Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 7:00 PM
Universal Studios was the undisputed master of horror and the macabre during the 1930s and 40s. The Alex Film Society celebrates the Halloween season with a pair films featuring two of the studio’s most popular stars.
The Raven (1935) teams Boris Karloff with his frequent onscreen nemesis, Bela Lugosi. The picture highlights Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem and features Lugosi as a Poe-obsessed mad surgeon who just happens to have a torture chamber in his basement. Karloff is a fugitive murderer on the lam who falls victim to Lugosi’s mad schemes. Both actors were at the height of their fame, making this fast paced thriller one of Universal’s best offerings. Universal is providing an excellent 35mm print for the occasion. (Running time: 61 mins.)
The Old Dark House (1932) was assumed to be a lost classic until a film negative was discovered in the Universal vaults in 1968. It has since assumed cult-like status among fans of director James Whale, who helmed Frankenstein (1931), and Bride of Frankenstein (1935). Whale packed his offbeat take on horror with star talent including Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Raymond Massey, Gloria Stuart and of course Karloff.
The film is now considered to be the inspiration for many notable haunted house movies that have followed, including The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Director Joe Dante (Gremlins) names The Old Dark House as one of his Five Favorite Horror Films. AFS will be screening a glorious new 4K digital restoration courtesy of the Cohen Media Group. (Running time: 72 mins.)
Live on Stage: Illeana Douglas and Bela Lugosi, Jr.
Actress, director, author, screenwriter, and producer Illeana Douglas will be our host for the evening. She has written and produced numerous segments for Turner Classic Movies (TCM), and has participated in the annual TCM Classic Fim Festival in Hollywood. She brings a unique perspective to the AFS Halloween screening of The Old Dark House: She is the granddaughter of Melvyn Douglas, one of the stars of that film and a Hollywood legend, whose fifty-year career included staring roles in Ninotchka (1939), Hud (1963) and Being There (1979).
Bela Lugosi, Jr., a friend of the Alex Film Society and a frequent guest at our Halloween shows, has kindly agreed to return and discuss life with his famous father.