3 items from 2012
In celebration of the October 2nd Blu-ray release of the Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection from Universal Studios Home Entertainment, veteran horror historian Scott Essman has prepared a truly monstrous trip back through time for you classic horror fans!
It’s a quiet dusty morning in the summer of 1916 and all but a small eastern region of the San Fernando Valley is largely undeveloped, to say nothing of unpopulated. For the past year, inside of an unassuming front gate just over the hill from Los Angeles proper, two men are trying to forge their path in the fledgling motion picture business: Lon Chaney and Jack Pierce. Nascent actors Chaney, 33, and Pierce, 27, were completely unknown, but each had an angle; they could both work magic out of a simple makeup case, fully transforming their faces and even parts of their bodies to put themselves into a better position to be cast in a role. »
- Uncle Creepy
(Erle C Kenton, 1932/Leo McCarey, 1935; Eureka! PG)
With one foot in the theatre and another in the cinema throughout his career, Charles Laughton (1899-1962) was one the greatest actors of his time, whose only movie as director, The Night of the Hunter, is a stand-alone masterpiece. A protean figure despite his bulk, his roles ranged from the sadly sympathetic (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) to the unforgettably sadistic (Mutiny on the Bounty). His success in Hollywood was immediate, and these two films in Eureka!'s Masters of Cinema series (each containing both DVD and Blu-ray formats) demonstrate his versatility.
In Erle C Kenton's sophisticated horror movie Island of Lost Souls (1932), long refused a BBFC certificate for its repugnance and alleged blasphemy, he is Dr Moreau, Hg Wells's mad scientist, ruling a Pacific island populated by increasingly rebellious mutants of his own overweening creation. One of the pathetic creatures is played by Bela Lugosi. »
- Philip French
The great movie pioneer D.W. Griffiths once said “we do not want now and we shall never want the human voice with our films.” Shame he failed to realise that film-making is a technical medium that will always develop. In the last 100 years we have had the introduction of colour, trick photography, 3D and CGI, among other numerous innovations such as CinemaScope - and even Smellovision. But none of these compare to the most revolutionary of cinematic changes: sound.
The silent era of the twenties holds little more than curiosity-value for many modern film fans. Other than a few notable exceptions such as Nosferatu (1922) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925), it’s become a long-forgotten part of cinema history. But back then we had the Brad Pitts and Angelina Jolies of their day! Big stars and talented actors who sadly failed to survive the test of time.
The coming of sound was controversial, »
3 items from 2012
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