- The Walking Dead (1936)
- -Commentary by historian Greg Mank
- Frankenstein 1970 (1958)
- -Commentary by historians Charlotte Austin, Bob Burns, and Tom Weaver
- -Theatrical trailer
- You'll Find Out (1940)
- -Theatrical trailer
- Zombies on Broadway (1945)
Karloff & Lugosi Horror Classics: (The Walking Dead / Frankenstein 1970 / You'll Find Out / Zombies on Broadway)
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(Oct 06, 2009)
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Karloff & Lugosi Horror Classics (DVD)
THE HUNGARIAN HORRORMEISTER! DISC 1 offers doom with a view when sinister Bela Lugosi joins Karloff and Peter Lorre in a scared-silly haunted-house tale (You’ll Find Out) and when he encounters two lunkheaded Broadway agents looking for a real-life zombie for their show (Zombies on Broadway). QUINTESSENTIAL KARLOFF! DISC 2 comes alive when Boris Karloff plays a wrongly executed man who returns from the dead with a vengeance (The Walking Dead) and when, as Dr. Frankenstein, he has an eerie motive for allowing filmmakers to shoot a horror flick at his castle (Frankenstein 1970). The fear – and fun – are here!]]>
Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi are the magic names when it comes to a bygone era of horror, and quite a bit of that magic is still afoot in Karloff & Lugosi Horror Classics, a two-disc, four-film set that gathers some of their lower-profile appearances. Karloff reigns supreme on the first disc, delivering a soulful performance in 1936's The Walking Dead, one of his life-after-execution pictures. Here Edmund Gwenn is the professor applying his reanimation technique to the unjustly electrocuted Karloff; revenge killings ensue--or is it karma? Michael Curtiz's energetic direction reminds you that he rarely phoned it in. Karloff takes on the Frankenstein family name (not the Monster garb) in Frankenstein 1970 (1958), which allows him quite a long leash and more than a few doomy speeches. It gets off to a great start and has a promising "meta" setup (a movie crew is at the Frankenstein castle in order to get authentic atmosphere for their horror picture), but it falls off pretty badly.
The second disc boasts You'll Find Out, a 1940 curiosity that not only brings Karloff and Lugosi together, but throws in Peter Lorre for an extra treat. With all that, who cares if the movie is really a vehicle for the popular radio personality Kay Kyser (and his "Kollege of Musical Knowledge")? Kyser's zany style, complete with sidekicks such as the ineffable Ish Kabibble, actually translates fairly well to the screen, and the movie cheerfully follows the blueprint of a screwball-paced haunted-house comedy. Even disappointed horror mavens will warm to the sight of Karloff, Lugosi, and Lorre huddled together, plotting no good.
Zombies on Broadway is a 1945 B-picture that probably ought to be unwatchable, but in fact it's quite competent (director Gordon Douglas was a versatile pro) and often fun. The headliners are Wally Brown and Alan Carney, whose sub-Abbott and Costello repartee is generally painful, although one grave-digging joke pays off nicely. Lugosi has a meaty role as a Caribbean hoodoo doctor who creates zombies in his jungle laboratory (shades of his White Zombie character). The film was made at RKO, home to Val Lewton's legendary horror unit, and is actually something of a send-up of Lewton's I Walked with a Zombie--complete with two of IWWAZ's notable cast members, the looming revenant Darby Jones and honey-voiced calypso singer Sir Lancelot. For fans of the terror titans, a respectable set, even if the chills are scarce. --Robert HortonSee all Editorial Reviews
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Picture and sound quality are very good; and subtitles are available on all four, if needed. "Frankenstein 1970" is presented in widescreen. These are not the best films of either actor, but this set is a lot of fun, and I think Karloff and Lugosi fans would enjoy it. :)
Along for the ride in this set is Karloff and Lugosi the Great AND Peter Lorre in the minor "You'll find Out". It's a fun picture if only to see these three titans playing opposite one another. Kay Keiser's inane musical schtick did nothing for me, but just listening to the two kings of horror and Lorre speak is worth the watching. Zombies On Broadway is worthy if only because of Lugosi. Rounding out the package is the interesting and fun later Karloff vehicle "Frankenstein 1970". Like "Zombies" it is worth just for enjoying Karloff being another mad scientist whose name happens to be Frankenstein. Fun stuff all around!!
Having said that, these movies are fun! "The Walking Dead" directed by the versatile and famous Michael Curtiz is the best of the bunch and is a moody, thoughtful, quiet probing of the mysteries of Life and Death and Vengeance wherein the vengeance is quite Biblical in that the film actually fulfills the "Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord" maxim. A greatly acted, paced, filmed, scored film. A quasi-classic.
The much-maligned "Frankenstein 1970" is due for another look-see - and we have it here, in pristine widescreen. Karloff doesn't walk through this one, as many people claim. I think his performance is extremely forceful and by turns frightening and tragic. (His soliloquy in the Frankenstein tomb is magnificent to watch being acted and paced and gesticulated perfectly by the horror Maestro.) The film, sadly, has a lousy, ridiculous monster....but the pluses outweigh the minues: the music score is terrific, the sets are filled with atmosphere and the beginning of this movie is arguably the scariest beginning to ANY horror film ever made. I won't spoil it for those who have not seen it: but suffice it to say, it is scaringly scored, atmospherically set and paced and the camera angles set the heart pounding. It is too bad that the film's frightening opening did not continue throughout the rest of the movie.
The other two films are comedies, more or less. Not side-splittingly funny, but the plotlines are interesting and the settings, again, are perfectly Halloweenish (especially in "You'll Find Out") and there are creepy moments in both films. The seance in "You'll Find Out" is quite weird, indeed. Karloff, Lugosi and Lorre play their parts to perfection and play them straight against the comedy of Kay Kyser and others. The zombies in "Zombies on Broadway" are also weird and could give youngsters nightmares!
Anyway - Halloween is at hand. Buy this set and you won't be disappointed. And these are movies that the whole family can enjoy. Trick or treat? Well, this dual DVD is much more treat than trick!