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Guest son, jery

Serials & Horrors

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Guest son, jery

For any fan of the great old movie serials and wonderful horror movies, this site is for you. Do you have certain favorites that you love to rave about but have no one to rave to? Well, here's your chance. Was Producer RKO's Val Lewton really superior to Universal's George Waggner in turning out "spook" films during the forties? Or was Lewton way too much hyped and raved over by snooty films scholars? Why are the old horror movies still playing and most of the modern ones forgotten? Are the Republic Serials solid gold compared to Universal's chapter play output? Are you a Dario Argento fan? Did you like the original "The Thing" or the John Carpenter remake? Okay, let's hear from you.

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Guest Alix

Jery...is THE THING the same movie as THE THING FROM ANOTHER PLANET? The one where the people are at an arctic base and this...this...THING attacks them? If so, I want to tell you I taped this off TCM a few years back, and showed it to my kids on Halloween, and it scared the poop out of them! Even now, when I mention it they shudder and say, "Oh no Mom, not the alien vegetable movie!" If this is the movie you refer to, oh my what a wonderful movie! I've not seen the remake, but why would I? I was impressed that it had the power (in glorious black & white) to give make modern kids' hearts beat faster.

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Guest son, jery

Alix,"The Thing From Another World" is indeed the one you watched and which also scared me silly when I first saw it in a theater back in the fifties. (I was a mere child). I loved that cozy ambiance of the living quarters, especially the crackling fire place, the women always going around with a coffee pot and asking: "Coffee?" The way people smoked and the cozy sofas and chairs and snow always blowing outside. Believe it or not, the remake was actually scarier! James Arness (Gunsmoke) played the 'carrot' monster in the black and white version. In the remake, the monster is so horrifying you'll have nightmares forever after. The monster keeps mutating in ever increasing horror. Children should definitely not watch this version.

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Guest walker, ken

jery son, Here I am again! The Lewton films are favorites of mine ,"CAT PEOPLE",in particular.There have been comments made that Lewton looked down on the Universal productions as being inferior to other pics he directed at RKO.Waggner rarely gave interviews,so this was never confirmed.Many critics said the success of Universals "WOLF MAN",led to production of "CAT PEOPLE".Compare the two,you may see the similarities.Serial fans...Dont forget "DRUMS OF FU MANCHU" from VCI.Henry Brandon as Fu steals the show!! I hope all the serial lovers out there log in.Maybe we get our own top ten list of serials going .Also a discussion of the merits of other companiesand the independents.....

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Guest son, jery

Hi Ken! Welcome aboard! I,too, hope we get lots of serial and horror film addicts to join up here. "Drums of Fu Manchu" has been a serial I've sought for years. I understand it's on DVD. Is it worth buying? "Jungle Girl" is another one I'm planning to buy. I've heard about this one for years, too. Have you ever heard of a Republic serial, "Dare Devils of the West"? in a book on serials I've got, this rarity is given rave reviews and the author calls it "the most exciting serial ever made!" We need to gang up on Republic and demand they issue all those great old serials on DVD. The worst serial they ever released was the horrendous "King of the Carnival." You've gotta see it to see how horrible it is. Grade-Z acting, scenery, photography. The pits. Gotta go for the day! Hi Ho, Until Tomorrow!

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Guest mongo

Universal's Mummy series always gave me the creeps. Lon Chaney Jr. was scary creeping around in the moonlight and the makeup done by Charles Pierce was top notch. My favorite is "The Mummy's Ghost" where the Mummy ends up taking lovely Ramsay Ames into the swamp where she ages thousands of years. Good stuff!

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Guest walker, ken

Hi Jery, I will answer some of your inquires."Drums of Fu manchu" is avaiable in cassette from VCI home video .I bought my copy and was very satisfied!!I haven't found it on DVD. Their web site is vcihomevideo.com and they have the best serial listing that I have found anywhere! "Jungle Girl" is in cassette and DVD ,also from VCI in a beautiful remastered transfer version. "Adventures of Red Ryder" is in the same formats.I have the DVD versions of both serials. I found "Daredevils of the West",but sadly,only four chapters are known to exist. "King of the Carnival is indeed a candidate for worst serial.After 1950 ,it was all downhill with more stock footage and shortcuts being used,as Republic phased out their serial output.But even the worst Republic serial is a work of art when compared to some of the better efforts from Columbia and Universal!!!More on that later.. Thanks again for opening up a category dear to my heart. More tomorrow!

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Guest Alix

Another B&W that I like a lot is THE DEVIL DOLLS with Lionel Barrymore. That's a creepy one, and Barrymore even appears in drag. Anyone seen this one? Barrymore escapes from prison for a crime he didn't do, and to get revenge, he teams up with a scientists who knows how to shrink humans down to the size of Barbie dolls. Then, once shrunk, the human is completely under the scientist's mind control! It's a great movie.

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Guest walker, ken

Hello Alix, I have seen the Devil Dolls and indeed found the movie highly entertaining.It was fun to see Lionel Barrymore stepping out out of his usual charater roles to play the lead in this movie. It was probably a daring theme for its time.

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Guest son, jery

"The Mummy's Ghost" is my all time favorite horror classic. The gorgeous Ramsey Ames is fabulous as Princess Ananka and that scene of her becoming a 1,000 year old mummy at the end still shocks. Ames was criminally misused by Universal. She was great, too, in the Republic serial, "G-Men Never Forget" in which she co-starred with Clayton (Lone Ranger) Moore. Vera West's beautiful white silk gowns for Ames really enhance the brooding quality of "The Mummy's Ghost."

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Guest walker, ken

Jery son, Just a few more observations.Republic Pictures were known as "The Thrill Factory" for good reason.,special effects by the Lydecker brothers,directors such as Whitney and English,outstanding camera work,and composers such as Willam Lava and Cy Feuer.Master stunt teams,headed by David Sharpe,Tom Steele,and Dale Van Sickel added to the enjoyment. Columbia tended to make light of many of their chapter plays,[i personally enjoyed "The Phantom" with Tom Tyler.Universal padded most of their serials with excessive stock footage,resorting to silent films,and not taking care to match it with the other action.To me most were forgettable.Big names such as Buck Jones and Johnny Mack Brown were wasted by poor production values.The independents were outclassed by Republic. Let us not forget Mascot Pictures which later became Republic Pictures;Quality serials on shoestring budgets and future stars John Wayne,George Brent,and the great Rin Tin Tin!! But thats another chapter.....Comments are welcomed! To be continued.......

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Guest Clara_Keaton

Every time someone mentions "The Devil Dolls", I think of just plain "Devil Doll", a crappy British movie starring Bryant Halliday about a mesmerist who transfers the soul of his assistant into a vent figure! It's corny and ****-o but so much fun ROFL! It was even on MST3k, and that one marks one of the best MST3ks ever. :) Clara

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Guest son, jery

ken, you are a walking encyclopedia of great movie nuggets. First of all, I was horrified when you told me that there are only four chapters surviving of "Dare Devils of the West." From everything I've heard, this was an outstanding Republic serial. How could Republic have let this happen? Also, I've tried watching Columbia and Universal's serials and they are so dull after watching Republic's great classics.The production values were 3rd rate. I've seen only one or two Mascot serials and really enjoyed them. Have you ever heard of a Universal thriller, "Horror Island" (1945) directed by George Waggner. I've never even seen it on TV, yet it's gotten good reviews. And why in the world did Universal put the hideous "She-Wolf of London" as a double-feature with "Werewolf of London"? Egads! Love talking to you.

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Guest son, jery

Hi, Alix, here we go again. I LOVE Devil Doll! My favorite scenery chewer is Rafael Otiano. Dig those bulging eyes. She's the cripple. I sense she had a ball going over the edge. Very different from her maid role to Garbo in "Grand Hotel." And what a cast! Maureen O'Sullivan actually doffed her "Jane" costume from Tarzan to play a Manhattan gal. Lionel Barrymore was such a hambone in this one. I'd love to have watched them film this and the breaks where they all sat around, probably howling their heads off.

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Guest walker, ken

jery son, It's great hearing from you again!The movie"Horror Island",that I am familiar with was released in 1941.I saw the film second run around 1946 or 47.I remember that Dick Foran and Peggy Moran starred.I seem to remember that it took place on a fog bound island and one by one ,the characters are murdered.That is all I remember. I haven't seen the film on TV. It is surprising,but many of their best serials have either been allowed to be lost or not put into circulation.Examples are "Captain America".A substandard print is out there,but barely watchable! "King of the Mounties",and the sequal,"King of the RoyalMounted" are not in circulation.The worst example being "The Lone Ranger" and "The Lone Ranger Rides Again".The only prints available ARE SUBTITLED!!!with a horrible soundtrack.Both films a largely unwatchable.Maybe the new corporation thought it a waste of time to preserve them.Too bad!!! Lastly,it appeared that She Wolf..was used as filler.It certainly was not to the usual standards of the other films in the series. One last tidbit:The excellent fight scenes in the Republic serials were a Whitney innovation.He got the idea from watching the Busby Berkley musicals!!!!!Also abit of trivia ;"Bunny was the elephants name in Jungle Girl,and David Sharpe doubled for Nyoka on the vines.Helen Thurston,ace stuntwoman also did stunt duty. to be continued..........

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Guest son, jery

Hi Ken and everybody! I'm having trouble posting my messages. This is my third try. So...I'm going to look for the William Witney book on his life making great old serials. My favorites are still "Spy Smasher," "G-Men Versus the Black Dragon" and "King of the Texas Rangers." In G-Men, Constance Worth is fantastic as the voluptuous, machine-gun toting femme sidekick. Whatever happened to her? We've got to pester Republic Studio about finding the complete "Dare Devils of the West." What a tragedy that this glittering gem has only 4 chapters in existence. I, too, love my DVD version of "White Zombie." It gets better with each viewing. Now, if only Universal will put out some of its real classic horrors on DVD, like "Night MOnster" (fantastic); "Captive Wild Woman," "The Mad Ghoul," "House of Dracula." someone was out of their skulls when they put "She Wolf of London" on the DVD. It should have been consigned to the garbage bucket.

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Guest walker, ken

Hi HO EVERYONE!, Just for the record,here is my serial top ten: "Adventures of Captain Marvel;[2]Daredevils of the Red Circle;[3]Manhunt in the African Jungle;[4]Adventures of Red Ryder;[5]Crimson Ghost;[6]Jungle Girl;[7]G.Men vs the Black Dragon;[8]Spy Smasher;[9]Masked Marvel;and[10]Zorros Fighting Legion. All from Republic,I might add. Trivia Dept....Republic cast their leading men for serials using the height of their stunt men as a yardstick.That way their stuntmen could do double duty.Tom Steele was their only contract player.All the rest were paid by the picture. To be continued...............

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Guest Alix

Jery, or Ken...are any serials out on VHS? Is there anyway to get serials shown on TCM, I wonder? I've never seen one (to my knowledge) and they sound like something I'd enjoy.

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Guest Alix

Gosh Jery, we need to get together, pop some popcorn and WATCH OUR FAVORITE MOVIES TOGETHER!! I had no idea that the crippled lady was also Garbo's maid in GRAND HOTEL! Wow, what a great character actress she was. You are so right about Barrymore--he is a little bit on the hammy side in this, but soooo good. He was most definitely my favorite Barrymore. A much better actor that handsome John. Maybe it was his lack of "leading man" looks that lead to the better roles...?

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Guest walker, ken

Alix, Glad to see you are expressing some interest in the serials.Most of the serials are in the VHS format.There are very few titles on DVD. The reason I prefer the DVD format is superior picture and sound.I doubt that we would have much success in getting them on TCM,because of their limited appeal.The Encore Western cable channel showed a western serial chapter each Saturday for awhile,but no more.There is a vast catalogue of titles out there.Try loging in on vcihomevideo.com and go to their Cliffhanger section.You won't go wrong with any Republic Pictures titles.For starters ,try "ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL","SPY SMASHER","CRIMSON GHOST".VCI will send you a catalogue if you request one.Jery has some titles also. One piece of advice...Always get the two cassette versions.Some titles are offered on one cassette,and the sound and picture usually are not too good.Give them a try.You too may get hooked like Jery and me!! Good luck and good viewing!!!! ken

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Guest son, jery

Alix, you can find some great old movie serials on VHS. These serials that we keep raving about were incredibly popular back in the 30s and 40s. There were usually l2 to l5 "chapters" and they always ended with the hero or heroine in dire trouble: either falling into a volcano, racing their car over a cliff, trapped in an exploding building. These serials were always the most eagerly awaited part of the Saturday matinee. Ken, your top ten serials were amazing because they're exactly like mine! With one or two exceptions. Here's my roster of the 10 greatest movie serials: "Spy Smasher," "Daredevils of the Red Circle," "G-Men Versus the Black Dragon,"(fantasic performances by Rod Cameron and Constance Worth); "Adventures of Captain Marvel," "Manhunt in the African Jungle", "Mysterious Doctor Satan," "King of the Texas Rangers" (a real goodie!); "G-Men Never Forget,"(wonderful Ramsey Ames), "Federal Agent 99", "Son of Zorro" (great Peggy Stewart).

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Guest walker, ken

Jery , I like "Son of Zorro",and "King of the Texas Rangers" also.Fine music scores by Cy Feuer .Any comments about "Mysterious Dr.Satan";"Purple Monster Strikes";and "Perils of Nyoka"? My favotite serial villians are [1]Roy Barcroft,[2]Anthony Warde,and[3]Bud Geary.Favorite ladies are Linda Sterling and Peggy Stewart;favorite leading men;Kane Richmond and Clayton Moore.Favorite costumed baddie;The Scorpion[Captain Marvel] and The Lightning[Fighting Devildogs].How do these stack up against your favorites? To be continued..................kw

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Guest Alix

Ken, I went to the vcihomevideo web page and had a great time browsing around. One question: Did they ever have serials that were like soap operas? Ones that centered more on relationships and day to day life? I kind of think the "Andy Hardy" series was similar to a soap opera. Most of the serials offered for sale were westerns--definitely not my favorite genre! Thanks for the information on where to purchase them. GALLOPING GHOST (with Red Grange) looked interesting, as one with Bela Lugosi. Jery, they had a "Johnny Mack Brown" special. Two western serials with Johnny and I think they were $29.95. Did he do a lot of westerns/serials?

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Guest walker, ken

Alix, The type of story line you mention are more the series style rather than a serial.There are many western serials out there, but the adventure serial would be more to your liking I would think.Try "JUNGLE GIRL",or "PERILS OF NYOKA".Both are 15 chapter serials and have women in the starring roles.I think you would enjoy them.If you want tosee Bela Lugosi in a quality serial,get "SOS COASTGUARD".It has plenty of action and Bela is in top form as a super villian.Since you are not familiar with chapterplays,you may need to experiment with a few before you get the right one.But it will be worth the effort.

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Guest Alix

Thanks! After looking around, I do think I'll probably order a set. I'm definitely a pre-Code era fan, so I'll no doubt order something from the early 30's. I had a feeling that there were no soap opera type serials. If there were, the men would have never gone to see them! Funny, how women will sit through a mystery or a western, but it's hard to get a guy to sit through a mushy love story!

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