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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Study in Classic Horror - an Invitation

(originally published on Monday, February 28, 2011)

Last year I read Michael Mallory's book UNIVERSAL STUDIO MONSTERS: A LEGACY OF HORROR and I kind of got inspired. Already somewhat familiar with the major Universal monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, the Wolf Man, etc.) I found I wanted to explore further the studio that more or less put horror movies on the map. So, I made a list of the films that most interested me from their synopses in the book and included the well-known classics and set about collecting them. Earlier this month, I completed the collection, so I'm preparing to begin. I thought I'd watch one film a week (unless life interferes), and keep a diary about them here in my notes. I thought it also might be fun to invite my friends to participate. I'll announce each film ahead of time, and anyone who wants to is invited to watch it as well, and comment and discuss it when I write the following entry on it. (or merely discuss, if it's a film you feel you're already familiar with, and don't have the time to watch it again.)

Here's a list of the films, all of which are available on DVD; I know some of them are going to be debatable as to whether they're considered a horror or monster film, but they are still generally considered to be part of the Universal Horror canon. Some of you will feel there are omissions, (King Kong may be owned by Universal now, but it was originally produced by RKO, and my initial focus is on the original Universal productions.) but I'd like to at least start off with my initial list. If a bunch of us have fun with this, we can certainly continue with some more suggestions.

  • The Dracula films

Dracula (1931)

Dracula (Spanish version) (1931)

Dracula's Daughter (1936)

Son of Dracula (1943)

House of Dracula (1945)

  • The Frankenstein films

Frankenstein (1931)

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Son of Frankenstein (1939)

Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)

House of Frankenstein (1944)

  • The Wolf Man films

The Wolf Man (1943)

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) (as already mentioned above)

  • The Mummy films

The Mummy (1932)

The Mummy's Hand (1940)

The Mummy's Tomb (1942)

The Mummy's Ghost (1944)

The Mummy's Curse (1944)

  • The Invisible Man films

The Invisible Man (1933)

The Invisible Man Returns (1940)

The Invisible Woman (1940)

Invisible Agent (1942)

The Invisible Man's Revenge (1944)

  • The Creature From the Black Lagoon films

The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)

Revenge of the Creature (1955)

The Creature Walks Among Us (1956)

  • The Inner Sanctum Mysteries

Calling Dr. Death (1943)

Weird Woman (1944)

Dead Man's Eyes (1944)

The Frozen Ghost (1945)

Strange Confession (1945)

Pillow of Death (1945)

  • The Abbott and Costello monster films

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff (1949)

Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951)

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953)

Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955)

  • Additional films

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

The Cat and the Canary (1927)

The Man Who Laughs (1928)

Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)

The Old Dark House (1932)

The Black Cat (1934)

The Raven (1935)

Werewolf of London (1935)

The Invisible Ray (1936)

Night Key (1937)

Tower of London (1939)

Black Friday (1940)

The Black Cat (1941)

Man Made Monster (1941)

Horror Island (1941)

Night Monster (1942)

Captive Wild Woman (1943)

The Climax (1944)

She-Wolf of London (1946)

The Strange Door (1951)

The Black Castle (1952)

I'm going to start the weekend of April 15. (I want to get some prior commitments out of the way, and hey, a horror movie's a good way to deal with the end of tax season, right?)

I thought some people might like to join me for the ride whether it's just for part of the voyage or from start to finish.

I'm going to be a bit random in the selection of the films; the first will be:

The Wolf Man (1943) starring Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains, Evelyn Ankers, Ralph Bellamy and Bela Lugosi

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