On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” we consider the remarkable career of Boris Karloff, celebrating his iconic horror films and his diverse dramatic and comic work on screen, stage and television. Film historian Troy Howarth is our guest expert.
Bela Lugosi is back in the “Online Movie Show” spotlight with a special episode devoted entirely to the landmark 1932 “White Zombie.” Our guest is award-winning writer Brad A. Braddock, author of “Memoirs of Murder: A Prequel to the 1932 classic, White Zombie” (published by Arcane Shadows Press).
BOOTLEG FILES 708: “White Zombie” (1932 horror film starring Bela Lugosi).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On public domain labels.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A copyright infringement accusation at the beginning of its production and a lapsed copyright after its release.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There has yet to be a truly pristine commercial release of this title.
When “White Zombie” opened in New York in 1932, the critics were scathing in their denunciations. Words like “ridiculous,” “ludicrous,” “failure” and “Worst Movie of 1932” peppered the reviews. And while the critical slams did not scare away audiences, it nonetheless saddled the film with a negative reputation that required decades of repeated screenings and new generations of film scholars to mitigate the initial wave of abuse.
Just in time for Halloween! This episode of “The Online Movie Show” celebrates the life and legacy of Bela Lugosi, peeling away the urban legends and highlighting the iconic actor’s greatest achievements. Film historian James L. Neibaur, author of “The Monster Movies of Universal Studios” and an upcoming biography on William Beaudine, a frequent Lugosi director, is the guest on this episode, which can be heard here.
When “The Universal Horror Collection” was originally announced, it was titled the “Boris Karloff/Bela Lugosi Collection” by Shout Factory. One can only assume that they’ve managed to retain the rights to many Universal movies obscure and classic, thus changing their new series to “The Universal Horror Collection.” With that broad a title, the sky is apparently the limit for Shout Factory and what they can do with these volumes. Since this was originally a Karloff/Lugosi four movie set, the whole of the films included star the pair of horror icons. With Volume 1 of “The Universal Horror Collection,” fans will be elated to see that they’re starting us off on the right foot.
Although Universal eventually did follow up Tod Browning’s “Dracula” from 1931 with their own “Dracula’s Daughter” and “Son of Dracula,” the unofficial sequel has always been 1943’s “The Return of the Vampire.” When Columbia Pictures sough to revive Dracula for the big screener, Universal halted their efforts, prompting Columbia to basically deliver the follow up to Dracula but under a variety of different names and different circumstances. With “The Return of the Vampire” we have a great spiritual sequel that stars Lugosi returning as Dracula, but–not Dracula.
It’s funny how I know so much about Dracula and still can’t get enough of the character or the concept no matter where I turn. Intervision’s “The Trail of Dracula” is an hour long look in to the history of Dracula through the ages. There are tons of interviews and accounts from the creation of Bram Stoker’s novel, and the unauthorized adaptation called “Nosferatu,” right down to his pop culture influence in the modern age like “Vampire Hunter D” and “Castlevania.” While I would have loved a more thorough examination of the vampire legend and its various incarnations of cultures all around the world, “The Trail of Dracula” explores how Dracula eventually was crafted.
The winner of the Best Picture Award at this year’s New England Underground Film Festival, this amusing 25-minute from filmmaker Jesse Berger slices and dices scenes and dialogue from four anti-classics from the notorious Edward D. Wood Jr. – “Glen or Glenda?”, “Bride of the Monster,” “Plan 9 from Outer Space” and “Night of the Ghouls” – into a wonderfully warped blend of lunacy that perfectly captures the inane spirit of Wood’s work in a fraction of their running time.