Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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THE BLACK CAT (1934): At Kevin's suggestion, I moved this one to the top of my list. He's right: this one is way creepy, much more so than I had remembered. Back in the '90s, I bought the movies featuring all of Universal's main monsters (i.e., Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, Mummy, Creature) on VHS. In the early 2Ks, after DVDs became the format of choice, I cleaned up on most of the rest of the lesser known films on VHS cheap. The Black Cat is one that features both Karloff and Lugosi, and it is another example of Lugosi in a more-or-less heroic role (except when he tried to flay Karloff alive). The plot reminds me less on Poe's "Black Cat" (upon which it is supposedly based) than on The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Although there is a cat in it, the only connection with Poe's is titular. Lugosi's character suffers from ailurophobia (the fear of cats). 

Man, now I really want to see Karloff and Lugosi doing the Time Warp ...

Just did a quick inventory of my "Universal Studios Monsters classic Collection" on VHS. I have 33 and am missing five. The ones I am missing are...

THE MONSTER & THE GIRL

ISLAND OF LOST SOULS

MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE

THE RAVEN

TOWER OF LONDON

If anyone reading this post has any of these and is willing to part with it, let me know.

Island of Lost Souls is one of the best horror movies of the Thirties and like The Black Cat I am amazed that some of the scenes made it pass the censors. It is not a Universal production however, it was made by Paramount.

Hope this helps.


Jeff of Earth-J said:

Just did a quick inventory of my "Universal Studios Monsters classic Collection" on VHS. I have 33 and am missing five. The ones I am missing are...

THE MONSTER & THE GIRL

ISLAND OF LOST SOULS

MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE

THE RAVEN

TOWER OF LONDON

If anyone reading this post has any of these and is willing to part with it, let me know.

Thanks, Kev!

What you said helps in the sense that i will now put Island of Lost Souls (in whichever format) at the top of my list of five. I absolutely agree with your assessment of The Black Cat, and next up  on our list is Black Friday, another Karloff/Lugosi classic.

Watched The Rise of Skywalker and Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie.

I have seen Island of Lost Souls and Murders In the Rue Morgue on TCM.

Island was definitely interesting as I have a Famous Monsters of Filmland that compared it to the 70s remake with some great photos.

Murder is another Lugosi classic, dipping into Poe once more. Again it's better than its later remakes!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Thanks, Kev!

What you said helps in the sense that i will now put Island of Lost Souls (in whichever format) at the top of my list of five. I absolutely agree with your assessment of The Black Cat, and next up  on our list is Black Friday, another Karloff/Lugosi classic.

I have MST3K: The Movie on VHS but sadly not DVD. 

The Baron said:

Watched The Rise of Skywalker and Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie.

I just realized I have been conflating the "Universal Studios Monsters Classic Collection" with the "Universal Horror Classics" collection. Having said that, I am not only missing the five listed five posts back, but also...

BLACK CASTLE

MURDERS AT THE ZOO

NIGHT MONSTER

Moving on...

BLACK FRIDAY (1940); Karloff is a brain surgeon, Lugosi a gangster. Stanley Ridges plays a mild-mannered English professor, Karloff's best friend. Lugosi tries to hit a rival gangster, who is paralyzed in the same accident that mortally wounds the professor. Karloff tries an experimental procedure (one that, frankly, doesn't make much sense), but the gangster's personality is transferred to the professor. Karloff is trying to get his hands on the gangster's money, and the professor "transforms" into the gangster from time to time (same actor, but dyed hair, slicked back, no glasses, etc.).It's worth watching if you can get past the goofy premise.

KONGA (1961) is a British King Kong but terribly done. A chimpanzee is turned into a gorilla with a suit that's out of a costume shop. There are some effective headshots and some nifty carnivorous plants though. Michael Gough plays the mad scientist to the hilt and he's a creepy stalker too! The gorilla doesn't get giant-size until the end where he stands next to Big Ben instead of climbing it! 

"Well, the army got him!" "No, it wasn't the army. It was banality that killed the beast!"

KONGA and GORGO are both guilty pleasures of mine. I have both of the movies on DVD as well as both of the HC collections by Steve Ditko.

HOUSE OF HORRORS: This is the first of a proposed series of films starring Rondo Hatton as "The Creeper." Only one other (The Brute Man) was filmed due to Hatton's untimely death, whose disfigurement from acromegaly brought him many minot roles in Hollywood, including his first appearance in the Sherlock Holmes film, The Pearl of Death. And, of course, Dave Steven's "cast" him in The Rocketeer (the graphic novel, I mean, not the movie).

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