Thursday, October 24, 2013

Masters Of Horror! (Bela Lugosi)

If he had lived, he would have been 131 last Sunday, which I missed, but I said it all last year.
And, this very entry says it more in-depth anyway.

On to the movies!

Dracula (1931)

See here.

Lugosi's career actually got started in the 1910's, but this was his first horror.

Of course, he'd done the stage version in 1927.
But, film wise, here's where it starts.

Murders In The Rue Morgue (1932)

Yep, long before Corman, Hollywood was doing Poe.

Lugosi was supposed to play Dr. Frankenstein in Frankenstein, but got demoted to the monster, which he turned down (as famously depicted in "Ed Wood"), and Ed Florey got replaced by James Whale for unknown reasons, so this was part of a compensation deal for both of them.

A box-office disappointment in its day, now it's a cult classic.

White Zombie (1932)

See here.

Island of Lost Souls (1932)

An adaptation of "The Island of Doctor Moreau", which would be adapted again in 1977, and 1996, with Marlon Brando.

He was billed as "Bela 'Dracula', Lugosi", in the trailer.

Night of Terror (1933)

Ope, there's "Bela 'Dracula', Lugosi", right on the poster!

Top billing, but he plays a very minor role.

Hmm, kinda what would happen later in "Plan 9 From Outer Space".

The Black Cat (1934)

Resembles the Poe story only in name.

The first team-up of Lugosi and Boris Karloff, and it's a damned good 'un.

Has the infamous skinning alive scene.

And, heavy hints toward necrophilia.
Hey, what else is Karloff keeping those "sleeping", women around for?

For such an old movie, it's a mind-fuck.
Check it out.

Mark of the Vampire (1935)

Directed by Tod Browning (y'know, from 'Dracula').

MGM trimmed 14 minutes because of "incestuous overtones", between Count Mora (Lugosi) and his daughter, Luna.

Oh-ho, but the production code let "The Black Cat", go?

I'm betting the "incestuous overtones", scenes made the movie even cooler.
If a censor doesn't want you to see it, it means you totally should.

The Raven (1935)

Another Karloff teamup.

Yep, Karloff did "The Raven", before the Corman version.
Neither has anything to do with the other, or, the poem.
Well, except that it's recited in this one, and character names are used in the Corman.

This was indirectly responsible for an outright ban on horror movies in Britain that made horror economically nonviable for awhile.

Tch, friggin' Brits, and their stick up the butt with horror flicks, it goes all the way back.

The Invisible Ray (1936)

Notice how Karloff was getting billed above Lugosi?
Bet that was pissing him off.

A meteor turns Karloff into a glowing murderous radiation man.
Mayhem ensues.

Technically, sci-fi, because of that whole "The Raven", debacle.

The Phantom Creeps (1939)

The first serial to use the scrolling text used by future serials, and ultimately, Star Wars.

Also, doesn't that robot look familiar?
Yeah, he was in a Rob Zombie video.
I think it was"Dragula".

Son of Frankenstein (1939)

See here.

The Human Monster (1939)

A.K.A. "The Dark Eyes of London".

Received the H rating for "Horriffic", in Britain.
So, I guess they'd gotten over that whole banning thing, and invented ratings.

Yes, because that's proven to be such a workable solution that hasn't hurt anybody.
(Dripping with sarcasm)

Lugosi plays a dual role, and his lines were dubbed for the other role.

Black Friday (1940)

Another one with Karloff.

Lugosi has only a small role.

The Devil Bat (1940)

See here.

Invisible Ghost (1941)

Lugosi is forced to kill telepathically by his comatose wife hidden in the basement by his gardener.

No, just by that description, "Devil Bat", is probably far more entertaining.

The Black Cat (1941)

A comedy-horror starring Basil Rathbone, with a small role by Lugosi.

Has nothing whatever to do with the 1934 version.

Learn to keep your Black Cats straight.

The Wolf Man (1941)

See here.

Lugosi plays the werewolf that bites Lon Chaney Jr.

The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

See here.

The Corpse Vanishes (1942)

Lugosi keeps his aging wife young with fluids from virginal brides.

Became an MST3K episode.

Night Monster (1942)

Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwell get top billing to sell it, but the leads are actually Ralph Morgan, Irene Hervey, and Don Porter.

A quadruple amputee learns to astrally materialize limbs, which he uses to commit murders.

Talk about a fucking alibi!!

Bowery at midnight (1942)

Lugosi runs a soup kitchen that he uses to recruit gang members to kill people, to give the corpses to a junkie doctor friend, who turns them into zombies.

A poster for "The Corpse Vanishes", can be seen in one scene.

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)

See here, and here.

Lugosi is The Monster.

The Return of the Vampire (1944)

Sequel to Dracula in everything but name.
Of the film, and the character.

Go ahead, and call it "Dracula 2", and enjoy.

Voodoo Man (1944)

Lugosi is mystically transferring the life force of captured young maidens to resurrect the corpse of his wife.
The drained women become zombies.

The hero is a Hollywood screenwriter who turns his experience into a movie, and casts Bela Lugosi.

Hey, a meta-movie!
Long before "New Nightmare"!

The Body Snatcher (1945)

Karloff and Lugosi's last film together.
35 to 45, exactly a decade they associated.
Holy cow, look how much bigger Karloff's name was there.

Directed by Robert Wise, who'd go on to do "Star Trek: The Motion Picture".

Scared to Death (1947)

Filmed in Cinecolor, which sounds just dreadful.
*Watches clips*
It is!
See the colors on the poster??
Ironically, they wouldn't read on a Cinecolor camera.
"Full natural color", my rosey red and blue ass.

Anyway, um...the flick...Lugosi has a badass evil midget sidekick.
This would be emulated by many a video game boss.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

See here, here, here, here, and here.

It won't die!

Anyway, damn, it took 17 years for Universal to let Bela play the real Dracula again!

That's like if New Line hadn't made the 6 sequels between "A Nightmare On Elm Street", and "Freddy vs. Jason", but left the same time gap in between.
I think I woulda killed myself.

Glen or Glenda (1953)


Bride Of The Monster (1955)

I have no home. Hunted, despised, Living like an animal!
The jungle is my home.
But I will show the world that I can be its master!
I will perfect my own race of people.
A race of atomic supermen which will conquer the world!

The Black Sleep (1956)

Lugosi in his last true film role.

Starring Basil Rathbone, Lon Chaney, John Carradine, Akim Tamiroff (Boris of Boris and Natasha on "Rocky and Bullwinkle"), and Plan 9's Tor Johnson.

Kind of a forgotten monster mash.
Hmm, another one I'll have to check out.
Damned list keeps growing...

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)

See here.

Well, we all know this by now, Lugosi was only in snippets of second unit footage.

Ed Wood (1994)

See here, here, here, and here.

Well, it tells the legend.

And, that's the (horror) career of Bela Lugosi.

Tomorrow, Boris Karloff.


Diacanu said...

Forgot "Bride Of The Monster", and "Bowery at Midnight".

Fixed now.

Diacanu said...

Oops, also forgot to drop this in.

There we go.

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