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Your Favorite Film Of These Classic Horror Stars


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One of my most prized possessions is a film book called "Heroes Of The Horrors" by Calvin Thomas Beck, published in 1975. It has biographies and the all of the films of the following actors. Name your favorite film of each one. It doesn't necessarily have to be a horror film since they didn't all do strictly horror movies.

1. Lon Chaney Sr

2. Bela Lugosi

3. Boris Karloff

4. Peter Lorre

5. Lon Chaney Jr

6. Vincent Price

 

 

Here's mine:

1, Lon Chaney Sr-The Unknown (1927) One of the most bizarre films ever made. Lon plays a circus performer with no arms, he falls for another performer (Joan Crawford) who hates being touched by men. It has several twists in the story ending in a shocking and ironic ending.

2. Bela Lugosi-The Raven (1935) A twisted tale of revenge with Bela in his most exuberant performance. He is a raving mad surgeon who is rejected by a woman and decides to have her and her family tortured and killed by his devices inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. The scene where he goes completely bonkers. waving his arms (while holding a gun) and laughing hysterically is a real sight to see.

3. Boris Karloff-The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) his most famous role of the Frankenstein Monster and this is his best performance. He can be scary as he menaces villagers, funny and touching in his scenes with the blind man.

4. Peter Lorre-Arsenic And Old Lace (1944)  I tried to find a film where he had the lead role, but I kept coming back to this one, my favorite black comedy. He is part of an ensemble but he one of the standouts. He plays a drunken plastic surgeon and sidekick to killer Raymond Massey. Lorre tosses off some of the funniest lines with great subtlety and dark humor.

5. Lon Chaney Jr-The Wolf Man (1941) his first of 5 appearances as the title werewolf. This one is my favorite since he starts off as a normal guy, a fun loving chap with a crush on his neighbor Evelyn Ankers. When he is cursed to be a snarling beast, his character becomes anguished and guilt ridden, which is how his character is in all of his later Wolf Man films. His eyes gleam with bloodlust under all that makeup.

6. Vincent Price-House Of Wax (1953) he made many great films before and after this one, but this  made him a horror star. He starts off as a slightly eccentric artist but goes mad when his wax creations are destroyed. So he also creates some sympathy for the character while also being very menacing. 

  

 

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I agree with Arsenic and Old Lace.  But the Maltese Falcon and the other films he was in (Mask of Demetrius (sp)) with Sydney Greenstreet were also great.

I think Vincent Price was great in Laura; he was also in Edward Scissorhands.

Karloff did the stage version of Arsenic and Old Lace - he would have been great in that.

Lon Chaney Sr. did Phantom of the Opera

 

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You know, this is difficult since they've all done many great works.  Hard to pare them all down to one pick each.

Chaney Sr.--- I'll go along with THE UNKNOWN

Lugosi--  DRACULA is still up there for me.

KARLOFF-- His against type role in DEVIL'S ISLAND ('39)

Lorre---  Toss up between his role in M and as Dr. Gogol in MAD LOVE('35)

Chaney Jr.---  Sure.  Hard to top THE WOLF MAN('41)

Price--- DRAGONWYCK('46)

Sepiatone

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This is too hard a question for me, as I love so many films and performances of those gentlemen, although I haven't seen that many Lon Sr. films.

But I will say that my favorite Vincent Price film, which includes his best performance, is definitely Witchfinder General (1968). Price has said his role of Matthew Hopkins in that film is one of his best performances. And despite his portrayal of a man who is one of the most evil characters ever put on film, it has been said that Price is more subdued than usual in the film.

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6 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

One of my most prized possessions is a film book called "Heroes Of The Horrors" by Calvin Thomas Beck, published in 1975. It has biographies and the all of the films of the following actors. Name your favorite film of each one. It doesn't necessarily have to be a horror film since they didn't all do strictly horror movies.

1. Lon Chaney Sr

2. Bela Lugosi

3. Boris Karloff

4. Peter Lorre

5. Lon Chaney Jr

6. Vincent Price

 

 

Here's mine:

1, Lon Chaney Sr-The Unknown (1927) One of the most bizarre films ever made. Lon plays a circus performer with no arms, he falls for another performer (Joan Crawford) who hates being touched by men. It has several twists in the story ending in a shocking and ironic ending.

2. Bela Lugosi-The Raven (1935) A twisted tale of revenge with Bela in his most exuberant performance. He is a raving mad surgeon who is rejected by a woman and decides to have her and her family tortured and killed by his devices inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. The scene where he goes completely bonkers. waving his arms (while holding a gun) and laughing hysterically is a real sight to see.

3. Boris Karloff-The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) his most famous role of the Frankenstein Monster and this is his best performance. He can be scary as he menaces villagers, funny and touching in his scenes with the blind man.

4. Peter Lorre-Arsenic And Old Lace (1944)  I tried to find a film where he had the lead role, but I kept coming back to this one, my favorite black comedy. He is part of an ensemble but he one of the standouts. He plays a drunken plastic surgeon and sidekick to killer Raymond Massey. Lorre tosses off some of the funniest lines with great subtlety and dark humor.

5. Lon Chaney Jr-The Wolf Man (1941) his first of 5 appearances as the title werewolf. This one is my favorite since he starts off as a normal guy, a fun loving chap with a crush on his neighbor Evelyn Ankers. When he is cursed to be a snarling beast, his character becomes anguished and guilt ridden, which is how his character is in all of his later Wolf Man films. His eyes gleam with bloodlust under all that makeup.

6. Vincent Price-House Of Wax (1953) he made many great films before and after this one, but this  made him a horror star. He starts off as a slightly eccentric artist but goes mad when his wax creations are destroyed. So he also creates some sympathy for the character while also being very menacing. 

  

 

Well to address the question asked,  one has to ignore how much the actor contributed to the film.     I don't think that was really your intention but that being said only one of my choices would be a horror film;  Instead they would be Casablanca,  Laura,   High Noon,  and Ninotchka,   with Karloff being the exception with Bride of Frankenstein. 

Edit:  I noticed that I skipped over Lon Chaney Sr. - my favorite film of his is The Unknown (1927). 

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1 hour ago, Swithin said:

But I will say that my favorite Vincent Price film, which includes his best performance, is definitely Witchfinder General (1971). Price has said his role of Matthew Hopkins in that film is one of his best performances. And despite his portrayal of a man who is one of the most evil characters ever put on film, it has been said that Price is more subdued than usual in the film.

I read an interesting story about this film. The director was Michael Reeves, a 24 year old who had only done 2 films before this, The She Beast with Barbara Steele and The Sorcerers with Boris Karloff. He was considered a rising new talent and he wanted Donald Pleasence for the lead in Witchfinder General not Price. who he felt was too hammy. Reeves made no secret of his displeasure he had for Price and was often very rude to him, trying to goad him into giving the restrained performance he wanted. Price did not complain and did his best, he thought the film turned out well. Reeves, who suffered from depression, would be dead just one year later of a combination of pills and alcohol.

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36 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I read an interesting story about this film. The director was Michael Reeves, a 24 year old who had only done 2 films before this, The She Beast with Barbara Steele and The Sorcerers with Boris Karloff. He was considered a rising new talent and he wanted Donald Pleasence for the lead in Witchfinder General not Price. who he felt was too hammy. Reeves made no secret of his displeasure he had for Price and was often very rude to him, trying to goad him into giving the restrained performance he wanted. Price did not complain and did his best, he thought the film turned out well. Reeves, who suffered from depression, would be dead just one year later of a combination of pills and alcohol.

Witchfinder General is so bleak, I  believe those who say that the director committed suicide after making it. I saw it first at the Museum of Modern Art. There is a beautifully sweet young hero, played by Ian Ogilvy. By the end, Ogilvy breaks free of his chains, grabs an axe, and begins hacking Price to pieces. Ogilvy's friend comes in, shoots the hacked Price, and says "May God have mercy on us all." Ogilvy, quite justifiably crazed by this point, shouts at his friend, "YOU TOOK HIM FROM ME! YOU TOOK HIM FROM ME!" And you know what? The audience felt the same. We wanted more hacking of the evil Price. The film ends with Ogilvy's girlfriend, chained to a table, screaming, a primal scream. Best in the UK print, which has a great musical score, which fits the horror in the midst of beauty theme of the film.

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witchfinder-general3.jpg

 

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Lon Chaney, Sr....I would have to go with THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, he was both frightening and yet so sympathetic at the same time. I wanted to smack that little hussy Christine for using him to advance her career only to reject him when she tore off the mask and saw he wasn't her idea of Prince Charming.

Bela Lugosi....torn between DRACULA and THE BLACK CAT.....in the latter he comes off as creepy, still you can't help but sympathize with him when you hear his backstory. He's quite menacing as the Count, a completely evil being who relished on it and sucking on the blood of the living.

Boris Karloff.....BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN hands down. He's sympathetic in both of the James Whale films, but in here you really feel for him, especially when he starts longing for a true friend. I love his scenes with the blind man too, I wanted to smack the villagers for coming along and ended up spoiling it for him. I really felt bad for the monster when his 'bride' ultimately rejects him.

Peter Lorre.....I think M was his best performance filmwise, his character was a child killer but he's being hounded by both sides (not undeservingly I admit) of the law. But as for my favorite performance of his it's probably Dr. Bedlo in Roger Corman's THE RAVEN (1963) when he plays both sides of the middle between the good guys (Vincent Price) and the not-so good guys (Karloff). I also love his hilarious turn as Dr. Einstein in ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, I have to admit I was kind of glad when he (SPOILER ALERT) managed to slip away from the long arm of the law in the end.

Lon Chaney, Jr.........Larry Talbot in THE WOLF MAN. He's believable as a likable guy from which through a bad twist of fate ends up being cursed being turned into a werewolf every full moon. 

Vincent Price.....I loved all of the Poe film adaptations, and of course HOUSE OF WAX is hands-down a classic, but my favorite role of his is also in 1963's THE RAVEN as Dr. Craven. I loved watching him square off against Boris Karloff and trade witty remarks with Peter Lorre. He's also very much sympathetic in here 100 percent. My favorite villainous role of Price's is as THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES, where he finds the most creative ways to dispose of his victims.

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Lon Chaney Sr. - THE UNKNOWN, bizarre, masochistic story with one of the most remarkable moments of acting I've ever seen, that when Chaney learns that Crawford likes the touch of a man's arms around her after he had just . . . okay, I'll say no more for those who haven't seen the film.

The Unknown (1927) | A Cinema History

Bela Lugosi - ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN, with his second of only two portrayals of Dracula. A film that manages to be very funny as well as paying respect to its monster characters, to the extent that the Wolf Man, Frankenstein's Monster and Dracula are more effectively presented in this comedy horror film than they are in many of their straight horror features at Universal.

Monster Man • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) | Classic horror  movies, Abbott and costello, Movie monsters

Boris Karloff - BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, a marvelous black comedy horror feature with unexpected moments of sensitivity. Despite Mel Brooks lampoon of the scene years later the blind hermit scene is still capable of producing tears.

Classic Film and TV Café: Bride of Frankenstein -- Unique In Every Way

Peter Lorre - CASABLANCA. Lorre's not in the film enough (my chief complaint about the production) but this remains one of the most marvelously entertaining romantic melodramas produced by Hollywood, with perfect casting and crackling, smart dialogue. One of my favourite moments in the film is Bogart's response when Lorre asks him, "You despise me, don't you, Rick?"

Peter Lorre | The Bogie Film Blog

Lon Chaney Jr - ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN again. Okay, here's another title:  OF MICE AND MEN, with Chaney's great, sympathetic performance as simple minded Lenny. He never had a finer moment as an actor even if he will be primarily remembered for his horror films.

Cinema Arts Centre - OF MICE AND MEN with Richard Scileppi, film historian

Vincent Price - LAURA, Otto Preminger's sophisticated exploration of film noir, a film that shimmers in good taste, from its black and white photography of stunning art direction to the classic "Laura theme" by David Raskin to a cast that are perfect in their roles. Poor Dana Andrews, falling in love with a dead woman through her portrait on the wall. While Price has a supporting role he makes shallow, weak Shelby Carpenter a credible characterization.

Laura (1944) | Still the greatest noir of them all! – The Sound of Vincent  Price

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Lon Chaney Jr.

I think my favorite of his roles/films is in Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943). I love it when he has his angry fit, when the singer of the "Festival of the New Wine" song sings "And may they live eternally."  Talbot replies:

"I DON'T WANNA LIVE ETERNALLY!!!"

 

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  1. Lon Chaney Sr.: The Unknown (1927) - As with Vincent Price below, I've never attempted to rank Mr. Chaney's movies before. But I doubt if further thinking would keep this one from being on the top of my list. This movie is just so fantastically wrong!
  2. Bela Lugosi: The Black Cat (1934) - Followed by The Wolf Man (1941) (his role may be small, but it is pivotal, and he plays it well) and then Dracula (1931).
  3. Boris Karloff: The Black Cat (1934) - Followed by Frankenstein (1931) and then The Mummy (1932).
  4. Peter Lorre: Casablanca (1942) - Considering my profile picture, this should come as no surprise. Followed by M (1931) and then The Maltese Falcon (1941).
  5. Lon Chaney Jr.: Of Mice And Men (1939) - Followed by The Wolf Man (1941) and then Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).
  6. Vincent Price: The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) - I've never attempted to rank Mr. Price's movies before. And I suspect that if I think about it some more, I may change my mind as to what comes first for him. But I'm fairly confident that Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965) won't ever take its place!
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21 hours ago, TopBilled said:

How can you leave Claude Rains off the list?!

Heh.  I've never considered Claude to be a "classic" horror star.  He's only to my knowledge done two or three "horror" flicks, and one of them(THE INVISABLE MAN )  is one  never thought of as a "horror" story.  More "Sci-Fi" to me.  ;) 

Sepiatone

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7 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

Heh.  I've never considered Claude to be a "classic" horror star.  He's only to my knowledge done two or three "horror" flicks, and one of them(THE INVISABLE MAN )  is one  never thought of as a "horror" story.  More "Sci-Fi" to me.  ;) 

Sepiatone

Claude Rains had a fear of being associated primarily with the horror genre, thus his initial reluctance to play the Phantom of the Opera. He was, above all else, a character actor. Phantom would be the last time he appeared in a horror related film.

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Claude Rains played John Jasper in the 1935 film The Mystery of Edwin Drood, based on Dickens' unfinished novel. While not specifically a horror film, the style and feel is definitely one of horror. It was directed by Stuart Walker, the same year he directed Werewolf of London. The film was part of the original batch of Universal horror films shown on Shock Theater, perhaps the grandaddy of horror film television series, hosted for much of its run by Zacherley.

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My favorite is Boris Karloff in the 1931 Frankenstein.  He conveyed pathos as a monster unable to speak.  You felt sorry for Frankenstein when he is tormented but also frightened by him.  Karloff created the iconic Frankenstein monster despite having to wear uncomfortable amounts of heavy makeup.

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4 minutes ago, Toto said:

My favorite is Boris Karloff in the 1931 Frankenstein.  He conveyed pathos as a monster unable to speak.  You felt sorry for Frankenstein when he is tormented but also frightened by him.  Karloff created the iconic Frankenstein monster despite having to wear uncomfortable amounts of heavy makeup.

The best of the series. The only one that really moves me emotionally.

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I'll go along with that.  

It seems I'm the only one here that isn't all that fond of BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.  

And I'll have to backtrack here a little....

Someone mentioned OF MICE AND MEN as their favorite LON CHANEY JR. flick.  I posted THE WOLFMAN as mine.  But, taking the thread title literally, I thought the question was which of the "horror" flicks these classic "horror"  stars made was.  

However, I did veer off with the mention of Karloff's role in DEVIL'S ISLAND.  Why Chaney Jr.'s Lenny in "Of Mice And Men" slipped my mind is inexcusable.  :( 

Sepiatone

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

But, taking the thread title literally, I thought the question was which of the "horror" flicks these classic "horror"  stars made was. 

This  is  from the top post:  Name your favorite film of each one. It doesn't necessarily have to be a horror film since they didn't all do strictly horror movies.

Also nowhere in the title does it imply the films should be horror films;  the title just says "favorite-film-of-these-classic-horror-stars",   and not favorite-horror-films,,,,,.

This is  why many (like myself) have listed films like Casablanca,  Laura,  High Noon etc...

 But thinking about this I should have posted both  my favorite horror film and favorite film,  period:    E.g. With Vincent Price it would have been House of Wax and Laura.

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Coming late to the party as usual....

I really love Lon Chaney Sr in TELL IT TO THE MARINES '26, but that could be because it wasn't a horror picture, I could see his face.

s-l300.jpg

And Peter Lorre's chilling in M '31.  Isn't his performance in ARSENIC & OLD LACE kind of embarassing, a schtick? 

Lon Cheney Jr was great as the Wolfman, but I just loved him in OF MICE & MEN. When other people (cartoons) imitate your performance, you know it's impactful.

And Vincent Price-talk about consistent.

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3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

And Peter Lorre's chilling in M '31.  Isn't his performance in ARSENIC & OLD LACE kind of embarassing, a schtick? 

I agree about M, it was also in the running for my favorite Lorre, but I prefer Arsenic And Old Lace just by a hair. I never found his performance embarrassing schtick. it was a great character, a sort of steadying influence on his homicidal friend Raymond Massey. 

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14 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I agree about M, it was also in the running for my favorite Lorre, but I prefer Arsenic And Old Lace just by a hair. I never found his performance embarrassing schtick. it was a great character, a sort of steadying influence on his homicidal friend Raymond Massey. 

For me the all of the performances in Arsenic and Old Lace are "schtick" with the exception of Priscilla Lane,    but in a very funny and good way.   

This is one over-the-top film that works due to the fine acting and very witty screenplay.       

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22 hours ago, JamesJazGuitar said:

This  is  from the top post:  Name your favorite film of each one. It doesn't necessarily have to be a horror film since they didn't all do strictly horror movies.

Also nowhere in the title does it imply the films should be horror films;  the title just says "favorite-film-of-these-classic-horror-stars",   and not favorite-horror-films,,,,,.

This is  why many (like myself) have listed films like Casablanca,  Laura,  High Noon etc...

 But thinking about this I should have posted both  my favorite horror film and favorite film,  period:    E.g. With Vincent Price it would have been House of Wax and Laura.

So, you wouldn't take literally a thread titled "You favorite films of these classic Western stars?"  ;)  Or "....classic silent comedy stars?"  

And knowing you, this reply is probably going to be taken out of context.  ;) 

Sepiatone

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