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Showing posts from November, 2009

Random Creepy Karloff Moment

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The Mummy
1932
Dir. Karl Freund

Egypt, 1921. A team of British archaeologists led by Sir Joseph Whemple uncover the mummified remains of Imhotep, an ancient high priest. When one young archaeologist reads from a sacred scroll, the Mummy comes to life – and the young man becomes delirious, eventually going insane. 10 years later Sir Joseph returns to Egypt with his son Frank. Unknown to them, the Mummy has revived itself and now exists as Ardath Bay, a mysterious man who helps the expedition uncover the tomb of his ancient love. Ardath Bay/Imhotep wants to be reunited with his love, but in order to that, the woman she has been reincarnated as, Helen Grosvenor, must die…

The opening scene of this classic horror tale contains one of the most chilling moments in early horror cinema. After having inadvertently resurrected the Mummy, which we see slowly opening its eyes as the scroll’s contents is recited, Ralph Norton (Bramwell Fletcher), a young archaeologist, sets about studying the scro…

Candid Karloff

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Some photographs of Boris Karloff behind the scenes and between takes. Check out more Karloff related goodness at Frankensteinia: The Frankenstein Blog.

Brought to you in association with The Boris Karloff blogathon.

Dark Dignitaries: When Karloff met Lewton Part III: Bedlam

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As part of this week's ongoing Boris Karloff blogathon, we take a look at the Uncanny One's final collaboration with distinguished producer Val Lewton – the 1946 Period-Horror-‘Message’-movie hybrid, Bedlam. Be sure to check out a list of links to other Karloff related goodness over at Frankensteinia: The Frankenstein Blog.

After the success of The Body Snatcher and with Isle of the Dead finally wrapped and ready to be released, RKO decided to ‘reward’ Lewton by upping his budget for what would transpire to be his last B Horror movie for them. As well as receiving $350,000 Lewton was also given a staggering 8 months for post-production – unheard of for a B movie at the time.

Following on from Isle of the Dead and The Body Snatcher, Bedlam was another ‘period’ film with astounding attention to detail lavished upon it, and like Isle of the Dead was also inspired by a painting – William Hogarth’s Bedlam Plate 8: The Rake’s Progress. The script was written by director Mark Robso…

Dark Dignitaries: When Karloff met Lewton Part II: The Body Snatcher

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As part of this week's Boris Karloff blogathon, we continue to take a look at the Uncanny One's work with distinguished producer Val Lewton.

With work on Isle of the Deadcoming to halt only days into the shoot due to Karloff needing to have a spinal operation, Lewton began working on his next film – The Body Snatcher. In early 1944, the ‘period thriller’ began to gain popularity again. Titles such as Gaslight and The Lodger had proved immensely popular with wartime audiences who relished the opportunity to step back in time to find their chills and thrills. After the 1930s cycle of horror films, Lewton had ‘Americanised’ and modernised horror with the contemporary Cat People, and many other filmmakers had followed suit; however it soon came to pass that period films were hot again, and Lewton, not content to just remix past glories, was eager to try and make his own mark on the period horror film.

Lewton thought it appropriate to return to the world of literature again for h…

Dark Dignitaries: When Karloff met Lewton Part I: Isle of the Dead

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As part of this week's Boris Karloff Blogathon, I've decided to have a look at the three atmospheric chillers Karloff made with producer Val Lewton in the mid-forties. Given a collection of lurid titles by RKO, Lewton was instructed to craft low budget horror films to compete with Universal's slew of Monster Movies at the time. Lewton created subtle, provocative and tasteful films that became highly influential in the horror genre. When Karloff came on board for three of these films (Isle of the Dead, The Body Snatcher and Bedlam) the two men found kindred spirits in one another and this dark union produced three highly effective pictures that proved to be the best amongst both men's work.

When Val Lewton was told that Boris Karloff had signed a 3 picture contract with RKO and he had to use the actor, Lewton was initially not best pleased. Karloff had been signed by Jack Gross, who like Karloff, was coming to the studio from Universal. According to director Mark Robs…

Brides and Broads: Karloff’s Leading Ladies

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Throughout his career, Karloff shared the spotlight with many a silver-screened siren – usually with them recoiling in terror from him. Karloff never really got to play the ‘romantic lead’ but there is no denying the chemistry he shared with some of the actresses he worked with – be they shrieking in terror at his approach, or strangely drawn to his undoubted yet dark charisma. Whilst most actresses in horror films during the 30s and 40s were reduced to screaming and fainting - some equiped themselves well and managed to rise above questionable material to create feisty heroines who could more than hold their own against the villain/monster. And of course, some just screamed and fainted a lot - but they did it so well they get a mention too.

Here are some of the actresses who shared more memorable moments with Karloff ‘The Uncanny.’ Don't forget to check out Frankensteinia: The Frankenstein Blog for more Karloff related wonderment...


Elsa Lanchester. An English character actress …

Its Alive! Happy Birthday Boris Karloff

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Born November 23, 1887, William Henry Pratt soon went on to become one of the most enduring horror icons of all time.

As Boris Karloff, he would make his mark in cinema history with his sensitive portrayal of the Man-Made Monster in James Whale's adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein...

To celebrate Karloff's birthday and his vast range of film work, this week will be given over to a Boris Karloff Blogathon, with all posts dedicated to looking at some well-loved, and perhaps some overlooked, Karloff 'The Uncanny' classics.

Today is also Sara Karloff's birthday and she sent a message to Pierre Fournier over at Frankensteinia to say she is looking forward to reading all the blogs about her father and his work this week. Head over to Frankensteinia to read her message.

Karloff, Gooooood!