evil-never-sleeps

DEMON HOUSE and EVIL NEVER SLEEPS: A GRISLY DUO OF ‘NINETIES HORROR FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©


evil-never-sleeps

DEMON HOUSE and EVIL NEVER SLEEPS: A GRISLY DUET OF ‘NINETIES HORROR FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

DEMON HOUSE aka NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 3. (1996). DIRECTED BY JIMMY KAUFMAN. STARRING AMELIA KINKADE, KRISTEN HOLDEN-REID, PATRICIA RODRIGUEZ, STEPHANIE BAUDER, TARA SLONE, GREGORY VALPAKIS, CHRISTIAN TESSIER, JOEL GORDON AND VLASTA VRANA.

EVIL NEVER SLEEPS aka TERRIFIED aka TOUGHGUY. (1995) WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY JAMES MERENDINO. MUSIC BY SHAUN NAIDOO. CINEMATOGRAPHY BY GREG LITTLEWOOD.

STARRING HEATHER GRAHAM, LISA ZANE, PAUL HERMAN AND RUSTAM BRANAMAN.

These two ‘Nineties horror flicks back-to-back the other night made for a cracking evening of grisly, gruesome entertainment that I’ll remember fondly for some time to come.

DEMON HOUSE was given to me as a Halloween pressie and EVIL NEVER SLEEPS came on a six-film box-set called HARDCORE GORE, also containing the following films: THE FEAR, AXE, PIECES, THE POSSESSED and THE SLAUGHTER. All nice family-friendly viewing, obviously…!

DEMON HOUSE is a brilliantly funny romp set on Halloween Night itself. A group of horny teens seek refuge in the town’s haunted house, an abandoned funeral home called Hull House, while on the run from the law after a shoot-out in a liquor store. Typical stupid horny teens…!

They don’t realise, of course, that the house’s sole sexy occupant, a hot brunette called Angela, is actually an evil demon who’s only too happy to swell the ranks of her Un-dead followers with the unwitting horny teens. ‘Demonizing’ the dopey horny teens is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Seriously, they are so dumb. And so f***ing horny…!

There are some hilarious scenes in this film. Watch the cheerleader and her best friend getting all nekkid together in the beginning, comparing diddy sizes in the mirror in the nip and everything. It’s so obvious that the film was directed by a guy, because that’s one of the classic things that guys think women do when they get together. I wouldn’t have been at all surprised to see a nudie pillow fight break out as well or a shared bathing scene, haha.

Check out sexy Angela ‘sucking a golf ball through ten feet of hose’ in front of the group’s designated dweeb, that’s pure class. And the group’s tough guy thinks he’s so tough, but he’s so not. His girlfriend, the gobby girl who’s the image of the singer Pink, is a walking slut who needs to be taught how to keep her knickers on and her legs together. Maybe being turned into a demon for all eternity will teach her to be a bit more ladylike, haha.

This film is just such great sexy cheesy hammy fun, you know? It perfectly embodies the true spirit of Halloween, it has a grand little soundtrack and the demonic special effects are actually excellent, especially when you consider that the film is a good two decades old. There’s a cop in it too who’s just a few hours away from retirement. Don’tcha just know that this one case is gonna be the one that breaks the camel’s back…?

EVIL NEVER SLEEPS is a really enjoyable sexy horror-thriller starring Heather BOOGIE NIGHTS Graham. She really uses her stunning looks to good effect as the beautiful Olive, a young woman who cheated on her husband and who then had the dubious pleasure of watching her jealousy-crazed hubby shoot first himself and then the lover right in front of her big wide peepers.

I wonder why he didn’t shoot her too while he was at it? Maybe he thought that surviving her precious lover would be more of a torment to her than a nice easy bullet through her temporal lobe, haha…

Anyway, the gorgeous Olive moves into a new apartment and tries to get her life back on track after the wee murder-suicide, but a black-clad intruder breaks into her flat more than once and gives her a bloody good going-over. A revenge beating, perhaps? But who’d be seeking this revenge? Her dead husband’s brother, maybe? He’d have plenty of reasons to want to mess up Olive’s pretty face after what happened to his brother.

The cops are called, anyway, or at least one cop in particular, the sturdily attractive Detective Conrad who starts to smell something a little bit fishy about the man that’s supposedly stalking and attacking poor little Olive.

Poor little Olive, by the way, is something of a nymphomaniac and she has lesbian sex with her best friend, a real looker called Pearl. There are also two hilarious scenes of male-to-female oral sex in the film, one of which is particularly funny as it looks as if Heather Graham is squatting down to do a Number Two over a chap’s face, heh-heh-heh.

I watched this film with a mate and, I don’t know what this says about her sex life but when those male-to-female scenes came on, she actually started shrieking: ‘What the f**k are they doing? Seriously, what the f**k are they doing…?’ Snigger.

This film is pretty violent and there’s a great little twist at the end which I enjoyed. Both these films, in fact, would make for enjoyable viewing for anyone who digs a nice bit of retro horror.

There are titties galore in DEMON HOUSE and you already know about the (ahem!) muff-munching in EVIL NEVER SLEEPS. There’s a great little catty quip in DEMON HOUSE about male-to-female oral sex as well, by the way. See if you can spot it…!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

phantomoftheoperaposter

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) /THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1943): REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

phantomoftheoperaposterTHE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925)/THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1943): A DOUBLE BILL OF GRUESOME, GRISLY AND GROTESQUE ‘UNIVERSAL PICTURES’ HORROR FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. (1925) BASED ON THE NOVEL BY GASTON LEROUX. DIRECTED BY RUPERT JULIAN. PRODUCED BY CARL LAEMMLE.

STARRING LON CHANEY, MARY PHILBIN, NORMAN KERRY, ARTHUR EDMUND CAREWE AND CARLA LAEMMLE.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. (1943) BASED ON THE NOVEL BY GASTON LEROUX. DIRECTED BY ARTHUR LUBIN. PRODUCED BY GEORGE WAGGNER.

STARRING CLAUDE RAINS, NELSON EDDY, SUSANNA FOSTER, EDGAR BARRIER AND MILES MANDER.

The 1925 film version of this creepy tale by Gaston Leroux is the first time the story was committed to celluloid and it’s widely regarded as one of the best horror films ever made, and certainly the best of the silent era. There’s something about a silent film that has the power to make a scary story even more frightening for the viewer, I always think.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is the story of a horribly deformed and disfigured man, whom it must be said the world has used most cruelly, who lives a solitary existence in the caverns deep down below the Paris Opera House in the early years of the twentieth century.

He covers his ugliness with a mask and, although no-one is supposed to know that he is there, the theatre staff are all uncomfortably conscious of an illicit presence in the opera house whom they have termed ‘the opera ghost.’

This ‘ghost’ falls in love with a beautiful and talented young opera singer called Christine, whose talent he wants to nurture and whose beauty he wishes to possess. He kidnaps this lovely but understandably terrified lady and takes her to his underground lair to live with him forever.

To say that she doesn’t exactly respond with: ‘Eeeeh, this is crackin,’ love, ‘ave you got a drawer where I can keep me smalls?’ is something of an understatement…

Above ground, Christine’s rather proactive lovers (Raoul the nobleman in the 1925 version and Anatole the baritone and Raoul the policeman in the 1943 film) have no intention of letting such an attractive and charming prize slip through their fingers.

The Phantom’s underground hidey-hole is about to become inconveniently overrun by irate beaux and, where there are irate beaux, can an angry, torch-wielding mob be far behind? Unfortunately for old Mask-Face, I very much fear that they cannot…

Lon Chaney (1883-1930) does a job of unparalleled excellence as Erik the Phantom in the 1925 silent movie. Everyone knows by now that he did his own make-up for the film, and it’s generally regarded even to this day to be one of the finest make-up jobs in film history.

Rumours abound about how much physical pain he put himself through to look the part but, regardless which bits are true and which are merely legends passed down by word of mouth, the fact remains that he did a wonderful job.

The ‘reveal’ of his hideously disfigured face is one of the scariest and most iconic scenes ever to be seen in any horror film ever. I can well imagine the women in the cinema audiences that year screaming, swooning and reaching for the smelling salts when his plug-ugly boat-race is uncovered by the dopey Christine who, let’s face it, had had about a million stern warnings not to, as it were, go there…!

The film as a whole is utterly magnificent. Everything, from the crashing of the massive opera chandelier to our first sighting of Erik’s underground lake and the coffin he sleeps in (yes, sleeps in!), to the wonderfully scary organ music he plays in the shadowy apartments in which he is doing little more than living in his own tomb, all combine to both unsettle the viewer and blow his/her mind with the stunning effects and scenery he/she is witnessing.

When Erik spectacularly appears at the Masked Ball as the Red Death, I defy you not to feel icy shivers from beyond the grave running up and down your spine…

There’s nothing negative I can say about this film. The first time I ever watched it was very late on a Saturday night/Sunday morning after a few glasses of wine and it was the most brilliantly surreal viewing experience I can ever remember having.

I’ve tried many times to recreate that experience but, even though the film will easily stand up to a million subsequent viewings, it would appear that that first time was a mind-blowing one-time offer…!

The 1943 film version is equally wonderful, but in a different way. It’s not remotely scary, it has to be said, plus it’s a musical version, if you please, which may annoy some people, but it’s still a terrific story well told.

The full-colour sets and scenery and costumes are absolutely fabulous, darlings, and the songs sung by Nelson Eddy are a joy to listen to. He’s extremely handsome as well, by the way, in his role as Christine’s would-be lover, Anatole.

There’s a running gag in the film involving Christine’s lovers. Anatole clashes, frequently and hilariously, with Raoul, the copper investigating the sinister Phantom-related goings-on in the Paris Opera House, over which of them is going to be Christine’s beau.

Christine, a sweet and pretty vision of loveliness in her beautiful dresses with her golden hair in saucy ringlets, is a naughty little minx who plays ’em both off against each other and greatly encourages their joint woo-ing of her. The little hussy…! A good spanking, applied by either or even both beaux-in-waiting, might not have gone amiss under the circumstances.

It’s the marvellous Claude Rains as the Phantom, however, who steals the show. He plays Erique Claudin, a violinist at the Opera House who loses his job and a valued concerto he’s written (and pretty much his lodgings as well) all in the same short space of time.

Add to this a tray of acid in the kisser and an enforced move to the underground caverns beneath the Opera House and you just might have yourself the worst run of luck since Adam and Eve decided that their diet was lacking fruit, haha. After that, Erique’s free to devote himself to stalking Christine full-time, but he’s got a lotta competition. Christine’s a popular lady…

Claude Rains had already become part of the UNIVERSAL PICTURE family of monsters when he’d starred in THE INVISIBLE MAN about a decade earlier. His excellent performance as the Phantom in this Oscar-winning, commercially successful version of Gaston Leroux’s tale guaranteed him a second and well-deserved place in that particular Hall of Fame.

There’s one thing I always found funny, not to mention a tad incongruous, about the Lon Chaney version. Whose idea was it to bring a horse down to the underground caverns? It’s not like the Phantom, poor guy, ever really went anywhere. Why did he need transport?

Even when the horse carries his beloved Christine to the tomb that Erik intends to be her home for the rest of her life, all that the horse is really doing is getting her there slightly earlier. They’ve literally got the rest of their lives to hang out in the cave. Seems to me like walking there under their own steam might have killed a bit of time for the pair, who no doubt have a lot of boring times ahead of them in the bowels of the Opera House:

Erik: ‘What shall we do today, dear? Shall we take a walk around the cave after dinner?’

Christine: ‘We did that yesterday, why don’t you ever take me out on the lake any more?’

Erik, protesting: ‘We did that the other week, dear, when your mother came, remember?’

Christine, bursting into tears: ‘And that’s another thing. You’ve never liked my mother…!’

Erik, punching the wall of the cave in frustration: ‘Well, maybe if she didn’t keep calling me fucking Quasimodo every time she fucking lays eyes on me…!’

Oh, happy days, folks. Happy days indeed…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

bela-lugosi

DRACULA, DRACULA’S DAUGHTER and SON OF DRACULA: A TRIPLE BILL OF HALLOWEEN HORROR FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

bela-lugosiDRACULA, DRACULA’S DAUGHTER and SON OF DRACULA: A TRIPLE BILL OF BLOODCURDLING UNIVERSAL HORROR FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

DRACULA. (1931) BASED ON THE 1897 BOOK BY BRAM STOKER AND THE 1924 PLAY BY HAMILTON DEANE AND JOHN L. BALDERSTON.

DIRECTED BY TOD BROWNING. PRODUCED BY TOD BROWNING AND CARL LAEMMLE JR.

STARRING BELA LUGOSI, DWIGHT FRYE, EDWARD VAN SLOAN AND HELEN CHANDLER.

DRACULA’S DAUGHTER. (1936) BASED ON THE 1897 BOOK BY BRAM STOKER. DIRECTED BY LAMBERT HILLYER.

STARRING GLORIA HOLDEN, OTTO KRUGER, MARGUERITE CHURCHILL, NAN GREY, HEDDA HOPPER AND EDWARD VAN SLOAN.

SON OF DRACULA. (1943) BASED ON THE 1897 BOOK BY BRAM STOKER. DIRECTED BY ROBERT SIODMAK. SCREENPLAY BASED ON AN ORIGINAL STORY BY CURT SIODMAK.

STARRING LON CHANEY JR., EVELYN ANKERS, ROBERT PAIGE, LOUISE ALLBRITTON AND ETTA MCDANIEL (SISTER OF ‘MAMMY’ FROM ‘GONE WITH THE WIND.’)

Sometimes I thank all of our lucky stars that these three films were made. Three of the biggest and most popular films in the UNIVERSAL PICTURES horror movies canon of the 1930s and 1940s, they’re all based on characters and situations created by fellow Irishman Bram Stoker in his 1897 gothic novel DRACULA. It’s one of the most filmed books ever written.

Arthur Conan Doyle pulled off a similar coup with his SHERLOCK HOLMES stories, and I suppose J.K. Rowling to a lesser extent with her HARRY POTTER series of books. Other than these three books, surely only the Bible itself (or E.L. James’s FIFTY SHADES OF GREY novels…!) have ever been more popular or more widely read or filmed.

DRACULA (1931) is the role that made handsome Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi famous. It’s a straightforward enough interpretation of Bram Stoker’s story, in which the mysterious and charismatic Count Dracula comes to London, England from his native Transylvania to widen his reign of terror and find new necks to bite and nice new juicy bodies to drain of their blood.

Once there, aided and abetted by his estate-agent-turned-abject-slave Renfield, brilliantly played by Dwight Frye, he sets his sights immediately on the beautiful Lucy Weston and Mina Seward. The only person standing between him and city-wide domination is the intellectual giant and astute expert in the occult, Professor Van Helsing. Which of the two men will turn out to have the stronger will…?

Bela Lugosi was the first actor to portray Count Dracula as a suave, sophisticated and charming nobleman, as opposed to the claw-fingered, white-haired monstrosity of Bram Stoker’s novel. His superb performance brought him worldwide acclaim but he was only to reprise the role once more, and in a spoof movie at that, which seems strange given how utterly masterful he is as the Transylvanian vampire.

DRACULA’S DAUGHTER (1936) is a film of stunning beauty. I actually think it’s as good as the original Bela Lugosi film, or at any rate I love it equally, haha. It’s certainly every bit as foggy, mistily atmospheric and darkly mysterious as the 1931 film, and Gloria Holden is absolutely out of this world as the fabulous Hungarian Countess Marya Zaleska, who in reality is the titular Dracula’s Daughter.

This film actually continues on where the 1931 movie left off. Dracula has just been killed with the obligatory stake through the heart by the marvellous Edward Van Sloan reprising his role as Dracula’s nemesis, Professor Van (or in this case, Von!) Helsing.

The opening scenes in the police station are just wonderfully comedic and spine-tinglingly chilling as well. Coppers in these old classic horror films always do a terrific job of lightening the mood and warming the cockles of the viewers’ hearts.

Anyway, the beautiful but almost icily disdainful Countess desperately wants to be free of the curse of her vampire father. She wants distinguished London psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Garth to help her, but once he works out that the Countess is actually a fully-paid up, card-carrying member of the evil Un-Dead, he’s going to need quite a bit of persuading to have anything at all to do with her…

This is the film with the famously lesbian overtones, by the way. The scene between the Countess with her hypnotic powers and the impoverished young Lili is a thing of beauty indeed, the best of the whole film.

The Countess’s sinister servant Sandor must come in for some praise as well. His look is straight out of a ‘Twenties silent horror film. He looks like he should be turning levers in a mad scientist’s laboratory during a thunderstorm with a manic grin on his face, he’s so evil-looking.

SON OF DRACULA (1943) is set on a New Orleans plantation, so it’s as far from the fog-wreathed streets of Victorian London as it’s possible to get. For this reason, it’s maybe not as spookily atmospheric as its two predecessors, but it’s still a great film and Lon Chaney Jr. is coldly aloof and masterful as Count Alucard/Dracula.

He marries the beautiful Katherine Caldwell, whose mind (and plantation) he has already taken over, after he murders her elderly father. Katherine’s ex-fiancé Frank and a family friend called Dr. Brewster are deeply suspicious of the Count and his obviously underhanded motives.

Can they bring the brainwashed Katherine to her senses, with the help of the Transylvanian intellectual Professor Laszlo, or is she doomed to spend eternity by Dracula’s side as his Un-Dead bride? It’s touch and go for a while there…

These wonderful old classic horror movies never fail to cheer me up when I’m feeling fed-up. I highly recommend them as, say, a triple dose of medicine for the modern-day blues. Don’t take ’em internally, obviously(!), but watched as a triple bill of classic horror they’ll be the perfect cure for whatever ails you, I promise you. Sure beats Smedler’s Powder or Old Doc Washbourne’s Tonic any day of the week…!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

ghost-of-franky

THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN. (1942) A HALLOWEEN HORROR FILM REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

ghost-of-franky

THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN. (1942) DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL PICTURES. DIRECTED BY ERLE C. KENTON. PRODUCED BY GEORGE WAGGNER.

STARRING LON CHANEY JR., BELA LUGOSI, CEDRIC HARDWICKE, EVELYN ANKERS, RALPH BELLAMY, LIONEL ATWILL, JANET ANN GALLOW AND OLAF HYTTEN.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is another monster-ific instalment from UNIVERSAL PICTURES, this time featuring Lon Chaney Jr. as Frankenstein’s Monster instead of Boris Karloff, whom you might be more used to seeing in the role.

Come to that, you might be more used to seeing Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man, another member of UNIVERSAL‘s little family of monsters. No Wolf Man in this picture, and no Count Dracula either, just Frankenstein’s big boxy-headed Monster and his minder, Ygor, played by a virtually unrecognisable Bela Lugosi.

I love Lon Chaney Jr. as the Monster, but there’s something very sad and moving about the Monster in every film in which he features, and this film is no exception. Mind you, he hasn’t exactly got much to smile about, has he?

Women run from him screaming in fear, he’s never more than six feet away from an angry mob wielding flaming torches and yelling blue murder and he’s stuck wearing his too-tight Communion suit for the rest of his life. Like I said, not much to smile about, is it…?

In this film, Ygor is eager (Ygor is eager, geddit…?) for Frankenstein’s Monster to be given a new brain to go with his big brawny body. The doctor he expects to perform this miracle of medicine is Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein, the son of the original Dr. Henry Frankenstein, the guy who brought the Monster to life in the first film.

Dr. Ludwig, played by the lovely old Cedric Hardwicke, is reluctant at first but, when Ygor threatens him with exposure (he’ll tell the villagers about Dr. Ludwig’s father, the original Monster-creator, in other words) he has no choice but to come round to the idea.

Dr. Ludwig wants to give old Frankie a good brain, specifically the brain of his own assistant, Dr. Kettering, who’s just been killed by the Monster. Ygor, however, wants his own warped, diseased brain to go into the Monster’s skull, thinking that with his evil smarts and the Monster’s strength, he could end up ruling the world. Well, I guess it’s possible…

Now all Ygor needs is to find a way to get this done. Could Dr. Ludwig’s other assistant, the disgraced Dr. Bohmer, be the weakest link in the chain and therefore easy pickings for the scurrilous Ygor? And if Ygor’s successful in his diabolical mission, is everyone in the village in the most terrible danger…?

The villagers, as always in these great old monster movies, are the very picture of outraged and exceedingly righteous fury as they demand justice from their law-makers. I particularly like Olaf Hytten, who appeared in minor roles in a few of the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce SHERLOCK HOLMES films of the 1940s. He plays the father of little Cloestine Hussman, the cute little girl who is the Monster’s only friend and the only person in the whole world who can make him raise a smile.

Evelyn Ankers, who’s played opposite Lon Chaney Jr. in THE WOLF MAN and who also appeared in one of the aforementioned SHERLOCK HOLMES films, is on duty here as the eye-candy, namely the lovely daughter of Dr. Ludwig whom the Monster strangely doesn’t fall in love with this time. Probably because he’s too busy abducting little girls with a view to having their brains removed and put into his own big boxy-looking head, haha.

Cedric Hardwicke is marvellous as the poor beleaguered doctor who just can’t seem to escape his tainted past, as is Lionel Atwill, also a HOLMES actor, as the easily corruptible Dr. Bohmer, and of course Lon Chaney Jr. is infinitely watchable as the Monster, though as I mentioned there’s something very sad and touching about his performance here. I wonder if he was happy in his real life when he made this movie.

The settings are, as always, nicely reminiscent of the ‘mid-European’ locations where the action is meant to take place and, overall, THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN is more than deserving of joining its UNIVERSAL brothers and sisters in the UNIVERSAL PICTURES Monster Movie Hall Of Fame, if there exists such a thing, haha.

It can hold its head up high amongst all the other monster productions of its parent company, in other words, and it’ll live as long as they do in our hearts and minds. Which, if the fans of old classic horror films have their way, will be forever…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

bride-of-franky

FRANKENSTEIN/THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN: A DOUBLE BILL OF HORRIFIC HALLOWEEN HORROR FILM REVIEWS FROM SANDRA HARRIS! ©

bride-of-frankyFRANKENSTEIN/THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN: A MONSTROUS DOUBLE BILL OF HALLOWEEN HORROR FILM REVIEWS FROM SANDRA HARRIS. ©

FRANKENSTEIN. (1931) DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL PICTURES. BASED ON THE BOOK BY MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT SHELLEY. DIRECTED BY JAMES WHALE. PRODUCED BY CARL LAEMMLE JR.

STARRING BORIS KARLOFF, COLIN CLIVE, MAE CLARKE, EDWARD VAN SLOAN, DWIGHT FRYE, FREDERICK KERR AND MARILYN HARRIS.

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. (1935) DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL PICTURES. BASED ON THE BOOK BY MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT SHELLEY. DIRECTED BY JAMES WHALE. PRODUCED BY CARL LAEMMLE JR. MUSIC BY FRANZ WAXMAN.

STARRING BORIS KARLOFF, ELSA LANCHESTER, COLIN CLIVE, VALERIE HOBSON, ERNEST THESIGER, MARY GORDON, UNA O’CONNOR AND DWIGHT FRYE.

Happy Birthday to Frankenstein’s Monster! By which I mean that Mary Shelley’s iconic horror novel, one of the first of its kind, pre-dating even Bram Stoker’s DRACULA, was written at the Villa Diodati two hundred years ago this year.

What a wonderful achievement. Two centuries later, we’re still reading the book and watching the many different film versions that have been made from it. Not bad going for a little woman, eh…?

Today we’re looking at probably the two best films ever made from Mrs. Shelley’s book. FRANKENSTEIN (1931) and THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) are widely regarded both as two of the best films of all time and also two of the best horror films ever made.

The sequel is, if anything, even better than the original, and you can’t lynch me for saying that, haha, because I’m not the only one who thinks so, so there…!

Important film critics and suchlike all seem to agree on this one, although there’s no denying that the original film is still superb. I honestly think that there’s just even more to love about the sequel.

FRANKENSTEIN tells the story of the handsome and wealthy Dr. Henry Frankenstein, the man whose burning desire to create life out of re-animated body parts takes over his life and his mind and nearly gets him killed into the bargain.

With the help of his hunchbacked assistant, Fritz, he robs graves and cobbles body parts together good-style until he’s created his famous Monster, magnificently played in both films by Boris Karloff. The Monster’s clothes are ill-fitting (he’ll have you in ‘stitches’ with his home-made get-up…!) and he’s bothered, bewildered and bemused by the strange and hostile world he’s been thrust into.

Dr. Frankenstein, as much as we like him, doesn’t give much thought to what’s supposed to happen to his poor Monster after he’s been brought to life. Let’s face it, Henry’s just playing God, isn’t he? He has no plan for his Creation for after it’s been re-animated and, therefore, you could say that he’s pretty much to blame for the disasters that happen from then on.

We all remember the scene where the Monster unintentionally drowns a little girl and draws the wrath of the entire village down upon his big boxy-looking head. Angry mob ahoy, haha. And who’s to blame? The Monster who didn’t ask to be born, or the scientist who wanted to feed his own ego by playing God and creating life out of the saddest, most pathetic body parts imaginable? You tell me…

I’ve always preferred the sequel, as I’ve already said, though it’s no less violent, heartbreaking or gory than the original film. The Monster, still on the run from those meanie townspeople, finds a friend in a blind hermit who teaches him to communicate verbally. He also instils in him a liking for booze and fags, incidentally, which is hilarious and is obviously the first step on the slippery slope towards complete and utter depravity, haha.

Not unnaturally, we’ve got several changes of personnel in this second film, my favourite of which is the introduction of Ernest Thesiger as Dr. Septimus Pretorius, a mad scientist who makes Dr. Frankenstein look like a well-adjusted human being. The scene where he shows Henry his collection of miniature ‘people’ is mind-bogglingly bizarre and freaky.

He wants Henry to go in with him on creating a ‘bride’ for Henry’s Monster out of yet more dead body parts. Henry is against this idea at first. He’s had enough of playing God. Maybe the abduction of his lovely fiancée Elizabeth (whom he still hasn’t married, by the way. I’m just saying, is all!) will help him to smarten up his ideas a bit…

My favourite scene in this whole film, apart from the ‘reveal’ of the beautiful bride herself, is the one where Dr. Pretorius is dining alone in the vaults, his food and drink spread out on an old tomb.

He’s not at all fazed to have the Monster join him for a tipple, and they have a lovely chat in which it’s established that the poor old lonely Creature is well aware of his miserable origins. Aw. It’s so sad, the way he’s just abandoned by his Creator like that and left to fend for himself.

Dr. Henry has been beyond irresponsible, I’m sorry to say, to so thoughtlessly do what he’s done, although I’ll forgive him much on account of his easiness on the eye and, like Lenny Leonard in THE SIMPSONS, I know eye-ease…!

The opening scenes in particular are just marvellous. Elsa Lanchester plays Mary Shelley as well as the Bride, and she’s utterly beautiful as she recounts the sequel to her famous horror tale to her hubby Shelley and a foppish Lord Byron.

Of course, it’s as the Bride that we’ll always remember her, with her white dress and the outrageous hairstyle with the lightning streaks that has passed into legend and popular culture without any difficulty whatsoever. She is an icon of pure classic horror, every bit as much as Karloff’s magnificent but tragic Monster or Bela Lugosi’s Dracula or Lon Chaney Jr.’s Wolf Man.

The ending to this one is electrifying. It’ll rock you to your very foundations, as it were (not to give anything away, haha!).

The ‘mid-European’ settings are all breath-takingly beautiful and the musical score captivating.

And just to add as well that Una O’Connor, whom you might remember as the shrieky landlady in THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933), does a terrific job in this film as the surprisingly bloodthirsty, s**t-stirring little house-servant, Minnie.

Will you join me now, my horror friends, in raising a glass to Frankenstein and his tragic Monster on the auspicious occasion of their bicentennial?

We’ll drink to Mary Shelley and her little book that went on to take its place alongside DRACULA and DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE as one of the most legendary horror novels of all time. Kudos to you, dear Mrs. Shelley, and Happy Halloween to the rest of us. We all are creatures of the night. What music we make…!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

house-of-frankenstein

HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN/HOUSE OF DRACULA: A DOUBLE BILL OF HORRIFIC HALLOWEEN HORROR FILM REVIEWS FROM SANDRA HARRIS! ©

HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN/HOUSE OF DRACULA: A DOUBLE BILL OF HORRIFIC HALLOWEEN HORROR FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. (1944) DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL PICTURES. STORY BY CURT SIODMAK. DIRECTED BY ERLE C. KENTON. STARRING BORIS KARLOFF, LON CHANEY JR., JOHN CARRADINE, J. CARROL NAISH, ELENA VERDUGO AND GLENN STRANGE.

HOUSE OF DRACULA. (1945) DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL PICTURES. DIRECTED BY ERLE C. KENTON. STARRING LON CHANEY JR., JOHN CARRADINE, ONSLOW STEVENS, MARTHA O’DRISCOLL, JANE ADAMS AND GLENN STRANGE.

These two brilliant old horror romps from UNIVERSAL PICTURES are direct follow-ons from each other, but of course Dopey here watched them in the wrong order. Not that it makes much difference one way or the other, really.

Both films are completely bonkers (I say that with complete affection) and you could actually play ’em both backwards and you’d still know about as much as someone who’d watched ’em normally…!

They’re each what you’d call ‘crossover’ movies, featuring Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and the Wolf Man all in the same film at the same time, if you get me. It’s like when they put Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees in the same film nowadays and get ’em to knock seven bells out of each other. I quite like when film-makers do that, though I guess it entirely depends on whether or not you dig the characters involved.

If you like horror movie crossovers, you’ll most likely love these two. They’re mad at times, baffling, bizarre, surreal even and chock-full of unlikely coincidences and strange occurrences, but they have a five-star cast of horror royalty the likes of which you wouldn’t really see any more and they all play their roles with love and panache.

I especially love Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot, otherwise known as the Wolf Man. I never really noticed it before but he’s extremely attractive with his nice solid body in his dark werewolf-appropriate shirts-and-slacks combos and his thick, slicked-back dark hair, not to mention the tortured expression on his handsome face.

He hates turning into a werewolf whenever the moon is full and being consequently filled with the urge to kill the nearest human being, but I wouldn’t shed too many tears over him, dear readers. In every film, the prettiest girl falls in love with him and vows to stay with him no matter how hairy his feet and back get when the moon is full.

In THE WOLF MAN (1941), it was the beautiful and charming Evelyn Ankers as shop assistant Gwen Conliffe who was first in the queue to soothe his hairy brow. In HOUSE OF DRACULA, it’s Dr. Edelmann’s pretty nurse Milizia he’s got his eye on, and in HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN it’s a gypsy dancer girl called Ilonka who drops Boris Karloff’s hunchbacked (and lovelorn) assistant Daniel the second she claps eyes on the Wolf Man. No wonder they say women are fickle…

Will we take a peep at the two plots, just for ha-has…? Hell yeah, we will! In HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, Boris Karloff plays an evil genius, Dr. Niemann, who is desperate to revive the frozen body of Frankenstein’s Monster so that he can wreak a terrible revenge on the meanie townspeople who put him in prison for fifteen years.

Along the way he thaws out the Wolf Man and causes much havoc among the villagers in the gorgeous little town which houses the ruins of the old Dr. Frankenstein’s castle. The setting is very similar to the mythical ‘mid-Europe’ ones that HAMMER FILMS would later create for their own marvellous DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN films. With the mountains in the background and the magnificent ruins of the castle in the foreground, the visuals are breath-taking in both cases.

Dr. Niemann’s travelling horror show, the one he steals from George Zucco, is so in keeping with a great old horror film’s element of mystery, the occult, the bizarre and the downright sinister. The old gypsy caravans too are a delight to see, as well as the traditional old gypsy dance performed by the fickle Ilonka. You definitely get the feeling, looking at the settings, that the shadow of the Carpathian mountains can’t be too far away…

HOUSE OF DRACULA is probably my favourite of the two films. There are definite elements of comedy as John Carradine’s Count Dracula and Lon Chaney Jr.’s Wolf Man both turn up at Dr. Edelmann’s magnificent old cliff-top mansion, each demanding to be cured of their separate afflictions.

I’m telling you, it’s like rush-hour at the flippin’ surgery. I hate the way you can’t even get a same-day bloody appointment any more at those places. And yet, when the sun is splitting the rocks, isn’t it funny how many people suddenly forget about their ingrown toenails or itchy rash and go off to work on their tan…!

Anyway, mustn’t grumble. Dr. Edelmann has it much tougher as he tries to help Dracula and the Wolf Man, all the while keeping his pretty nurses in check, handling the terrified villagers and trying to revive Frankenstein’s Monster while under the malign influence of Count Dracula…! Things get very busy indeed over at the surgery. No wonder one of the nurses permanently has the hump…

These films will do perfectly for a nice spooky Halloween double feature, complete with popcorn, peanuts and maybe a drop or two of something nice and liquidy, haha. They won’t scare you in the slightest, but they’ll leave you with a lovely warm fuzzy feeling in your mid-section.

Yes, sure, that could be the booze, but even without the booze these are two great feel-good films that’ll fill you chock-full of a wonderful nostalgia  for the days of UNIVERSAL PICTURES and the black-and-white logo at the start of the films that had the old-fashioned little aeroplane circling the globe while that great old familiar music played. Job done!

house-of-frankenstein

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

wolf-man

WEREWOLF OF LONDON/THE WOLF MAN: A DOUBLE BILL OF HALLOWEEN HORROR FILM REVIEWS FROM SANDRA HARRIS. ©

wolf-manWEREWOLF OF LONDON/THE WOLF MAN: A DOUBLE BILL OF ‘UNIVERSAL PICTURES’ HORROR MOVIE REVIEWS FOR HALLOWEEN BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

WEREWOLF OF LONDON. (1935) DIRECTED BY STUART WALKER. STARRING HENRY HULL, VALERIE HOBSON, WARNER OLAND AND LESTER MATTHEWS.

THE WOLF MAN. (1941) WRITTEN BY CURT SIODMAK. PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY GEORGE WAGGNER. STARRING LON CHANEY JR., BELA LUGOSI, EVELYN ANKERS, CLAUDE RAINS AND MARIA OUSPENSKAYA.

These two fantastic old classic horror films were the first two ‘werewolf’ movies from UNIVERSAL PICTURES, which at one point back then was making a pretty healthy living from its series of monster movies.

Although the second film, THE WOLF MAN, was more commercially successful than its predecessor WEREWOLF OF LONDON, I think they’re both equally good and, if anything, I might even have a softer spot for WEREWOLF OF LONDON.

Warren Zevon wrote his famous song, WEREWOLVES OF LONDON, about the old movie in 1978 and I’ve always loved that song. It’s also just been a very dear film to me over the years, and I loved getting the DVD of it as a present from a friend a couple of Christmases ago.

WEREWOLF OF LONDON is the story of renowned English botanist Wilfred Glendon, who gets bitten by a werewolf in Tibet while on a mission to locate the elusive mariphasa plant. The plant is incidentally (but rather importantly) supposed to be an antidote to the bite of the monster so, when he returns to England to his beautiful mansion and his lovely wife Lisa, he gets pestered for it non-stop by the mysterious Dr. Yogami, who claims to have met Wilfred while in Tibet. Hmmm. How very odd…

In THE WOLF MAN, Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot, gets bitten by Bela Lugosi, of all people, as a gypsy/werewolf who can’t help his murderous impulses when he attacks a young girl whose fortune he’d been telling. In trying to save the girl, Larry gets bitten. Which is a terrible shame as he’s only just returned to his lovely ancestral home in Wales for the first time in twenty odd years to reconcile with his estranged Pops, played by Claude Rains. Some homecoming, huh…?

Anyway, both men do their utmost to stifle their newly-acquired lycanthropic impulses but once you’re cursed, you’re cursed. You can’t fight it. Come the full moon, they’re both growing hair on their faces and bodies where there was, shall we say, less hair before and prowling about the delightfully fog-wreathed streets of London, in Wilfred’s case, and the woods of Llanwelly, Wales, in Larry’s, searching for pretty young female victims to maul. Although any auld fella will do in a pinch…!

It’s such a pity as well, as both men are decent, noble honourable chaps at heart and they each suffer terrible agonies of remorse after they commit the gruesome crimes for which they’re really not morally responsible.

Well, I say they’re both decent chaps but Larry does engage in some rather deviant sexual practices, namely voyeurism, which is how he meets the lovely Gwen Conliffe, daughter of the local antique shop owner.

Well, I’m only kidding, of course, as the voyeurism was an accident and not deliberate at all, but it does bring about his meeting with Gwen who, even though she’s engaged to another man, quickly falls in love with the handsome and charming Larry and would go to the ends of the earth to save him from the curse if she could.

Wilfred Glendon is similarly blessed in his marriage to Lisa, but he’s forced to neglect her dreadfully while searching for a cure for his grievous affliction. And he’d better be warned, there’s an old childhood chum of Lisa’s waiting in the wings to snap her up if his neglect of his bright, lively sociable wife becomes too much to ignore. It seems that being a werewolf is somewhat detrimental to a fellow’s love-life…!

My favourite scenes in WEREWOLF OF LONDON involve Mrs. Moncaster and Mrs. Whack, two tipsy old biddies straight out of Dickens who rent a room to poor old Wilfred, who’s looking for a private place to wait out his ‘turning’ into a werewolf. Just like Christopher Lee as Dr. Charles Marlowe did in I, MONSTER in 1971, you might remember. It’s apparently standard practice for gents afflicted with occasional bouts of monsterism…!

Anyway, Mesdames Moncaster and Whack make a terrific double act as they try to work out what’s to be done about Mrs. Whack’s less than sociable tenant. Funniest scenes in the film, you mark my words, duckies…!

It’s also wonderful to see Bela Lugosi, star of the UNIVERSAL PICTURES DRACULA movie of 1931, as the gypsy/fortune-teller/werewolf in THE WOLF MAN. He plays the son of Maleva, a gypsy woman who has had to come to terms with the fact that her beloved son’s life has, of necessity, to be a painfully difficult one. Poor Bela! Sometimes I feel sad when I think about him and his wonderful old movies.

The settings are all deliciously misty, atmospheric, mysterious and gothic and the special effects are fantastic for their time. All you lovely horror fans out there could do a lot worse than watch these two marvellous old films back-to-back as a sort of UNIVERSAL PICTURES Halloween spooky movie marathon. Much as I have just done myself, haha. But always remember:

‘Even a man who is pure of heart, and says his prayers by night;

May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright…’

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor