Do you enjoy horror? Do you enjoy what used to be horror before we’d all collectively seen too much? Do you get cable in the US? Then you should check out Turner Classic Movies this weekend for a series of films from the 1920s–1970s, featuring frightful flicks inspired by literature, strange creatures, bizarre science, and underground horror hosted by Ron Perlman.
All times Eastern.
8: Dracula (1931). Director Tod Browning’s adaptation of the stage play by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston — itself a loose interpretation of Bram Stoker’s novel — featured Bela Lugosi in the role he made famous on Broadway. The line, “I never drink ... wine”, was exclusive to the film version. The film utilizes pieces of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake as its musical score, as well as Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nümberg, and Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony” in B minor. Originally made before the Hayes Code, when it was re-released in 1936 pieces of scenes were excised including Renfield’s screaming as he was killed and Dracula’s death moans.
9:30: The Mummy (1932). Director Karl Freund, the cinematographer from Dracula, was inspired by the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, and the Curse of the Pharaohs. The film stars Boris Karloff as the priest Imhotep, revived in San Francisco, CA, who sets out in search of the reincarnation of his lost love.
11: The Invisible Man (1933). Director James Whale’s adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel, stars Clause Rains as chemist Dr. Jack Griffin who has discovered the secret to invisibility, a drug called monocane — seen primarily as a disembodied voice or covered in bandages. Rains was not the studio’s first choice, coming in to replace Karloff after contract disputes. However, Wells did not condone the liberties taken with his chemist going from brilliant in his novel to unstable in the film.
12:15 AM: The Wolf Man (1941). Lon Chaney, Jr stars in George Waggner’s film as John Talbot, who returns to his family’s estate in Wales after the death of his brother. Unlike other werewolf stories, this wolf man is triggered by blooming wolfsbane, not the full moon: “Even a man who is pure in heart, and says his prayers by night; May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.”
1:30 AM: The Black Cat (1934). Stranded Budapest honeymooners follow a mad doctor (Bela Lugosi) to a black-lipped architect’s (Boris Karloff) Art Deco manor. Though Edgar Allan Poe is credited in the credits, the film bares no relation to his short story, though it does draw inspiration from the works of Aleister Crowley.
2:45 AM: The Uninvited (1944). Director Lewis Allen’s adaptation of Dorothy Macardie’s novel Uneasy Freehold. One of the first Hollywood films to tell stories of hauntings as serious events instead of something for laughs. Victor Young’s score produced what would become a popular jazz standard, “Stella by Starlight.”
4:30 AM: Island of Lost Souls (1932). The first adaptation of H.G. Wells’ Island of Dr. Moreau, this film was initially banned in Britain. Another adaption that Wells spoke out against, he felt the film’s horror overshadowed the novel’s deeper philosophy. The phrase, “The natives are restless tonight”, was first uttered in this film.
6 AM: The Devil-Doll (1936). Lionel Barrymore plays a man wrongfully convicted of robbery and murder who breaks out of prison using a scientist’s shrinking invention.
7:30 AM: The Leopard Man (1943). Authorities track an escaped circus leopard suspected of killing a number of peasants in a New Mexico town.
9 AM: Bedlam (1946). A portly lord send an 18th-century London actress to a madman’s (Boris Karloff) insane asylum.
Noon: The Black Scorpion (1957). Two geologists try to destroy a giant scorpion that surfaces after a volcanic eruption in Mexico.
1:45 PM: The Blob (1958). Formless red slime lands in Pennsylvania and engulfs people.
3:15 PM: The Village of the Damned (1961). British parents realize their son is one of twelve alien children born in their village.
4:45 PM: The Thing from Another World (1951). Arctic soldiers and scientists find an alien aircraft containing a frozen creature that wakes and feeds on human blood. John Carpenter used the novella this film was loosely based on, John W. Cambell’s “Who Goes There?”, for his 1982 thriller The Thing.
6:30 PM: Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956). A space scientist figures out how to down a fleet of alien spacecraft looming over Washington, DC.
Underground above Ground
8 PM: Blood & Black Lace (1964). Director Mario Bava’s giallo thriller about a killer searching for a diary. Initially panned for its gratuitous violence, it is cited as an inspiration directors ranging from Dario Argento to Martin Scorsese to Quentin Tarantino, and inspired the slasher films of the 1980s.
9:45 PM: Carnival of Souls (1962). Director Herk Harvey’s low budget thriller uses atmosphere instead of effects to tell the tale of a young woman who nearly dies after a car accident and finds herself haunted and drawn to an abandoned carnival, inspiring directors including George A. Romero and David Lynch.
11:15 PM: It’s Alive (1974). A couple’s first baby emerges with fangs, wrecks the delivery room, then goes after a milk truck.
1 AM: The Baby (1973). A social worker tries to save a teen from his mother, who keeps him in diapers and a crib.
8 AM: The Woman in White (1948). A ghostly woman warns a Victorian heiress about a count and his cohort who are after her fortune.
10 AM: Mystery Street (1950). A Harvard doctor’s study of a female skeleton leads a Boston police detective to a killer.
Noon: The Tingler (1959). Vincent Price stars as a pathologist who discovers that people die of fright because of an organism on the spinal cord.
1:30 PM: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939). Grotesque bell-ringer Quasimodo (Charles Laughton) saves Gypsy Esmerelda (Maureen O’Hara) from a mob and a corrupt priest in medieval Paris.
3:45 PM: Dead Ringer (1964). Starring Bette Davis as twins Edith and Margaret in a sordid tale of murder and stolen identity.
6 PM: The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971). Vincent Price stars as a living corpse who visits his late wife’s surgeons with rats, bats, and other biblical plagues.
8 PM: Young Frankenstein (1974). Respected medical lecturer Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) learns that he has inherited his infamous grandfather’s estate in Transylvania. Arriving at the castle, Dr. Frankenstein soon beings to recreate his grandfather’s experiments.
10 PM: Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). The Wolfman (Lon Chaney, Jr.) tries to warn a dimwitted porter (Lou Costello) that Dracula (Bela Lugosi) wants his brain for a monster’s body.
Midnight: The Monster (1925). Insane Dr. Ziska (Lon Chaney) devises an elaborate scheme to trap human specimens for his bizarre resurrection experiments.
2 AM: Diabolique (1955). A wife and a mistress conspire to murder the brutal headmaster of a school for boys, then the body disappears.
4 AM: Gaslight (1944). A Scotland Yard detective figures out why a schizoid Victorian is trying to drive his wife mad.
6 AM: Mark of the Vampire (1935). An elderly criminologist devises a unique scheme to unmask the killer behind a series of gruesome murders.
7:15 AM: Cat People (1942). A New York architect marries a Serbian artist who turns into a black panther when aroused.
8:30 AM: I Walked with a Zombie (1943). A nurse hired to care for a woman falls for her charge’s husband and is swept into the dark world of voodoo while trying to cure her.
9:45 AM: Dementia 13 (1963). Written by Francis Ford Coppola and directed by Roger Corman, a scheming young woman tries to get written into her mother-in-laws will after causing her father’s heart-attack while an axe-murderer picks off mourners in the family’s Irish estate.
11:15 AM: House of Wax (1953). Vincent Price stars as a fire-scarred sculptor using horrible methods to restore marvelous wax creations his crippled hands cannot.
12:45 PM: Black Sabbath (1964). Mario Bava directs this trilogy of horror stories involving a haunted nurse, a stalked call girl, and a vampire.
2:30 PM: Dead of Night (1945). This rare piece of British 1940s horror is an anthology featuring house guests summoned to an English estate, each of whom are confronted with their nightmares.
4:30 PM: House on Haunted Hill (1958). The owner of a haunted mansion (Vincent Price) offers a group of people reward money if they can survive a night at his scary estate.
6 PM: The Haunting (1963). An anthropologist, an heir, and two ESP-prone women explore a haunted, New England mansion.
Featuring Christopher Lee
8 PM: The Devil’s Bride (1968). A 1920s duke and his friends form a pentagram to ward off a satanist.
9:45 PM: The Mummy (1959). British archaeologists defile the tomb of an Egyptian princess and her buried-alive lover.
11:30 PM: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959). Peter Cushing stars as Sherlock Holmes tasked with protecting a nobleman from a killer-dog family curse.
1:15 AM: Scream of Fear (1961). A young woman in a wheelchair sees a corpse no one else sees on the French Riviera.
2:45 AM: The Two Face of Dr. Jekyll (1961). An elderly researcher’s experiments transform him into a youthful rogue with a penchant for violence.
4:30 AM: To the Devil, a Daughter (1976). A priest tries to save a nun from a cult trying to offer her as an avatar to Astaroth, the Great Duke of Hell.