The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)

 
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)

Read More

Jack and the Beanstalk (1974)

 
Jack and the Beanstalk (ジャックと豆の木 Jakku to Mame no Ki) is a 1974 Japanese animated feature film produced by Group TAC and Nippon Herald Films and directed by Gisaburō Sugii. Styled after classical Western animation, it is a musical fantasy based on the fairy tale of the same name with the screenplay by Shūji Hirami, music organization by Yū Aku and songs and score composed and arranged by Takashi Miki with Shun’ichi Tokura and Tadao Inōe. It was released in Japan on July 20, 1974 and in the United States by Columbia Pictures in 1976.

Running time 96 minutes

Read More

Angels in the Outfield (1994)

 
Angels in the Outfield is a 1994 American family sports fantasy comedy-drama film that is a remake of the 1951 film of the same name. It stars Danny Glover, Tony Danza and Christopher Lloyd (the two latter actors previously worked together on Taxi), and features several future stars, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt (in the lead), Adrien Brody, Matthew McConaughey, and Neal McDonough. It spawned two direct-to-video sequels, Angels in the Endzone and Angels in the Infield. It was released less than a month before the 1994 MLB Baseball Strike, which forced the league to cancel the playoffs and the World Series.

Running time 102 minutes

Read More

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

 
Dawn of the Dead (also known internationally as Zombi or Zombie) is a 1978 Italian-American independent zombie horror film directed by George A. Romero. It was written by Romero in collaboration with the Italian filmmaker Dario Argento and produced by Richard P. Rubinstein. It was the second film made in Romero’s Night of the Living Dead series and shows in a larger scale the apocalyptic effects on society, though it contains no characters or settings from the film Night of the Living Dead. In the film, a phenomenon of unidentified origin has caused the reanimation of the dead, who prey on human flesh. David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger, and Gaylen Ross star as survivors of the outbreak who barricade themselves inside a suburban shopping mall amid mass hysteria.

Dawn of the Dead was filmed over approximately four months, from late 1977 to early 1978, in the Pennsylvania cities of Pittsburgh and Monroeville. Its primary filming location was the Monroeville Mall. The film was made on a budget estimated at $1.5 million and grossed approximately $55 million worldwide. The film has a 93% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, which calls it “one of the most compelling and entertaining zombie films ever made” in its critical consensus.

In addition to four official sequels, the film has spawned numerous parodies and pop culture references. A remake premiered in the United States on March 19, 2004. The remake was directed by Zack Snyder and written by James Gunn, the latter of whom labeled it a “re-imagining” of the original film’s concept. In 2008, Dawn of the Dead was chosen by Empire magazine as one of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time, along with Night of the Living Dead.

Running time 127 minutes

Read More

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

 
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.

Running time 96 minutes

Read More