George Zucco in The Black Raven (1943)

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The Black Raven (1943)
Cast:      George Zucco as Amos Bradford
                Wanda McKay as Lee Winfield
                Noel Madison as Mike Bardoni
                Robert Livingston as Allen Bentley

Written by Fred Myton
Directed by Sam Newfield

Plot: It’s a dark and stormy night when a group of strangers find themselves at an inn with murder and stolen money lurking around every dark corner.

Richard’s Review: The Black Raven is a fun film clocking in at just over an hour with George Zucco playing a man seeking revenge against those who wronged him. There’s a young couple trying to get away from the young girl’s father but don’t quite make it into Canada before the storm and her father catch up to them. Throw in some embezzlement and murder, as well as an inn which serves as the old, dark house, and you have a rather enjoyable little murder mystery. Zucco turns in a good performance in a role somewhat similar to what he did in Fog Island, just not as grand. Definitely something fun for a rainy night or a quick afternoon matinee.

Trivia:

  • Fred Myton was an established writer with 171 credits from 1916 until 1954. He was prolific in the western genre, including the cult classic, Terror of Tiny Town. He also wrote The Mad Monster and Dead Men Walk.
  • Sam Newfield has 277 directing credits, including The Monster Maker (1944), Dead Men Walk (1943) and Nabonga (1944).
  • Noel Madison only starred in two more films after The Black Raven, including Jitterbugs (1943) with Laurel and Hardy.
  • Robert Livingston is best remembered for his many western films, as well as his very last movie in 1975, Blazing Stewardesses.
  • Wanda McKay also starred in The Mad Doctor (1940), Voodoo Man (1944) and The Monster Maker (1944).
  • Charles Middleton, who played the sheriff, is best known for his role of Ming the Merciless in the Flash Gordon chapter serials.
  • Glenn Strange played the supporting character of Andy but is best remembered for his role of the Frankenstein Monster in the last three films in the Frankenstein film series (House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein).

Availability: The Black Raven is in the public domain and available on a wide variety of home media releases and streaming options.

George Zucco in The Monster and the Girl (1941)

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The Monster and the Girl (February 28, 1941)
Cast:       George Zucco as Dr. Parry
                Ellen Drew as Susan Webster
                Robert Paige as Larry Reed
                Paul Lukas as W.S. Bruhl
                Joseph Calleia as Deacon
                Onslow Stevens as J. Stanley McMasters
                Philip Terry as Scot Webster

Written by Stuart Anthony
Directed by Stuart Heisler

Plot: Susan Webster moves to the big city but becomes the prey of gangster W.S. Bruhl. After his brother Scot is set up for a murder he didn’t commit and executed, his brain becomes the property of mad scientist Dr. Parry, who transplants it into the body of a gorilla, who then goes on a quest to seek revenge for his murder and to protect his sister.

Richard’s Review: This is an odd one. For most of the film, it’s almost like a noir thriller about a small town girl who falls in with the wrong crowd. In fact, the mad scientist part almost seems thrown in at the last minute. Zucco doesn’t have a big role and once the brain transplant is over, he almost vanishes into the background. Oddly enough, I found this movie to better than most consider it to be. It’s not much of a horror movie but the story intrigued me enough to make it an enjoyable rewatch. It should be low on the list for both Universal and Zucco completests but worth checking out.

Trivia:

  • The Monster and the Girl was produced by Paramount Pictures but its distribution rights were sold to Universal after the initial theaterical run. While it was never part of Universal’s Shock or Son of Shock television packages, Universal has handled its home media releases.
  • The Monster and the Girl debuted on Turner Classic Movies in December 2018 courtesy of guest programmer John Landis. 
  • Stuart Hesiler would continue to direct until his retirement in 1964. This was his only horror or thriller genre film.
  • This was the next to last writing credit for Stuart Anthony. Out of his 54 credits, the only other genre films were Charlie Chan in London (1934) and Charlie Chan in Paris (1935). He died in 1942 at the age of 51.
  • Ellen Drew had the lead role for the movie and earned more horror recognition with her roles in The Mad Doctor (1940) and Isle of the Dead (1945), as well as appearances on Science Fiction Theatre in 1955.
  • Robert Paige also starred in Son of Dracula (1943) and Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953).
  • Paul Lukas also starred in Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Ghost Breakers (1940) with Bob Hope and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954).
  • Joseph Calleia starred as Dr. Nicholas Moryani in Lured (1947), which also featured George Zucco and Boris Karloff.
  • Onslow Stevens also starred in Life Returns (1935) and Them! (1954).
  • Gerald Mohr played gang member Munn. He is also remembered for his roles in The Angry Red Planet (1959), Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941), numerous television appearances and as the character of Michael Lanyard in the Lone Wolf series.

Availability: The Monster and the Girl is available on DVD as part of the Universal Vault Series and on Blu-ray in the Universal Horror Collection Volume 7.

Classic Horrors Club – Captive Wild Jungle Woman

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Come for the discussion of three mid-40s Universal, uh… classics, then stay for the speculation about the future of physical media collecting. In episode 56 of the Classic Horrors Club Podcast, Jeff and I are joined by Paula the Ape Woman, with a little help from one of our members, Joe Carson, as we talk about Captive Wild Woman (1943), Jungle Woman (1944), and The Jungle Captive (1945).

Yes, we did enjoy all three films, to one degree or another, despite the fact that these three films sometimes get a bad rap. However, there are worse Universal monster movies, even if we can’t think of one for sure off the top of our heads.

We also invite you to watch our companion episode with highlights and bonus features on our YouTube channel. If you like what you hear, you’re going to love what you see! Check it out and give us some feedback… both on the podcast and the video.

Call us at (616) 649-2582 (CLUB) or email at classichorrorsclub@gmail.com.

Join us in our clubhouse at https://www.facebook.com/groups/classichorrors.club/.

We’d also appreciate if you’d give us an honest rating on Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud. Thank you!

You can find Jeff at:

As always, thank you for your continued support!

Dread Media – Tammy and the T-Rex (1994)

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Joe Bob Briggs celebrated Valentine’s Day back in February and what a double feature it was. While The Love Witch (2016) was an interesting watch, things started off with the even more unique “lost classic” Tammy and the T-Rex (1994). This is the complete version with the previously unseen and deleted graphic footage. Not sure it really enhanced the viewing experience that much but judge for yourself by tuning in to episode 711 of the Dread Media podcast. And, as always, tell ’em Monster Movie Kid sent ya!

Dread Media – The Love Witch (2016)

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Back in February, Joe Bob Briggs helped us all celebrate valentine’s Day with a special episode featuring two rather unique tales of love. Of course, I knew I had to share my thoughts with everyone over at Dead Media. So, tune in to episode 710 of the Dread Media podcast as I take a look at The Love Witch (2016), a movie that’s been on my radar for years now and, thanks to The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob, I can scratch this off the list. The real question is, was it worth the wait? 

Inner Sanctum (1948) is More Film Noir Than Mystery

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Inner Sanctum (1948)
Cast:        Charles Russell as Harold Dunlap
                Mary Beth Hughes as Jean Maxwell
                Billy House as McFee
                Dale Belding as Mike Bennett
                Fritz Lieber as Dr. Valonius

Written by Jerome Todd Gollard
Directed by Lew Landers

Plot: Harold Dunlap has murdered his wife and thinks he’s committed the perfect crime until he realizes that a young boy can place him at the scene of the crime. How long before the boy connects him to the murder? And how long before Dunlap decides the boy is a liability?

Richard’s Review: Inner Sanctum was released on October 15, 1948, just three years after the Universal Pictures films with Lon Chaney, Jr., based on the popular series of mystery novels. While those films were legitimate mysteries, this is definitely more of a poor man’s film noir as there is no mystery in regards to who committed the crime. This was the only movie ever released by M.R.S. Pictures and it’s no surprise as it’s ultimately a rather forgettable film. With a running time of just over an hour, the story is about 30 minutes too long. There’s enough material for a half-hour anthology series but even then, it lacks any real suspense. However, there is an interesting twist with the wraparound segment involving the mysterious Dr. Valonius. He plays a part in a cool twist at the end. Unfortunately, the rest of story plays out just as one would predict after watching the first ten minutes. It’s in the public domain, so it’s very easy to find but I recommend you watch it for free. It’s harmless and mildly entertaining, not bad enough to make you feel you were cheated out of an hour but there’s not enough substance to want to come back for a second helping.

Trivia:

  • Charles Russell only starred in 18 films before his on screen career ended in 1950. However, he transitioned to a new role behind the camera and was a successful producer on such television programs as The Untouchables, Naked City and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. He was also the original Johnny Dollar on the popular radio program Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar in 1949 and 1950. He died in 1985 at the age of 66.  
  • Dale Bedding only had nine acting credits between 1947 and 1951. His debut was in a 1947 Hal Roach comedy called Curley. Roach no longer owned the rights to Our Gang aka Little Rascals, so he attempted to revive the concept with a new group of kids with actor Larry Olsen heading up the new gang as Curley. The series only lasted two films, with Who Killed Doc Robbin? (1948) being the second and last. Bedding played Curley’s friend Speck in both films. Bedding also starred in The Life of Riley (1949), based on the popular radio program, and as Danny in the first three Ma and Pa Kettle movies. He retired from acting in 1951 and died in 1997 in Las Vegas at the age of 62.
  • Billy House was a popular character actor with a short-lived career and memorable roles in The Stranger (1946) with Orson Welles and Bedlam (1946) with Boris Karloff.  He died in 1961 at the age of 72 of a heart attack.
  • Fritz Lieber is well-known to horror fans for his roles in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), Phantom of the Opera (1943) and Cry of the Werewolf (1944). Inner Sanctum was one of his last films before his death in 1949 at the age of 67 of a heart attack.
  • Lew Landers had a long and successful directing career between 1934 and 1963. He’s well-remembered among horror fans for The Raven (1935) with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, The Boogie Man Will Get You (1942), starring Karloff and Peter Lorre, and The Return of the Vampire (1943) with Lugosi. He turned to television by the 50s but returned for one more horror film in 1963, Terrified. He died on December 16, 1962, at the age of 61, several months before the film’s release.
  • Jerome Todd Gollard has only two film writing credits, both in 1948, before his third and final credit in 1967 for an episode of The Fugitive.

Inner Sanctum Mysteries – The Tell-Tale Heart (1941)

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This week on OTR Wednesday, we continue to celebrate Inner Sanctum Week with an episode of Inner Sanctum Mysteries. The program ran for a total of 527 episodes from January 7, 1941 through October 5, 1952. Unfortunately, many of the early episodes no longer exist but, thankfully, we still have many with guest star Boris Karloff.

On August 3, 1941, while Karloff was on stage with Arsenic and Old Lace, he appeared in an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic, The Tell-Tale Heart. So, turn out the lights and come in won’t you. Boris and Edgar are waiting for you. I’m sure this tale will leave you with…pleasant dreams!

Don’t forget to check out all of the playlists on my YouTube channel for more great old time radio!

Classic Horrors Club – Enter the Inner Sanctum

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You, without knowing, can commit murder…

Bring a can of WD-40 to oil that squeaky door as Jeff and I examine the Inner Sanctum franchise from books to radio to movies to TV. In episode 55 of the Classic Horrors Club Podcast, we’ll take a look at all six films in the Universal Pictures film series of the mid-1940s starring Lon Chaney Jr., including Calling Dr. Death (1943), Weird Woman (1944), Dead Man’s Eyes (1944), The Frozen Ghost (1945), Strange Confession (1945) and Pillow of Death (1945).

There are some differences about how your hosts would rank them, but they agree they’re all worth watching. Afterwards, we’re sure you’ll have “pleasant dreams, hmmmmm?”

Be sure to watch a very special companion episode with all kinds of highlights and bonus features on our YouTube channel. If you like what you hear, you’re going to love what you see! Check it out and give us some feedback… both on the podcast and the video.

Call us at (616) 649-2582 (CLUB) or email at classichorrorsclub@gmail.com.

Join us in our clubhouse at https://www.facebook.com/groups/classichorrors.club/.

We’d also appreciate if you’d give us an honest rating on Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud. Thank you!

You can find Jeff at:

As always, thank you for your continued support!

OTR Wednesday – Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Blarney Stone (1946)

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This week on OTR Wednesday and in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, let’s journey back to March 18, 1946, for a thrilling episode of The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

By this time, Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce had played the great detective and Dr. Watson since 1939 on both radio and the silver screen. Rathbone had grown weary of Mr. Holmes and was soon to leave the role by May 1946. Nigel Bruce would go on to play Dr. Watson for one more year on the air opposite the new radio Sherlock, Tom Conway, before leaving the show himself.

In 1946 on the day after St. Patrick’s Day, Holmes and Watson would travel to Ireland for The Adventure of the Blarney Stone. You’ll also hear announcer Harry Bartell doing his best to promote sponsor Petri Wine. If you’ve ever listened to this era of Sherlock Holmes radio programs, you may have wondered if Petri Wine is still in existence. Louis Petri had founded the winery in 1886 and it remained a thriving business until Petri formed two new companies in the 1950s and Petri Wines ceased to exist. The vineyards were sold at one point and were most recently purchased by the Bronco Wine Company and still producing wine. So, you may have had a glass of wine from the very vineyards that Petri Wine once came from.

Now, on a chilly late spring night, pour yourself a pint and enjoy some corned beef and cabbage as you tune into this old time radio classic. And don’t forget to check out all of the playlists on my YouTube channel for more great old time radio!

Nightmare Junkhead – Into the Mouth of March Madness 2021

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It’s been a long two years but the darkness of the universe and a pandemic could not keep Jeff Owens and I away from returning for our 4th visit to the Nightmare Junkhead Podcast! Yes, it’s time once again to journey Into the Mouth of March Madness!

This year, Jeff and I virtually sit down with Greg and Jenius to talk about the four films in our respective bracket to determine the definitive horror film of 1981. We’ll be talking about An American Werewolf in London, Halloween II, The Beyond and My Bloody Valentine

Tune into episode 275 to find out which which two films survive to the next round. And thank you Greg and Jenius for having us back once again!