A beautiful piece of It Italian horror landed on American screens on this day back in 1961, with the US release of Black Sunday (AKA Mask of Satan). This is one of many great offerings by Italian Director Mario Bava. This film is credited by many as launching the careers of both Barbara Steele and Mario Bava. Don't let that statement confuse you though, as Bava had actually already been in the industry for sometime at the point of Black Sundays release.
Tod Browning and Bela Lugosi had audiences fainting in the aisles (literally) with the Nationwide release of Dracula in 1931. This film was quite a gamble for the time, executives weren't sure audiences would respond to a full length supernatural film that was all BOO so to say, but audiences quickly showed Universal their dark appetites with 50,000 tickets sold in the first 48 hours! Setting into motion a long and prosperous run for Universal studios as the leader in early horror cinema.
David Naughton celebrates his 63rd birthday today, born in Hartford, Connecticut 1951. He best known to horror fans for his role in John Landis' film, An American Werewolf In London. This film and Naughton are both best known for the "transformation" scene which is still considered by many to be one the best werewolf transformations onscreen. This film won The Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup in 1981, and is still one of the best Werewolf films out there.
Braindead (AKA Dead Alive), part of Director Peter Jacksons' pre-Hobbit life, had its US premier in 1993. Initially this film was considered a flop, pulling in only about half of what it cost to make, at the box office. However like many of the best horror films it has gone on to become such a success that it is referenced in everything from video games to Scooby -Doo Mystery Incorporated. Due to the extreme level of gore and violence this film has been released in NUMEROUS "cuts" throughout the world, ranging from 85 minute version to the films full 104 minute version. This is just one of those must see films, as it is near impossible to describe the over the top fun gorefest that is Braindead.
If your looking for a great movie to share with your love this Valentine, look no further than this! Be My Bloody Valentine made its US release on this date in 1981. Initially this film was considered too much of a splatterfest for viewing so 9 full minutes were cut by the MPAA from the film, before release. I can tell you it was the first of the splatterfilms I personally watched as a child, it both terrified, and enthralled me ensuring my love for more controversial movies to come. Perfect viewing for your holiday needs!
Classic monster fans give a nod to Lon Chaney Jr and his movie legacy today. Born Feb.10th 1906, son of legendary star Lon Chaney Sr. He followed his fathers well paved path starring in such classic films as The Mummy, The Wolfman, and The Haunted Palace. His filmography is vast and spans 1922-1971! Hard to imagine the face of monster movie history without the talented Chaney men...
Director, writer, producer Ralph Bakshi released his first fantasy based animation movie, Wizards in 1977. If you are not familiar with this film I say "Shame on you"!. This post-apocalyptic tale of two wizards is a thing of beauty, melding gorgeous animation, Nazi propaganda images and an epic battle of good versus bad. It is one of my ALL time favorite animation pieces from the 70s'. Ralph Bakshi is also responsible for such fan favorites as Fritz the Cat and Heavy Traffic.