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 … Continue reading FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY (1973)

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 … Continue reading DRACULA VS. SPANISH DRACULA

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 … Continue reading What Ever Happened to Jennifer?

Telefilm Time Machine: Daughter of the Mind (1969)

Ray Milland sees dead people. Or to be more precise, Ray Milland begins seeing the ghost of his dead daughter in the made-for-TV movie DAUGHTER OF THE MIND (1969) based on a novel by author Paul Gallico (THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES; 1942, BITTER VICTORY; 1957, THE SNOW GOOSE; 1971, THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE; 1972) and directed by Walter Grauman. This is … Continue reading Telefilm Time Machine: Daughter of the Mind (1969)

On Vampyres and Other Symptoms (2011)

ON VAMPYRES AND OTHER SYMPTOMS (2011) is the clever title of a new documentary directed by Celia Novis focusing on the reclusive Spanish filmmaker, writer, and artist José Ramón Larraz. If Larraz’s name doesn’t ring any bells don’t be alarmed. Despite the fact that the 83-year-old director is well regarded by his peers which include Quentin … Continue reading On Vampyres and Other Symptoms (2011)

DANCING THE MEPHISTO WALTZ

The legend of Faust is one of the oldest occult tales in the Western world. This German fable has been the basis of countless plays, poems, novels, musical compositions, works of art and films. Faust's story has been reinterpreted many times in various ways but most renderings portray him as an aging unsatisfied scholar who … Continue reading DANCING THE MEPHISTO WALTZ

MUMMY DEAREST: BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1971)

Hammer Films produced four Mummy movies between 1959 and 1971 and one of my favorites is Seth Holt’s BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1971). This unabashedly sexy horror extravaganza was the last Mummy movie made by the Studio that Dripped Blood and thanks to a great cast and some creative directing choices it turned out to be one of … Continue reading MUMMY DEAREST: BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1971)

PARANORMAL POLICE PROCEDURAL: NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT (1972)

Nothing But the Night (1972) opens with a series of puzzling homicides. Each one is meant to look like an accident or suicide but in the tradition of Italian giallo thrillers, the murders are carried out by a mysterious black-gloved assailant. We soon learn that the victims were all elderly members of the private and … Continue reading PARANORMAL POLICE PROCEDURAL: NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT (1972)

DEATH WALKS TWICE: A GIALLO DOUBLE FEATURE

The fine folks at Arrow deserve applause for their diligent efforts to release a number of exceptional giallo films on Blu-ray in recent years. Some of the films you can currently purchase from them include the suggestively titled Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972) and What Have You Done to … Continue reading DEATH WALKS TWICE: A GIALLO DOUBLE FEATURE

GHOST STORIES: THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES (1946)

THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES is often referred to as an “Abbott and Costello movie for people who don’t like Abbott and Costello” but as a fan of the comic duo I find that proclamation a bit off base. The film does distinguish itself from the popular formula pictures they made during this period that often … Continue reading GHOST STORIES: THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES (1946)

“Nothing can eat your soul!” – THE WITCHES (1966)

Few things invoke autumn and the Halloween spirit in me as strongly as the stylized gothic horror films made by Hammer. The diversity and sheer volume of the studio’s output was impressive and this has occasionally led to some of their lesser-seen films being overlooked because they didn’t live up to critic’s expectations or they … Continue reading “Nothing can eat your soul!” – THE WITCHES (1966)

Fighting Prejudice with Sidney Poitier

2013 has quietly developed into a groundbreaking year for black actors and directors. Steve McQueen’s 12 YEARS A SLAVE starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ryan Coogler’s FRUITVALE STATION starring Michael B. Jordan and Lee Daniels’ THE BUTLER starring Forest Whitaker are all possible Oscar contenders for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor while Idris Elba’s performance in MANDELA: A … Continue reading Fighting Prejudice with Sidney Poitier

“A FILM IS A PETRIFIED FOUNTAIN OF THOUGHT.” – JEAN COCTEAU

When Jean Cocteau’s name surfaces most of us think of the visionary artist, poet and director who made films such as BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1946), BLOOD OF A POET (1930), LES PARENTS TERRIBLES (1948) and ORPHEUS (1949). Cocteau is all these things and more but he also happens to be one of my favorite film critics. I hesitate to call … Continue reading “A FILM IS A PETRIFIED FOUNTAIN OF THOUGHT.” – JEAN COCTEAU

WILLIAM MORTENSEN IN HOLLYWOOD

William Mortensen in his studio with a photo of Jean Harlow. Last month I was gifted with a copy of American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen. This beautiful coffee table worthy book contains a compilation of work by William Mortensen (1897–1965), a brilliant, innovative and visionary photographer who once worked in Hollywood … Continue reading WILLIAM MORTENSEN IN HOLLYWOOD

FEDERICO FELLINI: THE CARTOONIST

Federico Fellini is one of my favorite filmmakers so I was delighted to discover that TCM Imports is showcasing the movie maestro’s work every Sunday night throughout the month of November. In the next three weeks you can catch Nights of Cabiria (1957) on Nov. 15, Juliet of the Spirits (1965) on Nov. 22 and Satyricon (1969) on Nov. … Continue reading FEDERICO FELLINI: THE CARTOONIST