Horror in the 1930’s

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By the 1930’s the “talkies” had only been around for a few years. Horror had been explored in the silent era and some real classics were made in that time, but filmakers had really only scratched the surface. In the early 30’s films like Dracula, Frankenstein and others were made and it was quickly discovered “hey, people like to be scared”. Universal studios in particular became masters of horror films during this decade. Actors like Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff became big names playing various monsters and madmen. In addition to monsters and madmen we saw castles, mad scientist labs and scream queens in these films. Everything was in glorious black and white with the real masters making great use of shadows and contrasts. If I think of a castle or a graveyard in a horror movie it’s usually one from this time period. There were some films like Freaks and M that went beyond just the mad scientist/monster formula and those were perhaps even scarier than the traditional monsters. By the end of the decade we were seeing some sequels and films falling back on formulas that worked on films made in the earlier part of the decade. Over the years cartoons and movies had spoofed films and actors from this era of horror. Films from this decade are not loved by everyone although most should be. There’s no denying the impact on future decades from many of these films. Why not? Monsters were everywhere, vampire didn’t sparkle, horror was about fear not gore and Kong was King. One of my favorire decades for horror films.

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***Feel free to add in any thoughts on the decade or chime in any of your favorite films from the 1930’s.

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Fury of the wolfman or La furia del Hombre Lobo

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1971 or 1972 (I have seen it listed as both)

Who’s in this?

Paul Naschy as Walter Daninsky/Wolfman a rather dull man and he’s almost as boring when he gets all hairy or hairier. The late Naschy did tons of horror films playing various monsters, but quite often he slapped on the fur and howled at the moon.

Perla Cristal as Dr. Ilona Alman / Eva Wolfstein. A mean scientist who can make evil eyes, raise the dead and and still make it seem very unexciting.

Veronica Lujan as Karen -wearer of a bowl cut, sort of unwilling assistant to Alman, sort of friend of Daninski and sort of but not really an actress in this movie.

There were other characters but like the sudo castle, the chains and the humming equipment they were all stiff set pieces.

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What’s this about? It’s about eighty some minutes too long wahaahahaha! Oh I guess you want a plot, well you and me both but it didn’t come into play much here or not that I cared. I took notes on this movie, but much like the actors likely did with the scripts for this film I’m just ripping up the paper and winging it. Daninsky is established as being a werewolf as you can tell by the blobbie not quite pentagram shaped mark on his chest. He is killed in a car accident caused by his wife and her lover. Later after some shifty eyebrow acting the evil, wait that would be eviiiiilll Dr. Ilona Alman (yeah, those mean scientist woman are never named Sally or Trudy) has her scruffy henchman dig Daninski up. She revives him, but even bringing someone back from the dead didn’t revive or well even begin to get me interested in this furry flop. At one point Ilona puts on a low cut dress and whips a chained Daninsky to get him to transform into the wofman. He did transform by the sight of the full moon at one point too but my thoughts on this film here much like Walter’s thoughts after transformation are blurry images of torture. Well ol’ fuzzy footy Walter kills some people by wrestling with them a little and then biting them on the neck, whoa, whoa isn’t that the method done by the monster that begins with a V? Yes, but hey I guess Walter bites on the neck too so he can leave what looks like a smear of strawberry jelly on the victims neck. Karen befriends Walter and they try to get away from Ilona. Meanwhile the police are following the jelly I mean bloody, trail of terror to Walter at Ilona’s castle where it seems to storm more than at other places in the area. Karen tries to leave the castle and an honest to goodness suit of armor grabs her! Oh, goodness not only are they borrowing from horror films but they are also borrowing from Scooby-Doo. At some point Walter and Karen release freaks and various dirty people from chains because Ilona has just been keeping them a hanging around. A wolfwoman battles with Walter, he of course wins this clash of the hairy rubber teethed monsters. Eventually the cops show up, oh busted!. Walter gives Ilona a death blow but not before she shoots him. Karen is reunited with her boyfriend (who looks old enough to be her dad) and they walk away much like myself hoping to forget all that happened above. Roll thos credits awhoooooo!

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The stats-

Number of innocent cermamic pots that Walter the wolfman throws around-at least 10, what did those pots ever do to you?

Number of time Karen’s dress seems to be falling off of her- 20 or so

Number of time the police seemed clueless-lets see add 20 plus 560, subtract the number of hairs on the police chief’s mustache and divide by the number of freaks in the dungeon and the answer is… they were clueless up until the last five minutes of the film and they arrived too late.

The negatives? The story is a mess. A horror film needs more action and a more intense monster. even a low budget film deserves a better effort. Tedious should not be the first thing that comes to mind after seeing a horror film.

The positives? Well, it is a wolfman movie and it’s gets points for that. I liked the fog alright. Beyond that there wasn’t much. I had hopes for it, but man it just was a real chore to work through this one.