The countdown may have ended yesterday with some kick ass movies, but now that it has reached the end what do you do with all this? Watch all the films? Watch select ones? I haven’t counted how many films are included in this countdown, but I know it’s a LOT. Here are ways to schedule your Halloween viewing from these films if you just don;t know where to start or what to include.
Years ago we used to hold an all day “themed” Halloween movie marathon. Here were the themes as I remember them.
Frankenstein: Never has the monster been played better than Karloff did it. Is it close to the novel’s interpretation? Nope. Not at all, but that would be dull compared to this. The film falls a bit flat once the wedding starts, but then there is the ending….the monster screaming like a lost child as the flames lick up at him in the old windmill. If you have never seen it then……..why not!?
Here it is the day before Halloween!!! No written reviews yet, but below are my choices. There are some GREAT ones here!
Not only was the horror film pretty much invented in Germany but so was the epic Sci-Fi film. Metropolis was the first big budget sci fi film and it shows even today. Amazing sets, Maria the Robot, class warfare, futuristic technology….it’s all here AND it’s a silent film! You watch it and wonder
“How did they do that?”
A recent version was released with new footage added which makes the film even more complete. Directed by the great Fritz Lang (M, Dr. Mabuse) and starring Ruolph Klein Rouge (Dr. Mabuse himself) as the mad scientist Rotwang, Metropolis is required viewing for any fan of classic sci fi.
Myself? It is a film that I try to watch about once a year because it’s a great movie, and it’s kind of astounding to realize what an influence it has had even up until today. C-3po was even based on Maria for god’s (said in a Metropolis kind of way) sake! Spend the extra money and get the newest release and let me know what you think.
Here they are. These are getting to be the cream of the crop!
Brides of Dracula (1960): A well done Hammer vampire film directed by the equally good Terrence Fisher. This was to be a sequel to the first Dracula film, Horror of Dracula, but Christopher Lee was not available or something so they came up with this version. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) proves invaluable help to a girl that has mistakenly freed the Baron Meinster. A rather mean Vampire. He quickly, kills his own mother, spawns 2 “brides” and his reign of terror would have remained unchecked if not for Van Helsing. It is an interesting take on the genre, as Baron Meinster is held prisoner by his own mother! The only problem is the ending which I feel ends a bit too abruptly, but don’t let that stop you from watching this. It is one of the best movies Hammer ever made.
Sunshine: (2007) A sci fi film from Danny Boyle that doesn’t quite hit the mark, yet it has some great stuff in it. A crew is sent on a VERY special space mission and they only have one shot at it. The sun is fading, and has to be “re started.” The first ship had become lost so this is the last chance. Wikipedia says:
Curse of the Werewolf: A damn good take on the Werewolf genre from Hammer. This stars a young Oliver Reed as the Werewolf, and like the best (The Wolfman) he provides plenty of pathos because he in indeed an unfortunate fellow. Hammer always tried to keep their takes on old genres fresh and this is not exception. Oliver Reed is basically born into being a beast because his deaf/mute mother had been abused, jailed and raped by an old forgotten beggar, then dies in childbirth. He was born a cursed boy, and turns into a beast when the moon is full, AND he has lost a love. The makeup is on the best, and most famous werewolf makeups in movies, and he is a fierce looking beast indeed. This is definitely one of Hammer’s best efforts, and pretty much a must for any Halloween movie viewing.
Godzilla vs Mothra (1964): Probably the second best Godzilla film ever made. The drama, the monsters, the effects, the cinematography…..it all gelled beautifully. This was the fourth Godzilla movie and one of the last times, for a long time, that Godzilla was to play a major bad guy. This is evident form when we first see him suddenly burst forth from the Earth, surprising all the innocent bystanders.
Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman: First off let’s give credit where credit is due. This was THE FIRST film where two famous monster meet in a fight. It all started here folks! This is a sequel of sorts to The Wolfman, and he looks great in this. As a matter of fact the eerie beginning scene in Larry Talbot’s crypt is well done. This is ALSO a sequel of sorts to the Ghost of Frankenstein, and the original cut supposedly included dialogue from the monster using Ygor’s voice (Lugosi’s character whose brain was transplanted into the monster). That was shelved though, and this time it was Lugosi who played the monster. Unfortunately he was a bit old by then AND the monster was blind (continued form the previous film) stumbling around like a buffon, but no one ever mentioned that fact! Anyway, the two monsters meet up and fight, but the fight itself is disappointing. Sure they tussle and mix it up a bit, but the fight itself is just not that exciting, BUT the music is, the Wolfman looks great, and it’s a Universal. To me that means it’s go to be entertaining, and this film definitely does not disappoint in that department.
Hammer Dracula series: As I was growing up and loving many of these films there was only one Dracula that I knew and that was Christopher Lee. It was a bit later that I discovered Bela Lugosi, but Chris Lee was “my first.” So for me it is always great to see him as Dracula, even if more than a few of the films are not very good. There were 7 Chris Lee Dracula films and the first (Horror of Dracula) is the best so I am saving that one for later in this countdown. Horror of Dracula was kind of a game changer for Horror movies, and the surge was on. Funny enough though it was 8 years before the next Chris Lee Dracula film. Hammer was producing many horror films during that time (including vampire movies) but no Dracula until 1966.
Village of the Damned: I am telling that you MUST like this one.Unfortunately I don’t really have the power to do that but these kids do! This is a great British film starring George Sanders. A small English town suddenly goes “dark.” In other words everyone passes out unconscious, and anyone entering the area of the town does the same. It’s a great mystery that the military is studying when suddenly everyone wakes up. Everything seems normal again except for one thing. Several women in the town turn out to be pregnant. Whether they did what was necessary to become pregnant or not. This obviously causes friction amongst the husbands, but be that as it may, the babies are all born anyway. These are not normal babies though. (See pic). They develop the power to read anyone’s mind, and order them to see or do anything. One fellow is made to light himself on fire (after he had threatened the children), and the townspeople are scared to death of them. Turns out the English village is not the only country in the world where this has happened either. Several countries have the same problem, and the soviets actually have to resort to the use of a nuclear missile to destroy their group of children. Well…George Sanders figures a heroic way out of all this for the English village and you will have to watch this film AND love it to find out! I am now in your mind telling you to do so! Or you can just watch the video below!