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    The Jungle Book 2 (Special Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 17th, 2008

    The voices aren’t the same. The animation has lost that classic charm. The story is completely contrived. What remains is a dim reflection of a few beloved characters from a bygone year of vintage Disney magic. This sequel of the classic Disney telling of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book looks more like a direct to video knockoff. I was actually quite amazed to note the film did have a box office run.
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    The Bride of Frankenstein

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 1st, 2002

    It’s hard to imagine, but in the 1930’s sequels were almost unheard of. If a work was considered to be a franchise, it was released in serial form before the main features. By today’s standards, Bride of Frankenstein would be no surprise. James Whale was reluctant to continue the Frankenstein saga as was the Monster himself, Boris Karloff. Universal was relentless and the world is the benefactor of its greed. Bride of Frankenstein not only lives up to its original but in many ways surpasses it. The sets are far more grand and the story was Universal’s most compelling.
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    The Invisible Man

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 1st, 2002

    Haven’t we all fantasized about what it would be like to be invisible? Most of the common perks come to mind: spying, getting into movies and amusement parks free, even the baser peeping tom inclinations come to mind. James Whale would pair his Frankenstein masterpieces with this equally trend-setting film. The film is only loosely based on the popular H.G. Wells novel and is played more for chills. Claude Rains does such a wonderful role when you consider that for most of the film he is denied physical presence on the screen.


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    The Mummy

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 23rd, 2002

    “He’s gone for a little walk.” I’ve never forgotten the first time I saw the mad assistant describe the escape of the Mummy from his tomb and the maniacal laughter that accompanied it. Again it’s the combination of Boris Karloff and makeup genius Jack Pearce that defines a creature for generations to come. When most of us think of a mummy we recall the bandaged creeping terror of Karloff’s portrayal rather than the more mundane rotted corpses found in museums all over the world. With a powerful cast and grand set designs, The Mummy would wrap all of us up in horror for 60 years.


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    Creature from the Black Lagoon

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 21st, 2002

    By 1954 it seemed that Universal had run out its string of classic horror icons. Frankenstein’s Monster, The Mummy, and the Wolfman were forever gone from the backlots of Universal Studios. Enter Bud Westmore with a brand new monster design and The Creature soon joined the unholy 3 as the new face of horror. The Creature or Gillman would be the first Universal monster to be a full body suit and played by 2 actors in the same film (Browning for water and Chapman for land). Jack Arnold would bring a newly charged atmosphere and revitalize a genre.


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    The Wolf Man

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 20th, 2002

    “Even a man who is pure at heart and says his prayers at night can become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the moon is full and bright.” Curt Siodmak penned that poem over 60 years ago as the centerpiece for a film that was to feature Boris Karloff. The film was to be called “Destiny” and provide Karloff with a less lumbering creature than his Frankenstein’s monster. The project was put on hold and would eventually re-emerge as “The Wolf Man”, this time starring the son of the man of a thousand faces, Lon Chaney, Jr. Chaney would later in life claim this as his favorite role because unlike the Monster or the Mummy it was “completely my own”.


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    Dracula

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 16th, 2002

    “Among the rugged peaks that frown upon the Borgo Pass are found crumbling castles of a bygone age.” Carla Laemmle read these the first words ever spoken in a horror film that featured sound in the opening moments of Dracula. The film was based more on the Broadway play version of Dracula than the famous Bram Stoker novel. Who better to play the Count than the young Hungarian actor who immortalized him on the stage, Bela Lugosi? Lugosi brought more immortality to Dracula than the blood of his victims.
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    Frankenstein

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 14th, 2002

    Bela Lugosi had become the heir apparent to Lon Chaney, Sr. as Universal’s horror king with the extraordinary success of Dracula. When the studio decided that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein would be its next vehicle, Lugosi adamantly turned down the role of the monster. He felt that the role was doomed to failure, mainly because there was no dialogue and that audiences would not relate to the character. Enter a little known character actor from England to fill the monster’s shoes, and the name Boris Karloff would eventually eclipse Universal’s reigning king of horror.
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