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Horror Films In The 1930’s

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Horror films of the 1930’s took the foundation of terror created during the twenties and evolved quite effortlessly. Many 1920’s horror films were a combination of mystery and comedy, where scary events were often filmed as much to amuse as to frighten.

The plots concerned themselves with perceived horror – ghostly visions, unexplained noises, and mysterious strangers lurking about. By the films end it would all be neatly explained as the workings of some evil-doer who was intent on concealing their activities.

However, there was one notable and historic exception to this innocent form of terror and his name was Lon Chaney. Evil was no longer a brief supernatural element easily explained away, and more often than not came in human form.

When it came to accomplishing this villainous task, no one was, or will ever be, better than Lon Chaney. Dubbed “The Man of a Thousand Faces,” Chaney was a man whose make-up artistry allowed him to create shocking and mutilated characters with only one goal in mind…to frighten the public out of its wits.

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Universal Studios Monsters Collection

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection includes eight distinctive and iconic horror films produced by Universal Studios during the 1930’s through the 1950’s. Universal has provided a treasure chest of horror films for their fans since the 1920’s. However, those films included in this collection have proven to be some of their most popular.  

Universal’s horror film production began with the making of 1923’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame starring Lon Chaney. This silent era classic paved the way for a successful series of monster films that created an unforgettable impression on generations of fans.

A Video Tribute to the Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection

In spite of the financial woes caused by the Great Depression, Carl Laemmle Jr. was able to produce two massively successful monster films for Universal Studios. Both Dracula and Frankenstein were released in 1931 and are permanently entrenched in movie history. The success of these two motion pictures skyrocketed the careers of their stars Bela Lugosi (Dracula) and Boris Karloff (Frankenstein). These landmark horror films helped give birth to a new generation of cinema monster films.

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The Frankenstein Monster Comes To The Big Screen

Friday, October 8th, 2010

The classic 1931 film Frankenstein is loosely based on the nightmarish novel written by Mary Shelley in 1818. The film itself more closely resembles the 1920’s play by Peggy Webling. The Universal Studios motion picture was produced by Carl Laemmle Jr. and released the very same year as the equally notable horror classic Dracula.

Historically, the film was first put on film as a 16 minute silent picture by the Edison Company, and would again be created in a lost silent film by Joseph W. Smiley titled Life Without a Soul (1915).

Actor Colin Clive plays the mad scientist Dr. Henry Frankenstein whose experiments create artificial life by piecing together parts of the human body. The monster, played unforgettably by Boris Karloff, begins a reign of terror over the Bavarian countryside. In Shelly’s original novel, the monster’s savage behavior is the result of his mistreatment due to his inhuman appearance. In the film version, the monster’s actions are said to be a result of Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant Fritz (played creepily by Dwight Frye) providing a “criminal brain” to be used in its creation.

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Ray Harryhausen – Creator of Movie Magic

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

For movie fans and creators alike, the name Ray Harryhausen brings to mind a film industry genius. His imagination and creativity paved the way for pre-cgi special effects innovation. Without a doubt, Ray Harryhausen set the stage for strengthening the visual power of motion pictures.

Harryhausen’s Career Path Begins

In 1933, Harryhausen saw the film “King Kong” and the experience proved to be a critical point in his life. Entertained by the stunning special effects employed in the film, Harry dedicated his time to learning as much about these effects as possible. It wasn’t long before he contacted Willis H. O’Brien (the man behind King Kong) to learn more about stop-motion photography.

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H.G Wells: Reinventing the Literary Wheel

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Herbert George Wells was an English novelist and prolific writer. His many works included contemporary novels, writings on history, along with political and social commentary. He is, to most of us, most familiar for his science fiction novels. Wells, and author Jules Verne, are considered to be the foremost innovators of the science fiction genre and have been referred to as the “fathers of science fiction.” Some of Wells most famous science fiction writings that have been made into motion pictures include “The Island of Doctor Moreau,” “The Time Machine,” “The War of the Worlds,” and “The Invisible Man.”

From Reading to Writing

After suffering an accident during his youth, Wells became bed-ridden for a time and to help cope with the situation, he turned to reading books his father would bring him from the library. These books opened a new chapter in Wells’ life leading to his fascination for the fictional world. The desire to write followed and proved to be the perfect outlet for his fantasies and ideas. 

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