Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Cinematic History of Horror for Hallowe'en On Roku - DAY 11: Devil-Dolls, Disfigurement & War! (1935-1938)

Welcome back, Boils & Ghouls...

... to 'Day Eleven' of "A Cinematic History of Horror for Hallowe'en On Roku" in which I shall bring you my next batch of fright flicks from the enormous back-catalogue of macabre movies that have been thrilling cinema-goers for more than a century and can now be streamed to your television sets via the magic of Roku player - so, let's dim down the lights... and enjoy some more frights! :-O

If you read my special hallowe'en blogathon preview - FOUND HERE - which I published at the end of September, then you'll know that I plan to post one Hallowe'en / Horror related article each day, throughout the month of October, and to feature one horror movie per year from cinematic history, starting in 1895 and ending in 2016. This should average out at about four films per day, so you'll have plenty of choice for your macabre movie viewing as we count down the days to Hallowe'en! ;-)

To get things started, in the first week of this blogathon, we went all the way back to the end of the 19th century for some of the earliest horror cinema ever recorded. The movies on day one were from 1895 - 1898 (inclusive) and featured beheadings, vampires, skeletons and nightmarish dreams. For my second article on day two of this series, I shared four films (one for each year) from 1899 - 1902 (inclusive) and those featured ghostly apparitions, aliens and selenites, plus a visit from the devil to a convent. In my next post on day three, I shared four films (again, one for each year) from 1903 - 1906 (inclusive) and those featured impish devils, demons and ghost brides, plus a man who practices entomology being pinned to a cork like an insect. For my fourth article on day four in this series of posts, I shared four more films (one for each year) from 1907 - 1910 (inclusive) which featured evil spectres, haunted houses, plus the first filmed version of the story of Frankenstein's monster. Following that post, on day five, I shared four films (again, one per year) from 1911 - 1914 (inclusive) and those were all based on works of literature by either Dante Alighieri, Robert Louis Stevenson or Edgar Allan Poe. Next up, on day six, four more films were shared (one for each year) from 1915 - 1918 (inclusive) and those included one about a spooky portrait, another about the victim of a kidnapping, plus a Faustian tale told from a female perspective and another about an artificial creature produced by a mad scientist. For my next post, on day seven, I (again) shared four more films (one for each year) from 1919 - 1922 (inclusive) and those featured an epic account of the horrors of war, plus tales of vampires and phantom carriages, as well as a hypnotist who used a somnambulist to commit acts of murder!

To kick-off the second week of my month-long blogathon, on day eight of this series, I shared another four films (again, one per year) from 1923 - 1926 (inclusive) and those included tales of hunchbacks, phantoms, and a pact with the devil plus a pianist whose hands were replaced by those of a murderer (following a train accident) after which he discovered they had a will of their own! For yesterday's post, on day nine, I shared four films (one for each year) from 1927 - 1930 (inclusive) and those included a truly stunning "mood piece" based on the work of Edgar Allen Poe, along with the story of a master criminal who terrorized the occupants of an isolated country mansion, plus the creepiest, spookiest, mystery melodrama ever produced, with an early animated horror short thrown in for good measure. Yesterday, on day ten, I shared four more films (again, one for each year) from 1931 - 1934 (inclusive) and those told various tales of terror, including: two American honeymooners trapped in the home of a Satan-worshipping priest, a colossal gorilla hitting the heights in New York with a movie starlet, a tale of love between a siren, a giant and a dwarf from a circus sideshow, plus the story of the strangest passion the world has ever known! For today's post, I plan on sharing four more films (one per year, as before) from 1935 - 1938 (inclusive) and these are set to feature... the story of an escaped convict who uses miniaturized humans to wreak vengeance on those that framed him, more tales of the horrors of war, and a Chinese ghost story (of sorts) plus the film which, when first released, was billed as the super shocker of the twentieth century! As with the films shared previously in this series (bearing in mind the time period during which they were made) some may have visible signs of wear and tear but, despite this, they are all none the less watchable as further examples of early films whose influence can still be seen in more modern horror movies...


First up today... is a feature-length film from the USA, directed by James Whale, which was released in 1935 under the original title, "Bride of Frankenstein", but has since become more widely known by the (slightly) longer title, "The Bride of Frankenstein", which is how it appears on most of the movie posters you are likely to come across (including those shown below). The film begins with the author Mary Shelley revealing that the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) and The Monster (Boris Karloff) it seems were not killed-off, as appeared to be the case prior to this unexpected revelation! Meanwhile... another "mad scientist", who goes by the name of Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger), has decided to kidnap Dr. Frankenstein's wife and hold her to ransom, in order to persuade him to assist in creating another creature... only this time a female (Elsa Lanchester), so that there is a companion for Dr. Frankenstein's original monster - and so, amid lightning and thunder - amid sizzling wires and smoking sparks - while the elements burst into a frenzy of wildest bedlam - a new monster is let loose upon a trembling world!

Elsa Lanchester and Colin Clive in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - PHOTO CREDIT: pinterest.com

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) [Movie Poster] - PHOTO CREDIT: Vic's Movie Den

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) [Alternative Poster] - PHOTO CREDIT: Last Road Reviews

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) [Alternative Poster #2] - PHOTO CREDIT: booklikes.com

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) [French Poster] - PHOTO CREDIT: postvazut.blogspot.com

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) [Alternative French Poster] - PHOTO CREDIT: thetelltalemind.com

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) [Spanish Poster] - PHOTO CREDIT: isleofcinema.com

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) [Argentinian Poster] - PHOTO CREDIT: horrorpedia.com

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) [Alternative Poster #3] - PHOTO CREDIT: thetelltalemind.com

As with a lot of these early films, we are fortunate to have free copies to watch on Roku devices... and, thanks to the internet, they are available online through several well-known video streaming sources. Surprisingly... just like "King Kong" (1933) and "The Black Cat" (1934), both of which I shared yesterday, this film has proven tough to track down on 'YouTube', so I'm (once again) relying on a link I found on 'Dailymotion' for sharing it with you. Feel free to watch this movie online, or use the details obtained from the link (below) to search for the film within the 'Dailymotion' channel (on your Roku player) and watch it on the big screen. Either way, here it is...

DAILYMOTION LINK:- Bride of Frankenstein (1935) [IMDB Rating: 7.9]

WARNING: This film is NOT for the young - the nervous - or those that are easily scared! ALSO: if you get nightmares and tantrums - stay away! BUT... if you can enjoy thrills, chills and spine-tingling sensations, while your hair stands on end... SEE THIS PICTURE! ;-)


Our next film today is another feature-length film from the USA, directed by Tod Browning, and first released in 1936 under the title of "The Devil-Doll"... it was based on the novel "Burn, Witch, Burn!" written by Abraham Merritt - itself, only published two years prior... in 1933! Speaking of which, you can (currently) get the Kindle Book version - VIA AMAZON UK - for only £0.99... yes, just 99p! So, if you're into this movie, you can also read the book which influenced the making of it! Anyway, I'm digressing a bit... so, let's get back to the storyline! Paul Lavond (Lionel Barrymore) was a banker in Paris when he was framed for robbery and murder, by some crooked associates, and sent to Devil's Island for incarceration. Some years later, he escapes... and heads back to Paris - hell bent on revenge. He had befriended a scientist, who was working on a method to reduce the size of human beings to mere inches, and decides to use that knowledge to exact his revenge on those who had betrayed him!

Maureen O'Sullivan and Eily Malyon in The Devil-Doll (1936) - PHOTO CREDIT: imdb.com

The Devil-Doll (1936) [Movie Poster] - PHOTO CREDIT: imdb.com

The Devil-Doll (1936) [Alternative Poster] - PHOTO CREDIT: impawards.com

The Devil-Doll (1936) [Alternative Poster #2] - PHOTO: Monster Kid Classic Horror Forum

The Devil-Doll (1936) [Italian Poster] - PHOTO CREDIT: benitomovieposter.com

The Devil-Doll (1936) [French Poster] - PHOTO CREDIT: tmdb.org

The Devil-Doll (1936) [Alternative French Poster] - PHOTO CREDIT: senorcalderon.com

The Devil-Doll (1936) [Spanish Poster] - PHOTO CREDIT: Pasaje del Terror

Just like "Bride of Frankenstein" (1935), this feature-length sci-fi horror by Tod Browning is also available online, as well as free-to-stream on Roku devices. As before, I was unable to find this film on 'YouTube', so (once more) I'm relying on another link, found on 'Dailymotion', to share it with you. Again, please feel free to watch this movie online, or use the details obtained from the link (shown below) to search for the film within the 'Dailymotion' channel (on your Roku player) and watch it on the big screen. Whichever method you choose, here's the link to stream it...

 DAILYMOTION LINK:- The Devil-Doll (1936) [IMDB Rating: 7.1]


Our third film today is a feature-length movie from China, directed by Weibang Ma-Xu, and loosely based on "The Phantom of the Opera" by Gaston Leroux. Released in 1937, "Song At Midnight" is (perhaps) most notable for being the first Chinese horror movie ever made. This film tells the story of a disfigured musical genius who roams a traditional Chinese opera house, punishing those who offend him. It may interest you to know that the title of the film also contains a homonym... in so much as the word "Song" is also the name of the ghost that is said to roam the old opera house - a famous singer, named Song Dangping (Shan Jin), who appears before Sun Xiaoou (Chau-Shui Yee), a young singer chosen to play the lead, when practicing alone. The lessons learned from this encounter bring great success for Sun Xiaoou, but he has yet to learn the secret behind the ghost of Song Dangping!

Song At Midnight (1937) [Movie Still] - PHOTO CREDIT: easternkicks.com

Song At Midnight (1937) [Movie Poster] - PHOTO CREDIT: tmdb.org

Incidentally, the link I provided (above) in the photo credit to the movie still from this film will take you to a website called "Eastern Kicks", which is run by a guy from London - called Andy Heskins. If you're interested... he has written a fairly comprehensive review of this film - FOUND HERE - which can offer far more insight into this particular movie title than I had time to provide here. So, go check it out - it's an interesting read - but beware of spoilers, if you haven't yet seen the film! ;-)

Anyway... fortunately for us, like "Bride of Frankenstein" and "The Devil-Doll", this horror drama romance from Weibang Ma-Xu is also widely available online and free-to-stream on Roku devices. However, unlike the two aforementioned movies from earlier in this post, this time I was able to find a suitable link with which to stream this film via 'YouTube'... and you'll (no doubt) be pleased to learn that it has subtitles in English, for those of us who are a little rusty on our Mandarin / Chinese! As before, you can choose to watch this online, if you like, or else just use the link to cast from 'YouTube' (via Roku) and watch it on the big screen. Either way, here's the link for streaming it...

YOUTUBE LINK:- Song At Midnight (1937) [IMDB Rating: 6.5]


Okay... confession time! The fourth movie I was planning to feature in this post was a feature-length movie from France, directed by Abel Gance, called "J'Accuse!" [aka I Accuse]... which was released in 1938. Now, if those details sound familiar to you, it's because I shared a 1919 movie with the same title that also happened to be made by the same director. So, what's the problem? Well, I inadvertently shared details of (and links to watch) this 1938 remake (of sorts) in that earlier post... not realising that it was going to crop-up again in this cinematic "History of Horror" that I'm working on! Bearing that in mind, rather than repeat myself here, I'm simply going to refer you to that earlier post from this series - published on 'Day Seven' - covering the years from 1919 to 1922 (inclusive) and you can get all the info you are likely to need from that. Apologies for the mix-up, I'll try not to do it again! ;-)


Anyhow, that's all I've got time for today... but do remember to come back again tomorrow, for more macabre movies from the history of horror cinema, when I serve-up another batch of four films on 'Day Twelve' of "A Cinematic History of Horror for Hallowe'en On Roku" right here on this blog. Meanwhile... please be sure to visit the Countdown To Hallowe'en website and show your support for this annual online Hallowe'en extravaganza... PLUS don't forget to use the links you find there and check out all the other 'Cryptkeepers' taking part this year. I know they'll appreciate it if you visit their blogs & share your thoughts on the contribution(s) they've made.


BEFORE I GO: Don't forget that, aside from all the Hallowe'en / Horror-themed ghastliness going on around these parts for the next month, you can always keep up with all the UK Roku action (as it happens) by following the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels where you will find that up-to-the-minute info on all things Roku-related is posted on a daily basis (well, almost).

Until the next time, then...

That's all folks !!

No comments:

Post a Comment