Dracula released February 14, 1931

Dracula

Dracula is a 1931 United States horror film directed by Tod Browning and starring Béla Lugosi as the title character. The film was produced by Universal and is based on the stage play of the same name by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston, which in turn is based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Trivia:

• Universal Studios commissioned a new musical score from composer Philip Glass. It premiered at The Brooklyn Academy of Music on 26 October 1999.
• When Universal purchased the rights to the 1927 Broadway play, Lon Chaney was considered for the title role. However, Chaney died on August 26, 1930, and the role went to Bela Lugosi.
• A Spanish-language version, Drácula (1931), was filmed at night on the same set at the same time, with Spanish-speaking actors.
• Cinematographer Karl Freund achieved the effect of Dracula’s hypnotic stare by aiming two pencil-spot-lights into actor Bela Lugosi’s eyes.
• The Royal Albert Hall sequence of the movie was filmed on the same stage where The Phantom of the Opera (1925) starring Lon Chaney had been filmed.
• The large, expansive sets built for the Transylvania castle and Carfax Abbey sequences remained standing after filming was completed, and were used by Universal Pictures for many other movies for over a decade.
• Among the other actors mentioned as possible candidates for the role of Count Dracula were John Wray, Paul Muni, Conrad Veidt, Chester Morris, and William Courtenay.
• Bela Lugosi was so desperate to repeat his stage success and play the Count Dracula role for the film version, that he agreed to a contract paying him $500 per week for a seven week shooting schedule, an insultingly small amount even during the days of the Depression.
• The spider webs in Dracula’s castle were created by shooting rubber cement from a rotary gun.
• Bela Lugosi played the role of Dracula on Broadway in 1927 before touring the country with the show. The American performance of the British stage actor Hamilton Deane’s adaptation of the book was a smashing success. Soon after the play began touring Universal started to express interest in the script.
• Due to studio demands to cut costs, the film was shot in sequence.
• Similar to the prologue in Frankenstein (1931), the original release featured an epilogue with Edward Van Sloan talking to the audience about what they have just seen. This was removed for the 1936 re-release and is now assumed to be lost.
• After the death of Lon Chaney, one of the first actors considered for the title role was Ian Keith.
• While it is rumored that Bela Lugosi, could not speak English very well, and had to learn his lines phonetically, this is not true. Lugosi was speaking English as well as he ever would by the time this was filmed.
• There was no real musical soundtrack in the film because it was believed that, with sound being such a recent innovation in films, the audience would not accept hearing music in a scene if there was no explanation for it being there (e.g., the orchestra playing off camera when Dracula meets Mina at the theatre).
• Several famous elements often associated with Dracula are not visible in this film. At no point does Dracula display fangs. Also, the famous vampire bite mark on the neck is never shown either (though it is visible in the Spanish version).
• Although it was his most famous role, Bela Lugosi played Dracula only once more on screen, in the comedy Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). However, he played Dracula-like characters in movies such as The Return of the Vampire (1944) and Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959).
• This Universal production became the most famous and successful film to pair David Manners with Helen Chandler. The pair had made two films at Warner Brothers/First National and one at Fox.
• The peasants inside the inn are praying The Lord’s Prayer in Hungarian.
• Bette Davis (who had a contract at Universal at the time) was considered to play the part of Mina Harker. However, Universal head Carl Laemmle Jr. didn’t think too highly of her sex appeal.
• The opening music to this film is from Act 2 of Swan Lake.
• In the scene where Dracula and Renfield are traveling to London by boat, the footage shown is borrowed from a Universal silent film called The Storm Breaker (1925). Silent films were projected at a different frames-per-second speed from that later adopted for sound films, accounting for the jerky movements and quicker-than-normal action of these shots.
• In the first scene, the young woman reading from the tourist book was played by Carla Laemmle, niece of Carl Laemmle, founder and head of Universal Pictures.
• When Carl Laemmle moved Universal to California in 1914, a version of “Dracula” was one of the first projects being considered. It was over fifteen years before this version was produced.
• The movie’s line “Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.” was voted as the #83 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
• When Bela Lugosi died in 1956, he was buried wearing the black silk cape he wore for this film.
• Universal’s original plan was to make a big-budget adaptation of “Dracula” that would strictly adhere to the Bram Stoker novel. However, after the stock market crash of 1929 and the beginning of the Great Depression, Universal chose not to risk an investment on such a sprawling film. Instead, it adapted the much less expensive Hamilton Deane stage play.
• Universal acquired the film rights to “Dracula” from Bram Stoker’s widow and the play’s writer Hamilton Deane for $40,000.
• Before he was cast as Count Dracula, Bela Lugosi acted as an unpaid intermediary for Universal Pictures in negotiating with the widow of author Bram Stoker in an attempt to persuade her to lower her asking price for the filming rights to the Dracula property. After two months of negotiations, Mrs. Stoker reportedly lowered her price from $200,000 to $60,000. This, however, further demonstrated to Universal how desperate Lugosi was to repeat his stage success as Count Dracula and secure the film role for himself.
• Apparently morose over the loss of friend and collaborator Lon Chaney and in the midst of severe alcoholism, the normally meticulous Tod Browning was said to have been sullen and unprofessional during the shoot. Among his actions were to leave set, leaving cinematographer Karl Freund to direct scenes. He would also recklessly tear pages out of the script if he felt them to be redundant.
• The original Broadway production of “Dracula” starring Bela Lugosi opened at the Fulton Theater on October 5, 1927 and ran for 261 performances. Also in the original cast was Edward Van Sloan as Van Helsing. These were the only two actors from the original 1927 Broadway production to repeat their roles in the film.
• Although he lived for 67 years after the film was released, David Manners (John Harker) claimed he never watched it.
• Edward Van Sloan and Dwight Frye also appeared in the horror classic Frankenstein (1931). They are the only 2 actors to have appeared in both films.
• Bela Lugosi never blinks even once throughout the film.

The Beast Within released February 12, 1982

The Beast Within


The Beast Within is a 1982 horror film directed by Philippe Mora. Screenplay by Tom Holland, based on the novel by Edward Levy. Starring Ronny Cox, Bibi Besch, Paul Clemens, L. Q. Jones, Don Gordon, R. G. Armstrong, Katherine Moffat, Meschach Taylor.

Its release came the year after the horror-comedy An American Werewolf in London, but before Teen Wolf, both of which have similar plots. It is rated R in the United States.

The film is a very loose adaptation of Edward Levy’s 1981 novel. The screenplay was written by Tom Holland, his first feature film script. It was dismissed by critics upon release as being cheap and exploitative. In more recent years it has gained a cult following.

Trivia:

  • The names “Curwin” and “Dexter Ward” are characters from the horror novel “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” by Howard Phillips Lovecraft.
  • The translation into English of the German title is “The Angel Face: Three Nights of Horror.”
  • Actor Ronny Cox, who plays Eli MacCleary, also wrote and performed the country music featured in the film.
  • One shoot, at an abandoned hospital, fell on Friday the 13th. The crew became convinced the location was haunted as throughout the evening the lights and the elevator turned on and off by themselves.
  • Along with Joe Dante’s The Howling (1981) this film pioneered the trend of air-bladder special effects makeup. For Michael’s transformation scene small plastic sacks (often condoms or balloons) would be embedded into the layers of makeup and face castings. Later while filming these sacks would be inflated through tubes and it would help to give the appearance of the skins distortion. The same technique became popular in the genre throughout the 80′s being used in such horror films as Dèmoni (1985), Fright Night (1985), and Evil Dead II (1987).
  • This was the final feature-length score for composer Les Baxter, who considered it to be one of his finest.
  • Star Paul Clemens was very enthusiastic about having the role of Michael MacCleary because he was an avid fan of the horror genre. Clemens would even enjoy the extensive makeup work that would take hours to apply to him.
  • This film became a staple on Joe Bob Briggs’ Monstervision series, though the network would heavily edit the film.
  • This was the feature film debut for horror genre regular Tom Holland – who wrote the script.
  • The films French title is Les Entrailles de l’enfer, which translates to “The Entrails of Hell” in English.
  • Director Philippe Mora once referred to this film as an “encyclopedia” of horror movies.

deadlier than the male

Deadlier Than the Male is a 1966 British action film featuring the character of Bulldog Drummond. It is one of the many take-offs of James Bond produced during the 1960s but based on an established detective fiction hero. Richard Johnson (Terence Young’s original preference to play James Bond) stars as Hugh ‘Bulldog’ Drummond, updated to a suave Korean War veteran now an insurance investigator trailing a pair of sexy assassins (Elke Sommer and Sylva Koscina) who kill for sport and profit. Drummond’s American nephew, Robert Drummond (Steve Carlson then a Universal Pictures contract star), becomes involved in the intrigue when he comes to visit.

The title is a reference to the 1911 Rudyard Kipling poem “The Female of the Species,” which includes the line: “The female of the species must be deadlier than the male”, and also refers to Sapper’s earlier Drummond book “The Female of the Species”.

The movie poster is slightly misleading: Only two female assassins are prominently displayed in the movie. Although three other female assassins are featured briefly in the finale, the brunette, Kitty Swan has a less prominent role in the film but is as prominent as the two leads on the movie poster. Publicity announced the film in December 1964 but it wasn’t filmed until 1966.

The film was followed by a sequel Some Girls Do in 1969.

Trivia:

  • Sylva Koscina, playing Penelope, was dubbed by Nikki Van der Zyl
  • Virginia North would turn up in the sequel Some Girls Do (1969/I) in a different role.

Lobster man from mars poster

Lobster Man From Mars is a 1989 comedy film directed by Stanley Sheff and starring Tony Curtis. The film is a spoof of B-movies of the 1950s. It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 1989.

Trivia:

  • Orson Welles came up with the title for this movie. He had originally agreed to play the part of the producer, but died before production began.
  • On the last day of shooting, director Stanley Sheff and producer Steven S. Greene bought the entire cast and crew an expensive lobster dinner.
  • In his autobiography, Tony Curtis says that he worked on the movie because they paid him $100,000, and he needed to make child support payments. He also mentions that during the production, he never saw the scenes of the movie that his character was reacting to.
  • Although shot using 35mm film, this was the first feature length movie to have its picture and sound post production completed entirely by means of video technology. No traditional film post production methods were used. Only the final release print used 35mm film.

Inferno released February 7, 1980 (Italy)

Inferno 1980


Inferno is a 1980 Italian supernatural horror film written and directed by Dario Argento. The film stars Irene Miracle, Leigh McCloskey, Eleonora Giorgi, Daria Nicolodi, and Alida Valli. The cinematography was by Romano Albani, and Keith Emerson composed the film’s thunderous musical score. The story concerns a young man’s investigation into the disappearance of his sister, who had been living in a New York City apartment building that also served as a home for a powerful, centuries-old witch.

A thematic sequel to Suspiria (1977), the film is the second part of Argento’s “The Three Mothers Trilogy”. The long-delayed concluding entry, The Mother of Tears, was released in 2007. All three films are partially derived from the concept of “Our Ladies of Sorrow” (Mater Lachrymarum, Mater Suspiriorum, and Mater Tenebrarum) originally devised by Thomas de Quincey in his book Suspiria de Profundis (1845).

Unlike Suspiria, Inferno received a very limited theatrical release and the film was unable to match the box-office success of its predecessor. While the initial critical response to the film was mostly negative, its reputation has improved considerably over the years. Kim Newman has called it “…perhaps the most underrated horror movie of the 1980’s.”[2] In 2005, the magazine Total Film named Inferno one of the 50 greatest horror films of all time.

Trivia:

  • The second part (with Suspiria (1977) and La terza madre (2007)) of the “Three Mothers” trilogy.
  • James Woods was the original choice for the lead role but he was already committed to Videodrome (1983).
  • All of the murderer’s hands in the movie were Dario Argento’s.
  • Legendary Italian horror director Mario Bava assisted with the making of the special effects on this film. Bava passed away shortly before its release.
  • For some of the exterior location shoots in Italy footage of New York City skyscrapers were superimposed in the background to make it appear like the films NYC setting.
  • In an interview with assistant director Lamberto Bava, he said that he handled and wrangled so many cats during the shooting of this film that afterward he could no longer stand to be in the same room as a cat. He’s avoided them since then.
  • Argento said that the gentleman who provided the live ants used in the film collected them by walking around in the park with a vacuum and literally sucking them up from the ground. He would later retrieve them from the vacuum bag once on set.
  • Part of the reason Argento cast Irene Miracle as Rose Elliot was she had synchronize swimming skills, which came in quite handy for the shooting of the underwater ballroom scene.
  • The film was shot in three months.
  • According to co-writer and star Daria Nicolodi she didn’t fight for writing credits on this film as she had an ordeal just getting writing credit on Argento’s previous film Suspiria (1977). According to Nicolodi the basic plot of ‘Inferno’ was her creation.
  • When star ‘Leigh McCloskey”s stunt double broke his leg, McCloskey himself had to perform the stunt work for the films explosive finale. In interviews McCloskey said it was an intense experience as the rest of the crew and equipment were protected by multiple layers of Plexiglas while he had to run without protection through sets rigged to explode and burn. McCloskey said ‘when you feel glass flying by you like a Harrier jet, you never forget it!’
  • According to ‘Leigh McCloskey’, Dario Argento’s brother Claudio Argento spoke better English than Dario so often he would have to translate Dario’s direction to the cast.
  • Reportedly Dario Argento was ill with a serve case of hepatitis through out the production. At one point he had to be bed-ridden for a few days leaving the production to work on only second unit. Argento has since called ‘Inferno’ perhaps his most challenging film for this reason alone.
  • In 2005 Total Film magazine named ‘Inferno’ one of the 50 greatest horror films ever made.
  • English film critic Kim Newman once called ‘Inferno’ the most underrated horror film of the 1980′s.
  • Twentieth Century Fox co-financed the film because it’s predecessor Suspiria (1977) had been quite a successful film for their company.
  • For the scene where Kazanian carries the bag of ‘cats’ into Central Park a mechanical device was placed inside the bag to make it move, giving the impression that there were actually live animals inside.
  • Mario Bava is credited with creating the design of Rose Elliot’s unique apartment building. Bava also built the small-scale model that was burned in the films fiery climax.

night of the bloody apes 1968


Night of the Bloody Apes is the title of the English language version of the 1968 Mexican horror film La Horripilante bestia humana (“The Horrible Man-Beast”), also known as Horror y sexo (“Horror and Sex”) and as Gomar — The Human Gorilla. The film was directed by René Cardona and is a remake of his 1962 film Las Luchadoras contra el medico asesino (“The Wrestling Women vs. the Murderous Doctor”; U.S. title Doctor of Doom), the first in a series of films blending elements of the lucha libre and horror genres.

The plot concerns a mad scientist who transplants a gorilla’s heart into his dying son, saving his life but transforming him into a monstrous, ape-like creature who embarks on a rape and murder spree before being brought to justice by a luchadora (female wrestler). The plot of Night of the Bloody Apes does not concern the luchadora bringing the ape-man to justice–rather, she has a much less pronounced role in the plot.

The English language dubbed version of the film includes additional scenes directed by Jerald Intrator for the version of the film released as Horror y sexo; the new scenes add more explicit gore effects, including footage of open-heart surgery. The dubbed version was banned in the United Kingdom as a “video nasty,” and is noted among bad movie aficionados for its awkwardly-phrased dialogue, a result of translating from Spanish word-for-word, without adjusting the phrasing and syntax to English norms: “I’ll say that’s absurd, the proofs are circumstantial, it’s more probable that of late more and more you’ve been watching on your television many of those pictures of terror,” for example. The film has been released on DVD by Something Weird Video as part of a double feature with its fellow Mexican horror movie Feast of Flesh (a.k.a. Placer sangriento ["Bloody Pleasure"], 1967).

Trivia:

  • Features footage of an actual human heart transplant operation in two separate scenes.
  • Was added to the video nasty list and remained there throughout the panic. The banned video gained attention due to its pre-cert video cover featuring bloody surgeon’s hands holding a scalpel, with the caption “Warning: this film contains scenes of extreme and explicit violence.”
  • Monster in the Closet released January 30, 1987

    Monster In The Closet


    Monster in the Closet is a 1986 horror/comedy with a veteran cast, including Howard Duff and John Carradine, as well as the Black Eyed Peas’ Stacy Ferguson and Paul Walker in early roles. The film was distributed by Troma Entertainment. In the GotchaMovies article “Final Destinations and Killer Condoms,” Monster in the Closet was selected as the 8th greatest moment in teen slasher history.

    Trivia:

    Shot in 1983, not released until 1987.

    Silent Scream released January 30, 1980

    silent scream 1980


    Silent Scream is a 1980 horror film written by Jim and Ken Wheat, and Wallace E. Bennett, produced by Jim and Ken Wheat, directed by Denny Harris and starring Rebecca Balding, Cameron Mitchell, Barbara Steele and Yvonne De Carlo. The film’s tagline is “Terror so sudden there is no time to scream”. Released by American Cinema, the film runs for 87 minutes and grossed $15,800,000 in the US. It marks scream queen Barbara Steele’s only 1980s film appearance, and was among the early cycle of slasher films to appear after the genre was popularised by Halloween and Friday the 13th. Some exteriors of the film were shot at the Smith Estate in Highland Park, Los Angeles, CA.

    Trivia:

    Cameron Mitchell and Avery Schreiber only worked for two days.

    Elijah Wood Birthday January 28

    elijah wood

    Elijah Wood

    Elijah Jordan Wood (born January 28, 1981) is an American actor. Making his film debut with a minor part in the Back to the Future Part II (1989), he landed a succession of subsequent larger roles and became a critically acclaimed child actor by age 13.

    After his high-profile role as the Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, he has resisted typecasting by choosing varied roles in critically-acclaimed films such as Bobby, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Sin City, Green Street and Everything Is Illuminated. Most recently he starred in the film Day Zero (2007) and provided the voice of the main character, Mumble, in the award-winning animated film Happy Feet. He also played an American tourist turned vampire in Paris, je t’aime. In 2005, he started his own record label, Simian Records. His next project is the upcoming Iggy Pop biopic The Passenger.

    In 2006, he became a well-known voice actor in video gaming and would soon become the voice of the video game icon, Spyro the Dragon.

    In 2008, he set a new world record when he became the first person ever to cross the Victoria Falls on ropes during an appearance on Jack Osbourne’s show Adrenaline Junkie.

    Trivia:

    Melissa Joan Hart wanted him to play the male lead in Drive Me Crazy (1999) because she thought it would take some of the pressure off her in her first leading role. However, she was told that he looked too young next to her, and the role went to Adrian Grenier.

    Parents’ names are Warren and Debbie Wood.

    Elijah has an older brother Zachariah (b. 1974) who works in video games and a younger sister Hannah Wood (born 7th October 1983).

    Presented at Academy Awards in place of Macaulay Culkin.

    He was the first recipient of the NATO/ShoWest Young Star of the Year Award.

    He heard about the Lord of the Rings trilogy while filming The Faculty (1998). Immediately, he sensed that this was the chance of a lifetime. Director George Huang, a personal friend of Wood’s, filmed his audition tape for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. He shot the scene from different angles which were cut together for the video. They sent the video off to New Zealand for director Peter Jackson and a few months later, he got the part.

    Smashing Pumpkins is his favorite band.

    Owns one of two prop rings used in “Lord of the Rings.” The other went to Andy Serkis, who played Gollum.

    Plays piano.

    As of December 2003, Elijah lived in a New York apartment with his sister Hannah Wood. However, within a few months he moved back into his mother’s guest house in Santa Monica, California, where he lived previously, stating he couldn’t justify the rent on the apartment since he spent so little time there.

    He became a child model when his mother wanted him to burn off excessive energy.

    Admits to owning thousands of CDs in many musical genres, because he loves music so much.

    Two of his favorite books are “The Hobbit” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

    Is a fan of ex-Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan’s new band, ‘Zwan’.

    Considers Frodo Baggins to be his best role.

    Is the first member of the official “Lord of the Rings” fanclub.

    Studies singing professionally.

    Suffered acute appendicitis and was briefly hospitalized [August 2003]

    Wears clear contact lenses.

    [hearing that Sean Astin wanted to correct rumors that his character Sam Gamgee had a homosexual love for Frodo:] “Yeah, we’ve never had that perspective on the relationship, but there is a real bond and a real closeness. Which was easy for Sean and I because we became so close making the film. So it’s a natural thing to display and to show and I think it comes across without any real effort … Frodo really starts to fail physically and emotionally and mentally, so Sam is there to kind of pick up the pieces and show his affection for Frodo and really almost carry him to the end. So that relationship is really important in this film, particularly. … I think it’s really refreshing and nice. I’m really close with my friends and affectionate, and I don’t think that there is anything suspicious about that, necessarily. So it’s good to show it and have it be an unisexual thing, definitely.” [The Toronto Star, December 12, 2003]

    Dressed up and rode on a float as the god of wine and mirth to head the Bacchus 2004 parade in New Orleans, Louisiana, for Mardi Gras in February, 2004.

    In the original book “The Lord of the Rings,” Frodo is 50 years old when he leaves Bag End, which makes him the oldest of the four lead hobbits. Wood is actually the youngest of the four actors.

    Loves The Hives.

    His favorite movie is Harvey (1950).

    His uncle is Turk E. Krause from the band Molly Nova and the Hawk.

    Each of the nine Fellowship members got the same tattoo: the number nine written in Elvish. Elijah’s is on his pelvic bone on the right side.

    Served as the Bacchus of the 2004 Mardi Gras Parade, and returned the next year.

    Received an injury under his eyebrow during the filming of Hooligans (2005) (aka “The Yank), leaving a visible scar.

    Favorite food is fried artichoke hearts dipped in ranch dressing. During the filming of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), he found a small restaurant that served him artichokes at least three times a week.

    Frequently attends the popular annual gaming convention known as E3 (Electronic Entertainment Exposition) which takes places in Los Angeles at the convention center. The week long event features all of the soon-to-be-released games and gaming systems and is open to those working in the gaming industry.

    In 2005, he started his own record label.

    His favorite music groups include Smashing Pumpkins, The Stone Roses, The Beatles, The Sundays, Black Sabbath, Verbena and The Beach Boys.

    Among his favorite actresses are Liza Minnelli and Vanessa Redgrave.

    Was number 75 on vh1′s “100 Greatest Kid Stars.”

    Roger Ebert called him “The most talented actor in his age group in Hollywood history.”.

    Was ranked #16 in E’s 50 cutest child stars all grown up (2005).

    Godzilla (1998) is his least favorite movie.

    His family owned a deli which they sold so they could move to California.

    Was ranked #2 on Entertainment Weekly’s ’30 Under 30′ the actors list. (2008).

    Real life fan of West Ham United, the team he played a fan of in Green Street. Other fans include Danny Dyer, Ray Winstone and Matt Damon.

    Hot Rods to Hell released January 27, 1967

    hot rods to hell 1967

    Hot Rods to Hell is a 1967 suspense film, originally intended for television but released in theaters instead after its producers considered it too intense for TV viewers. It is one of many exploitation-type films from noted producer Sam Katzman, whose work is generally regarded as of higher quality than are most such films. Film buffs of today, some of whom have described the film for the Internet Movie Database, are sharply divided in their opinions of this film.

    Trivia:

    Veteran director John Brahm’s final film.

    This film was originally intended for television release, and was in fact shot in the 4:3 “full-screen” aspect ratio that persisted on television for decades even after film had long since gone to wide-screen aspect ratios of 1.65:1, 2:1, or even 2.25:1. When the project was finished, however, the producers deemed it too intense for television and released it to theaters (including drive-in theaters) instead, with a runtime of 92 minutes.

    Eventually, ABC-TV bought the broadcast rights and exhibited the film on their ABC Sunday Night Movie series in 1968. Unaccountably, they used a print having a runtime of 100 minutes. When Turner Classic Movies bought the rights to MGM’s extensive film library, they acquired this 100-minute print. This is the print shown on the infrequent occasions when they exhibit this film to their viewers.

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