juran
Starring Craig Stevens, Alix Talton, William Hopper, Florenz Ames
Just this morning, a co-worker told me a great holiday story. A few years ago, her family bought a locally-grown Christmas tree (we’re in North Carolina), got it home, decorated it and sat their infant son in front of it for a first-Christmas photo. Then, suddenly, hundreds of tiny praying mantises began cascading out of the tree.
So, why am I telling you this? Well, first, it’s a cool story. And second, Scream Factory has just announced the upcoming Blu-Ray release of Universal’s big-bug classic The Deadly Mantis (1957). It’s not the masterpiece Them! (1954) is, and it’s not quite as cool as Tarantula (1955). But scenes near the end of the picture with the (deadly) mantis atop the Washington Monument and stuck in the Manhattan Tunnel have been seared in my brain since I was about eight. One complaint: where’s Nestor Paiva?
The Deadly Mantis won’t hatch until March 2019. I can’t wait.
Directed by Virgil Vogel
Starring John Agar, Cynthia Patrick, Hugh Beaumont, Nestor Paiva, Alan Napier
Boy, the good news keeps on coming. Scream Factory has announced The Mole People (1956), coming to Blu-Ray in February 2019.
This is one a lot of the Universal monster nuts complain about, but I love it as much as an adult as I did as a kid. It’s really stupid, it’s fun, the monsters are cool. It’s got a great cast — you can’t beat John Agar and Nestor Paiva. And Reynold Brown cranked out another masterpiece for the posters. Can’t wait!
Here’s hoping your Halloween offers up a cornucopia of Creature comforts, such as this terrific greeting card that’s making the rounds.*
As a kid, this was one of my favorite days of the year, thanks to the all-night monster movie marathons the local TV stations would run. (DVDs, streaming TV and other stuff have pretty much killed that experience, and I feel sorry for kids today.) So, tomorrow morning, let me know what monster movie(s) you used to mark this monstrous occasion.
* How easy it is to fall into the Forrest J. Ackerman pun/alliteration thing when writing about monsters.
Directed by Virgil Vogel
Starring Jock Mahoney,Shawn Smith, William Reynolds, Henry Brandon, Phil Harvey, Douglas Kennedy
A cheesy dinosaur and a model helicopter duke it out in black and white CinemaScope. No wonder I loved this thing so much as a kid (even though Ellis Carter’s CinemaScope photography was butchered on TV), and that I’m so stoked that Kino Lorber’s bringing it to Blu-Ray. It’s set for early 2019.
Reynold Brown’s beautiful poster art promised a lot, and there was no way the movie was gonna be able to deliver any of it. But it has that 50s sci-fi charm to it that makes these things so much fun. What’s left of my nine-year-old self recommends this one very, very highly.
Directed by Anthony Mann
Starring James Stewart, Joanne Dru, Gilbert Roland, Dan Duryea
Always liked Thunder Bay (1953), and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that all its technical stuff is where a lot of my enthusiasm comes from. It was shot for 1.37, but Universal-International made it their first widescreen film — cropping it to 1.85, giving it stereophonic sound and making a very big deal about it all.
It’s turned up on DVD in various parts of the world in both 1.37 and widescreen. Not sure how the upcoming Kino Lorber Blu-Ray will be presented, but one thing’s for sure — I’m working a commentary for it. They’ve got it listed as an “early 2019” release.
Saw the other day that Frankenstein is 200 years old, with Marry Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, Or The Modern Prometheus first published in 1818.
The great Boris Karloff.
So here’s to Dr. Frankenstein, his monster, the monster’s bride, and anybody who ever helped bring the many Frankenstein movies to the screen — particularly the Universal and Hammer films.
Peter Cushing sits while his monster (Christopher Lee) hangs around.
It was a very shrewd move for Hammer to focus their series on the doctor and his misadventures rather than inviting strict comparisons to the Universal classics, which would be very hard to top. And, of course, casting Peter Cushing in the role was simply inspired.
So happy 200th, Frankie. You’re holding up pretty well.
Filed under Abbott & Costello, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, Glenn Strange, Hammer Films, Jack Pierce, James Whale, Peter Cushing, Terence Fisher, Universal (-International)
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
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.
Just 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.
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