FRANKENSTEIN CREATED SUSAN DENBERG

Susan Denberg (aka Dietlinde Ortrun Zechner) was blond, beautiful, and unapologetically curvaceous. A German-Austrian Kim Novak look-alike with strong sex appeal and an endearing screen presence. Like Novak, Denberg dated Sammy Davis Jr. while some of her other romantic conquests included Stuart Whitman, Sidney Poitier, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, and director Roman Polanski. Following a few television appearances and a role in the Oscar-nominated film AN … Continue reading FRANKENSTEIN CREATED SUSAN DENBERG

FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY (1973)

Film buffs tend to have obsessions. We fuss and fawn over particular actors and directors while attempting to see everything they ever appeared in or produced. One of my own personal obsessions isn’t an actor or a director but it’s a tale I enjoy seeing reimagined over and over again in different languages and in various settings. That tale is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern … Continue reading FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY (1973)

MAE CLARKE: FRANKENSTEIN’S FIRST BRIDE

The name Mae Clarke might not immediately ring any bells. But the fair-haired, spirited, and sad-eyed beauty was a promising leading lady in pre-code Hollywood before personal disappointments, mental health issues, and a disfiguring car accident took their toll. When Clarke died in 1992 at age 81 most classic film fans remembered her as the woman who gets a grapefruit smashed in her face by … Continue reading MAE CLARKE: FRANKENSTEIN’S FIRST BRIDE

In the Trenches with James Whale: FRANKENSTEIN (1931)

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) is commonly considered the best of James Whale’s two Frankenstein films and while I absolutely love Elsa Lanchester’s iconic performance as the hissing she monster, I prefer the original. There are a number of reasons why I tend to gravitate towards FRANKENSTEIN (1931) over its sequel. First and foremost, it takes itself more seriously and in turn, it’s the scarier film. The fog-shrouded cemeteries are … Continue reading In the Trenches with James Whale: FRANKENSTEIN (1931)

MIND OVER MATTER: THE SORCERERS (1967)

Since director Michael Reeves’s unfortunate death in 1969 at the age of 25 his life has become the stuff of cinematic legend. His reputation as a sort of Byronic hero who challenged the British film establishment was secured when he died much too young due to an accidental drug overdose leaving behind just a handful of low-budget horror films that attained cult status in subsequent … Continue reading MIND OVER MATTER: THE SORCERERS (1967)

Revisiting & Reappraising THE TERROR (1963)

Like any horror film fan worth their salt and of a certain age, I’ve seen badly beat-up and butchered prints of The Terror on TV and video numerous times. The film suffered the unfortunate fate of falling into the public domain decades ago so it became a staple of late-night television and was repeatedly released as part of cheap video and DVD compilations typically sold … Continue reading Revisiting & Reappraising THE TERROR (1963)

DRACULA VS. SPANISH DRACULA

Tod Browning’s DRACULA (1931) is rightly hailed as a horror classic while the Spanish-language version directed by George Melford was assumed lost and went largely unseen by modern audiences following its initial release until it was restored and distributed on home video in 1992. Both films were shot at the same time using the same sets but with different casts, which was a typical practice … Continue reading DRACULA VS. SPANISH DRACULA

Lady Killer: Remembering Lon Chaney Jr.

I recently set aside some time to watch all six of Universal’s Inner Sanctum Mystery films starring Lon Chaney Jr. Seeing these relatively short (60-67 minute) B-movies back to back over a couple of days was a joy and I found new things to admire and appreciate about the film’s leading man. But afterward, I made the mistake of scouring through various film books and poking around … Continue reading Lady Killer: Remembering Lon Chaney Jr.

What Ever Happened to Jennifer?

Jennifer’s gone missing. She was supposed to be looking after her uncle’s sprawling estate, which appears to have been abandoned since the Great Depression, but no one has seen her in weeks. Did she run off with an unknown lover? Did she swindle an undisclosed sum of money from her previous boss and head to Mexico on a cruise ship? Or was Jennifer murdered by … Continue reading What Ever Happened to Jennifer?

Pastoral Suspense: DEADLY STRANGERS (1975)

Today Sterling Hayden is best remembered by film lovers for his memorable roles in a number of classic noirs and westerns that air on TCM regularly as well as subsequent standout parts in Kubrick’s DR. STRANGELOVE: OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (1964), Coppola’s THE GODFATHER (1972) and Altman’s THE LONG GOODBYE (1973). Late in life tall and brawny actor also made a brief but notable appearance in an unusual … Continue reading Pastoral Suspense: DEADLY STRANGERS (1975)