Phil Brown, who played Luke Skywalker's uncle in Star Wars, said, In my long life in films, there are ones I'm proud of and those I'm not proud of. The Jungle Captive and Weird Woman fall into the latter category. House of Wax co-star Paul Picerni was fired by the film's director when he refused to put his head in a working guillotine during a climactic fight scene.Packed with wonderful tidbits, this volume collects 22 interviews with the moviemakers responsible for bringing such films as This Island Earth, The Haunting, Carnival of Souls, Pit and the Pendulum, House of Wax, Tarzan the Ape Man, The Black Cat, Them! and Invasion of the Body Snatchers to the movie screen. Faith Domergue, Michael Forest, Anne Helm, Candace Hilligoss, Suzanna Leigh, Norman Lloyd, Maureen O'Sullivan, Shirley Ulmer, Dana Wynter and many more are interviewed.
This work offers a critical, colorful and informative examination of different types of monster movies, spanning the silent period to today. Chapter One focuses on dragons, dinosaurs, and other scaly giants from films like 1953's The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, an impressive stop-motion production that ushered in a new era of atomic-spawned monster films. Chapter Two examines "big bug" flicks, beginning with 1954's giant ant-infested Them. Chapter Three focuses on ordinary animals grown to improbable proportions through scientific or sinister experimentation, such as the huge octopus in 1955's It Came from Beneath the Sea. Chapters Four, Five, and Six look at films in which nature goes berserk, and otherwise innocuous animals flock, swarm, hop or run about on a menacingly massive scale, including 1963's The Birds and 1972's Frogs. Finally, Chapter Seven focuses on films featuring beasts that defy easy definition, such as 1958's The Blob and Fiend Without a Face.
Publication Date: 2017-06-16
In 1931 Universal Studios released Dracula starring Bela Lugosi. This box office success was followed by a string of films featuring macabre characters and chilling atmospherics, including Frankenstein, The Mummy, and The Invisible Man. With each new film, Universal established its place in the Hollywood firmament as the leading producer of horror films, a status it enjoyed for more than twenty years. In The Monster Movies of Universal Studios, James L. Neibaur examines the key films produced by the studio from the early 1930s through the mid-1950s.
In each entry, the author recounts the movie’s production, provides critical commentary, considers the film’s commercial reception, and offers an overall assessment of the movie’s significance. Neibaur also examines the impact these films had on popular culture, an influence that resonates in the cinema of fear today. From the world premiere of Dracula to the 1956 release of The Creature Walks among Us, Universal excelled at scaring viewers of all ages—and even elicited a few chuckles along the way by pitting their iconic creatures against the comedic pair of Abbott and Costello. The Monster Movies of Universal Studios captures the thrills of these films, making this book a treat for fans of the golden age of horror cinema.
James Whale's Frankenstein (1931) spawned a phenomenon that has been rooted in world culture for decades. This cinematic Prometheus has generated countless sequels, remakes, rip-offs, and parodies in every media, and this granddaddy of cult movies constantly renews its followers in each generation. Along with an in-depth critical reading of the original 1931 film, this book tracks Frankenstein the monster's heavy cultural tread from Mary Shelley's source novel to today's Internet chat rooms.
Steven Spielberg's second feature, released in 1975, was an adaptation of a best-selling trash novel about a killer shark's effect on a New England tourist town. Under extreme pressure on a catastrophic location shoot, Universal's 27 year-old prodigy crafted a thriller so effective that for many years Jaws was the highest-grossing film of all time. It was also instrumental in establishing the concepts of the event movie and the summer blockbuster. Jaws exerts an extraordinary power over audiences. Apparently simplistic and manipulative, it is a film that has divided critics into two broad camps: those who dismiss it as infantile and sensational - and those who see the shark as freighted with complex political and psychosexual meaning. Antonia Quirke, in an impressionistic response, argues that both interpretations obscure the film's success simply as a work of art. In Jaws Spielberg's ability to blend genres combined with his precocious technical skill to create a genuine masterpiece, which is underrated by many, including its director. Indeed, Quirke claims, this may be Spielberg's finest work.
Novelist and critic Kim Newman assesses the horror noir Cat People (1943), produced by Val Lewton and directed by Jacques Tourneur. This important and influential film is considered in the light of its place in film history and as a work of ambitious horror. The new edition includes a postscript about the sequel, The Curse of the Cat People.
(Applause Books). He is one of the most amazing, popular, and iconic characters in the history of motion pictures. His 1933 debut was a legendary piece of pure cinema simultaneously a terrifying monster movie, epic fairy tale, tragic love story, and deeply resonant cultural myth. His name is King Kong. Ray Morton's King Kong The History of a Movie Icon is the first book to chronicle the making of all seven feature films in which the character of Kong has appeared, including the hotly anticipated Peter Jackson version. It is generously illustrated with photographs, production art, and promotional materials from the author's extensive private collection. Morton has interviewed the surviving members of each major film. A colorful overview of the tremendous amount of collectible Kong merchandise is also on view for all the fans of Kongdom to devour.
Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead (1981) has been celebrated as a rollercoaster ride of terror and a classic horror hit, a defining example of the tongue-in-cheek, excessively gory horror films of the 1980s. It is also the film that introduced the now-iconic character of Ash (played by Bruce Campbell). This study considers the factors that have contributed to the film's evolving cult reputation. It recounts its grueling production, its journey from Cannes to video and DVD, its playful recasting of the genre, and its status, for fans and critics alike, as one of the grungiest, gutsiest, and most inventive horror films in movie history.
In this essay, the author highlights the ambiguity of the film's use of the two senses of goemul—humanity and monstrosity—in portraying the current geopolitical dangers that threaten the cosmopolitan inhabitants of Seoul and, in particular, threaten the social cohesion of the family as the most elementary form of kinship and group identity. The significance of the goemul portrayed in Bong's film may be that this monstrous creature is a "sign that shows, demonstrates, and warns." It is through the creation of this sign that The Host brings to light the ambivalent and conflicted coexistence of tradition and modernity, family and the state, democracy and militarism, nationalism and imperialism/globalism, and the monstrous and the human in contemporary South Korean society.