Death in Living Color: Rediscovering Lost Classics ‘Doctor X’ and ‘Mystery of the Wax Museum’

Two of the greatest and most successful horror films made in the wave that followed the successes of Dracula, Frankenstein, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1931 were virtually lost for much of the ninety years since their release. It is true that the black and white versions of Doctor X (1932) and Mystery […]

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Are We Not Men? – ‘Island of Lost Souls’ and What It Means to Be Human

After the success of Dracula in early 1931, several studios large and small rushed into production on their own macabre features. With the early thirties being the depths of the Great Depression, these studios were eager to make films on low budgets that could turn large profits. As has continued to be the case even […]

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Savage Spawn: The Brutal First Films of Wes Craven

“In a way they’re the films of a young man who I think had much more rage than he ever realized.” – Wes Craven In 1971, Sean S. Cunningham’s film Together, a soft porn, pseudo-documentary about sex in America, was a success. Hallmark, the distributors of that film, requested a scary movie and offered $40,000 […]

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We Could Have Been Friends: The Prison of Bitterness in ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’

Psycho is given a great deal of credit for redefining the direction American horror would take in the 1960s, and rightly so, but another film also deserves recognition for its innovations and influence. Like Psycho, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? signaled a shift from aliens, giant bugs, and atomic monsters to the more subtle […]

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The Return of the Hitchcock Touch: Brutal Suspense Thriller ‘Frenzy’ at 50

Over thirty years after leaving his native England to live and work in Hollywood, Alfred Hitchcock returned home. The result is arguably the best film of his late career and easily the most brutal in his entire canon, Frenzy. The film was a return to form, exploring many of the enduring themes of his work […]

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The Lives of Christopher Lee: An Icon at 100

Some people seem to fit multiple lifetimes’ worth of experience into one. Christopher Lee was one of these. Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was born 100 years ago on May 27, 1922 to Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Lee and the Contessa Estelle Marie Carandini Lee. The actor who would later become world famous for playing Dracula joked […]

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Resurrection: ‘The Curse of Frankenstein’ and the Rebirth of Gothic Horror

It seems that every decade or so the horror genre is declared dead only for a groundbreaking film to come along and resurrect it. In the late 1950s, that film was The Curse of Frankenstein. The “death” of horror is always hyperbole, often merely declaring the end of a particular trend within the genre, but […]

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Creeping Shadows: Why ‘Nosferatu’ Still Holds Up 100 Years Later

There is only a handful of films a hundred years old or more that are still preserved, watched, and acknowledged as masterpieces. A few from the early days of cinema endure as milestones and curiosities but works of cinematic art that have endured for over a century are rare—Georges Méliès’s “A Trip to the Moon,” […]

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A Legend Worth Celebrating: The Unparalleled Legacy of Roger Corman

Roger Corman has been called many things over the years—King of the B’s, The Pope of Pop Cinema, outlaw, renegade, mentor. Now, maybe all of it can be distilled into a single word: legend. In a career that has spanned seven decades, Corman has worn a number of hats: director, producer, writer, and actor are […]

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One of Us: The Life, Death, and Resurrection of ‘Freaks’ [Gods and Monsters]

When he was sixteen years old, Tod Browning ran away with the circus. Technically speaking it was a travelling show called the Manhattan Fair & Carnival Company which he joined after becoming enthralled with one of its dancers. He held several jobs in various carnivals, circuses, and sideshows including barker, escape artist, clown, and stable […]

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A Night at the Museum: Digging Up ‘The Relic’ 25 Years Later

January is so often seen as a dumping ground for films that studios have little faith in, either for any awards consideration or box office success. If a film isn’t Oscar bait or likely to be a summer blockbuster, January is where they’re dropped. To be fair, there is at least some truth in this. […]

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‘Evil Dead II’ Turns 35 and It’s Still the Ultimate Horror-Comedy Hybrid

I have always been a fan of that most improbable of all subgenres, the horror comedy. It has been around for a very long time, dating back to the silent era with The Cat and the Canary and the early talkies with James Whale’s genre twisting films like The Old Dark House and Bride of […]

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Frozen Hell: The History of ‘The Thing’ from 1936 to 2011

“The place stank. A queer, mingled stench that only the ice-buried cabins of an Antarctic camp know, compounded of reeking human sweat, and the heavy, fish-oil stench of melted seal blubber.” -John W. Campbell (as Don A. Stuart) in “Who Goes There?” Imagery like this is just one reason why the story that ultimately became […]

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The Enduring Power of Oscar-Winning Horror Classic ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ [Gods and Monsters]

1931 is the foundational year for the horror film. It is the year in which all the strands and experiments of the silent era crystalized into the genre we now know. Even the term “horror movie” was not in wide use before 1931. Four films in particular have had a lasting impact on the genre […]

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Horror Fans in Horror Movies: ‘Scream’ and the Evolution of the Monster Kid

In the ’70s and ’80s, several archetypes emerged in horror, both in its heroes and villains. The most famous of these is the final girl, exemplified by Sally Hardesty, Laurie Strode, and Nancy Thompson among many others. But another hero emerged as well: the monster kid. This was usually a pre-teen boy with an obsession […]

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