October Horrorshow: The Devil’s Hand

Rick Turner (Robert Alda), is, by all appearances, in a happy relationship with Donna Trent (Ariadne Welter). The two of them are clean-cut, 1950s wholesome, and engaged to be married. But, a mysterious, beautiful woman has been appearing to Rick in his dreams. One day, as he and Donna are walking about, Rick sees a doll in the display window of a dollmaker’s shop that has an uncanny resemblance to the woman in his dreams. He goes inside, and sets in motion a tale of evil and death.

Such is the setup to The Devil’s Hand, a kitschy 1961 horror flick from writer Jo Heims and director William J. Hole, Jr. By kitschy, I mean that this film has the look and feel of Ed Wood. I don’t mean a film directed by Ed Wood. I mean the Tim Burton biopic. I have no idea what exact sources Burton found for inspiration. Perhaps this flick was on the list. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Devil’s Hand”

Giant Monstershow: Gorgo

What’s this? Orchestral soundtrack? Hand-illustrated title font? Technicolor? Hey, wait a minute…did this film have a respectable budget? Sacrilege!

The October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow carries on with Gorgo, Britain’s very own kaiju film. From 1961, Gorgo was directed by Eugène Lourié (making his third appearance in the Monstershow) from a screenplay by Robert L. Richards and Daniel James. Continue readingGiant Monstershow: Gorgo”

Giant Monstershow: Reptilicus

The October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow carries on! After spending nineteen straight films in the 1950s, we have our first feature from after that defining decade of the monster flick, but all that’s changed is that today’s movie was filmed in color.

Reptilicus, from 1961, is a joint Danish-American monster flick that was filmed in two versions. One was shot in Danish, directed by Poul Bang, and that’s the version Danish audiences saw. The other version was directed by Sidney Pink, used most of the same performers, but was shot in English, for distribution in the United States. But, American International Pictures, which distributed the film in the US, didn’t like the English cut, and ordered substantial changes. The changes were enough for Pink, who was also the film’s producer and a credited screenwriter, to take AIP to court. It was a brief dispute, but an indication of divergence between the two versions of this film. I’m curious just how different the Danish version is from the English, but not curious enough to sit through this dog again, at least for now. Continue readingGiant Monstershow: Reptilicus”

October Hammershow: The Curse of the Werewolf

The Curse of the Werewolf, from 1961, is the tragic tale of a beggar who is imprisoned by a cruel marquis. Then it is the tragic tale of a mute servant girl. Then it is the tragic tale of a young boy who grows up in a rich household with the loving attention of a pair of surrogate parents. Then it is the tragic tale of a young man attempting to make his own way in the world, who falls in love with a woman he cannot have. Then, finally, it is the tragic tale of a man cursed with lycanthropy. I have seen some films with long setups, many of them this month, but the setup in this film is so long and rambling compared to the promise of the title that I was wondering at times if I was watching the wrong movie. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: The Curse of the Werewolf”