Category Archives: Horror: Old Dark House

Horror flicks set in old dark houses, or, really any house far and away from the maddening crowd that has a killer dwelling within. My deformed evil twin likes being chained in the attic. Really.

The Ghoul

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1933
Stars:
Boris Karloff

Cedric Hardwicke

Emest Thesiger
Writers:
Rupert Downing

Ronald Pertwee

John Hastings Turner
Director:
T. Hayes Hunter
WRC Score:
2.5/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
November 12, 2011

Most won’t care, but here’s my mindset going into this one:

Five years and two review formats ago I had just completed a review on Octaman, and that flick hit me like a hammer. I didn’t want to review movies after that. I didn’t want to watch movies period. What I wanted to do I didn’t know, but not that.

Well there was a little problem. NaNoWriMo looms once again, and experience taught that little gets done in the way of extra writing during that. While this site had gone fallow in the past (and no doubt will again), at the time I wanted to keep a run going.  Thus I’d worked on a nice buffer of posts. Up to Octaman.

Which, if you notice the note, hit in the midst of November.

You know what the problem is with a buffer of posts? It decreases with each update.

Thus, to keep up the buffer, I needed a film. One that I could count on not to hurt me too bad.

Which was the reason behind picking this film. While not considered a true classic, The Ghoul has never had the stench of badness that some films possessed. Plus it had Boris Karloff in it. How bad could it be?

Don’t… don’t start, okay? Let’s turn the page and see what we shall see…

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The Ghoul

Date:
1933
Stars:
Boris Karloff

Cedric Hardwicke

Emest Thesiger
Writers:
Rupert Downing

Ronald Pertwee

John Hastings Turner
Director:
T. Hayes Hunter
WRC Score:
2.5/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
November 12, 2011

2016-link-box-002

In The Ghoul, the death of an Egyptologist starts a struggle by interested parties over a fabulous treasure.  Things become really interesting when the Egyptologist comes back to join in the fun.

Fun.  That’s the word for The Ghoul, up to a point.  An excellent example of Thirties Horror, it has good acting, spooky sets, a decent script, and Boris Karloff in what amounts to an extended cameo part. For this alone, one might consider it worth hunting down.

Where it drops the ball (and where I dare not reveal) is at the climax.  The end is, at best implausible.  At worst it’s maddening.  Thus, with great sorrow, I slip what could have been a good Horror flick into the mediocre files (1 point).

Such is life.

Still, I do like the movie (1.5 points).  Karloff is always watchable and, as I said, the cast is good.  You might wanna check it out; Cull Problems aren’t universal, after all.

Overall Score: 2.5 total point out of a possible 4

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The Black Cat (1934)

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1934
Stars:
Boris Karloff

Bela Lugosi

David Manners
Writer:
Edward G. Ulmer

Peter Ruric
Director:
Edward G. Ulmer
WRC Score:
4/4

(-_-)b
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on July 18, 2013

Our film today is The Black Cat, a 1934 Universal Horror classic. It is also an important historic film as well. For no matter what its merits on its own terms, this film is the first time Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi worked together.

Depending on who you ask, the two were either great rivals or amicable professionals. According to Wikipedia, Karloff once told interviewers that there was some initial friction between the two. Only after being satisfied that the other actor wouldn’t upstage him did Lugosi settle down to the business at hand. Which suggests the former.

Of course, the same article quotes the normally very nice Karloff as saying that Lugosi “never learned his trade.” So who knows?

Whatever the truth, this entry into the Horror Hall of Fame takes place during Karloff’s first big creative peak and Lugosi’s, well, only peak. While flaunting the name Edgar Allan Poe, its story has nothing to do with the great writer. However, as with Poe, it does deal with madness, revenge, and death.

I hope you’ll join me on the next page as I poke fun at actors with more talent in their little fingers than Paulie Shore did in his…

What? You were expecting me to compare them to me? I wouldn’t dare shame them so.

Take that as you will…

The Black Cat (1934)

Date:
1934
Stars:
Boris Karloff

Bela Lugosi

David Manners
Writer:
Edward G. Ulmer

Peter Ruric
Director:
Edward G. Ulmer
WRC Score:
4/4

(-_-)b
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on July 18, 2013

2016-link-box-002

The Black Cat cautions careful wedding planning, as a newlywed couple find their European honeymoon forced into a detour by an accident.  Their only source of aid places them as pawns in a battle of wills between a mad doctor and an even madder architect.

But who cares about the plot!  We have Karloff!  Lugosi!  Together for the first time and at the peak of their acting powers.

If that’s not enough to make you seek out this film, consider also that, despite a frayed plot, the film inspires far more dread chills than any dozen of Slasher films.  One of the best Horror movies out of the Thirties, if not the best. (2 points)

As a rule, I tend to find this period a little dry, but not this film.  One viewing and I fell in love with the thing, warts and all (2 points).  It’s an important historic artifact and a damn good film, making it one any real student of Horror should see at least once.  This comes RECOMMENDED.

Oh, and for the record?  Nothing to do with writer Edgar Allan Poe.  There is a cat and it’s black.  That’s as close as it gets to Poe.

Overall Score: 4 total point out of a possible 4 (-_-)b

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