FREE August Movies at The Carolina

Carolina Cinemas

 

Every Tuesday at 8 p.m., the Asheville Film Society puts on a FREE movie at the Carolina in theater 6. Membership is not necessary to attend. Arrive early as they have gotten very crowded.

8/5 Unconquered (Cecil B. DeMille, 1947)

8/12 Liliom (Frank Borzage, 1930)

8/19 Four Men & Prayer (John Ford, 1938)

8/26 Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932)

Thursday Horror Picture Show

 

Every Thursday night at 8, Ken Hanke & Justin Souther put on a FREE horror movie. This used to be in the cinema lounge but has become so popular that it has been moved to theater 6.

8/7 DOUBLE FEATURE: White Zombie (Victor Halperin, 1932) & The Ape Man (William Beadine, 1943)

8/14 DOUBLE FEATURE: I Walked with a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur, 1943) & Zombies on Broadway (Gordon Douglas, 1945)

8/21 Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian, 1925)

8/28 The Fearless Vampire Killers (Roman Polanski, 1967)

White Zombie

White Zombie is currently available on Amazon Prime

White Zombie (1932)

“A Haitian plantation owner convinces his young friends to wed at his residence, hoping he can use the opportunity to lure the woman away from her fiance. When this ploy fails, he turns to the help of his mill operator for assistance, hoping the man can use his voodoo knowledge to make the woman his slave.”

“Why did you drive like that you fool, we might have been killed.” – “Worse than that monsieur we might have been caught”

One of the main problems for the non-Universal horror movies was that they would only grab a star (Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff) and not all the wonderful supporting players (Dwight Frye, Una O’Connor, Lionel Atwill, etc.). Bela Lugosi was paid a mere $800 for his starring role. On the other hand, that was for only eleven days of work during the Depression. The eyes menaicng you from the poster are Lugosi’s and he has a high old time here.

The best scene in White Zombie is where Lugosi introduces his enemies to a client and it is nicely chilling.There is an equally chilling scene as Lugosi teases an incapacitated victim. While the movie is a cheapie, Lugosi is definitely at the top of his game.

Madge Bellamy plays Madeline Parker, the woman that all three of our male leads are after. Madge had a fascinating career in silent movies (40+) but had her Fox contract terminated when she turned down The Trial of Mary Dugan, a property Fox had purchased specifically to star her. It seemed as though she could have made the transition to talkies if she had not shot herself in the foot. Her career was essentially over after White Zombie. She also married a stockbroker for three days in 1928 and was famous again in 1943 when she shot her millionaire lover.

The wonderful Jack Pierce did the makeup. The zombies do come off looking goofy with goggle eyes. They are very distinctive but I’m not sure they are memorable in the way Pierce would have liked. I do love what he did with Lugosi’s eyebrows, beard and mustache. Lugosi looks awesome here and diametrically different from Dracula.

For those who like Latin music, the legendary Xavier Cugat composed the music for White Zombie (even though he is not credited). He is however credited with popularizing the rumba in America (no, not the vacuum). The score is not particularly memorable other than that Cugat was the composer.

Unfortunately the public domain print is watchable but only just. It is washed out and contrast is overblown. Some of the dialogue is popped out as well. This is yet another reason why the Universal features hold up better – their prints are cleaned up and not public domain.

People Watch: Clarence Muse plays a coach driver here but he was also Sam in Casablanca. What’s that you say? You remember Dooley Wilson playing Sam? Well, Clarence Muse played Sam in the short-lived 1955 television series.

He also played over a hundred and fifty other roles. The majority of these roles would make for a great paper on what it was like to be an actor of color in Hollywood in the pre-civil rights era. Here is a partial list for just the 1930s and 1940s: porter, janitor, servant, servant, doorman, shoeshine man, janitor, doorman, servant, servant, servant, bootblack, doorman, servant, servant, bootblack, porter, porter, porter, porter, porter, porter, porter, porter, porter (seriously) and at least twice a death row inmate.

Bela Lugosi – Horror Movie Month

I’ve previously covered Bela Lugosi’s signature role of Dracula and second most iconic role Ygor in Son of Frankenstein – both of which are currently available on instant Netflix. Here are a few other Lugosi horror movies for your Halloween pleasure.

White Zombie (1932) – Not rated

Made in just 11 days back in 1932, with a $50,000 budget and sets left standing from Universal’s Dracula and Frankenstein, this film remains a horror classic. Keeping dialogue to a minimum, cameraman Arthur Martinelli cuts loose on this odd fairy tale about a newlywed couple menaced by zombies. Avoiding the stagy static feel that pervades many other early talkies, White Zombie shows its story, rather than tells it.

Well as with much of Lugosi’s output, this film is not actually good but it is fun. Those eyes menacing you in the poster are Lugosi’s and he has a high old time here. The movie is hokey and corny and the zombies are in no way Romero-esque but it can be a hoot and isn’t nearly as bad as Lugosi’s late stage roles.

Abbott & Costello meet Frankenstein (1948) – Not rated

This Abbott and Costello horror-comedy flick features the bumbling buddies as railroad baggage clerks who receive a strange shipment — the last remains of Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster. Trouble is they’re still alive! When the deadly duo escape to a remote island, Abbott and Costello follow their trail and find not only the two ghouls, but also a mad scientist who wants to switch Costello’s brain with that of Frankenstein’s monster.

When revenues fell off for Universal’s classic monsters, they tried reviving them with mash-ups (Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula). After that, they tried a mash-up of monsters with their extremely popular comedy duo Abbott & Costello. This was so successful that it begat A&C Meet the Killer (Boris Karloff), A&C Meet the Invisible Man, and A&C Meet Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (also Boris).

Lugosi reprises his signature role as does Lon Chaney Jr.. Glenn Strange portrays the monster and look for Vincent Price in an extremely brief cameo. The comedy is corny and the monsters are played strictly for laughs but it is quite fun.

Bride of the Monster (1955) – Not rated

Horror icon Bela Lugosi (Dracula) appears in his last starring role as Dr. Eric Vornoff, who with his crazed man-beast servant is conducting flesh-burning radiation experiments in an attempt to create a legion of atomic supermen. When a newspaperwoman gets too inquisitive for her own good, Vornoff takes steps to protect his research. Produced and directed by cult filmmaker Ed Wood Jr., the film features many of his regular players.

Dare I say it – this movie too is not good but fun. In fact it is truly terrible and would be remembered as one of the worst movies of all time had Ed Wood Jr. not followed it up with Plan 9 from Outer Space. This is however Lugosi’s last real role. He has no speaking role in The Black Sleep and passed away during filming of Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Lugosi is fabulous as Vornoff and thankfully gets plenty of screen time. Watch how the actors have to wrap themselves up in the monster’s arms!