Monday, October 10, 2011


It's Monday in October and that means over a half-dozen macabre motion pictures over on Turner Classic Movies tonight:

8:00 pm – The Wolf Man
9:15 pm – The Uninvited
11:00 pm – Dead Of Night
1:00 am – I Walked With A Zombie
2:15 am – Cat People
3:45 am – Curse Of The Cat People
5:00 am – The Devil Bat
6:15 am – Dead Men Walk

THE WOLF MAN is easily the most well known of these eight pictures as the Universal Monster ruled the box office for most of the first fifty years of film. Lon Chaney Jr. was probably the most sympathetic of the monsters being that his condition was no fault of his own. He simply became half-man/half-wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the moon is full and bright.

Did You Know: "The Wolf Man" is Universal Pictures second werewolf movie, it followed the less successful "Werewolf of London" six years earlier?

THE UNINVITED is a beautifully shot gothic tale of a haunting. A bit complicated compared to other haunted house stories, it begins simply with a brother and sister wanting to buy a seaside English home while on vacation. And, as they say, is only the beginning...

Did You Know: "The Uninvited" is based on the novel UNEASY FREEHOLD by Dorothy Macardle?

DEAD OF NIGHT is an early anthology film that begins when a man arrives at a party with a disturbingly accurate account of this very party from a nightmare. The stories told by the guests at the party are a result of his revelation. There is the story of a ventriloquist who believes his malevolent dummy is alive and a story set at a children's Christmas party (that was cut from the American release of the film because distributers thought the movie was too long), one about a haunting mirror and another about two golfers among others.

Did You Know: Cosmolgists Fred Hoyle, Thomas Gold and Hermann Bondi, developed the Steady State theory of the universe, an alternative to the Big Bang, after seeing "Dead of Night". They said that the nature of the plot inspired the theory.

I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE is a traditional zombie story in the sense that it is set in the West Indies and deals with "voodoo" and it's effects on the wife of a plantation owner. It is also a tale of love gone sour, twisted.

Did You Know: The disclaimer at the end of the film reads: "The characters and events depicted in this photoplay are fictional. Any similarity to actual persons, living, dead, or possessed, is purely coincidental."?

Like so many films that came before special effects could portray transformational moments, CAT PEOPLE had to rely on subtle creative shots using shadow and acting to convey these not so subtle moments. One of my favorites from this era of film...

Did You Know: The film was such a hit at the box office, the releases of the next two Lewton films (I Walked with a Zombie and The Leopard Man) were delayed and that critics who had originally bashed the film were able to see it again and many rewrote their reviews with a more positive spin?

Nearly only a sequel in name to CAT PEOPLE, CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE, is mostly a story dealing with a child creating an imaginary companion. The studio retitled this film to cash in on the great success of CAT PEOPLE.

Did You Know: This is a very well made film, but not a horror/suspense/thriller.

THE DEVIL BAT is, simply put, a reason to not wear after shave lotion. Bela Lugosi stars as a scientist who creates mutated bats who will hone in on the smell of that after shave and kill whomever is wearing it!

Did You Know: The Devil Bat is one of the most successful poverty row films?

DEAD MEN WALK is the story of a twin of a small-town physician returns from the grave for vengeance against his brother, who secretly killed him because the twin summoned his power from the devil.

Did You Know: Although the title implies zombies, it is actually a vampire to fear in this flick.

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