A Trailer a Day Keeps the Boogeyman Away! Halloween A-Z

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Supernatural 1933

Supernatural (1933) is directed by Victor Halperin and stars Carole Lombard as Roma Courtney, a young woman who finds herself entangled in a web of eerie supernatural events. After a strange encounter with a fortune-teller Madame Gourjan (Beryl Mercer), Roma’s life takes a dark turn. She becomes connected to the mysterious and malevolent spirit of Ruth Rogan (Vivienne Osborne), a black widow murderess who returns to life in Roma’s body, her evil spirit wants to exact revenge on her former lover, a phony spiritualist Grant Wilson (Randolph Scott) who betrayed her.

As Roma investigates the circumstances surrounding Ruth’s death, she becomes increasingly convinced of the supernatural forces at play. The film weaves a tale of suspense and eerie occurrences as Roma races against time to uncover the truth behind the threat that is haunting her.

The Slime People 1963

The Slime People is a 1963 science fiction/horror film directed by actor Robert Hutton. The movie is set in Los Angeles, where a thick, mysterious fog suddenly engulfs the city. As the fog dissipates, it reveals a group of grotesque creatures known as the Slime People who have emerged from the underground. These slimy and subterranean beings begin to terrorize the city’s residents.

The film primarily follows the efforts of a small group of survivors who band together to combat the Slime People and find a way to escape the city. Along the way, they must navigate the treacherous streets of Los Angeles, evade the Slime People’s attacks, and uncover the mystery behind the creatures’ origins. It also stars sci-fi regular Les Tremayne. The Slime People was photographed by William G. Troiano who did the cinematography for the exploitation film Scream of the Butterfly 1965, The Devil’s Messenger 1962, and Horror of the Blood Monsters 1970. Tom Hollan is the guy in the slime suit.

Scars of Dracula 1970

Scars of Dracula is a 1970 Hammer horror directed by Roy Ward Baker. In this installment of the Dracula series, the infamous vampire Christopher Lee’s Count Dracula returns to terrorize a small Eastern European village.

Paul (Christopher Matthews) seeks refuge in the village after escaping from Dracula’s castle. However, as Dracula sets his sights on Paul’s girlfriend Sarah (Jenny Hanley), the villagers become increasingly desperate to rid themselves of the vampire’s curse. The battle between good and evil intensifies as the villagers and a fearless priest attempt to confront the immortal Dracula and put an end to his malevolent reign. Scars of Dracula stars Dennis Waterman, Michael Gwynn as the priest, and beloved Michael Ripper as the Landlord.

Simon King of the Witches 1971

Simon, King of the Witches is a 1971 cult film directed by prolific television scriptwriter Bruce Kessler (Chopper ep. Kolchak). The film follows the surreal journey of the enigmatic Simon Sinestrari, a modern-day, self-proclaimed witch and occultist who lives in the counterculture of Los Angeles. Simon, portrayed by Andrew Prine, uses his mystical knowledge and psychedelic experiences to navigate the tumultuous world of the 1970s. Simon is deeply involved in mysticism and practices witchcraft.

Simon’s quest for enlightenment and his desire to harness supernatural powers lead him to experiment with various rituals and mind-altering substances. Along the way, he encounters a colorful cast of characters, including a fellow witch named Linda (real-life love Brenda Scott), and a police officer who becomes obsessed with him.

As Simon delves deeper into the occult and his own psyche, the film blurs the lines between reality and hallucination, taking viewers on a bizarre and psychedelic journey into the world of magic, mysticism, and countercultural rebellion.

Simon is a complex character who combines elements of mysticism, rebellion, and a sense of being an outsider in society.

Andrew Prine captures Simon’s eccentric nature with a charismatic and unconventional performance as a nonconformist who rejects societal norms, and Prine embodies this by delivering his lines with a mix of intensity and whimsy. His portrayal of Simon’s oddball behavior, such as his penchant for wearing outlandish clothing and embracing a bohemian lifestyle is superb.

Read my tribute to Andrew Prine HERE:

Sugar Hill 1974

Sugar Hill 1974 is an American International film, a unique and potent blend of blaxploitation and horror directed by Paul Maslansky. It’s known for its stylish and gritty portrayal of 1970s New Orleans. The story is centered by Diana “Sugar” Hill, portrayed by Marki Bey whose performance is marked by her charisma, confidence, and undeniable screen presence. a nightclub owner in the vibrant city of New Orleans. When Sugar’s boyfriend, Langston (Larry Don Johnson), is brutally murdered by a group of gangsters led by the ruthless Morgan played by Robert Quarry, she becomes determined to seek revenge. Bey effortlessly manifests Sugar’s journey from a nightclub owner into a vengeful force of supernatural retribution. The Black culture magazine Jet asked the question of why Black horror films drew their inspiration from the Christian vision of the Dracula mythos, ”when there was Voodoo in the Black experience.” Sugar Hill, attempts to rescue the legitimacy of Voodoo. ‘‘If most Blaxploitation celebrated a ‘bad N…’ who challenges the oppressive White system and wins, then Sugar Hill celebrated the ”Baad Bitch who did the same.” (Robin R. Means Coleman)

Mama Maitresses ‘‘How strong is your hate?’’

Sugar Hill ‘‘As strong as my love was, my hate is stronger.”

However, Sugar doesn’t turn to conventional methods of retribution, she uses supernatural forces to combat her adversaries. Instead, she seeks out the assistance of Mama Maitresse (the wonderful Zara Cully), a voodoo priestess, to help her get vengeance through supernatural means. With the guidance of Mama Maitresse and the power of voodoo, Sugar raises an army of undead, zombie-like enforcers to take down Morgan and his criminal empire one by one.

Sugar Hill [after feeding a man to a sounder of starving pigs in a pig pen] I hope they’re into white trash.

 

Sugar Hill ”Hey, Whitey! You and your punk friends killed my man.’

Tank Watson ‘‘You know, you got one of the prettiest asses in town. I’d sure hate to see it kicked in for accusin’ people.’

Sugar Hill ‘‘I’m not accusin’ you, Honk. I’m passin’ sentence”

Marki Bey’s performance as Diana “Sugar” Hill in “Sugar Hill” is a standout in the blaxploitation genre. She brings a captivating mix of strength, determination, and vulnerability to her character. As Sugar, Bey portrays a woman who transforms from a grieving girlfriend into a fearless avenger, seeking justice for her murdered lover. Sugar Hill also co-stars Don Pedro Colley as Baron Samedi, Richard Lawson as Valentine, and Charles Robison as Fabulous.

The zombies in this film more closely resemble the creatures of voodoo legend – i.e., the walking dead who do the bidding – than the flesh-eating “living dead” popularized by Romero. According to the film, the zombies are the preserved bodies of slaves brought to the United States from Guinea, Africa.

“Much like the White Final Girl, Black women stare down death. However, these Black women are not going up against some boogeyman; rather, often their battle is with racism and corruption. In this regard, there is no going to sleep once the ”monster” is defeated, as the monster is often an amorphously coded as ‘Whitey”, and Whitely’s oppressions are here to stay. From Horror Noire Blacks in American Horror FIlms from the 1890s to Present by Robin R. Means Coleman

 

Strange Behavior 1981

Strange Behavior 1981  is a disturbing and uneasy atmosphere that fills this science fiction/horror film directed by Michael Laughlin (Strange Invaders 1983, produced The Whisperers 1967 and Two-Lane Blacktop 1972). Set in a small American town, the film follows a series of gruesome murders that seem to be connected to a mysterious research project. The film explores the exploration of mind control, innocence lost, the terrifying realization that they may be capable of committing heinous acts against which they have no free will, paranoia and the juxtaposition of innocence all played out with graphic violence.

The story centers around a teenager named Pete Brady ( Dan Shor), who becomes entangled in the investigation when his friends are brutally murdered. As Pete delves deeper into the case, he discovers that the murders are linked to a behavioral experimentation program led by the enigmatic Dr. Le Sange (Arthur Dignam).

What makes the killings even more chilling is that the perpetrators are seemingly ordinary townsfolk who have been turned into mind-controlled killers on a homicidal rampage.

The film is known for its eerie and atmospheric cinematography, as well as its unique take on the horror genre. It explores themes of psychological manipulation, the consequences of unethical scientific experiments, and the dark side of human behavior.

With its combination of a small-town setting, a mysterious conspiracy, and a rising body count, Strange Behavior is a cult classic that offers a distinctive and unsettling take on the horror genre of the early 1980s. The murders are gruesome, one scene in particular still makes me queasy, not so much for its gore but for the naked realism that it conveys with its cold and mindlessness, and I don’t mean unapologetic, I mean somnambulistic viciousness. The brutal, violent acts of controlled killing, like homicidal puppets, still have a quite shocking effect. This intelligent visual construction of gore and violence diverges from the work of the father of the splatter genre -Hershell Gordon Lewis.

Strange Behavior is set in a small, seemingly peaceful town, which enhances the sense of isolation and vulnerability. The idea that such disturbing events can occur in an otherwise idyllic setting creates a feeling of unease and an atmosphere of mystery and paranoia as characters try to unravel the enigmatic events taking place in their community. The sense of not knowing who can be trusted and who may have succumbed to mind control adds to the film’s tension. The film stars Louise Fletcher, Michael Murphy as Pete’s dad John Brady, and Fiona Lewis as Gwen Parkinson Le Sang’s assistant.

This is your EverLovin’ Joey Sayin’ S’eeee Ya at the snack bark to grab me a tray of the letter T for terror with some cheese on top!

MonsterGirl’s Halloween 🎃 2015 special feature! the Heroines, Scream Queens & Sirens of 30s Horror Cinema!

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Horror cinema was at it’s spooky peak in the 1930s~ the era gave birth to some of the most iconic figures of the genre as well as highlighted some of the most beautiful & beloved heroines to ever light up the scream, oops I mean screen!!!!

We all love the corrupted, diabolical, fiendish and menacing men of the 30s who dominated the horror screen- the spectres of evil, the anti-heroes who put those heroines in harms way, women in peril, –Boris, & Bela, Chaney and March… From Frankenstein, to Dracula, from The Black Cat (1934), or wicked Wax Museums to that fella who kept changing his mind…Jekyll or was it Hyde? From the Mummy to that guy you could see right through, thank you Mr. Rains!

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Gloria Stuart The Invisible Man

Last year I featured Scream Queens of 40s Classic Horror! This Halloween 🎃 – I felt like paying homage to the lovely ladies of 30s Classic Horror, who squealed up a storm on those stormy dreadful nights, shadowed by sinister figures, besieged by beasts, and taunted with terror in those fabulous frisson-filled fright flicks… but lest not forget that after the screaming stops, those gals show some grand gumption! And… In an era when censorship & conservative framework tried to set the stage for these dark tales, quite often what smoldered underneath the finely veiled surface was a boiling pot of sensuality and provocative suggestion that I find more appealing than most contemporary forays into Modern horror- the lost art of the classical horror genre will always remain Queen… !

Let’s drink a toast to that notion!

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The Scream Queens, Sirens & Heroines of 1930s Classic Horror are here for you to run your eyes over! Let’s give ’em a really big hand, just not a hairy one okay? From A-Z

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phantom in the rue morgue 1954
Phantom in the Rue Morgue 1954.

ELIZABETH ALLAN

Elizabeth Allan

A British beauty with red hair who according to Gregory Mank in his Women in Horror Films, the 1930s, left England for Hollywood and an MGM contract. She is the consummate gutsy heroine, the anti-damsel Irena Borotyn In Tod Browning’s campy Mark of the Vampire (1935) co-starring with Bela Lugosi as Count Mora (His birthday is coming up on October 20th!) Lionel Atwill and the always cheeky Lionel Barrymore… Later in 1958, she would co-star with Boris Karloff in the ever-atmospheric The Haunted Strangler.

Mark of the Vampire is a moody graveyard chiller scripted by Bernard Schubert & Guy Endore (The Raven, Mad Love (1935) & The Devil Doll (1936) and the terrific noir thriller Tomorrow is Another Day (1951) with sexy Steve Cochran & one of my favs Ruth Roman!)

The film is Tod Browning’s retake of his silent Lon Chaney Sr. classic London After Midnight (1927).

The story goes like this: Sir Karell Borotin (Holmes Herbert) is murdered, left drained of his blood, and Professor Zelin (Lionel Barrymore) believes it’s the work of vampires. Lionel Atwill once again plays well as the inquiring but skeptical police Inspector Neumann.

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Irena (Elizabeth Allan) and Professor Zelen (Lionel Barrymore) hatch an intricate plot to trap the murderers!

Once Sir Karell’s daughter Irena ( our heroine Elizabeth Allan) is assailed, left with strange bite marks on her neck, the case becomes active again. Neumann consults Professor Zelin the leading expert on Vampires. This horror whodunit includes frightened locals who believe that Count Mora (Bela in iconic cape and saturnine mannerism) and his creepy daughter Luna  (Carroll Borland) who trails after him through crypt and foggy woods, are behind the strange going’s on. But is all that it seems?

Mark of the Vampire (1935)

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Elizabeth Allan (below center) and Carroll Borland as Luna in Tod Browning’s Mark of the Vampire (1935).
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Elizabeth Allan and Carroll Borland in Mark of the Vampire (1935).

The Phantom Fiend (1932)

Directed by the ever-interesting director Maurice Elvey (Mr. Wu 1919, The Sign of Four, 1923, The Clairvoyant 1935, The Man in the Mirror 1936, The Obsessed 1952) Elizabeth Allan stars as Daisy Bunting the beautiful but mesmerized by the strange yet sensual and seemingly tragic brooding figure- boarder Ivor Novello as Michel Angeloff in The Phantom Fiend! A remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s first film about Jack the Ripper… The Lodger (1927) starring Novello once again.

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Ivor Novello is the strange & disturbing Michel Angeloff. Elizabeth Allan is the daughter of the landlords who rent a room to this mysterious fellow who might just be a serial killer. Daisy Bunyon falls captivated by this tormented and intense young man…
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A.W. Baskcomb plays Daisy’s (Elizabeth Allan)father George Bunting and Jack Hawkins is Joe Martin the regular guy in love with Daisy.
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Michel Angeloff (Ivor Novello) to Daisy Bunting (Elizabeth Allan) “Stay away from me… don’t ever be alone with me…{…} -You trust me, no matter whatever I’ve done?”

The Mystery of Mr. X (1934)

There is a murderer loose in London who writes the police before he strikes with a sword cane, he signs his name X. It happens that his latest crime occurs on the same night that the Drayton Diamond is stolen. Robert Montgomery as charming as ever, is Nick Revel the jewel thief responsible for the diamond heist, but he’s not a crazed murderer. The co-incidence of the two crimes has put him in a fix as he’s now unable to unload the gem until the police solve the murders.

Elizabeth Allan is the lovely Jane Frensham, Sir Christopher Marche’s (Ralph Forbes) fiancé and Police Commissioner Sir Herbert Frensham’s daughter. Sir Christopher is arrested for the X murders, and Nick and Jane band together, fall madly in love, and try to figure out a way to help the police find the real killer!

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HEATHER ANGEL

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Heather Angel is a British actress who started out on stage at the Old Vic theatre but left for Hollywood and became known for the Bulldog Drummond series. While not appearing in lead roles, she did land parts in successful films such as Kitty Foyle, Pride and Prejudice (1940), Cry ‘Havoc’ (1943), and Lifeboat (1944). IMDb notes -Angel tested for the part of Melanie in Gone with the Wind (1939), the role was given to Olivia de Havilland.

Heather Angel possessed a sublime beauty and truly deserved to be a leading lady rather than relegated to supporting roles and guilty but pleasurable B movie status.

The L.A Times noted about her death in 1986 at age 77 “Fox and Universal ignored her classic training and used her in such low-budget features as “Charlie Chans Greatest Case and “Springtime for Henry.”

Her performances in Berkeley Square and The Mystery of Edwin Drood were critically acclaimed… More gruesome than the story-lines involving her roles in Edwin Drood, Hound of the Baskervilles or Lifeboat put together is the fact that she witnessed her husband, stage and film directer Robert B. Sinclair’s vicious stabbing murder by an intruder in their California home in 1970.

Heather Grace Angel was born in Oxford, England, on February 9, 1909.
Heather Angel in Berkeley Square (1933) Image courtesy Dr. Macro

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1932)

Heather Angel is Beryl Stapleton in this lost (found negatives and soundtracks were found and donated to the British Film Institute archives) adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes thriller Originally serialized in The Strand magazine between 1901 and 1902.

In this first filmed talkie of Doyle’s more horror-oriented story, it calls for the great detective to investigate the death of Sir Charles Baskerville and solve the strange killing that takes place on the moors, feared that there is a supernatural force, a monstrous dog like a fiend that is menacing the Baskerville family ripping the throats from its victims. The remaining heir Sir Henry is now threatened by the curse.

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Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935).

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Douglass Montgomery as Neville Landless and Heather Angel as Rosa Bud in the intensely superior rare gem The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935)

Mystery of Edwin Drood (played by David Manners) is a dark and nightmarish Gothic tale of mad obsession, drug addiction, and heartless murder! Heather Angel plays the beautiful and kindly young student at a Victorian finishing school, Rosa Bud engaged to John Jasper’s nephew Edwin Drood. The opium-chasing, choir master John Jasper (Claude Rains) becomes driven to mad fixation over Rosa, who is quite aware of his intense gaze, she becomes frightened and repulsed by him.

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The brooding & malevolent Rains frequents a bizarre opium den run by a menacing crone (Zeffie Tilbury), a creepy & outre moody whisper in the melody of this Gothic horror/suspense tale!

Angel and Hobson

Valerie Hobson plays twin sister Helena Landless, the hapless Neville’s sister. (We’ll get to one of my favorites, the exquisite Valerie Hobson in just a bit…) When Neville and Helena arrive at the school, both Edwin and he vies for Rosa’s affection. When Edwin vanishes, naturally Neville is the one suspected in his mysterious disappearance.

OLGA BACLANOVA

Olga Baclanova

Though I’ll always be distracted by Baclanova’s icy performance as the vicious Cleopatra in Tod Browning’s masterpiece Freaks which blew the doors off social morays and became a cultural profane cult film, Baclanova started out as a singer with the Moscow Art Theater. Appearing in several silent films, she eventually co-starred as Duchess Josiana with Conrad Veidt as the tragic Gwynplaine, in another off-beat artistic masterpiece based on the Victor Hugo story The Man Who Laughs (1928)

Freaks (1932)

Tod Browning produced & directed this eternally disturbing & joyful portrait of behind-the-scenes melodrama and at times the Gothic violence of carnival life… based on the story ‘Spurs’ by Tod Robbins. It’s also been known as Nature’s Mistress and The Monster Show.

It was essential for Browning to attain realism. He hired actual circus freaks to bring to life this quirky Grand Guignol, a beautifully grotesque & macabre tale of greed, betrayal, and loyalty.

Cleopatra (Baclanova) and Hercules (Henry Victor) plan to swindle the owner of the circus Hans, (Harry Earles starring with wife Frieda as Daisy) out of his ‘small’ fortune by poisoning him on their wedding night. The close family of side show performers exact poetic yet monstrous revenge! The film also features many memorable circus folks. Siamese conjoined twins Daisy & Violet Hilton, also saluted in American Horror Story (Sarah Paulson another incredible actress, doing a dual role) Schlitze the pinhead, and more!

Freaks

Anyone riveted to the television screen to watch Jessica Lange’s mind-blowing performance as Elsa Mars in American Horror Story’s: Freak Show (2014) will not only recognize her superb nod to Marlene Dietrich, but also much reverence paid toward Tod Browning’s classic and Baclanova’s cunning coldness.

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( BTW as much as I adore Frances McDormand, Lange should have walked away with the Emmy this year! I’ve rarely seen a performance that balances like a tightrope walker, the subtle choreography between gut-wrenching pathos & ruthless sinister vitriol. Her rendition of Bowie’s song Life on Mars…will be a Film Score Freak feature this Halloween season! No, I can’t wait… here’s a peak! it fits the mood of this post…)

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Baclanova and Earles

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“You Freaks!!!!”
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Gooba Gabba… I guess she isn’t one of us after all!

here she is as the evil Countess/duchess luring poor Gwynplain into her clutches The Man Who Laughs (1928).

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Flicker Alley and Universal Pictures Present Paul Leni’s The Man Who Laughs (1928) The Tortured Smile “Hear how they laugh at me. Nothing but a clown!”

Continue reading “MonsterGirl’s Halloween 🎃 2015 special feature! the Heroines, Scream Queens & Sirens of 30s Horror Cinema!”

It’s a Supernatural October! 💀 Stay Tuned!

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Beryl Mercer as Madame Gourjan, Paul’s (Alan Dinehart) Landlady! Carole Lombard will be featured in my special 30s Scream Sirens of Classic Horror for her role as Roma Courtney in Victor Halperin’s Supernatural (1933)