Sci-Fi Horrorfest – Deluge (1933)

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2018 Sci-Fi Horrorfest: Deluge (1933)
Cast:        Peggy Shannon as Claire Arlington
Sidney Blackmer as Martin Webster
Lois Wilson as Helen Webster
Matt Moore as Tom
Fred Kohler as Jepson
Edward Van Sloan as Professor Carlysle
Samuel S. Hinds as Chief Forecaster

Based on the book by S. Fowler Wright
Screenplay by John Goodrich & Warren Duff
Directed by Felix E. Feist

Plot: Earthquakes destroy the Pacific coast, resulting in tidal waves that destroy much of the United States. In the aftermath, Martin and Claire meet and enter the new world while danger lurks around every corner.

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Richard’s Review: I have been aware of Deluge for many years and immediately purchased a copy when Kino Lorber released it on Blu-ray last year. I have long heard about have impressive the special effects were for the time. I wasn’t disappointed, even though some of the super-imposed shots of people running haven’t aged very well. Unfortunately, there is virtually no build-up to the excitement as the movie starts right with the action. I was hoping for a little more story or background but none is given. You have to shut off your scientific brain to enjoy this one as the aftermath is just as puzzling as the disasters.

Character development is also very sparse with familiar faces Edward Van Sloan and Samuel Hinds getting very little screen time. I was also disappointed with how flippant Martin appears after losing his wife and children. No time frames are explained but it doesn’t appear to have been long, which makes it odd as he seems to fall in love quite quickly with fellow survivor Claire.

Being a pre-code film, there are some intense sequences revolving around Jepson and the rape gangs. A bit surprising even for the day but very realistic to what a post-apocalyptic landscape would look like. Unfortunately, everything is wrapped up rather quickly, especially the love triangle Martin finds himself in when he discovers his wife and children are still alive. I’m glad I saw it and it’s not a bad film but not quite the classic some have made it out to be.

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Karla’s Thoughts: I really enjoyed Deluge despite the fact that I had to turn my science brain off right away. I get that earthquakes cause tsunamis but there is no way the tidal waves would flood everything. However, I really enjoyed how they explained the survivors trying to rebuild, something The Walking Dead could learn a thing or two about. The acting was good enough but I found it unbelievable how quickly Claire went from being a strong character to fighting with Helen over Martin, let alone her decision at the end of the film. I still enjoyed the movie and would watch again.

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Trivia:

  • For many years, Deluge was considered lost until a dubbed Italian print was rediscovered by Wade Williams in 1981. It was released on VHS with sub-titles but soon went out-of-print and became quite rare again. It wasn’t until an English language negative was discovered in France in 2016 that the movie was properly restored by Lobster Films and finally released on official home media by Kino Lorber in 2017.
  • Edward Van Sloan was quite busy in the early 30s starring as Professor Van Helsing in Dracula (1931), Dr. Waldman in Frankenstein (1931) and Dr. Muller in The Mummy (1932).
  • Samuel Hinds is best known for his role as Pa Bailey in the perennial Christmas classic, It’s A Wonderful Life (1946).
  • Despite a budget of $171,000, it was still considered a B-movie.
  • Some of the destruction footage was later seen in other films, including King of the Rocket Men (1949).

Availability: Deluge is available on Blu-ray at Amazon from Kino Lorber.

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Classic Horrors Club Podcast – Bela Lugosi Lives!

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This month on episode 21 of the Classic Horrors Club Podcast, Jeff and I take a look at three films from the legendary Bela Lugosi, First, we journey back to 1932 for Murders in the Rue Morgue. Then, it’s on to the classic Return of the Vampire (1944) before wrapping it up with Ed Wood’s Bride of the Monster (1954)!

You can now subscribe to just our show! We are available on Soundcloud, Stitcher and iTunes. Like what you hear?  Even if you don’t, please consider leaving us an honest review on iTunes.

Participate in our meetings!  Simply leave us a message at:

(616) 649-2582
That’s (616) 649-CLUB

…or visit us in our clubhouse at:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/classichorrors.club/

Next month on episode 22, we get a house call from Dr. Moreau!

Sci-Fi Horrorfest – Dune (1984)

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2018 Sci-Fi Horrorfest: Dune (1984)
Cast:        Francesca Annis as Lady Jessica
Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides
Jose Ferrer as Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV
Kenneth McMillan as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen
Patrick Stewart as Gurney Halleck
Sting as Feyd-Rautha
Brad Dourif as Piter De Vries
Dean Stockwell as Dr. Wellington Yueh
Max Von Sydow as Dr. Kynes
Sean Young as Chani

Based on the novel by Frank Herbert
Screenplay by David Lynch
Directed by David Lynch

Plot: Paul Atreides, the son of Duke Leto Atreides, finds himself the target of an evil galactic emperor and Baron Harkonnen after they conspire to assassinate the Duke. The battleground becomes the planet known as Dune with the priceless Spice Melange coveted by everyone. And there appears to be more to Paul than just the son of the fallen Duke.

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Richard’s Review: Frank Herbert’s novel Dune is considered by many as one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time. It’s also a complex story that remains a challenge to film. I saw this movie with friends at the Cinema East Theater in Wichita, KS, when it opened in December 1984. I knew it would be a hard movie to follow when the ushers handed everyone a special terminology cheat sheet. It was indeed and, unfortunately, time hasn’t made it any easier to understand.

Visually, the film is usually quite good, despite the occasional sub-standard special effect. The cast is stellar and the overall presentation is such that you feel like you’re going to watch an epic. However, as the movie progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to follow due to some horrendous editing, especially in two battle sequences. Characters move from room to room in a blink of an eye without any explanation and others reappear after being absent for nearly an hour. The end result is a confusing mess of a film that should have been much better.

This was my first time watching Dune in 20 years. We watched the original theatrical version, which explains why the movie was a box office failure. A televised longer cut helps to bridge some of the gaps and explain some of the muddled script. However, since David Lynch refuses to acknowledge that version and has no plans to help with a director’s version, this may very well be the definitive cut. I saw fragments of a promising film but, in the end, I walked away wishing the studios had allowed David Lynch’s vision to be completed.

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Karla’s Thoughts: I have seen Dune at least 20 times over the years, possibly more, and I’ve grown to really enjoy the film. It’s actually one of my all-time favorites. Having also seen the extended version, it helps to understand some of the film’s more complicated story lines. I do wish it would have been more true to the book, which really deserves a longer cut, possibly even separated into two films. I also would have loved to have seen more of this universe, which is far more interesting than a standard good guy vs. bad guy scenario.

May I Also Suggest: As an interesting companion piece to Dune (1984), I highly recommend Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013), an amazing documentary and glimpse into what director Alejandro Jodorwosky attempted to make in the mid 1970’s. With cast members like Orson Welles, David Carradine and Salvador Dali, the artistic visions of Dan O’Bannon and H.R. Giger, as well as the music of Pink Floyd, it would have been either an artistic masterpiece or the biggest train wreck of cinematic history.

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Trivia:

  • Arthur Jacobs wanted to make Dune in 1971 before his death. Alejandro Jodorowsky attempted it in the mid 70s before Dino De Laurentiis and Frank Herbert himself started to work on a version. After being handed over to Ridley Scott, who turned it down to move forward with Blade Runner (1982), it eventually was given to David Lynch.
  • The original cut of Dune ran over four hours long with David Lynch’s version running closer to three. Universal wanted something more standard for the time period, so Dino, his daughter Raffaella and Lynch cut even more down, along with some reshot scenes and voice-over narrations, to finish at 136 minutes.
  • Dune was intended to be the start of a trilogy. David Lynch was working on the script for Dune Messiah when the sequel was canceled due to the poor reception at the box office.
  • Rock group Toto composed most of the film score with Brian Eno contributing one track.
  • David Lynch has said since he regrets having ever directed Dune.

Availability: Dune is available on Blu-ray for less than $10 on Amazon while Jodorowsky’s Dune is also available but a little more expensive.