November 24, 2009

The Boris Karloff Blogathon : Day Two

Boris takes a standing tea break while technicians tinker on the set of The Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

Let’s see, we had an incredible 54 links posted on Day One of the Boris Karloff Blogathon! I woke up to 58 emails containing links, questions, requests and comments. Then we had a maintenance outage on Blogger, and the usual complement of weird glitches expected when you’re making a long, continuously updated post. No worries, I should get the hang of this by, say, Sunday, but then it’ll be all over.

A special note to contributors: I had meant to reply to every email you sent in, but obviously, the huge response to the Blogathon is eating up all my time. So please accept, here, my sincere thanks for your wonderful contributions! The range of subjects and the quality of your work is phenomenal, and I know, from comments posted here and received by email, that everybody is enjoying the Blogathon.

And a note to readers: Post comments when you see something you like! Every blogger appreciates an opinion, a remark, or just a thumbs up for all the work he or she devotes to his or her blog.


OK, so let’s get The Boris Karloff Blogathon, Day Two underway!


The European night shift is busy again, with Filo, out in Paris, contributing a selection of images from Karloff by Peter Underwood, the first Boris biography, published in 1972. On Deadlicious.


Based on several links posted yesterday, Gold Key’s Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery comic books provided an introduction to Boris for many fans.

Peter Osterled of Six-Shooter posts a cover gallery of the German edition, simply and significantly titled “Boris Karloff”. With a name as instantly recognisable, you really didn’t need to spell out what the comics were about.

I've got a handful of screen caps from The Invisible Ray (1936) up on my picture blog, Monster Crazy.


Karloff comics, again…

Karswell, whose The Horrors of It All is an essential daily ritual for me, posts The Hand in the Wall, with art by Jerry Robinson, from Boris Karloff Thriller No. 1, the comic book that would morph into Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery.


Over on Dravens Tales, see the trailer for Vatche Arabian’s makeup-centric documentary Kreating Karloff.


Can you stand the Boris Karloff Ronson Comet Lighter Torture Test? A Vintage commercial, courtesy of Wouldn't You Like to See Something Strange?


Another Karloff commercial, this one a print ad from the Forties featuring Boris in his Broadway hit play Arsenic and Old Lace. A Blogathon contribution from artist extraordinaire Richard Sala.


Sometimes images speak for themselves. The arresting film images displayed on Obscure Hollow betray impeccably eerie taste and eye for haunted aesthetics. Words are unnecessary, descriptions would be superfluous. Case in point, these haunting, enigmatic images from The Walking Dead capture the film’s underlying dread, its climate of apprehension. Let your eyes and your heart decipher their meaning.


Paul Castiglia continues to explore the career of Boris Karloff, Master of Comedy, with a look at The Boogieman Will Get You, a 1942 horror-comedy that managed to be neither scary, nor particularly funny. Still, it’s got Karloff and Peter Lorre, and Paul gives the film a thorough analysis. Posted over at Scared Silly.


Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving this week. In 1950, it fell on Thursday, November 23 and, on that day, Boris Karloff celebrated his 63rd birthday in New York, dressed up as Captain Hook, surrounded by rowdy buccaneers, riding a pirate ship float in Macy’s Parade!

It’s a wonderful tale, beautifully told by Jacqueline T. Lynch on Another Old Movie Blog. You must read this one!


George D. Allen writes, “With swine flu and religious extremism (sadly) popular topics of conversation at the close of the first decade of the 21st century, few Boris Karloff films are as topical as Isle of the Dead”.

Karloff’s collaboration with writer/producer Val Lewton and director Mark Robson produced a film that is timeless and, indeed, timely. “The real fireworks, of course, belong to Karloff, “ reports Allen, “whose journey from sanity to madness is a marvel of discretion and raw force.

Read the full review of Isle of the Dead on MovieFanFare.




Of all the films announced but never made, the most intriguing title ever proposed for Karloff was A Trip to Mars, to be directed by James Whale! The title conjures up images of futuristic Art Deco sets, spark-spitting Flash Gordon rockets, Buck Rogers rayguns and Ken Strickfaden mad labs. Illustrator Rob Kelly takes it further: He casts the films with Whale regulars and designs the poster for it!

See Boris Karloff’s Trip to Mars on Rob Kelly Illustrations.


Gleam of Evil is another story from the decidedly esteemed Boris Karloff Thriller No.1. Something about killer cats, posted, appropriately, by Kitty LeClaw at Killer Kittens from Beyond the Grave.


Orrin Grey writes, “Characters like John Gray and Master Sims from Bedlam don’t invite pity, but Karloff brings to them a reality that makes it impossible for them not to invite some understanding.”

Here’s Orrin’s review of The Body Snatcher.


Illustrator, cartoonist and designer Dave Lowe turns his Web Comic page, Para Abnormal, over to the Karloff Blogathon this week. Two posts already up: Imhotep gets the Shepard Fairey treatment, and Dr. Frankenstein goes shopping for brains.


Lon Chaney takes Boris Karloff for a ride. Words of wisdom for a young actor, from The Man of a Thousand Faces. On The Roads of Autumn Dusk.


In 1958, Boris donned scars and a badass crewcut to play Dr. Frankenstein, brewing up an atomic monster in the far-flung future of 1970.

Micha Michelle tells the story of Frankenstein 1970 in 23 sublime screen caps, on Obscure Hollow.


Micha will also be contributing through her own blog, Baking With Medusa. Proclaiming WE LOVE BORIS K, Micha writes, “His very name launches a million smiles throughout my entire being and a slight tingle up my spine”.

Raid the kid’s craft supplies for glue, glitter and construction paper. Later this week, Micha will be posting some do-it-yourself Karloff Crafts!


Fire... Good? Here's that great Ronson lighter ad again, posted on Igloo of the Uncanny.


On Silents and Talkies, Kate Gabrielle singles out The Body Snatcher as Karloff’s best performance and provides a beautiful ink wash drawing of Boris.


More art: Zombie Rust posts a large assortment of his drawings, all inspired by Boris.


Boris was as masterful behind a microphone as he was in front of a camera. Blogue Macabre posts selections from classic radio programs Lights Out, Inner Sanctum and Suspense.


Here’s more of Karloff’s unforgettable voice: Listen to The Hand of Fate and Don’t Lose Your Head, from Tales of the Frightened, on The Captain’s Ramblings.


Get Your Karloff Face On! Arbogast on Film steps through Karloff’s career, and his life, with a straightfoward gallery of head shots.


Before I Hang and The Boogie Man Will Get You, reviewed on Thrilling Days of Yesteryear.


There’s a blast of Karloff imagery up on the Portuguese blog, Periodic Circumspection.


Boris Goes Ape! Karloff and Crash Corrigan share a gorilla suit in The Ape, on Radiation-Scarred Reviews.


This Guy Over Here corrals the Top 10 Boris Karloff Films.


Oriental detectives were practically a fixture of Hollywood’s Golden Era, usually played by Europeans with, unfortunately, Asian actors relegated to minor parts. It’s much to Karloff’s credit that he brought a quiet dignity to his interpretation of Mr. Wong.

Chris Regan posts a perceptive survey of the Monogram series on Writer By Night.


Boris narrates Rudyard Kiplings' How The Rhinoceros Got His Skin, posted on Wouldn’t You Like to See Something Strange? and Need Coffee dot com.





Boris Karloff was enormously proud of his collaborations with producer Val Lewton at RKO. He obviously relished the intelligent chills and mature horrors he was given to play in.

Critic Doug Bentin examines Bedlam, from 1946, noting that “Karloff delivers one of his best and oiliest performances”, which is really saying something!


The Grinch had a wonderful, awful idea…” One of Boris’ immortal roles, remembered by Halloween Spirit, on Orange and Black.


Boris shops for horror comics. A great picture, on This Woman's Work.


El coleccionista de cad├íveres, Blindman's Bluff, Cauldron of Blood, and The Corpse CollectorsIt’s all the same film! And its all sorted out very nicely at The Amazing Movie Show.


Pete Regan shares his student animation reel that includes a wonderful story, An Appointment in Samarra, narrated by Boris himself — lifted from Targets. On No More Ghostly Game, Trick or Treat.


Boris and Bela go head to head in the most unusual film of the Universal canon, The Black Cat (1934). The Cathode Ray Mission pays homage with a set of feverish images.


The phenomenal success of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) launched the comedy duo on a seemingly endless series of Meet The Monster films. First one up was Boris himself, in a film that would bear his name, Abbott and Costello Meet The Killer, Boris Karloff.

The Lightning Bug gives it a spin in Who’s On First? No. Boris Killed Him!



Wrapping up the Karloff Blogathon for Day Two, lest we forget, today, November 24, was Forrest J Ackerman’s birthday.

We remember FJA fondly and we can’t forget how, for so many of us, Forry was the one who either introduced us or nurtured our love of Boris Karloff.


And now, on to the Boris Karloff Blogathon,
Day Three!



5 comments:

rob! said...

That shaving cream ad is WIN.

Btw, my poster for today is another one of my Universal custom posters, this time for A Trip To Mars!

Karswell said...

And Kitty LeClaw also has a story posted from Boris Karloff's Thriller #1 today too over at Killer Kittens, check it out:

http://killer--kittens.blogspot.com/2009/11/gleam-of-evil-1962.html

Thanks Pierre... man, Karloff week should happen every week!

Arbogast said...

I'm in such good company. What a wealth of wonderful wonderblogs.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

I love these shots of Boris on tea breaks. It adds a new dimension to Frankenstein's Monster - the elegant side. Always knew he had it in him. Tea...good.

Pierre Fournier said...

I think you've spotted a trend, Jacqueline!

More tea will be serve in upcoming posts!