Editorial review of 100 Years of Horror courtesy of Amazon.com
is the first show of its kind ever produced; chronicling the history of movie horror from the earliest experimental chillers through the unforgettable “golden age of movie monsters,” and on through today’s terrifying fright films.Hosted by Christopher Lee, the screen’s legendary King of Horror, the show features appearances by Robert De Niro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Hugh Hefner, Charlton Heston, Kenneth Branagh, Joe Dante, and many more. Also featured are fascinating interviews with Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, and Claude Rains. Included as a special bonus are never-before-seen interviews with the friends and families of the legendary names of horror such as Bela Lugosi, Jr.; Boris Karloff’s daughter, Sarah Karloff; Claude Rains’ daughter, Jessica Rains, and more.
“100 Years of Horor” also highlights rare and chilling scenes from current films such as Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Halloween, Poltergeist, and The Haunting, to classics like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, Phantom Of The Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, and The Body Snatchers. Also included are rare photographs from private collections, home movies from the sets of horror classics, as well as outtakes, screen tests, previously “lost” films, and other exciting surprises. Each episode offers unique production sidelights and insights to make 100 YEARS OF HORROR the most interesting and informative horror chronology ever assembled.
This show was produced, written and directed by Ted Newsom, creator of Cinemax’s ED WOOD: LOOK BACK IN ANGORA and the BBC’s FLESH AND BLOOD-THE HAMMER HERITAGE OF HORROR.
“What frightens me is not so much the obvious monster. What frightens me is the unknown, the fear that my mind is not in control, that there is something out there that nobody knows about.” So says Roger Corman, king of the B picture, helping to set the tone for this richly detailed survey of the horror film. Introduced and hosted by veteran horror actor Christopher Lee, and written and directed by Ted Newsom(the director of Ed Wood–Look Back in Angora), this documentary is clearly a labor of love. There is on view a “blood feast” of film clips and sometimes priceless interviews with filmmakers.
As our host, Christopher Lee offers up funny anecdotes about his days at Hammer Studios; you might be interested in knowing why being The Mummy was a literal pain. Exploitation film director Herschell G. Lewis is hilarious on why you shouldn’t worry about opening gory films in Peoria, and how the censor board was stymied by the bloodiest of films. And John Carpenter tells how Suspiria director Dario Argento worked from his dreams like Luis Bunuel.
Notably missing is any mention of Stephen King, Brian De Palma, or Sam Raimi. Raimi alone could have been the focus of a whole section devoted to the influence of H.P. Lovecraft on modern horror films. Also, the filmmakers seem less interested in the sections on science fiction for some reason, despite critics’ estimates that half of all science fiction films fall clearly in the horror genre. Nevertheless, the interviews and film clips make this disc worth the price of admission. –Jim Gay