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Bela Lugosi's Dead Pt 1

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Posted 24th April 2009 at 10:39 PM by Sam@Cult Labs

Bride of the Monster

Bride of the Monster is an essential movie for all students of trash film making, a classic Z-grade shocker from the master of bad movies, Ed Wood.

Bela Lugosi stars in this poverty stricken sci-fi effort as a mad doctor (is there any other kind?) who kidnaps twelve men and attempts to use atomic energy to turn them into super-humans. A sassy female journalist gets wind of his scheme, heads up to his lair to investigate and now she's in his sights as the experiment unfolds...

Along side his other works of questionable genius, such as Plan 9 From Outer Space and the groundbreaking cross-dressing flick, Glen or Glenda?, Bride of the Monster stands up as a true example of the bad/good auteurism of Ed Wood. If you've seen the biopic with Johnny Depp and are curious about seeing the real movies by this timeless film-maker, there are worse places to start than this. Points must also be given to fading star, Lugosi, who, despite being ravaged by ill health and a debilitating addiction of prescription opiates, pulls off a scenery chewing performance of jaw dropping Gothic camp.

White Zombie

Great example of the poverty row movie. Outside of the major companies in 30s Hollywood existed low rent studios churning out B pictures such as this dubious classic. Typical of the first run of zombie pictures, White Zombie takes a Caribbean setting and infuses it with voodoo and ritual. These cheap knock offs have a lot in common with the Boy's Own jungle movies of the time, which means you'll be treated to some dated racial stereotypes, but if you're politically correct temperament can stomach that, you're in for a melodramatic treat.

Bela Lugosi plays a plantation owner who zombifies the locals in order to set them to work as slaves. A young couple start snooping around and soon the beautiful young girl is transformed into a blank eyed ghoul. This is cheap B-movie hack work featuring lots of standing about talking plot, but has some great moments, like the first time we see the ghouls at work and of course, Lugosi is fantastic in his sinister role. White Zombie is a must for retro horror nuts.

The Invisible Ghost

Bela Lugosi's career dipped after the initial successful run of Universal Horror pictures, reducing him to roles in some of the real stinkers being churned out by the Poverty Row studios. Luckily, these cheapskate production houses occasionally struck cinematic oil, creating a few memorable gothic yarns such as the aforementioned White Zombie and this battered but beautiful yarn, Invisible Ghost.

Lugosi is Charles Kessler, a guy going slowly mad because his wife has run off with another man. Unknown to Kessler, his wife has been mentally damaged by an accident and is being cared for secretly by his gardener. By night, she sneaks out to stare through Kessler's windows. When he sees her he becomes hypnotized and sets out to murder a houseguest! The house's population is in serious decline as Lugosi's sleepwalking killing spree reaches it's peak. Only the police can stop him now, if he doesn't kill them first...

Although, in keeping with these kind of low budget programme fillers, it's short on plot and, Lugosi aside, decent acting, the film works because of it's haunting atmosphere with the creepy old house adding to the ghostly chill.
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  1. Old Comment
    Bela Lugosi's (RIP) a true legend .
    Nice job Sam.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 25th April 2009 at 12:27 AM by vipco vipco is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Sam@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Thanks Vipco.

    A recent Twitter discussion threw up the point that a lot of horror sites see Halloween as some kind of Horror year zero.

    Or maybe Night of the Living Dead.

    I'm a big lover of creaky gothic stuff.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 25th April 2009 at 07:18 PM by Sam@Cult Labs Sam@Cult Labs is offline
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