Filmland has just lost one of its most famous monsters…
Legendary artist Basil Gogos was, without a doubt, one of the finest painters known to horror. His jaw-dropping, mind-melting portraits of cinema’s greatest fiends graced the covers of many, many issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland. Starting with an eerie portrait of Vincent Price for Famous Monsters #9, Gogos created almost 50 wondrously macabre works for the publication. Gogos often bathed his monstrous subjects with brilliant colors from multiple light sources, highlighting their fearsome features with expressionistic radiance. His subjects included The Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, King Kong, Godzilla, Gill-man, Mr. Sardonicus, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price, and many other beloved fright icons. Mr. Gogos also brought his distinctive flair to CD covers for rock acts Rob Zombie, The Misfits and Electric Frankenstein.
Farewell, Basil Gogos. Your paintings brought out the beauty in the beast and inspired generations of monster lovers. Thank you for bringing color to black-and-white monsters. 🙂
(Ho-stess’s Note: Mr. Browning’s bday was actually yesterday, but my comp got itself an STD and needed a day to recover. Can’t NOT celebrate someone so rad, though, so as always when I’m late w stuff, just #gowithit, please… 😉 xoxo)
Happy Birthday(ish ;)) to cinema’s dark ringmaster, Mr. Tod Browning! While he directed a wide variety of films in many genres, Mr. Browning is known for his many ho-orr films and bizarre melodramas. Like many of us, Browning was utterly obsessed with carnivals and circuses. So much so that he literally ran away with the circus. Tod lived the dream and traveled with many sideshows, carnivals, and circuses. Some of Browning’s jobs included being a talker for the The Wild Man of Borneo, performed a burial act as “The Living Corpse,” and performed as a clown with Ringling Brothers Circus. Browning later worked in vaudeville as an actor, dancer, and magician. Browning may have left the circus, but the circus never left him. Many of Browning’s films dealt with the sideshow in fascinating, often macabre ways. No doubt due to his eXXXperience, his circus pictures has an air of authenticity to them. Browning would hire actual sideshow performers, giving audiences a genuine taste of the beautifully unique side of show business. Of all his circus pictures, his most beloved is 1932’s Freaks, a cl-ass-sick of ho-rror sinema that’s as powerful today as it was back then. Browning often collaborated with site favorite Lon Chaney, resulting in some of the best work in both men’s careers. Between 1919 and 1929, Browning and Chaney made 10 films together, most dealing with misfits and the bizarre. Among their films was London After Midnight, the legendary lost vampire film that still fascinates and eludes horror aficionados. While they made many great films together, our favorite is 1927’s The Unknown and we recommend it to anyone who wants an introduction to their peculiar style,
The Unknown, in its entirety:
Beyond the circus pictures, Browning made other brilliant contributions to the ho-rror genre. In 1931, he directed Dracula with Bela Lugosi. The film was originally intended to be another Chaney/Browning collaboration, but Chaney sadly passed away before it could happen. However, the film we got is one of the most important American ho-rror films ever made and launched the career of another great macabre movie star. Lugosi and Browning would later sink their teeth into Mark of the Vampire, a remake of the aforementioned London After Midnight. Browning’s final fright film was The Devil Doll, a wonderfully weird picture about a cross-dressing criminal using miniaturized humans to exact his revenge. Happy Birthday, Tod! You made sinema a circus of ho-rrors! 🙂 xoxo
Just another Monster Movie Monday here at Kinky Horror, and this one’s a real clas-sick. We’re going all the way back to 1932 disturb the dead and resurrect… White Zombie!
White Zombie is a personal favorite o’ mine and is one of the finest fright flicks to rise from the public domain. It stars Bela “Bringing SeXXXy Drac” Lugosi as Murder Legendre, who is certainly no traditional bokor, but knows how to get the dead movin’. He’s hired by Charles Beaumont (not the Twilight Zone one) to work his wicked witchcraft, although, he knows, it’s strictly taboo. Ol’ Charlie wants him to make the beautiful Madeline his wife, so Murder makes her a zombie! However, Charlie soon learns that trusting a man called “Murder” who controls zombies may not have been the smartest move…
The film is often cited as the first zombie film ever made, but don’t eXXXpect much flesh-eatin’ goodness. What makes this film a true nightmare is its bizarro, hypnotic atmosphere. Sure, it lacks gore, but it’s still pretty darn spoopy! This film puts you in a terrifying trance, as if you were under the control of Murder himself. Speaking of that ghoul, Lugosi’s deliberately stilted performance is brilliantly weird and from a realm different from our own. Murder is certainly not the most endearing of Lugosi roles, but its definitely one of the creepiest. Oh, Murder… we love that voodoo that you do so well… 🙂
Fall under the spell and watch White Zombie below:
P.S-. A little-known rock band named themselves after this movie… I hope those kids go places. 😉
(In what is quite clearly an act of blasphemy, Mr. Dr. Anton Phibes dared submit a Friday the 13th post that is not remotely related to Mah Boo!! After fighting the urge to machete some sense into him, I decided to take the high route and reward the lad’s courage…But don’t let it happen again, Phibes!!! 😉 xoxo)
Happy Friday the 13th to all you wonderful fright fiends out there!
Considered by many to be the unluckiest day on the calendar, Friday the 13th’s dreadful reputation has excited the imagination and aroused the superstition of many for eons. For horror lovers, this is the time to honor masked maniac Jason Voorhees and the Friday the 13th film series. As fond as I am of the inimitable Mr. Voorhees, I feel I have very little to say that hasn’t been said countless times before. Jason is a very popular ghoul and is so frequently discussed on this site and others that any thoughts I have would be simply redundant. Just know that I love that camp creep dearly and will always watch one of his fright features on this most unlucky of days. However, for this particular Friday the 13th, I thought I’d spotlight something a little different…
Black Friday (1940) is the last Universal picture to feature both Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. The main action of the film takes place on Friday the Thirteenth and concerns Dr. Ernest Sovac (played by Karloff), a brilliant neurosurgeon who transplants the brain of dead gangster Red Cannon (Stanley Ridges) into the body of Prof, George Kingsley (also Ridges) in an attempt to save his life. When Sovac learns that the deceased criminal had $500,000 in ill-gotten gains stashed away, he plans to probe that inform from Kingsley when he recovers, surmising that his new brain must retain the knowledge of its previous owner. Unfortunately, the operation had the unexpected side effect of completely transforming the kindly professor into the murderous gangster. With a new body and a mind on fire, Red Cannon is now free to exact his revenge on those who have wronged him.
This cast of this particular picture played a bit musical chairs. Bela Lugosi was originally cast as Dr. Sovac and Boris Karloff as Kingsley/Cannon, Instead, Karloff played Sovac, Stanley Ridges played Kingsley/Cannon, and Lugosi ended up in the somewhat minor role of gangster Eric Marnay, once again getting the short end of stick as often did with Universal. While the exact reason for this is unknown, the most common (and most likely) explanation is that Karloff was great the kindly Kingsley, but horrendous as the hardboiled, Cagney-like Cannon, so he was recast as the mad doctor. Lugosi is given very little do, to the point where he doesn’t even get to share a scene with Karloff! Karloff is fine, but the grand surprise of this picture is Stanley Ridges. Ridges was generally a secondary player, but in this rare leading performance, he was pretty darn terrific! Pulling a Jekyll-and-Hyde, Ridges is not only convincing as both personalities, but nearly unrecognizable without even relying on heavy make-up! The transformation is wonderfully subtle and relies almost entirely on Ridges.
Folks looking for a proper Lugosi-Karloff film may be disappointed, but for those in search of a unique little chiller with a lot of charm may find much to love here. For a fright film with fiendish flair for this fearful friday, I highly recommend Black Friday. The film has been provided below in its entirety for your Friday the 13th viewing pleasure!
Happy Friday the 13th and may you have the best of luck.
(Ooooh! So much awesomely arousing alliteration agglomerating there…#SEMISAPIOSEXXXUALSPLOOOOOOOOOSH!! Sorry…Got sidetracked for a sec… ;))
Happy (only slightly belated :)) Birthday to His Hunky Hungarian Ho-rror High-ness, Bela Lugosi (October 20,1882 – August 16, 1956). We all know of his iconic turn as Count Dracula, but in my humble ho-pinion, Best-Bae Bela (as I so often refer to him ;)) had a plethora of great fright fare that is even BETTER than his portrayal of the Count. Dracula’s good and all, yo, but Lugosi’s got some of the greatest ghoul-tastic roles in Ho-rror History!! #RECOGNIZE
In Ho-nor of this Icon of (wonderfully hammy :)) Terror’s Born Day, posting my Top Five Favorite Lugosi roles. #NOTDRACULABUTSUCKITANYWAY 😉
Murder Legendre from White Zombie
To me, this is THE Lugosi role. His performance is similar to Dracula, but there are many actors who have portrayed the Count yand only one Murder Legendre. Murder is the diabolical voodoo zombie master and evil personified. White Zombie is considered to be the first Ho-llywood zombie film and it’s still one of my favorites. Lugosi’s exotic, hypnotic allure had never been as powerful as it has here. Bae Bela, do that voodoo that you do so well!!
Ygor from Son of Frankenstein and Ghost of Frankenstein
“I died living, they died dead!”
Lugosi is nearly unrecognizable as the broken-necked former assistant to Dr. Frankenstein. Ygor is the antithesis of how we picture Lugosi: scruffy, crude, and vulgar. However, what he lacks in charm, he makes up for in malicious cunning. Lugosi completely devours the scenery as Ygor, and he looks like he’s having the time of his life. #YgorLives!
Dr. Richard Vollin in The Raven
“POE, YOU ARE AVENGED!!”
Obsession turns deadly (copyright: Lifetime Movie Network) when Edgar Allan Poe enthusiast/surgeon Dr. Vollin falls in love with a patient he can never be with. Vollin is Lugosi at his maniacal best! Boris Karloff also stars, but this is Lugosi’s show. This was the one time when Lugosi and Karloff were both billed with their last names, an honor usually reserved just for Karloff.
Dr. Mirakle in Murders in the Rue Morgue
“Heresy? Do they still burn men for heresy? Then burn me monsieur, light the fire! Do you think your little candle will outshine the flame of truth?”
Mad scientist and carnival talker Dr. Mirakle needs blood for his ape-based experiments.. and blood, he gets! A classic Lugosi performance. Our boy hams it up to such a degree that it comes back to being believable. SUPERFUN FACT: This film was offered as a compensatory package for Lugosi and director Robert Florey, who were originally attached to Frankenstein. 🙂 *thumbs up emoji*
The Sayer of the Law from Island of Lost Souls
“You! You made us in the house of pain! You made us… things! Not men! Not beasts! Part man… part beast! Things!”
By all accounts, this is a bit part. Despite that, it will forever be burned in my skull. Lugosi’s performance as the lead beast-man is just classic…He kicks so much ass in so little time, Bela-style!! 🙂
Thanks for all the awesome, Birthday Boy Bela. May your unparralled awesomeness continue to haunt the hearts of many generations to come*!! 🙂 xoxo
*- written the proper way instead of the porn-y way out of respect…but just this once. 😉