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.
Hammer always approached their version of Dracula with a serialized attitude, making every chapter of his emergence as something unique and entertaining. After 1958’s “Dracula” which shown his battle with Peter Cushing, he is defeated and left to basically stay as ash in his old castle in England. Of course, as we learn with all of Dracula’s Hammer exploits, he eventually is revived by some human error or devotion to his powers that amount to his re-emerging in “Prince of Darkness.”
If anything, I’m glad Genndy Tartakovsky’s off beat humor and fun animation has been embraced by Sony, but like the previous “Hotel Transylvania’s” this threequel is a mixed bag. Some of it is genuinely funny, and other times it’s either flat or kind of dull. Tartakovsky is usually so very off beat and original, it’s sad that Sony pretty much went the formulaic route with all movie series. There’s the romance, the baby sequel, and inevitable second romance with the series’ arguably most popular character. And the movie, like the formula is pretty predictable, which is what keeps “A Monster Vacation” from really taking off.
Fred Dekker’s “The Monster Squad” is the assembly of many eighties tropes, even conjuring up the aesthetic of a novel series one might have found tucked beside “The Hardy Boys,” and “Babysitters Club.” It’s Amblin, Spielberg, Universal and everything else we loved about the eighties, and while it can in many ways be considered a take off on “The Goonies,” it watches so much better over time. Even better is the script by Shane Black allows for interesting and complex preteen heroes, all of whom have their spotlight, as well as their own personal struggles. Like Spielberg, Black introduces a potentially broken home with main hero Sean, while this extraordinary situation allows his family to re-unite for the fate of him and his little sister.
The “Wes Craven Presents Dracula” series has been one of the kookiest and oddest trilogies ever conceived by a studio. Obviously the trilogy is just a hodgepodge of three vampire movies connected because Dracula. But it’s an eccentric trilogy when you take a step back. The first was a sleek action horror film with Dracula being the reincarnated Judas. The second is a goofy thriller about scientists trying to manipulate Dracula’s blood in to a healing medicine. The third is a romance with a martial arts fighting rogue priest who is trying to stop immigrants from becoming Dracula’s imported food.
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.
I admit I never read the “Bunnicula” movies when I was a kid nor did I ever really see the animated specials. The TV movie was one of those specials ABC played after Saturday morning cartoons as a means of promoting different types of kids literature. “Bunnicula” is one of the more creative of its type and a definitely fun Halloween treat for kids that love horror that isn’t too scary. Set in a small town, two boys find a weird scripture with the words “Bunnicula” written on it, along with a slumbering rabbit inside of a box.
For movie buffs and collectors looking to gather up some classic schlock and silly horror films, “Mill Creek Entertainment” brings us a 50 Movie MegaPack DVD Set of some their worst and most infamous horror films. Thrown in to the mix, there are some science fiction, juvenile terror movies like “I Accuse My Parents,” and even the George Hamilton starring “Evel Knievel.” Further digging in to the selection of fifty titles, there’s 1944’s “Delinquent Daughters,” the Francis Ford Coppola horror classic “Dementia 13,” the slasher “Driller Killer,” and 1977’s “Drive In Massacre.”
There’s the deliriously bad but hilarious science fiction action film “Future Hunters” starring Robert Patrick, and Bruce Le, William Castle’s fun “House on Haunted Hill,” the early Brandon Lee starring stinker “Laser Mission,” the classic MST3K spoofed “Manos-The Hands of Fate,” the so bad it’s great drug hysteria movie “Reefer Madness,” the goofy science fiction film “Slipstream,” the classic dwarfsploitation movie “The Terror of Tiny Town,” and the Fred Williamson post apocalyptic science fiction film “Warriors of the Wasteland.” All movies come packed in a cardboard box by Mill Creek and in paper sleeves. I have to say I miss the plastic clam cases, but maybe it’s a cost thing.
This year movie collectors might enjoy knowing that Mill Creek Entertainment has taken to the digital world, allowing their consumers to redeem their fifty megapack purchases for digital libraries for their laptops, cell phones, and Ipads. Much like every other home release, the consumers will be given a unique code with their purchase, allowing them to redeem their movie packs in digital form at Mill Creek’s new service Watch.MillCreekEnt.Com where they can watch them, stream them, or download them.