Archive for james whale

DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #35 – #31

Posted in movies with tags , , , , on July 15, 2012 by goregirl

My 50 Favourite Directors #35 – #31

*NOTE: I did not include any made for TV movies in the numbers I used for each director’s full-length feature films.*

Here is a quintet of directors I don’t think get nearly the love they should! I’m getting down to the nitty gritty here; the next list I post will bring me to the mid-point of this project!

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#35. Hiroshi Teshigahara

What I’ve Seen: Pitfall (1962), Woman in the Dunes (1964), The Face of Another (1966), Man without a Map (1968), Rikyu (1989), Gô-hime (1992)

Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara sadly only made 11 films! I have seen six of his 11 films and they are all magnificent! Absolute masterpieces! I had borrowed Woman in the Dunes from the library and was waiting in the queue far too long for Teshigahara’s Pitfall and The Face of Another. I couldn’t bare it any longer so I actually bought a used copy of the Criterion 4-disc set from a guy on Craigslist. I had already seen Woman in the Dunes which I gave perfect marks so I felt confident I would at least enjoy the other two. Enjoy them I did! They blew my mind actually! I am so pleased to own this set, which evidently was in absolute mint condition! I have already watched the trio twice! Perfectly constructed films full of striking visuals and intriguing richly drawn characters that make me drool they are so freaking good! In addition to his directing he also became the Grand Master of the School his father founded that taught ikebana (Japanese style of flower arranging). This dude was multi-talented! Hiroshi Teshigahara died on April 14, 2001 at the age of 74, and should be celebrated as one of the great masters of Japanese cinema!

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#34. James Whale

What I’ve Seen: Frankenstein (1931), The Old Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)

I have seen just five of the 21 full length feature films directed by James Whale. Four of five of these are the best that classic horror has to offer! Frankenstein, The Old Dark House and Bride of Frankenstein are his trio of pure gold I gave a perfect score to. Fantastic sets and costumes, beautifully acted, unique and inventive visuals and effects made these delicious gothic fairytales come alive. Whale had commercial successes with several titles but apparently all good things must come to an end and Whale’s career in the movie industry petered out. James Whale left an indelible mark on film and the horror genre in particular. His 1931 Frankenstein and its sequel Bride of Frankenstein have been the inspiration for multiple decades of filmmakers. James Whale committed suicide on May 29, 1957 at the age of 67 after a long, troubling bout with his health. James Whale is a legend. Word.

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#33. Jacques Tourneur

What I’ve Seen: Cat People (1942), I Walked with a Zombie (1943), The Leopard Man (1943), Days of Glory (1944), Out of the Past (1947), The Flame and the Arrow (1950), Nightfall (1957), Night of the Demon (1957), The Comedy of Terrors (1963)

I have given four of French-American director Jacques Tourneur’s films a perfect score. Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, Out of the Past, and Night of the Demon are all magnificent. Be warned, Out of the Past is the only one of the four that is not a horror film; but it is one of my very favourite film noirs. Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie and The Leopard Man were all produced by the immensely talented Val Lewton whose films have given me copious amounts of enjoyment since starting this blog! Tourneur and Lewton were a quality team; I wish they had collaborated more! Tourneur made 36 full length feature films and was an amazing creative talent who’s extraordinary, moody and beautifully filmed masterpieces should be given the ample respect they deserve! Jacques Tourneur died December 19, 1977 at the age of 73 and is one of Goregirl’s Gods!

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#32. Takashi Miike

What I’ve Seen: Audition (1999), Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha (1999), Dead or Alive 2: Tôbôsha (2000), Visitor Q (2001), Ichi the Killer (2001), The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001), Deadly Outlaw: Rekka (2002), Gozu (2003), One Missed Call (2003), Izo (2004), The Great Yokai War (2005), Big Bang Love, Juvenile A (2006), Sukiyaki Western Django (2007), Detective Story (2007), 13 Assassins (2010)

Japanese Director Takashi Miike is one interesting cat. He covers a variety of genres in each one of his 74 full length feature films. Okay, I have not seen nearly that many of his films, I’m basing that on the 15 I have seen. The man is a movie making machine! This is certainly an eclectic list of flicks! One of my favourite horror films from the past couple decades has been Miike’s intense Audition. Most of Miike’s films are not straight up horror but do contain elements. The ultra-violent weirdfest Ichi the Killer, the disturbing family drama Visitor Q, the bizarre horror musical The Happiness of the Kutakuris and the samurai epic 13 Assassins are all films I have given high marks to. I could recommend checking out any of the fifteen films on this list, but I was a little mediocre on Deadly Outlaw: Rekka and Sukiyaki Western Django but otherwise a quality library. Miike is one of the most talented and original filmmakers working today.

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#31. Jim Jarmusch

What I’ve Seen: Permanent Vacation (1980), Stranger Than Paradise (1984), Down by Law (1986), Mystery Train (1989), Night on Earth (1991), Dead Man (1995), Year of the Horse (1997), Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), Coffee and Cigarettes (2003), Broken Flowers (2005), The Limits of Control (2009)

I have seen all 11 full length feature films from American director Jim Jarmusch. He also has a film in pre-production; Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) which needless to say, I am anxious to see! I absolutely love the deadpan humour, the chance encounters, the great casting and the exceptionally likable no-good-nick characters he often features in his films. I love the black and white photography and the real-time lingering of his camera on his subjects. The man is not afraid to show someone chewing on a piece of toast and reading the newspaper. It is superb how he mixes languages in films; like in Night on Earth which is about the adventures of various cab drivers on one particular night in various cities around the world; each segment is subtitled appropriately. There is something charming yet bleak about the way Jarmusch looks at his own culture that is very appealing to me. I gave Stranger Than Paradise, Down by Law, Night on Earth and Dead Man perfect marks! And Mystery Train and Ghost Dog would not be too far behind. Jim Jarmusch is a true American original whose films I eagerly anticipate.

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FRANKENSTEIN (1931) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, USA with tags , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2010 by goregirl

My classic film knowledge was severely lacking before I started this blog in January 2009. A huge horror fan for most of my life and I had yet to see what most horrorphiles and cinephiles in general would consider basic viewing! I can now check off two more classics from the list; James Whale’s Frankenstein and Bride Of Frankenstein. With a massive list still awaiting me, I have to say that Frankenstein without a doubt has been one of my favourites thus far!

Even if you have never seen this 1931 original, chances are, you’re familiar with the story based on the book by Mary Shelley. Brilliant scientist Henry Frankenstein successfully animates a man he created using body parts from cadavers. This concept alone must have been pretty horrifying to moviegoers in 1931! But Frankenstein is a film about human nature, not just the creation of a “monster”. Boris Karloff who plays the monster does so with little dialog but manages to create a sympathetic character who is intimidating and complex. The amazing makeup in no small way contributes to the awesomeness. Frankenstein’s creation has the mental capacity of a child and is unable to communicate with words, just grunts and hand gestures. Clearly Karloff’s monster wants to communicate and be understood. Of course it takes a child, a little girl named Maria to offer the monster a bit of kindness. An unfortunate misunderstanding behind the concept of a floating flower shatters this brief touching moment. There are some genuinely poignant moments in Frankenstein and a few surprises also, including a rather bleak ending that left me feeling a bit choked up. Of course, there is a sequel to the film, so the ending as it turns out is not as bleak as it appeared. But then the damn sequel pulls the rug out from under me too with an equally bleak ending! I actually watched Bride of Frankenstein immediately after but didn’t get a review done for it. A truly brilliant sequel, with equally impressive visuals and another awesome performance from Karloff combined with the truly exquisite Bride (who is in the film WAY too briefly!) makes it mandatory viewing. If by some small chance you’ve yet to check out this pair of classics I highly recommend watching these films back to back. What a treat!!

The film is a beautiful masterpiece. The camera is constantly moving and exploring, there is no unnecessary dialog and the pacing is perfection. The sets are an amazement. Particularly impressive is Frankenstein’s lab. The insane contraption he has built to lift the surgeon’s table up through the roof is nothing short of spectacular! Karloff is definitely the shining beacon among the cast, but the other performances are generally decent. Strangely my least favourite character in the film was Henry Frankenstein. I have to admit it bothers me that Frankenstein is totally let off the hook. His creature, is tortured, terrorized and then lynched but the good scientist gets no flack whatsoever. A timeless story, great visuals, and a truly amazing performance from Karloff make this film an enduring classic that is imperative viewing for any fan of film! Highest of recommendations!

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: James Whale

Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff, Edward Van Sloan, Frederick Kerr, Dwight Frye, Lionel Belmore, Marilyn Harris

Mary Shelley’s timeless story has endured the ages and has inspired countless celluloid interpretations. Just for the hell of it, here’s a list of 40 films that have borrowed (regardless how loosely) from the Mary Shelley novel…

1. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
2. Blackenstein
3. Bride of Frankenstein
4. Curse of Frankenstein
5. Dracula vs. Frankenstein
6. Edward Scissorhands
7. Erotic Rites of Frankenstein
8. Evil of Frankenstein
9. Flesh For Frankenstein
10. Frankenhooker
11. Frankenstein
12. Frankenstein (Kenneth Branagh’s)
13. Frankenstein 1970
14. Frankenstein 80
15. Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell
16. Frankenstein Conquers the World (Frankenstein vs. Baragon)
17. Frankenstein Created Woman
18. Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster
19. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
20. Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed
21. Frankenstein Reborn
22. Frankenstein Unbound
23. Frankenstein’s Daughter
24. Frankenweenie
25. Ghost Of Frankenstein
26. House of Frankenstein
27. I Was a Teenage Frankenstein
28. Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter
29. May
30. Revenge of Frankenstein
31. Rocky Horror Picture Show
32. Son of Frankenstein
33. The Bride
34. The Horror of Frankenstein
35. The Monster Squad
36. Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl
37. Van Helsing
38. War of the Gargantuas
39. Weird Science
40. Young Frankenstein