WHEN INSECTS ATTACK: GENOCIDE (1968)

Springtime has arrived in California and do you know what that means? BUGS! During the past week I’ve battled a couple of spiders in my kitchen, wrangled with a beetle that invaded my bathroom and took up arms against a small army of moths raiding my closet. These creepy critters seem to be everywhere so it seemed like a good time to revisit one of … Continue reading WHEN INSECTS ATTACK: GENOCIDE (1968)

Screen Sorcery: Belladonna of Sadness (1973)

Belladonna of Sadness (1973) begins with a joyful wedding. We first meet the lovely Jeanne, our guide through this strange fairy tale, and her beau Jim as they exchange marriage vows. When the couple returns to their humble abode, their wedded bliss is interrupted by the arrival of the reigning king and his minions who brutally assault Jeanne in an act of ceremonial rape that … Continue reading Screen Sorcery: Belladonna of Sadness (1973)

Bad Movie Mothers We Love to Hate

TCM is celebrating Mother’s Day (Note: this was originally published in 2014) with a great program of classic films showcasing notable mothers. While looking over Sunday’s line-up I was surprised to spot NOW, VOYAGER (1942), which features Gladys Cooper as the incredibly cold and domineering mother of Bette Davis. Cooper won an Oscar nomination for her memorable performance and went on to play another overbearing mother … Continue reading Bad Movie Mothers We Love to Hate

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