RSS feed for Eric
  • Dead Man's Eyes

    Dead Man's Eyes

    ★★

    Third film in the set of six in Universal's "Inner Sanctum" mystery series, all starring Lon Chaney Jr. Interestingly, these feel like they pre-date what would eventually become anthologized horror, even including an Twilight Zone-type opening of a disembodied head floating in space with the same lines entering the viewer into the Inner Sanctum.

    Tepid entry with the most flimsy dramatic catalyst that just leads to more excuses for Chaney to be the object of multiple affections. Here he plays…

  • Weird Woman

    Weird Woman

    ★★★

    Second film in the set of six in Universal's "Inner Sanctum" mystery series, all starring Lon Chaney Jr. Interestingly, these feel like they pre-date what would eventually become anthologized horror, even including an Twilight Zone-type opening of a disembodied head floating in space with the same lines entering the viewer into the Inner Sanctum.

    WEIRD WOMAN! What a strange, bizarre, unabashedly misogynist, and extremely male-fantasy driven picture! The narrative itself is insane in the sheer ridiculousness of its situation, but…

  • Calling Dr. Death

    Calling Dr. Death

    ★★½

    First film in the set of six in Universal's "Inner Sanctum" mystery series, all starring Lon Chaney Jr. Interestingly, these feel like they pre-date what would eventually become anthologized horror, even including an Twilight Zone-type opening of a disembodied head floating in space with the same lines entering the viewer into the Inner Sanctum.

    CALLING DR. DEATH is a quick piece at barely over an hour in length, with Chaney playing a neurologist with a poor relationship with his nagging…

  • Before I Hang

    Before I Hang

    ★★

    Quickie Karloff science-fiction/horror picture reunites the star with director Nick Grinde from the oddly similar THE MAN THEY COULD NOT HANG the year before. Karloff plays Dr. John Garth, a scientist attempting to invent a serum to prolong human life. But after an experiment goes wrong with an aid, he is sentenced to death by hanging in four weeks time. He attempts to complete his work before the execution date and decides to test the serum on himself under the…

  • The Devil Commands

    The Devil Commands

    ★★½

    Karloff science-fiction/horror picture has its routine pleasures for a film of this nature, though never even approaches the territory suggested by the title. Karloff's Dr. Julian Blair feels like he is close to making a grand discovery regarding human brain wave patterns, but is interrupted after the tragic death of his wife in an auto accident (she was doomed after the fourth compliment from side characters in the span of two minutes) But he becomes reinvigorated when he believes that…

  • Zombieland: Double Tap

    Zombieland: Double Tap

    ★★★

    ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP is the surprising ten years later sequel in that it mostly retains much of the charm of the original, the cast seems to have remembered the roles they played a decade prior, and the writing is in line with the quality of its predecessor. This is not to say that the first installment is perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it was light, entertaining, and surprisingly inventive during a time period where the zombie as…

  • Dracula A.D. 1972

    Dracula A.D. 1972

    ★★½

    While the Hammer Dracula series always seemed repetitive and relied on a template for its individual narratives (especially compared to the terrific and consistently inventive Frankenstein series with Peter Cushing), DRACULA A.D. 1972 (the seventh entry!) seems to be aware of this criticism and uses the picture as an attempt to shake things up a bit. First, returning Peter Cushing's vampire hunter Van Helsing (or, at least, a descendent of him) into the equation after being absent since the wonderful,…

  • Taste the Blood of Dracula

    Taste the Blood of Dracula

    ★★★

    TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA (the fifth entry in the Hammer Dracula series) is a late surprise in the run and quite possibly the last film of nine(!) that approaches a level of "good" (though the final installment, THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES, is far too bizarre to ignore). And that is mostly as a result of its fairly inventive narrative. When we last saw Count Dracula (Christopher Lee, seemingly losing more and more interest by the film),…

  • Dracula Has Risen from the Grave

    Dracula Has Risen from the Grave

    ★★½

    A weaker entry in the Hammer Dracula series that succumbs to a willingness to follow similar templates rather than having much to set them apart from one another (an ability that the Cushing FRANKENSTEIN series has which possibly contributes to its immense superiority). While Dracula (Christopher Lee) was frozen in ice during his last slaughter (in DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS), he is soon resurrected again by the Monsignor. The returned vampire sets his sights on the Monsignor's beautiful niece and…

  • Dracula: Prince of Darkness

    Dracula: Prince of Darkness

    ★★★

    After sitting out the second installment in the Hammer Dracula series (THE BRIDES OF DRACULA), Christopher returns to the forefront as the classic vampire (though this time Peter Cushing's vampire hunter Van Helsing sits out, beginning a precedent that would last all the way until DRACULA AD 1972). The basic premise involves two couples who are brought by a mysterious carriage to Dracula's castle where the vampires loyal servant works to resurrect his master using the couples as bait.

    Following…

  • The Innocents

    The Innocents

    ★★★★

    Jack Clayton's THE INNOCENTS, an adaptation of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, is a hauntingly beautiful piece of work, eerie in its cerebral presentation of the source material and anchored by a terrific performance by Deborah Kerr. Kerr plays Miss Giddens, a young governess for young Flora and Miles, the latter of which is away at school. Giddens gets the job under two conditions: that she takes full responsibility for the children, and that she leaves their uncle…

  • The Uninvited

    The Uninvited

    ★★★½

    Beautifully crafted haunted house ghost story that is often cited as the first of its genre to take the presence and concept of ghosts seriously and not eventually have it revealed to be an illusion on the part of ones of its villainous characters. And one of the lovely things about the picture is that there are not particularly any villains to speak of, just states of the undead that are less restful than others.

    When the film starts, composer…