Category: Horror

“Bowery at Midnight” (1942) starring Bela Lugosi / Z-View

Bowery at Midnight (1942)

Director: Wallace Fox

Screenplay: Gerald Schnitzer

Stars: Bela Lugosi, John Archer, Wanda McKay, Tom Neal, Vince Barnett, John Berkes, ‘Snub’ Pollard and Bernard Gorcey.


The Plot…

Karl Wagner (Lugosi) runs a soup kitchen that serves as a front for his many criminal enterprises.  Wagner recruits ex-cons and those who are down-and-out to perform robberies and worse.  Wagner then kills them. He disposes of their bodies in a secret room that leads underground.  His accomplice, a doctor who is also an addict, performs experiments on the cadavers.

As the cops close in, Wagner will go to any extreme to escape.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

At the end the undercover cop played by John Archer is shot and presumably killed.  He is taken by the doctor who we discover has perfected the ability to bring the dead back to life as zombies.  Lugosi’s character is attacked by the zombies when he goes into the basement.  Then the final scene of the movie is John Archer’s character with his love interest.  He appears to be totally recovered from being dead and isn’t a zombie.  Huh?

Bowery at Midnight (1942) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“Chamber of Horrors” (1966) starring Patrick O’Neal, Cesare Danova & Wilfrid Hyde-White / Z-View

Chamber of Horrors (1966)

Director: Hy Averback

Screenplay: Stephen Kandel, Ray Russell

Stars: Patrick O’Neal, Cesare Danova, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Jeanette Nolan, Marie Windsor, Wayne Rogers, Charles Seel, William Conrad (voice) and Tony Curtis.

Tagline: The motion picture with the Fear Flasher and the Horror Horn

The Plot…

Jason Cravatte (O’Neal) was convicted of killing a young woman and then forcing a Justice of the Peace to perform a marriage ceremony for Cravatte and his victim.  While being transported to prison, Cravatte escaped by cutting off his own hand.

Now fully healed, Cravatte has replaced his hand with a covering that can hold a hook, a long blade and more.  Cravatte plans to get revenge on everyone responsible for his capture.  That includes the judge who sentenced him, the police officer who caught him, Anthony Draco (Danova) and Harold Blount (Hyde-White) who assisted in the capture.

Draco and Blount own a wax museum with a focus on famous gruesome murderers.  Wouldn’t that be the perfect place for Cravatte to take his final revenge?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

I first saw Chamber of Horrors as a kid.  I was probably 9 years old.  I loved the film then and am still a fan.

Chamber of Horrors was originally filmed as a pilot for a tv series.  The network thought it was too violent, so it received a theatrical release.  Sadly no television series was ever produced.  I still think it would make a fun series.

Tony Curtis appears in a cameo that has no bearing on the plot.  When it was decided to release the film as a feature, additional time was needed so the scene with Tony Curtis was added.  Also added were the gimmicks of The Fear Flasher and The Horror Horn which were seen and heard before the most intense scenes.  William Conrad also recorded the warning before the start of the film.

Wayne Rogers plays the young police officer intent on re-capturing Cravatte. This is years before he became famous on M*A*S*H.

Chamber of Horrors (1966) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“Homicidal” (1961) directed by William Castle / Z-View

Homicidal (1961)

Director:  William Castle

Screenplay: Robb White

Stars: Glenn Corbett, Patricia Breslin, James Westerfield, Gilbert Green, Joan Marshall, Ralph Moody, ‘Snub’ Pollard, Hope Summers and William Castle.

Tagline: SPECIAL “FRIGHT BREAK” * There will be a special FRIGHT BREAK during the showing of “Homicidal.” Can your heart stand the challenge when the clock starts the COUNTDOWN?

The Plot…

A woman claiming to be Miriam Webster offers a bellman $2,000.00 to marry her.  She says that they can annul the marriage right after the ceremony.  The bellman agrees.  The next night they go to a Justice of the Peace.  After he performs the ceremony the woman pulls out a long knife and repeatedly stabs him to death.  The woman then runs off into the night.

The police quickly clear the real Miriam Webster (Breslin).  They learn that Miriam and her brother, Warren, are about to inherit a fortune due to their father’s death.  More murders will occur before the secrets that they are hiding will be discovered.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

William Castle was known for his gimmick films.  Three examples include:

  • The Tingler, he had small electric jolts and/or vibrators in some theater seats
  • Mr. Sardonicus, audience members were given glow in the dark cards to vote on the movie’s ending
  • House on Haunted Hill, a flying skeleton flew across the theater

For Homicidal, William Castle had a “Fright Break” prior to the ending of the film.  Audience members too frightened to stay for the end had 45 seconds (a timer appeared on the movie screen) to leave the theater. They would go to the “Coward’s Corner” in the lobby.  There they had to sign a certificate verifying they were indeed a coward.  Very few patrons took up the offer, but it was a great selling point.  THAT wasn’t the best gimmick of Homicidal.  SPOILER ALERT – it will be discussed below.

Homicidal cashed in on the success of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho which was released the year before.

Joan Marshall played both Emily and Warren. Emily was credited as Jean Arless to keep the movie’s gimmick a secret.  In order to convince William Castle she could play both roles convincingly, Marshall showed up dressed as a man for an interview.  She fooled them and won the part.

Homicidal (1961) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Festival of the Living Dead” (2024) / Z-View

Festival of the Living Dead (2024)

Director: Jen and Sylvia Soska

Screenplay: Miriam Lyapin, Helen Marsh

Stars: Camren Bicondova, Ashley Moore.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

A group of teenage friends attend the Festival of the Living Dead which commemorates the 55th anniversary of the original zombie attack.  While at the festivals zombies, you guessed it, attack.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

I enjoy a good zombie movie.  I tapped out of this one after 31 minutes.

Festival of the Living Dead (2024) rates 1 of 5 stars.

“Night of Terror” (1933) starring Bela Lugosi / Z-View

Night of Terror (1933)

Director:  Benjamin Stoloff

Screenplay: Willard Mack, Beatrice Van, Lester Neilson, William Jacobs

Stars: Bela Lugosi, Wallace Ford, Tully Marshall, George Meeker, Matt McHugh, Dave O’Brien and Oscar Smith.

Tagline: A mad murdering midnight menace!

The Plot…

A serial killer known as The Maniac is on the loose.  He was last seen near the estate where a rich man was murdered.  When the family comes together they learn they are heirs to the fortune left behind.  As family members turn up dead, survivors wonder if the killer is the Maniac or someone in the family attempting to get a bigger share.

How many will have to die before the truth is known?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Although Bela Lugosi gets top billing, he plays a supporting character.

The best part of the film is after the mystery is solved.  The killer is caught. The Maniac is lying dead on the floor.  The family exits and we’re expecting “THE END” to appear.  But instead the Maniac gets up, walks close to the camera and speaks directly to the audience.  He warns them that if any tell how the movie ends he will find and haunt them! (Oh, and the Maniac isn’t the killer!)

Night of Terror (1933) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“The Crooked Circle” (1932) starring Zasu Pitts & James Gleason / Z-View

The Crooked Circle (1932)

Director:  H. Bruce Humberstone

Screenplay: Ralph Spence (original screenplay), Tim Whelan (additional dialogue)

Stars: Zasu Pitts, James Gleason, C. Henry Gordon, Raymond Hatton, Berton Churchill, Spencer Charters, Robert Frazer, Frank Reicher and Christian Rub.


The Plot…

The Crooked Circle, a secret group of criminals, has vowed to kill Colonel Theodore Walters.  Walters is a member of the Sphinx Club, a group of amateur detectives.

When the Sphinx Club meets at a creepy, old mansion, the Crooked Circle plan to make good on their vow.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The Crooked Circle is a variation on “The Old Dark House” movies that were popular in the era.  Hidden passageways, ghosts, bad guys and a touch of comedy are staples of this genre.

Zasu Pitts and James Gleason were the top billed stars, but their characters aren’t the main focus of the film.

Zasu is her real name.  Her mother made it up taking the last two letters of Eliza and the first two letters of Susan.  Her mother’s sisters were named Eliza and Susan.

Zasu Pitts was the inspiration for Popeye’s girlfriend, Olive Oyle!

The Crooked Circle (1932) rates 3 of 5 stars.

“Interview with the Vampire” The Season 2 Trailer is Here!

Looking good!

ABOUT INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE A luxury apartment covering an entire single floor of a high rise. Where the Vampire has granted the interview with the man he once judged to be unworthy. And where the journalist Daniel Molloy has hustled, for a second shot at the interview that got away from him 40 years earlier…

Based on Anne Rice’s iconic novel, Interview with The Vampire follows Louis’ epic story of love, blood and the perils of immortality, as told to the journalist Daniel Molloy. Chafing at the limitations of life as a black man in 1900’s New Orleans, Louis finds it impossible to resist Lestat’s offer of the ultimate escape: joining him as his vampire companion.

But Louis’s intoxicating new powers come with a violent price, and the introduction of Lestat’s newest fledgling, the child vampire Claudia, soon sets them on a decades-long path of revenge and atonement. A sensuous, contemporary reinvention of Anne Rice’s revolutionary gothic novel. Interview with the Vampire Season 2 Official Trailer | Premieres May 12 | AMC+

“Alien” & “Aliens” Alt Posters by Aurelio Lorenzo!

Aurelio Lorenzo is a huge fan of Alien and Aliens.  He created two posters that work together as one or can stand alone.  They work perfectly either way.  Click on the photo above to see a Nostromo-sized version. Here’s part of what Lorenzo had to say about their creation:

ALIEN and ALIENS are still unsurpassed, not only in the franchise, but in the genre. Very different movies between them, but they have one thing in common, they both are GREAT!

I aimed to create a two-poster set, each able to stand alone or as part of a diptych. The focus was on making the xenomorphs dominant, enveloping the layout with a sense of claustrophobia. I then incorporated key elements from the movies, trying to capture their essence in an attractive composition.

I say, “Mission accomplished!”  If you’d like to see more of Aurelio Lorenzo’s art, you can here.

“Valley of the Dead” (2020) / Z-View

Valley of the Dead (2020)

Director:  Javier Ruiz Caldera, Alberto de Toro

Screenplay: Jaime Marques Olarreaga, Alberto Fernández Arregui, Cristian Conti

Stars: Miki Esparbé, Aura Garrido, Luis Callejo

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

During  the Spanish Civil War, rival soldiers must join forces when they encounter zombies created by Nazis.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

I’m a sucker for zombie movies.  Valley of the Dead isn’t terrible.  In fact it’s better than a lot zombie flicks these days.  If you’re looking for some mindless entertainment with a touch of humor, Valley of the Dead should fit the bill.

Valley of the Dead (2020) rates 2 of 5 stars.

“BEETLEJUICE BEETLEJUICE” The Official Teaser Trailer is Here!


The juice is loose! #Beetlejuice #Beetlejuice – Only in theaters September 6.

Beetlejuice is back! Oscar-nominated, singular creative visionary Tim Burton and Oscar nominee and star Michael Keaton reunite for Beetlejuice Beetlejuice, the long-awaited sequel to Burton’s award-winning Beetlejuice.

Keaton returns to his iconic role alongside Oscar nominee Winona Ryder (Stranger Things, Little Women) as Lydia Deetz and two-time Emmy winner Catherine O’Hara (Schitt$ Creek, The Nightmare Before Christmas) as Delia Deetz, with new cast members Justin Theroux (Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, The Leftovers), Monica Bellucci (Spectre, The Matrix films), Arthur Conti (House of the Dragon) in his feature film debut, with Emmy nominee Jenna Ortega (Wednesday, Scream VI) as Lydia’s daughter, Astrid, and Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe (Poor Things, At Eternity’s Gate).

Beetlejuice is back! After an unexpected family tragedy, three generations of the Deetz family return home to Winter River. Still haunted by Beetlejuice, Lydia’s life is turned upside down when her rebellious teenage daughter, Astrid, discovers the mysterious model of the town in the attic and the portal to the Afterlife is accidentally opened. With trouble brewing in both realms, it’s only a matter of time until someone says Beetlejuice’s name three times and the mischievous demon returns to unleash his very own brand of mayhem.

Burton, a genre unto himself, directs from a screenplay by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (Wednesday), story by Gough & Millar and Seth Grahame-Smith (The LEGO® Batman Movie), based on characters created by Michael McDowell & Larry Wilson. The film’s producers are Marc Toberoff, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Tommy Harper and Burton, with Sara Desmond, Katterli Frauenfelder, Gough, Millar, Brad Pitt, Larry Wilson, Laurence Senelick, Pete Chiappetta, Andrew Lary, Anthony Tittanegro, Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg executive producing.

Burton’s creatives behind the scenes includes director of photography Haris Zambarloukos (Meg 2: The Trench, Murder on the Orient Express); such previous and frequent collaborators as production designer Mark Scruton (Wednesday), editor Jay Prychidny (Wednesday), Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood (Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sleepy Hollow), Oscar-winning creature effects and special makeup FX creative supervisor Neal Scanlan (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and Oscar-nominated composer Danny Elfman (Big Fish, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Batman); and Oscar-winning hair and makeup designer Christine Blundell (Topsy-Turvy).

A Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, Beetlejuice Beetlejuice will be released only in theaters and IMAX on September 6, 2024 nationwide, and internationally beginning 4 September 2024. It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.