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Everything posted by LawrenceA

  1. The Ghost Cat of Ouma Crossing (1954) Japan/Dir: Bin Kato - A jealous woman (Chieko Murata) and her cohorts scheme to destroy a popular kabuki actress (Takako Irie), bringing down the wrath of the stage star's otherworldly cat. This has a lot of backstage melodrama before segueing into ghostly revenge. The highlight for me was seeing 24-year-old Shintaro Katsu, later of Zatoichi fame, in his second film role, playing a concerned young samurai. (6/10)
  2. Ghost Cat of Nabeshima (1949) Japan/Dir: Kunio Watanabe - Supernatural period piece about an ornate Go board that's said to be cursed. There's also rumor of a "monster cat" roaming the grounds of the ruler's castle. Routine stuff modestly produced and artlessly directed. (5/10)
  3. Hyoroku's Dream Tale (1943) Japan/Dir: Nobuo Aoyagi - Odd fantasy, aimed at young boys, about a would-be warrior named Hyoroku (Kenichi Enomoto) who keeps failing in his training. He decides to enter a haunted forest to prove his worth. Like most films made during the war years, this film is overly militaristic, with a message about young men giving their all to defend the nation, whatever the cost. The supernatural elements are few and far between, but the highlight is a confrontation with a three-eyed giant. (5/10)
  4. The Ghost Cat and the Mysterious Shamisen (1938) Japan/Dir: Kiyohiko Ushihara - Sumiko Suzuki stars as a jealous, scheming woman who has set her sights on a talented young shamisen player. When he falls for another, Suzuki connives to drive the other woman away. Suzuki, who has been referred to as Japan's first "scream queen", is good at being evil. There also appears to be a tradition of ghost-cat stories in Japan, as they even have their own sub-genre name, bakeneko. The supernatural parts of the tale well done, with some interesting camerawork, but the plot meanders a bit, and I'm
  5. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1937) Germany/Dir: Karel Lamac - Another German take on the Arthur Conan Doyle tale, with Bruno Guttner as Sherlock Holmes and Fritz Odemar as Dr. Watson. Also with Peter Voss, Alice Brandt, Friedrich Kayssler, and Fritz Rasp. Rasp was also in the 1929 silent German version, although here he plays the Baskerville's butler. This was a very pedestrian take on the story, and a bit too talky, although I enjoyed the unusual intro that featured a flashback to the centuries-old incident that created the Baskerville curse. (5/10)
  6. El Superloco (1937) Mexico/Dir: Juan Jose Segura - Minor horror comedy starring Leopoldo "Chato" Ortin as Sostenes, a drunken goofball who lives off the generosity of his doctor friend Alberto (Ramon Armengod). Alberto is investigating a mysterious local scientist named Dr. Dienys (Carlos Villarias) who seems to never age and who keeps a weird beast-man chained up in his basement. Also featuring Aurora Campuzano, Consuelo Frank, and Emilio Fernandez. This is more of showcase for the "comedic" stylings of Ortin than a horror film. I didn't find him very funny. The highlight for me, suc
  7. The Student of Prague (1935) Germany/Dir: Arthur Robison - The title student (Anton Walbrook, credited under his real name of Adolf Wohlbruck) falls in love with an opera singer (Dorothea Wieck) but doesn't have the money or status to impress her. A mysterious mystic (Theodor Loos) offers to help the student improve his station, but the cost of doing so may be more than the student expects. This is the fourth or fifth version of this story that I've seen. Like in most, the "student" seems a bit too old (Walbrook was nearly 40 when this was made), but he gives a good performance. This
  8. La Llorona (1933) Mexico/Dir: Ramon Peon - The first Mexican horror movie! After a mysterious modern-day death, a doctor (Ramon Pereda) looks into stories of La Llorona, "The Crying Woman", a folktale about a ghost that haunts the night, forever wailing for her lost children. The ghost's origin is told via flashback, with much period detail. The film is creaky, but historically interesting, and at least mildly engaging throughout. (6/10)
  9. The Living Dead (1932) Germany/Dir: Richard Oswald - Writer-director Oswald does a sound remake of his 1919 Eerie Tales, sort of. A journalist (Harald Paulsen) suspects a scientist (Paul Wegener) of murder. As the scientist goes on the run to escape justice, the journalist pursues, and the two find themselves in various perilous situations. The film features adaptations of Poe's The Black Cat and The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Feather, as well as Robert Louis Stevenson's The Suicide Club. However, instead of an anthology of separate stories, this time things are presented as one c
  10. The Erl King (1931) France/Dir: Marie-Louise Iribe - Adaptation of the Goethe poem, about a man taking his sick child through the countryside, where the child envisions being beckoned by the Erl King, lord of all supernatural creatures. There's some nice fantasy imagery, and some creepy frog-people, but not much else.
  11. Alraune (1930) Germany/Dir: Richard Oswald - First sound version of the Hanns Heinz Ewers story, with Albert Bassermann as the respected scientist who creates an "artificial woman" using genetic information from a murderer and a prostitute to determine if immorality is hereditary. Brigitte Helm once again stars as the unfortunate title woman. Also with Harald Paulsen, Agnes Straub, and Martin Kosleck. The highlight for me was seeing revered German stage-and-screen actor Bassermann hamming it up in an over-the-top performance. (6/10)
  12. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1929) Germany/Dir: Richard Oswald - Yet another adaptation of the Arthur Conan Doyle story, which had already been filmed several times by this point, although this was the last silent version. Renowned detective Sherlock Holmes (Carlyle Blackwell) and his friend Dr. Watson (George Seroff) are called on to investigate the appearances of a ghostly hound, said to be a harbinger of death toward members of the Baskerville family. Also featuring Alexander Murski, Livio Pavanelli, Betty Bird, Valy Arnheim, and Fritz Rasp. This version was thought lost for man
  13. The Strange Case of Captain Ramper (1928) Germany/Dir: Max Reichmann - Famous daredevil pilot and explore Captain Ramper (Paul Wegener) attempts a dangerous flight over the arctic circle, only to disappear into the icy wilderness. Many years later, a group of sailors whose ship is trapped in the winter ice, encounter a savage ape-like beast-man, which they capture and bring back to civilization, where the creature becomes a public attraction. Also featuring Mary Johnson, Hugo Doblin, Georg Guertler, Camillo Kossuth, Hermann Vallentin, and Max Schreck. This movie is considered the first to
  14. Alraune: A Daughter of Destiny (1928) Germany/Dir: Henrik Galeen - Based on the book by Hanns Heinz Ewers, the story concerns a scientist (Paul Wegener) creating an "artificial woman" that he names Alraune (Brigitte Helm). Since she was created by man, she has no soul, and sets out into the world causing chaos. The story had already been adapted in 1919 by Michael Curtiz, and later versions were released in 1930 and 1952. Unfortunately, there's a good chunk of footage of this 1928 version that seems to be lost, and much of it centers on the creation of the Alraune character. Not only does
  15. The Bear's Wedding (1925) USSR/Dir: Konstantin Eggert - One of the best bear-scares-a-pregnant-woman-so-her-baby-later-develops-a-penchant-for-dressing-up-as-a-bear-and-attacking-people movies made in Russia during the 1920's. (5/10)
  16. #6 looks like John Carradine from Mary Of Scotland (1936). #8 may be a director, and #10 may be a writer.
  17. The Arrival from the Darkness (1921) Czechoslovakia/Dir: Jan S. Kolar - Romantic fantasy about a history-obsessed nobleman (Theodor Pistek) who learns of a strange Black Tower from a book he receives. After traveling there, he discovers the body of an ancestor (Karel Lamac), who is soon revived, and who relates a tale of a love triangle many years ago, one with eerie parallels to the present. Also featuring Anny Ondra, Vladimir Majer, and Josef Svab-Malostransky. This was nice opportunity to see early filmmaking from a culture that I haven't seen much of from this era. The acting is about
  18. Genuine: The Tragedy of a Vampire (1920) Germany/Dir: Robert Wiene - The director's follow-up to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was this bizarre fantasy concerning a priestess named Genuine (Fern Andra) who is sold into slavery and then causes chaos by seducing a number of men. Much of the crew from Caligari returned, and a lot of the film has the same stylized look, with strange flourishes here and there, such as a skeleton with a clock for a head. It looks interesting, but the script by Carl Mayer is weak, and none of the performers are as memorable as those in Caligari. (6/10) Note:
  19. The Plague in Florence (1919) Germany/Dir: Otto Rippert - Adaptation of Poe's Masque of the Red Death, with a script by Fritz Lang. A woman (Marga von Kierska) arrives in Florence, causing a rift between the city's ruler (Otto Mannstaedt) and his son (Anders Wikman), just as the plague ravages the population. There are gorgeous sets and costumes, and some interesting camera work here and there, but the pacing is slow, and things go on a bit too long. (6/10)
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