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 Posted:   Oct 17, 2013 - 10:45 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Any film regarding mummies and zombies makes me laugh. I remember a cheesy old RKO Andre de Toth film, "Zombies of Moira Tau" (or some such name) and it was hugely funny, not to mention racist to the max (as these kinds of films often were). "Curse of the Cat People" is another funny film from de Toth. Incidentally, the actress in that film briefly dated George Gershwin.

These films were always lacking sophistication and there was something kitsch about that Royal Shakespeare company delivery with Cushing and Lee which didn't ring true.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 17, 2013 - 5:52 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

TO REGIE-We understand those type films will never be for you. To each one's own but when you talk about scary as being the major reason of your like or dislike for genre films that has always been the clue for horror film lovers your not really a true fan of the genre but more a mainstream person who will like these films if they are scary and nothing much else. I always enjoyed all type of films and have a fondness for sense of wonder films[horror scfi fantasy] but 90% of so call horror films I have liked and admire I would say less then 1% of them were scary to me.Knowing a large amount of genre fans in my life, the same will hold true. This will probably be true will all real fans of any interest. It's like a person who just don't care for rock music and explain to them the beauty of the Beatles, rolling stones led zeppelin etc etc, one can't really understand.No insult at all here, it's fine not to understand.Different likings, it makes the world go round.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 17, 2013 - 6:01 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

TO CINEMASCOPE- Yes, I too enjoyed those 40's low budget mummy films. The mummy's ghost was a neat little eerie effort. The reincarnation theme added to the basic mummy theme was cool. Eerie location shooting, good acting[Carridine Maclane ETC] great music score, great makeup, and even though it was hell for CHANEY JR to do those 3 films. His emotions did come through the makeup.What a surprise tragic ending as well for the heroine. Underrated in my book.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 17, 2013 - 6:21 PM   
 By:   Jameson281   (Member)

Any film regarding mummies and zombies makes me laugh. I remember a cheesy old RKO Andre de Toth film, "Zombies of Moira Tau" (or some such name) and it was hugely funny, not to mention racist to the max (as these kinds of films often were). "Curse of the Cat People" is another funny film from de Toth. Incidentally, the actress in that film briefly dated George Gershwin.

ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU was a Columbia film directed by Edward L. Cahn. Andre de Toth had nothing to do with it.

De Toth also had nothing to do with CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE, a film about a lonely girl's imagination with no zombies of mummies or monsters.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 17, 2013 - 7:51 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Any film regarding mummies and zombies makes me laugh. I remember a cheesy old RKO Andre de Toth film, "Zombies of Moira Tau" (or some such name) and it was hugely funny, not to mention racist to the max (as these kinds of films often were). "Curse of the Cat People" is another funny film from de Toth. Incidentally, the actress in that film briefly dated George Gershwin.

ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU was a Columbia film directed by Edward L. Cahn. Andre de Toth had nothing to do with it.

De Toth also had nothing to do with CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE, a film about a lonely girl's imagination with no zombies of mummies or monsters.


You are, of course, right. I was thinking of Jacques Tourneur and his "Cat People" film. (It was actually Simone Simon who briefly dated George Gershwin.) That's a spooky film about transmogrified animals/humans. That's actually quite a good film. I laughed all the way through "Zombies of Mora Tau"!! De Toth made "House of Wax" which was a memorable film and I was genuinely scared by that!! It had very good production values and Vincent Price was excellent in it. De Toth succeeded in creating empathy for the Price character when his precious waxworks go up in flames - and it's actually a fine piece of filming and editing. That scene where he hangs the man in the elevator. Grrrr. I have the 30's version of "House of Wax" on DVD too and it's a very interesting film in its way too.

Congratulations on your film knowledge!!

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 4:14 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

TO CINEMASCOPE- Yes, I too enjoyed those 40's low budget mummy films. The mummy's ghost was a neat little eerie effort. The reincarnation theme added to the basic mummy theme was cool. Eerie location shooting, good acting[Carridine Maclane ETC] great music score, great makeup, and even though it was hell for CHANEY JR to do those 3 films. His emotions did come through the makeup.What a surprise tragic ending as well for the heroine. Underrated in my book.

Yep I think it's time to look at my Mummy Legacy Collection again, I think they look very good (& will look even better - after a wash & brush up - on Blu-ray). The last three are only an hour long each, & the first & worse, The Mummy's Tomb, it's only about 45minutes, the rest is made up of flashbacks from The Mummy & The Mummy's Hand. The next (The Mummy's Ghost) is much better, with as you say, a tragic ending. And I like the last one (The Mummy's Curse), it has the best scene of the whole series, with the princess coming to life after being unearthed in the swamp. I wonder how many shots that Chaney is actually in, I think a lot of them it's the stunt man.

Come on Universal, a two Blu-ray set please, first two films on disc 1 & the last three on disc 2.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 4:18 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

OK, now you've got me angry! I'll always support Hammer Films' early attempts at modernizing horror, and I feel that THE MUMMY is particularly unfairly underrated when up against THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and (HORROR OF) DRACULA. Lee's portayal shows what a great mime artist he was, and his comparative agility in the role (compared to the arthritic Chaney for example) certainly thrilled me, and continues to do so. Fisher treats it as a fairy tale, as he did many of his best films, and so it works fine without gore. The mummy himself is a tragic character, and even when I watch it today I never feel cheated that it "isn't scary". Sometimes I feel sorry for those who laugh at James Whale's FRANKENSTEIN (for example), saying that it doesn't scare any more, because they miss out on all the film's other attributes - which always vastly outweighed the "scare" factor. Same goes for the Hammer films. If you watch THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN expecting to be frightened, you'll be disappointed. But you'll find one of the most incisively clever and ironic portrayals of obsession, jealousy and double-dealing ever put on film.

Oh, and the Franz Reizenstein score for THE MUMMY is one of the best ever for a Hammer movie. I say so, Timmer says so, Sir Christopher Lee says so... ToneRow disagrees, but he always prefered the pansy-ish Amicus films anyway.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 6:56 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

I've enjoyed all these excellent contributions to the discussion, but ad hominems just aren't warranted or necessary.

Lon Chaney Jnr. wasn't ever much of an actor, whereas his father was a GREAT actor. I once saw an excellent documentary about Chaney (who died in the 1930's) and he was born to mute parents. It was a moving story and his background gave him the skills to act in silent film and he was a masterful actor.

The Hammer films: Graham, you seem to have read something much deeper into these and this is how I actually interpret those golden films of Chaney senior - the tragic figure ("Phantom of the Opera", for example) who is more tragic than frightening. This, of course, was the 'fate' of Hugo's "Hunchback". Hammer's films always seemed blighted by their reliance upon cliche. In "The Mummy" that predictable limp of Cushing, for example.

Last night I re-watched "The House of Wax" and compared it to the early 1930's "The Mystery of the House of Wax", and the earlier film was quite interesting (directed by Michael Curtiz) in its editing style, though the lead actor constantly kept forgetting his foreign accent!! The remake's introduction was virtually shot for shot of the original, at least for the first 15 minutes. Curtiz's film opens with the 2 characters who want to support the museum, followed by a lengthy right to left pan, whereas the de Toth film opens with the destructive partner going into the museum first, after a left to right pan of the wax figures. I found this symmetrical difference interesting. In any event, both films are 'sympathetic' towards the central character in the opening sequences. Altogether, though, the remake was more frightening than the original.

It's an interesting discussion to have about what makes something frightening and whether or not fright per se is actually essential to horror. Can it be that consistent suspense is preferable to shock and horror anyway? Nothing has ever scared me more than the shower scene in "Psycho". Nothing.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 7:40 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

Love all the earlier Hammer horrors. Love Cushing and Lee. James Bernard composed some amazing scoring for the studio, but yes The Mummy has one of the very best. I love these films because they're great fantasy films, rather than horror.

Except: As a kid allowed to stay up late on Friday nights, I was jolted by the jump from a season of Universals (which I love too), to the sudden exposure to Brides of Dracula. Transfixed, but didn't realize I'd been spooked until I didn't want to go to bed until my mother came up with me! And later, by The Gorgon, despite it being a lesser effort.

I too enjoyed those documentaries by Mark Gatiss. Especially the Universal and Hammer ones.

 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 7:51 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

Lon Chaney Jnr. wasn't ever much of an actor, whereas his father was a GREAT actor.

Wrong. Lon Chaney Jr was a very fine actor in many character parts (incl. Of Mice and Men), but he was OVERSHADOWED by his father's reputation all his life, and he was one of the worst alcoholics in Hollywood. And, given the general level of alcoholism in Hollywood (then and now), that covers a lot of ground. He asked directors to get whatever performance they needed out of him before 12 a.m., because he could not guarantee for anything after that. He was, e.g. superb in Son of Dracula, despite miscasting.

Likewise, your comments on The Mummy films in general make no sense. Sure, a bandaged corpse is a little slow in creeping up to people. THEN was a different time. People weren't grossed out by buckets of blood and intestines being thrown at them on a daily basis.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 8:32 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

I suppose none of these horror films are really frightening, but I can't say I enjoy being scared or having my stomach turned by a lot of gross out stuff. I really enjoy the horror films of, Universal, Hammer & American International, I don't know why, I just do.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 6:21 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

TO ONLY GOOD MUSIC- You beat me to it. I was going to defend LON against that critical attack. Sure his father was an amazing actor of silent films with incredible diverse talent. But JR I feel was a solid actor and if anyone thinks he was not check out his performance in films like OF MICE AND MEN-THE WOLFMAN- HIGH NOON among many others.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 18, 2013 - 7:41 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

I don't remember seeing Lon in "High Noon" (and I taught it in high school for "revenge tragedy"), so I'll look again. You've obviously got some considerable knowledge of this actor's work and I'm willing to cede the point on this!!

 
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