The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a 1923 American romantic drama film with horror elements starring Lon Chaney, directed by Wallace Worsley, and produced by Carl Laemmle and Irving Thalberg. The supporting cast includes Patsy Ruth Miller, Norman Kerry, Nigel de Brulier, and Brandon Hurst. The film was Universal’s “Super Jewel” of 1923 and was their most successful silent film, grossing $3.5 million.
The film is based on Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel, and is notable for the grand sets that recall 15th century Paris as well as for Chaney’s performance and make-up as the tortured hunchback Quasimodo. The film elevated Chaney, already a well-known character actor, to full star status in Hollywood, and also helped set a standard for many later horror films, including Chaney’s The Phantom of the Opera in 1925. In 1951, the film entered the public domain in the United States because the claimants did not renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.
Running time 102 minutes / 117 min (Director’s cut) / 98 min (cut edition)
Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American independent horror film written, directed, photographed and edited by George A. Romero, co-written by John Russo, and starring Duane Jones and Judith O’Dea. The story follows seven people who are trapped in a rural farmhouse in western Pennsylvania, which is besieged by a large and growing group of “living dead” monsters.
The film was completed on a $114,000 budget and shot outside Pittsburgh, where it had its theatrical premiere on October 1, 1968. The film grossed $12 million domestically and $18 million internationally, earning over 250 times its budget. Night of the Living Dead has been regarded as a cult classic by film scholars and critics, despite being heavily criticized upon its release for its explicit gore. It eventually garnered critical acclaim and has been selected in 1999 by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry, as a film deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Night of the Living Dead led to five subsequent films between 1978 and 2010, also directed by Romero, and inspired two remakes; the most well-known remake was released in 1990, directed by Tom Savini.
The Man with the Golden Arm is a 1955 American drama film with elements of film noir, based on the novel of the same name by Nelson Algren, which tells the story of a drug addict who gets clean while in prison, but struggles to stay that way in the outside world. Although the addictive drug is never identified in the film, according to the American Film Institute “most contemporary and modern sources assume that it is heroin”, in contrast to Algren’s book which named the drug as morphine. The film stars Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker, Kim Novak, Arnold Stang and Darren McGavin. It was adapted for the screen by Walter Newman, Lewis Meltzer and Ben Hecht (uncredited), and directed by Otto Preminger. The film’s initial release sparked controversy due to its serious, in-depth treatment of the then-taboo subject of drug addiction.
It was nominated for three Academy Awards: Sinatra for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Joseph C. Wright and Darrell Silvera for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White and Elmer Bernstein for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture. Sinatra was also nominated for best actor awards by the BAFTAs and The New York Film Critics. The film is in the public domain.
“Can your heart stand the shocking facts about grave robbers from outer space?” That’s the question on the lips of the narrator of this tale about flying saucers, zombies and cardboard tombstones. A pair of aliens, angered by the “stupid minds” of planet Earth, set up shop in a California cemetery. Their plan: to animate an army of the dead to march on the capitals of the world. (The fact that they have only managed to resurrect three zombies to date has not discouraged them.) An intrepid airline pilot living near the cemetery must rescue his wife from this low-budget terror. “Can you prove it *didn’t* happen?”
Stars: Tor Johnson, Vampira, Tom Keene, and Gregory Walcott
Vincent Price gives a stellar performance as the suavely malevolent host of a “haunted house party” who offers his guests $10,000 if they can survive a night in the murderous mansion.
Watch for the great Elisha Cook Jr,(he played Wilmer in the “Maltese Falcon”) as the groveling homeowner.
The eerie looking home used for the exterior shots is the Ennis Brown house in Los Angeles, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1924. It was later used in the films “Blade Runner”, “Black Rain”, and “Rocketeer”.