VIEWS: 16 PAGES: 4 CATEGORY: Film POSTED ON: 9/15/2011
Halloween movies have always been a popular genre of cinema. These are favourite Halloween movies from the classic era of Hollywood.
15/09/2011 17:34 florabreenrobison.hubpages. com by JBunce Favourite Classic Halloween Movies: Ten Horror Films from 1925-1960 T oday’s movie audiences are used to extreme Based upon the Gothic short novel by Robert Louis violence, gore, and and special effects. There Stevenson, this was the second talkie Hollywood is a large reliance upon the green screen ins- version of this movie. The first talkie was in 1932 tead of real stunt men and women. Consequently, and starred Frederic March in the title roles. Both there is little that shocks people anymore. The mo- versions are excellently acted, but this second ver- vie business has created a trend whereby today’s sion has the more realistic make-up. It is unlikely Hollywood horror films assume that modern people that people would mistake the latter March Hyde have no imagination, mind, or willingness to sus- as human compared to Tracy’s make-up. pend belief. In this classic tale, Dr. Jeckyll has a respectable fa- Classic horror movies made during the studio sys- mily practice and is a pillar of the community. He tem of Hollywood relied on a minimum of money, has the love of his fiance and a brilliant mind. But make-up and special effects. Movie makers applied he is not satisfied with what he has and is obsessed music, shadows, actors’ expressions, suggestion and with the idea of the struggle of good and evil in imagination to scare people out of their wits. The the soul of the individual man. When his fiance’s audience member was an essential component to father thwarts marriage on the basis of the doctor’s the scariness of cinema. What the audience couldn’t controversial theories, Jeckyll tests his theory with see but believed was about to happen was powerful. himself as the guinea pig-with disastrous results. These classic movies stand the test of time because the imagination of Hollywood of that era is timeless. Dracula (1931) In compiling this list I focused on one version only Stars: Bela Lugosi and Helen Chandler of movies that have been remade. Furthermore, as several horror actors based most if not their entire Based upon the Gothic novel by Bram Stoker, this career in the horror genre, I have included only Lugosi film was the crowning glory of his career. one movie per horror leading man except where This is unfortunate as he made the movie so early in the actor is a supporting actor in the second film, his career. It also typecast him and he couldn’t pull instead of the lead. away from the genre. This doesn’t detract from the effectiveness of this film at scaring audiences with Here are ten favourite classic horror films that are a strong story. Some of the later horror movies of a must see for fans of classic cinema in alphabetical the 1970s took the names of horror novels but the order: name was the beginning and end of the similarity of the movie to the book. Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) joliprint Dracula is unique in the movie monster community Stars: Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, Lana Turner, as he is the only monster in this studio system era and Donald Crisp that is truly a monster through and through accor- Printed with ding to everyone. In several classic horror films, http://florabreenrobison.hubpages.com/hub/Favourite-Classic-Halloween-Movies Page 1 15/09/2011 17:34 florabreenrobison.hubpages.com Favourite Classic Halloween Movies: Ten Horror Films from 1925-1960 mankind is the true evil out to destroy even life that The House on Haunted Hill (1959) ignored people until they were threatened (such as in the original version of The Thing From Another Stars: Vincent Price and Carole Ohmart with Elisha World which I find a terrible tragedy). Few people, Cook, Jr. if any, sympathize with Dracula. With all the recent vampires films that make vampires look sexy, some Based upon a screenplay by Robb White, this original people have forgotten that vampires are actually movie was later remade not as well. There was no frightening and characters of the horror genre-not Vincent Price in the remake and the original film did the romance genre. not have to compete with a modern audience who is not easily shocked and is used to goriness. While Frankenstein (1931) there is make-up used to make the servants look ghostly enough to freak one of the female guests, Stars: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, and Mae Clark this is the most obvious the movie gets at showing the audience that they should be scared rather than Based upon the Gothic novel by Mary Shelly writ- uses the imagination. When Price’s wife is found ten after having a nightmare, this film made a su- hanging from a ceiling, all we see is the sheet. perstar of Karloff who nearly steals the show from everyone else. It is important to remember that the The story focuses upon a businessman who decides title of this horror story is Frankenstein and not to invite strangers to spend a night locked in his Frankenstein’s Monster. Who is the real monster? haunted home. Anyone who agrees and survives the It was Dr. Frankenstein-mankind-who created the night is to receive money. This isn’t a unique story monster: Frankenstein brought life back from the and the audience can probably guess at certain plot dead. Frankenstein’s «monster» didn’t ask to be born developments such as some people will die, others and the doctor takes no responsibility for his actions will survive, and everyone will bitterly regret their once his creation begins to cause havoc on society. decision once the house has been locked up from the outside. The genius in the film is the way it was Frankenstein’s Monster is a strong example of the filmed-the acting, cinematography, music, lack of type of creature discussed in in the segment on Dra- visual tricks, and the faith in the audience’s ability cula about how man is the evil in the early horror to use their imagination. films instead of the monster. Yes, the Monster is cau- sing destruction, fright, and violence-but remember The Innocents (1961) the blind man who doesn’t see that the monster is scary looking. He is not afraid and doesn’t realize Stars: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde and Megs Jen- he is supposed to feel afraid. Isn’t the human in this kins with Michael Regdrave, Martin Stephens, and story guilty of the stereotyped bias that says that all Pamela Franklin that is ugly is evil and all that is beautiful is virtuous? Perhaps if people had reacted with curiosity rather Based upon the novel Turn of the Screw by Henry than fear, Frankenstein’s Monster would have been James, this terrifying story involves a governess hi- joliprint harmless. red to take care of and protect a businessman’s two children. The home appears to be haunted and his girl and the boy become increasingly haunted them- selves. Meanwhile, no one believes the governess, Printed with and she is accused of everything including being http://florabreenrobison.hubpages.com/hub/Favourite-Classic-Halloween-Movies Page 2 15/09/2011 17:34 florabreenrobison.hubpages.com Favourite Classic Halloween Movies: Ten Horror Films from 1925-1960 immoral and repressed. Will she be able to convince always return to the theatre when his contract ended people before it is too late to save the children? Will if he was unsatisfied, he had better options than she even be able to save herself? Lugosi or Chaney, Jr. Unlike later films such as The Exorcist, this tale of The Phantom of the Opera (1925) possession involves no make-up or special effects to tell the audience when the children are possessed. Stars: Lon Chaney, Sr., Mary Philbin, and Norman They aren’t needed either as the story is strong Kerry enough to stand on its own. If you don’t believe you can be scared without special effects or gore, Based upon the novel by Gaston Leroux, this story watch this movie. You will find yourself unable to has been filmed and staged several times. It is doubt- fall asleep that night. ful that there is anyone not familiar with this story as it has been portrayed in the musical, even among The Invisible Man (1933) people who have never seen it. However, the nature of the title character has evolved into a character Stars: Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan, that is not even remotely scary. Beginning with the and Una O’Connor Claude Rains version, which is wonderful, the title character started to take on a romantic aspect that Based upon the novel by H.G. Wells,Rains stars as wasn’t intended in the novel. This is likely a tribute the title character who can only be seen when when to the subtlety of Rains’s acting. This silent version wearing bandages around his face. This is not to be is the closest version of the original story in that confused with a classic Father Brown short story by the leading lady is supposed to be terrified of the G.K. Chesterton that is recommended even today to Phantom after the mask is removed. Scotland Yard detectives to study regarding inter- rogating witnesses. This is a science fiction horror Lon Chaney, Sr. was the Man of a Thousand faces. story akin to Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. In this tale, the He never appeared in a movie as his own face, and title character is a scientist who decides to meddle few people outside of Hollywood have any idea what with nature in his experiments and causes his own he looked like without make-up. He preferred it that downfall. He eventually becomes a criminal that way. As a result, even though ethnic groups object needs to be destroyed. In this story, man is the evil to white people playing ethnic roles that should go both as the cause and the result of his actions. The to ethnic actors, no one ever complained when Cha- monster and his creator is the same person. ney, Sr. played other races. It was his trademark. Claude Rains had a wide, varied career. However, he Psycho (1960) appeared in three classic horror films. This movie, the title character in a version of The Phantom of the Stars: Anthony Perkins,Janet Leigh and Vera Miles Opera , and the father of the title character in The with John Gavin, Martin Balsam,and Patricia Hitch- Wolf Man (discussed below). He is a classic example cock joliprint of how -with the right scripts and the willingness of the producers to give you the chance-an actor Based upon the novel by Robert Bloch, this film chan- can be a great success in one genre and yet not be ged movie attendance and movie making forever. pigeon-holed in that genre forever. Perhaps because Before this, movies didn’t kill off the leading lady Printed with Rains was a talented stage actor who knew he could until the end of the film, if at all. You didn’t have to http://florabreenrobison.hubpages.com/hub/Favourite-Classic-Halloween-Movies Page 3 15/09/2011 17:34 florabreenrobison.hubpages.com Favourite Classic Halloween Movies: Ten Horror Films from 1925-1960 see the whole film if you wanted to see any of the This movie was not based on a novel, but was an film at all on the big screen. You were not asked to original screenplay by Curt Siodmak. It includes a keep the plot secret. Suddenly, you couldn’t be sure who’s who of the studio system horror genre. Besides of anything anymore and you made sure that you Lon Chaney Jr., the movie contains several actors were in your seats before the opening credits rolled. who have appeared in at least one other famous horror film, if not an entire career of horror films: Despite the fact that there have been several sequels Bela Lugosi, Claude Rains, and Evelyn Ankers. The and a direct remake, the terror of this original ver- screenwriter wrote several other horror films as sion continues to live. Even knowing the secrets well. before you see the movie for the first time is not enough to quell its effect on your nerves. As always, The Wolf Man is a creature to be sympathised. He it is best to see this on the big screen. However, with knows how dangerous he is when there is a full technology of today, a dark room, and a large screen moon and he isn’t locked up. He knows the diffe- TV, you can be frightened in your own home. rence between good and evil and wants society to be safe. Unfortunately, even when the person who The Uninvited (1944) becomes a monster understands and tries to thwart the danger, evil intervenes. Perhaps more than any Stars: Ray Milland, Ruth Hussy, and Donald Crisp of the other movie monsters who were originally normal human beings, his story is the most ironic. Based upon the novel Uneasy Freehold by Dorothy Macardle, this ghost story relies on the imagina- tion and willing suspension of belief upon the part of the audience-which can be more effective than showing the audience the ghostly aspiration. Quite often our own imagination can frighten ourselves more effectively than Hollywood makeup or the green screen. In the movies, more so than in real life, people should always be suspicious with being able to purchase a home for less than it should be worth. Does it need expensive repairs? Is the location bad? Is it in a dangerous neighbourhood? In a movie, another reason is that the house is haunted due to tragedy. Yet brother and sister do not realize this until after the papers are signed. To make the desire to solve the haunting that more urgent, Milland is love with the former owner’s daughter who insists joliprint on staying silent. The Wolf Man (1941) Printed with Stars: Lon Chaney, Jr., Claude Rains, and Warren William with Ralph Bellamy and Bela Lugosi http://florabreenrobison.hubpages.com/hub/Favourite-Classic-Halloween-Movies Page 4
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