¸ Vincent Price—(1911-1993): Vincent Price defined American Horror in the ‘50’s, ‘60’s, and early ‘70’s, in films such as HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, THE TINGLER, and THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES. With his distinctive voice and menacing (on-camera…) persona, Price was the Horror star for most of us as we were growing up.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
· Terence Fisher—(1904-1980): Hammer Films best director, Fisher helmed such Hammer classics as HORROR OF DRACULA, THE MUMMY, and THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. What we now know as the “Hammer Look” was largely due to Fisher’s style and sure-handed direction.
¸ Peter Lorre—(1904-1964): Short, rotund, and bug-eyed, Lorre was the consummate villainous henchman in a film career that spanned thirty years. He first gained notice as the pedophilic child killer in Fritz Lang’s superb film M, then starred in the 1935 Karl Freund-directed MAD LOVE. He became a familiar face to movie-goers in the ‘40’s, appearing in films such as THE MALTESE FALCON,
, and ARSENIC AND OLD LACE. CASABLANCA
¸ Peter Cushing—(1913-1994): Hammer’s greatest star, and perhaps the most talented actor to work primarily in Horror, Cushing, along with frequent co-star Christopher Lee, helped build the Hammer mystique in films such as HORROR OF DRACULA, THE MUMMY, and THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Capable of great range and depth in his acting, he was as effective at playing villains such as Victor Frankenstein as he was at sympathetic roles, such as the old man hounded to his death in TALES FROM THE CRYPT.
¸ Lon Chaney, Jr.—(1906-1973): “I’ve played ‘em all, but the Wolf-Man was all mine.” Born Creighton Chaney, the studio insisted that he take the name of his famous father, and Lon Chaney, Jr. became perhaps the most accomplished star in Universal Horrors. The only actor to portray all four of Universal’s Classic Monsters, and the only one [prior to 2010] to play his signature character, Larry Talbot… aka The Wolf-Man.
¸ Lon Chaney—(1883-1930): “The Man of a Thousand Faces,” Chaney was the king of silent horror. Best known for his portrayal of Erik, the hideously scarred villain in Rupert Julian’s 1925 version of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Chaney’s uncanny ability to transform himself to fit virtually any role, with nothing more than the tricks in his make-up box, made him a legend.
· James Whale—(1889-1957): This gifted director was responsible for three of the greatest Horror Films of all-time: FRANKENSTEIN, THE INVISIBLE MAN, and THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN; as well as a personal favorite of the Unimonster’s, THE OLD DARK HOUSE.
· Jack P. Pierce—(1889-1968): “The Man who Made the Monsters,” Jack Pierce was Universal’s head of the Make-Up department from the late 1920’s to his unceremonious firing in 1947. Pierce’s work gave us such memorable Monster designs as Frankenstein’s Monster, the Mummy, and the Wolf-Man.
§ H. P. Lovecraft—(1890-1937): The most important writer of Horror in the 1920’s and ‘30’s, H. P. Lovecraft created some of the most horrific fiction imaginable. His “elder gods” mythos, featuring the tales of Chthulu, became the basis not only for films but also for an entire series of Role-Playing games.
Forrest J Ackerman—(1916-2008): Known and loved by generations of “MonsterKids” as the Ackermonster, Dr. Acula, or simply Uncle Forry, Forrest Ackerman created the world of Genre fandom. He coined the term “Sci-Fi,” edited James Warren’s “Famous Monsters of Filmland” magazine for 25 years, and inspired thousands to retain a love of the Fantastic in their hearts always.
¸ Fay Wray—(1907-2004): The first, and the greatest, of Horror’s Scream Queens. While her genre filmography isn’t extensive, it is all quality work, including the role that gave her immortality—Ann Darrow, in 1933’s KING KONG.
¸ Evelyn Ankers—(1918-1985): Perhaps the loveliest and certainly the most popular of Universal’s stable of Scream Queens of the ‘40’s, we remember her today as Gwen Conliffe, Larry Talbot’s love interest in the 1941 classic THE WOLF-MAN.
§ Edgar Allan Poe—(1809-1849): The greatest American author of genre fiction, it is no exaggeration to say that Poe is by far the most influential person of the first century of Horror. From his creation of the detective story with Murders in the Rue Morgue, to his stories such as The Pit and the Pendulum and The Cask of Amontillado, to poetry such as The Raven and Annabel Lee, Poe’s creations laid the foundation for Genre fiction as we know it today.
¸ Boris Karloff—(1887-1969): The greatest Icon Horror Films ever had, the man born as William Henry Pratt, son of a British Government official, assumed the stage-name Boris Karloff. The star of such landmark films as FRANKENSTEIN, THE MUMMY, and THE BLACK CAT, he was the dominant actor in Genre films for four decades.
¸ Bela Lugosi—(1882-1956): A fixture in Horror Films from 1931 on, it was his portrayal of Count Dracula that has defined the role for the past 78 years. Though dozens of actors have depicted Bram Stoker’s infamous King of the Undead in that time, it’s still Lugosi that most of us think of when we think of Dracula.