I’m a bit of a fan of horror films, if you haven’t noticed by all the horror films I’ve reviewed and talked about on this site. But I do have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to the golden age classics. Sure I've seen King Kong and a couple of silent classics like Nosferatu, but I haven't seen too many of the Universal films from the 1930s. This documentary sounded like a good place to start, so I gave it a try.
This documentary covers the history of horror films in Hollywood from the silent era with Phantom of the Opera all the way up to the 1940s with Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Along the way you see trailers from the films, hear from folks who worked on them, and of course hear from critics and fans discussing the impact of these classics on modern movies.
The documentary also explores how current events shaped the films and their popularity. This gives you some idea how you could go from a gothic masterpiece like Frankenstein and then about a decade later have a crazy monster mash up of House of Frankenstein. The documentary even includes some surprises like Val Lewton’s films and Mighty Joe Young.
- Provides a informative mix of plot summary and impact for the classic films
- Includes some interesting interviews with cast, crew and critics
- Moves briskly to fit all the key points into a little over an hour
- Feels disorganized, doesn’t move in chronological order
- Moves a little too briskly - a bit more information or films could have been included
- Hard core fans of this genre will not find anything new here
While I’m not well versed in the golden age of horror, I do know a little bit about their place in the scheme of things (watched quite a few of Cinemassacre’s horror episodes). So a lot of the material here was not new to me. It was presented well, but would jump around sometimes, feeling a little less cohesive than it could. This might be a good place to start for newbies, but I think most fans of the genre and film history buffs will find it engaging, but a little lacking.
Scores (out of 5)
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