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Monsterama: Witches Dungeon (2004)

TV Movie  -  Horror
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How To Make A Monster!!!!
17 January 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Actually, this film could have easily been subtitled FAMOUS MONSTERS (who got em here and who is taking care of em now)! What filmmaker Cortlandt Hull has done with this film, is to create and combine what are essentially three separate and fascinating documentary story lines, interweaving them into a film lover's chronicle in general and a horror buff's celebration in particular.

There are three historical doors that Hull opens here: the first is the origin and history of "The Witches Dungeon", Hull's own creation and personal homage to the great icons of horror films, a horror museum in his hometown in Conneticut, which over several weeks in October attracts scores of horror fans from around the country. A museum which he began as a young boy and has remained faithful to throughout the years. An artist, sculptor, film historian, not to mention actual grand nephew of the celebrated actor Henry Hull (Werewolf of London, Lifeboat),he guides the viewer to places in film history that have been overlooked even by documentaries offered by the major studios.

The second door features one of the most extensive "how they did it" documentaries I have ever seen examining the great iconic film monsters: Dracula,Frankensteins'Monster,WolfMan,Hunchback,Creature from the Black Lagoon,Phantom et al. Make no mistake, this is no VH1 assembly of "cutsy commentary". This is the REAL DEAL with some fascinating historical commentary/discussion conducted by some of the film stars themselves: Christopher Lee discusses his own take on Dracula and Hammer studio's treatment of the character and wait till you see the guy who actually played The Creature From The Black Lagoon! More touching are the family members and friends of the great actors who brought these iconic images to life reminiscing quite proudly about their fathers/mothers dedication to their craft.

The third opened door here examines the dedicated movement in preserving the Film Monster legacy as well as the integrity of the artists themselves. Insights from family members/friends Ron Chaney, Sarah Karloff, June Foray, Casandra Peterson (Elvira), Basil Gogos,Cortlandt Hull and others highlight the joys and challenges of this effort.

The most moving part of the film for me however, comes in what is arguably the best testimony to the significance of "The Witches Dungeon" itself and its' unique contribution to the genre. Film legend Vincent Price along with Cortlandt Hull join forces to save the museum at a time when "forces that be" sought to close it down. But thats a "spoiler" I won't commit here. Enjoy the journey into imagination and thrills... not to mention a bit of love.

A wonderful film on several levels... or better said ..."Its' alive"! The Monsters are in good hands.


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