There are some films you can sense where everyone put their best foot forward. And then there are some films where it’s obvious people were just running out the clock to get a paycheck. With “Mondo Balordo” you can sense Boris Karloff would shamble in to the studio, record his narration for this monstrosity and then leave back to his home. The absolutely awful “Mondo Balordo” is one in a series of pseudo-documentaries that exploit their topics to a certain degree.
Shout Factory continues the growing of their library of Universal genre films, all of which expand to heavyweights like Boris Karloff, Lionel Atwill and the iconic Rondo Hatton. Although the selection isn’t all purely horror by definition, these are all fairly solid and entertaining genre pictures with appearances by various horror icons. This is another in the growing library for horror buffs anxious to add more depth to their collection, all now upgraded and restored.
The newest edition from Shout Factory of Universal Horror Collection is really more of four films with mixed genres, and folks looking for strictly horror might be a tad disappointed. It does, in all fairness, feature horror icons like Lionel Atwill, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Vincent Price (and so many more). However for collectors looking to complete the library being released from Scream Factory, as they continue chronicling a lot of the more obscure and notable Universal horror films, this is right up your alley. It’s light in the supplemental material, but here’s hoping the impending volume four gives us a bit more meat to chew on.
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.
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.
You could almost attribute the invention of the sub-genre involving travelers trapped in a house with a bunch of demented folks to James Whale. While there are no chainsaws or torture devices anywhere, you could see where the seeds were sewn for films like “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Haunting.” Whale’s film “The Old Dark House” presents glimmers of dark comedy and some pretty funny one-liners but through and through it’s an atmospheric and very creepy tale about a travelers trapped in a house with a psychotic brood. During a horrific rain storm, a group of travelers in the country side of Wales find themselves soaking wet and seeking shelter from the cold water barreling down on them.
Everyone is familiar with Jack Nicholson’s Oscar-winning and -nominated performances, as well as his icon roles in beloved cult films. But less attention is bestowed on his early screen work – and many of these films only gained belated notice after Jack’s rise to superstardom. Today, we are honored to have the celebrated film historian James L. Neibaur, author of “The Essential Jack Nicholson,” to discuss the star’s earlier films, including his now-classic collaborations with Roger Corman and Monte Hellman.
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Boris Karloff is deliciously spooky as the narrator who unfolds a trio of stories in Mario Bava’s immortal “Black Sabbath*.” Each tale involves people whose demons come back to haunt them in one way or another. Mario Bava is excellent in depicting various shades of terror, devoting bold and stark palettes of colors to each segment that add to the EC Comics vibe that Bava inadvertently conveys. “The Drop of Water” is the best and arguably most iconic of segment in horror movie anthologies, involving the classic comeuppance of a grave robber. In the early 1900’s, nurse Chester is called to a large house once owned by an elderly woman who was also a medium. After the elderly woman dies while seemingly in a trance, Nurse Chester arrives to discover the gruesome visage of the woman and helps to dress up her corpse alongside her incredibly terrified house maid.