RAM Releasing, the genre shingle of Film Movement, is releasing Korean director Kim Ki-Duk's Moebius in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago throughout August with a nationwide cable and digital VOD rollout on August 29th. Right now we have a NSFW clip and a contest for you.
To score yourself the one-sheet you see below, autographed by its centerpiece Lee Eun-woo, just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org including your FULL NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS. We’ll take care of the rest.
This contest will end on at 12:01 AM PT on August 28th.
Moebius (review) stars Lee Eun-woo, Cho Jae-hyun, and Seo Young-ju.
On August 29th the film becomes available on cable VOD via all major providers (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Verizon, et al) and digital VOD at iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Vudu, Xbox, Playstation, Rovi, and Samsung Hub.
When she catches her husband having an affair, a woman attempts to castrate the cheater for his wrongdoing. Unsuccessful, she instead inflicts the unspeakable act on her own son, setting off a series of grotesque yet provocative events ranging from a hurried genital transplant to pain-inflicted orgasms that all merge in a continuous thread of delirious storytelling. With both husband and son damaged and living in grief, the wife returns as the family heads towards destruction even more horrific than before.
Kim Ki-Duk, whose signature style pushes the limits of challenging filmmaking and often blows right through them, won the Golden Lion with Pieta at the Venice Film Festival last year. The prolific director is set to shock audiences again with Moebius, his latest perverse statement on family tensions, sexual boundaries, and society’s issues with each.
We’re fans of posting terrifying, horrific art around here but we have to admit that most of that comes in the form of paintings, digital artwork, unique poster designs, and the such. It’s rare that we dive into the world of sculptures, statues, or the like. But today that’s going to change, starting with Cameron Stalheim.
Steinheim’s work has a tortured air about it, reminding me of the work of Clive Barker. From “Carnage”, a work that changes based upon which side you look at it to the terrifying “Caged” because, well… f*ck spiders, Stalheim evokes fear and pain.
Check out a gallery of his work below.
UPDATE: The band has confirmed all of the information. We have updated the information to show the correct release date. The album can also be pre-ordered here. Also added are tour dates for the band’s fall tour with Korn and King 810.
While an official press release hasn’t yet been released, it appears that iTunes has unveiled the album artwork, track list, and release date for Slipknot‘s upcoming studio album.
Featuring 14 tracks, plus two bonus tracks for a deluxe edition, the new album is supposedly entitled .5: The Gray Chapter and will be released October 21st via Roadrunner Records. The album artwork can be seen below.
The band released a new track yesterday called “The Devil In I”, which you can stream below.
4. The Devil In I
10. The One That Kills the Least
12. Be Prepared For Hell
13. The Negative One
14. If Rain Is What You Want
15. Override (Bonus Track)
16. The Burden (Bonus Track)
10/25 San Bernardino, CA – Knotfest
10/26 San Bernardino, CA – Knotfest
“Prepare For Hell” tour dates with Korn and King 810:
10/29 El Paso, TX – Paso County Coliseum
10/31 Dallas, TX – Gexa Energy Pavilion
11/01 Corpus Christi, TX – American Bank Center
11/02 San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center
11/04 Little Rock, AR – Verizon Arena
11/05 Oklahoma City, OK – Chesapeake Energy Arena
11/06 Omaha, NE – CenturyLink Center
11/08 Madison, WI – Alliant Energy Center
11/09 Sioux Falls, SD – Denny Sanford Premiere Center
11/11 Denver, CO – Denver Coliseum
11/19 Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Arena
11/21 Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
11/22 Lexington, KY – Rupp Arena
11/23 Ft. Wayne, IN – Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
11/25 Moline, IL – iWireless Center
11/26 Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center
11/28 Rosemont, IL – Allstate Arena
11/29 Detroit, MI – Palace of Auburn Hills
11/30 Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
12/02 Reading, PA – Santander Arena
12/03 Camden, NJ – Susquehanna Bank Center
12/05 Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun
12/06 East Rutherford, NJ – Izod Center
12/07 Boston, MA – Paul E. Tsongas Arena
It is my belief that there are some things that we should never be brought to reality. If I had to make a list, that weird living aborted baby creature from the Silent Hills demo would be somewhere near the top. I don’t even know how one would go about recreating it, but someone has, and the future of humanity rests precariously in that thing’s fleshy, underdeveloped hands.
This is where you take your loved ones somewhere safe, because I have a feeling this thing will eventually destroy us all.
It is with sadness that we write of the passing of Lord Richard Attenborough, who died just days before his 91st birthday. Attenborough suffered a stroke five years ago that left him in a coma for several days and confined him to a wheelchair since.
Attenborough portrayed the role of John Hammond in the first two Jurassic Park films as well as Judge Arthur Conan in 10 Little Indians, and also directed the 1978 horror/thriller Magic, which starred Anthony Hopkins and Burgess Meredith. He also won two Academy Awards for 1982′s Gandhi.
Our deepest condolences go out to his friends and family. He will be sorely missed.
In a sea of unnecessary sequels, remakes, and unoriginal story lines, there are still gems in horror that spark the imagination and worm their way under the skin. It’s movies that make us scared to go into a dark room, to walk down a hallway full of wide open doors, to come up from the basement without running up the stairs, that bring us joy and wonder.
Several times there are movies that are promised that fill our hearts and minds with wonder that such a thought might even be considered. But those promises go unfulfilled and we’re left with a yearning that can never be satisfied.
With that in mind, I want to bring four movies that I’m still wishing would happen. Check out my list and then let me know what movies you wish would come to fruition!
Report by Kris Manfredini:
Comic Con has taken over this weekend! Driving down River Road you’ll feel the traffic but you’ll also see lots and lots of people dressed up! You’ll see Batman and Superman walking down the streets together. Tons of Dr. Whos and many, many others! But Freddy Kruger, Sam, and Michael Myers even wanted to join in on the fun! Jason was also there.
So this weekend, just like every other weekend, comics and horror comes together. “Incredible Hulk’s” Lou Ferringo was there as was “The Walking Dead’s” Norman Reedus. Up and coming (and beautiful) star Sara Underwood was there and was right next to the Queen of Halloween, Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson. I got the honor of talking with Elvira and she wanted me to let you all know that to help with your preparations for Halloween, she has a vinyl coming out on Oct. 7th. Released on Third Man Records on a 7 inch Purple Vinyl record, Elvira will be singing two songs written by Fred Schneider of B-52’s fame, on the A-side titled, (appropriately?) “My Two Big Pumpkins” and on the B Side, “13 Nights of Halloween.” I’ll be looking forward to hearing those this Halloween.
The vendors were top notch as well. From comic books, to rare collectibles to lots and lots of art work.
But the highlight for me, as with all shows like this, are the ones dressed up! They add to atmosphere, add even more excitement and buzz to the already crazed frenzy, and gives plenty of fans a great photos and memories.
I even met a couple with their 3 kids, one being a little baby. When asked how old, they answered 2 weeks old and felt the need to explain that they wanted to come but could not find a sitter. Just think how jealous that baby is going to be when he finds out he was at Wizard World Comic Con 2014 but doesn’t remember it! If you are looking for something to do the rest of Sunday, August 24th in Chicago, check out Comic Con at the Donald E. Stephan’s Convention Center. Guaranteed a great time and will have something for everyone.
And I FOUND HIM…
Darren Lynn Bousman The Devil’s Carnival: Alleluia is adding a hell of a cast that will have fans in musical horror heaven.
Bloody Disgusting received exclusive word that Alleluia has added Halloween and “Heroes” fav Brea Grant, pictured above, Insidious ghost J. LaRose, the metal band Butcher Babies and Danny Worsnop of the band Asking Alexandria to its growing cast!
As previously announced by Deadline, the sequel boasts an impressive line-up that includes surprises such as Rocky Horror Picture Show‘s Barry Bostwick, Jesus Christ Superstar himself Ted Neeley, Rent‘s Adam Pascal, and “Baywatch‘s” David Hasselhoff.
Returning officially are Paul Sorvino, Terrance Zdunich, rapper Tech N9ne, Emilie Autumn, Briana Evigan (Burning Bright, Sorority Row, Step Up All In), Marc Senter (The Lost), and Dayton Callie (“Sons of Anarchy”).
Musicians Chantal Claret, Jimmy Urine of Mindless Self Indulgence, Shawn “Clown” Crahan of Slipknot, and Kevin “Ogre” Ogilvie from Skinny Puppy round out the ensemble of carnies and lost souls whose paths cross at a theme park.
Alleluia continues the saga and sees the forces of Heaven and Hell face off in a showdown.
Zdunich wrote the script and co-wrote the musical numbers with Saar Hendelman.
Iowa metal band Slipknot have released a stream of “The Devil In I”, which comes from their upcoming as-yet-untitled fifth studio album.
The track has a very different sound from previous Slipknot songs that I’ve heard, carrying an almost gothic, Swedish melodic metal feel to it.
No release date has been set for the new album, which will come out via Roadrunner Records. It will be the first album since 2008′s All Hope Is Gone.
There was something about buying a VHS that didn’t translate into DVD that I can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it was the difference between a big chunk of film that was hugged tightly by a jacket instead of a slim disc with a ton of empty space around it. I don’t know…
But what I do know is that VHS cover art was, quite often, absolutely incredible! And artist Chris MacGibbon has taken multiple modern horror movies and given them that same treatment in an Imgur gallery that you can see below. There are covers for films like The Collector, Trick R Treat, The Strangers, and more!
With the home video releases slated for September 16, one imgur user got his hands on an advance copy and shared all of the redacted opening credit footage. What was hiding under all of the black? Read on to see it all!
Extra features include:
MONARCH: Declassified – Discover explosive new evidence not contained in the film that unravels the massive cover-up to keep Godzilla’s existence a secret.
Operation: Lucky Dragon
MONARCH: The M.U.T.O. File
The Godzilla Revelation
The Legendary Godzilla – Go behind the scenes with filmmakers and cast for an even deeper look at the larger than life monsters in the film.
Godzilla: Force of Nature
A Whole New Level Of Destruction
Into The Void: The H.A.L.O. Jump
Ancient Enemy: The M.U.T.O.s
I admit it, I watched the hell out of Jersey Shore. Every rotten season of it. When Snooki first walked into the beach house dragging trash bags as luggage, I was there. When Ronnie knocked that kid out with one punch, I loved it. And when the Situation drove his own head into a wall to get out of fighting Ronnie, I laughed my ass off. My viewing had nothing to do with being from Jersey, I’m simply a glutton for schadenfreude and the anthropological study of assholes.
It’s been two years now since Jersey Shore left the air and there’s been a gaping hole in my heart ever since (not really though). That’s why the announcement of Paul Tornopol’s slasher-comedy Jersey Shore Massacre got me all excited. How hard can it be to successfully parody the bronzed bennies and poofy-haired boneheads of my beloved reality show and throw in some fun kills?
Apparently more difficult than it seems.
Jersey Shore Massacre starts with a group of hair stylists “goin’ down the shore.” When they arrive, they find that their stoner landlord (Ron Jeremy, duh) has mistakenly rented out their timeshare to another group of equally obnoxious girls. Teresa (Danielle Dallacco) offers up her gangster uncle’s woodland estate in the Pine Barrens as an alternative. Begrudgingly, the girls head into the woods for an alternative weekend getaway.
From there, Jersey Shore Massacre goes through the slasher beats, with a neighboring cannibal as the prime suspect. Mixed in with the slasher elements is the sexual aggressiveness and misogyny Jersey Shore was known for. Then again, slashers are known for that as well, so it’s all business as usual in those departments.
The cast is made up of a bunch of believably trashy chest-beaters and guidettes, though none of them are particularly adept in the acting department. it’s never a good sign when Ron Jeremy is the only recognizable name in a film (outside of a porno, if you’re into watching a troll doll meshed with a mangy Mario ravage women).
My biggest problem with the film is that it doesn’t embellish the madness of its source material. It’s not a clever parody at all. It plays out like a typical slasher, but the victims happen to say “youse guys” instead of “you guys” and they go tanning. The cast is just doing bad impressions of the Jersey Shore cast without any effort. Aside from JWoww listed as an executive producer, Jersey Shore Massacre has nothing to do or in common with the show. That’s what I was looking forward to! I watch enough lousy DTV slashers already!
Jersey Shore Massacre is now in limited theaters and hits DVD and Blu-ray on August 26.
Could one of the new great actors of our time be joining Stephen King’s epic battle of good vs. evil?
According to Deadline, Matthew McConaughey, who heads into the weekend as a favorite to win an Emmy for HBO’s “True Detective”, is coveted by Warner Bros. to play the role of Randall Flagg in The Stand, the adaptation of Stephen King’s apocalyptic masterpiece novel that Josh Boone will direct!
Flagg is the personification of evil, a demonic figure who wreaks havoc after a plague kills most of the population. He was played in haunting fashion by Jamie Sheridan in the miniseries adaptation. Flagg was such a force of evil that King used him in several of his works including “The Stand.”
The site clarifies this is not even close to a done deal, which sounds more like someone caught wind of a “wish list”. I will dream about it tonight… a lot.
McConaughey, who once was ashamed of his role in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation is on a tear after his role in Dallas Buyers Club. He’ll next be seen in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.
This promo has me split…
FX recently set the premiere date for the fourth installment of its critically acclaimed anthology series “American Horror Story: Freak Show” for Wednesday, October 8 at 10 PM ET/PT., which went along with the first promo.
A second was released that offers a new taste at “Freak Show” splitting a tongue in two. Seriously, how great are these series of promos going to be? I hope they do one for every circus act known to mankind.
“American Horror Story: Freak Show” begins its tale in the quiet, sleepy hamlet of Jupiter, Florida. The year is 1952. A troupe of curiosities has just arrived to town, coinciding with the strange emergence of a dark entity that savagely threatens the lives of townsfolk and freaks alike. This is the story of the performers and their desperate journey of survival amidst the dying world of the American carny experience.
Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Frances Conroy, Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe and Evan Peters return. New cast includes Michael Chiklis, Wes Bentley, John Carroll Lynch, Finn Wittrock, Patti LaBelle and the world’s smallest living woman, Jyoti Amge.
PlayStation Network Flash Sales are rarely disappointing, but this weekend’s sale is particularly good as it brings some serious discounts on several fantastic — and fairly new — video games that are all worth checking out. This weekend, you can grab any of the titles below for $9.99 each. If you need help choosing the right one to add to your collection, you really can’t go wrong with Darksiders II, DmC Devil May Cry, BioShock Infinite, XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Resident Evil: Revelations.
The only reason Metro: Last Light isn’t on that list is because if you haven’t yet experienced that glorious game, you really should try and get the Redux version that arrives on August 26th.
Metro: Last Light
DmC Devil May Cry
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
BioShock 2: Ultimate Edition
God of War: Collection PS3
God of War: Collection (PS Vita)
Starhawk Ultimate Edition
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (PS Vita)
Wonderbook: Walking with Dinosaurs
The Sly Collection
The Sly Collection (PS Vita)
Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires
Persona 4 Arena
Tales of Graces f
Street Fighter X Tekken (PS Vita)
Lost Planet 3
Resident Evil: Revelations
It’s Friday and I’ve been feeling like I need to bring something a bit dangerous, a bit sexy, and a bit violent for you lovely readers. That’s why this week’s Twisted Music Video Of The Week is Cairo Knife Fight‘s “Rezlord”, which is 100% completely NSFW due to full frontal nudity as well as some heavy sexual themes.
The video revolves around a man who gives himself entirely to a woman who, in turn, goes from punishing to comforting, back and forth, escalating each time, until it comes to permanent consequences.
Check out the video below and then you can snag “Rezlord” via iTunes.
Swedish metal band At The Gates, who are credited with pioneering the “Gothenburg style” melodic death metal sound, have unveiled the album artwork for their upcoming album At War With Reality, which comes out October 28th via Century Media Records. The artwork was designed by Costin Chioreanu who, “…gave the strong lyrical theme of At War With Reality an outstanding conceptual togetherness with the visuals he crafted for this project.”
Vocalist/lyricist Tomas Lindberg states:
The concept of ‘At War with Reality’ is based on the literary genre called ‘Magic Realism’. The main style within this genre is the notion that ‘reality’ is ever-changing, and needs to be constantly re-discovered and re-conquered. We felt that Costin’s artwork style would be the perfect visual contribution to this album, so he became the natural choice…
Guitarist Anders Björler further explained:
I got in touch with Costin a few years back. I was immediately impressed with his dark and original style. He collaborated on some T-shirt designs for AT THE GATES as well as designing the album artwork for my Instrumental Project. We realized pretty early on that his style would accompany the music and the concept perfectly.
Some of the songs included on At War With Reality are the following: “Death And The Labyrinth”, “The Circular Ruins”, “The Conspiracy Of The Blind”, “Order From Chaos”, “Eater Of Gods” and “Upon Pillars Of Dust”.
You can see the artwork below.
Album artist Costin Chioreanu comments:
I have been waiting for this album for almost 20 years and it’s the biggest honor for me to illustrate it – As there is no greater achievement for a dreamer than the moment when the dream becomes reality. ‘At War With Reality’ is by far the most complex visual story I have ever created, from all points of view. From the very first moment the band presented the concept, I found it extremely stunning and at the same time super-challenging. I like to think that visual art and music are tools to explore our minds – to create, to discover and to push the limits. AT THE GATES, one of my all-time favorite Metal bands, offered me a chance to explore a new dimension.
Team Sleep, which features Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno, will be entering the studio to record their long-awaited sophomore album with a tentative early 2015 release date planned. The band will be partially funding the new album with an incentive package that fans can purchase at BrownPaperTickers. Backers will receive such perks as silk-screened prints, a limited edition hoodie, a limited vinyl, a CD with previously unreleased recordings, and more.
The band released a statement saying:
Please join us as we create our next record in Woodstock, New York. We’ll gather at Applehead studio, near the base of the Catskill mountains to eat, write, play and record.
For a long time, business people, logistics, careers, adulthood, families and the House Republicans have thwarted us, but we’ve continued to make music. At the same time, the creative process has become increasingly fragmented and dehumanized. With that in mind, we’re very excited to get together with our dear friends, hang out, play music and have a unique experience in a beautiful place.
We’d like you to be there, too. Your participation will be essential to the independent creation and release of the live performance and our forthcoming studio record; we look forward to seeing you.
The band’s first release came out in 2005.
Back in 2005, when comic book legend Frank Miller joined forces with renegade indie filmmaker Robert Rodriguez to bring Miller’s sleazy, hyper-stylized, ultraviolent tribute to ’40s pulp detective thrillers Sin City to the big screen, it seemed the stars aligned quite nicely on that project, resulting in a swirling monochromatic blend of classic noir atmosphere, grindhouse-style exploitation and state-of-the-art digital magic. It was the right combination at the right time, and its success was well-earned. While a return to the rain-slicked perpetual night of Basin City was a foregone conclusion, it’s amazing it took nearly a decade for Miller and Rodriguez to revisit that world… but they finally did, delving again into Miller’s comic source material for a new set of interlocking stories – most of which actually take place prior to the events of the first film.
Where the original Sin City dove headlong in to surreal, twisted and often horrifying fantasy (living severed heads, monstrous mutants, a cannibal serial killer), A Dame to Kill For plays its cards a bit closer to the chest, adhering more to the long-established tropes of the hard-boiled ’40s detective novels and classic films which inspired Miller’s comic series in the the first place, with much less emphasis on outlandish, horror-tinged scenarios. That might seem like a fair choice (though perhaps a let-down for horror fans), but in the long run this approach actually works against the film, leaving it in often tedious limbo between over-the-top comic fantasy and gritty, old-school film noir, sampling heavily from both but not fully committed to either.
Thankfully, the wild, anarchic sense of fun is mostly intact, thanks in large part to the strength of the actors involved. Seeing many of the original characters return to the fold is a definite plus: Mickey Rourke’s hulking, wise-ass bruiser Marv is always a blast, dominating as thoroughly as he did in the first film (and rightly so); Jessica Alba returns as whip-cracking exotic dancer Nancy, now tormented by the loss of Bruce Willis’ grizzled cop John Hartigan, the only man she ever loved (the fact that he blew his brains out in the last film doesn’t mean he can’t watch over her). Rosario Dawson’s tough-as-nails Gail gets an awesome entrance, flanked by her all-female crew of Old Town assassins, but much like Alba, she doesn’t ultimately have much to do apart from briefly assisting Brolin. In fact, many of the principals are a bit underused, lost amid a rambling collection of missed opportunities.
Among the new talent on display is rock-jawed Josh Brolin, taking over the role of Dwight from Clive Owen for the film’s central tale, which precedes the events of the first film and follows Dwight’s doomed relationship with impossibly seductive femme fatale Ava Lord – the titular Dame – played with spooky, green-eyed, serpentine grace by the frequently naked Eva Green, turning in one of the film’s most outlandishly memorable performances. While the change in Dwight’s looks is explained reasonably well, and Brolin is compelling (as always) in the role, his personality has clearly shifted from super-suave antihero to a coarse, overwrought private-eye type who delivers the film’s most cringe-inducing, clichéd noir lines. Oh sure, I know Miller’s playing with the formula, and often in a satirical way, but some of Dwight’s Mickey Spillane-on-acid narration in this segment verges from hard-boiled into waaay overcooked, provoking the kind of groans usually reserved for truly awful puns. Joseph Gordon-Levitt brings his usual boyish charm as Johnny – a cocky, nearly infallible young gambler who pits his skills against Basin City’s puppet master, Senator Roark (the awesome Powers Boothe, once again devouring virtually every scene he’s in), who redefines the term “sore loser” in one of the film’s most brutal moments.
I would have enjoyed more screen time from any of these players, but the often truncated plot lines occasionally sabotage their potential. Loose ends go flopping in all directions – so many, in fact, that I suspect eleventh-hour cuts might have laid waste to large chunks of each story. For example, we’re clearly shown Johnny on a collision course of vengeance against the Senator (tempered by a shocking secret they share), but this thread is resolved too abruptly to carry enough dramatic weight. Alba’s Nancy is also driven by revenge, turned half-mad by hatred toward the Senator – whom, along with his late son Junior (a.k.a. “Yellow Bastard”), she blames for Hartigan’s suicide in the first film – and each time we see her she’s one step closer to exacting poetic justice… but when the moment of truth arrives, it’s a case of too little, too late.
Rounding out the ensemble is Dennis Haysbert (taking over for Michael Clarke Duncan, who sadly died in 2012), all smooth menace as Ava’s unstoppable bodyguard Manute – though I would have liked to see more of his titanic clashes with Marv, the only man who can equal him in hand-to-hand combat. We even get a creepy cameo from veteran actor Stacy Keach – albeit smothered in a grotesque fat-suit – but his inferred connection to Roarke begins and ends there. (Speaking of cameos: be on the lookout for a certain Ms. Gaga as a hash-slinger with a heart of gold, and the co-directors as drunken characters on a cheesy TV show.)
The stylish action comes as fast and crazed as Sin City fans have come to expect (heads and limbs go flying at every opportunity; one multiple decapitation got a round of applause from the audience), and the filmmakers utilize the same mad technical and artistic skills to bring lusty life to Miller’s panels – all inky black night and cut-out white silhouettes spattered with primary-color highlights (red cars, gold coins, a devilish blue dress, and buckets of blood in various hues). But ultimately A Dame to Kill For comes off as more of an interesting companion piece to the original film than a tale strong enough to stand tall on its own. Come to think of it, I’d actually like to see the two cut together into a single epic, while shifting some of the storylines around for continuity – similar to Coppola’s re-cut of the first two Godfather films – with some of the apparently missing plot threads restored. Now that would be a flick to kill for.
THE YEAR: 1934
The previous editorials (years 1931-1933) all contained movies that have come to be considered “Pre-Code.” The “Code” in “Pre-Code” is none other than the maligned Motion Picture Production Code, or, as it’s popularly known, the Hays Code. The Hays Code lasted from 1934 until the late-1960s, when it became the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) which we know and love today. What was the point of the Hays Code? As with so many other forms of censorship, it was meant to save you, gentle viewer, from that irresponsible individual known as yourself. You cannot possibly make a mature decision about what explicit content you deem acceptable, so the censors conveniently do it for you – how nice! That’s not to say the films on this (and future) lists aren’t worthy of your time. In a way, writers and directors had to get more creative and resort to something that is sadly lacking in many modern horror films: the power of suggestion. The five films described below are all excellent examples of what we’ll call “Hays Code Horror,” and I think that you’ll find that they’re every bit as engrossing as their “Pre-Code” predecessors.
THE BLACK CAT
(D) Edgar G. Ulmer
(W) Peter Ruric
(S) Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and David Manners
After several years of starring in their own genre films, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi finally shared the screen in this (loose) adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe tale. Lugosi plays Dr. Vitus Werdegast, a psychiatrist who, while spending time in a prison camp in World War I, mysteriously lost his wife. On his way to meet Hjalmar Poelzig (Karloff), his friend and reclusive architect, Werdegast encounters newlyweds Peter (Manners) and Joan Alison (Jacqueline Wells), who are on their honeymoon. After their bus crashes in the Hungarian countryside and Joan is injured, the three travelers make their way to Poelzig’s home. It is there that Werdegast discovers what has happened to his wife and uncovers Poelzig’s dark plans for the injured Joan. Despite their well-known dislike for one another off screen, Karloff is at his sinister best, Lugosi – in a rare sympathetic role – is quite good, and the screen comes alive when the two icons share it.
(D) Roy William Neill
(W) Wells Root
(S) Jack Holt, Fay Wray, and Dorothy Burgess
Black Moon is an early film about the seductive power of voodoo. The story revolves around a woman named Juanita (Burgess), who had discovered her parents’ corpses as a child. Apparently, Juanita’s folks were the victims of voodoo performed by the inhabitants of a tropical island where Juanita and her family were staying. Now an adult, Juanita (along with her daughter, Cora Sue) has an irresistible urge to return to the island of her childhood trauma. Once she returns, the island’s denizens treat Juanita as a voodoo goddess of sorts, and she is afforded every luxury. Juanita becomes so drunk with power, that she is willing to sacrifice her own daughter in the name of voodoo. Will her husband (Holt) and his secretary (Wray) be able to save Cora Sue (Nancy Lane), or will Juanita claim her prize? Part mystery, part horror, this little-known gem is atmospheric and well-acted – check it out!
EL FANTASMA DEL CONVENTO (THE PHANTOM OF THE MONASTERY)
(D) Fernando de Fuentes
(W) Juan Bustillo Oro, Jorge Pezet, and Fernando de Fuentes
(S) Enrique del Campo, Marta Roel, and Carlos Villatoro
As so many other horror films are, El fantasma del convento is essentially a morality tale. Adulterous couple Cristina (Roel) and Alfonso (del Campo) become lost one night while attempting to find a good make out spot. Enter a bizarre guide of sorts – is it ever wise to follow a stranger in a horror film? – who leads the pair to a foreboding monastery. Cristina and Alfonso are treated to a dinner with the Father Superior (Paco Martinez), who relates a story involving a monk overcome by his lust for a woman. After he seduced his friend’s wife, the rest of the monk’s life – and even his afterlife – were cursed. You can probably guess where the story goes from here, but don’t let a little predictability deter you from seeing this beautifully shot and eerie film. For those of you who are fans of Matthew Lewis’ 1796 horror novel, The Monk, you will certainly see the book’s influence in the film.
THE NINTH GUEST
(D) Roy William Neill
(W) Garnett Weston
(S) Donald Cook, Genevieve Tobin, and Hardie Albright
Based on the 1930 novel The Invisible Host by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning, The Ninth Guest is another fine early example of the haunted house subgenre. An anonymous host invites a group of eight disparate strangers to a luxurious apartment for the night. Once the guests are in the apartment and have experienced some fine food and drink, the host – via radio broadcast – reveals the real reason he invited them to the apartment: they have to outwit Death (the titular character) if they want to survive the night. Inventive death scenes and solid acting highlight this rarely seen oddity. I would like to think that the Saw and Final Destination franchises owe a debt of gratitude to this one.
(D) Charles Vidor
(W) Jack Cunningham and Gladys Lehman
(S) Evelyn Venable, Mary Morris, and Anne Revere
Based on the play by Elizabeth McFadden, Double Door is a chilling commentary on family dysfunction. The wealthy but psychotic Victoria Van Brett (Morris) terrorizes the members of her family who still live under her roof. Her favorite method of torture is to lure unwitting family members into the secret chamber, where they slowly go mad from isolation. When Victoria turns her ire to her half-brother’s wife, the only family member capable – or willing – to stand up to Victoria is her sister, Caroline (Revere). The performances in the film are decent overall (particularly Morris), but there is some staginess to the play adaptation. The real reason to see this film is for the setting – a creepy old mansion in New York City that leaves you guessing what’s around every corner.