Theme Month! July 2017: It was a dark and stormy night…

Summer is here. This is a fact we must all accept but that doesn’t mean we have to go sunnily into the night. I decided to deal with the heat and sunlight by embracing the dark side of the silent era.

This month, I’ll be reviewing silent films full of horror, mayhem and murder. Also, some horror-comedies because I just love a little funny business in my dark and stormy nights.

Obviously, the world is my oyster with a theme like this (the silent era loved its horror, mayhem and murder!) so I will tell you now that I am digging on the obscure side of things. I hope to share a few films that none but the most nerdy silent fans have ever heard of.

Hey, isn’t this more of an autumn theme?

Maybe but I am pretty much the most suggestible person in the world when it comes to film temperatures. Stray Dog and Twelve Angry Men practically give me heat stroke. Why not turn this to my advantage?

Setting the Mood

While we’re waiting for the first review of the month, here are some of the creepy silents I have already reviewed in no particular order. I hope you enjoy the rerun!

The Phantom of the Opera (1925) Lon Chaney’s horror classic gets a thorough research session.

The Monster (1925) Another Chaney film set in a lunatic asylum. A bit underrated, in my opinion.

Seven Keys to Baldpate (1917) George M. Cohan’s stage smash also features some Weekend at Bernie’s antics with Hedda Hopper’s corpse, so there’s that. I also review its remake, House of the Long Shadows with Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, John Carradine, Vincent Price and Desi Arnaz, Jr. (One of these things is not like the others.)

The Last Performance (1929) Conrad Veidt plays an illusionist with homicidal tendencies. Or, as he likes to call it, Thursday. And Connie with graying temples and heavy eyeliner is the best Connie. (Swoons.)

The Haunted Spooks (1920) Harold Lloyd’s haunted house short is a delight and features some of the best comedy title cards I’ve ever seen. (Beanie Walker’s handiwork.)

The Cat and the Canary (1927) One of my favorites. This is one of the finest horror-comedies ever made and Paul Leni’s stylish direction is a big part of its success.

Waxworks (1924) Another Leni, this one from Germany. Write a story about famous killers, they said. What could possibly happen, they said. It’s not like you’ll be pulled into a nightmare world of your own creation, they said.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) John Barrymore’s iconic take on the character made his movie career.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1912) And here’s the Thanhouser version starring future director James Cruze.

Oh and one more thing…


Scared you, didn’t I?


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  1. Randy Cox

    I read Seven Keys to Baldpate several years ago while recovering from pneumonia. Good fun! When you mention the talkie remake of Seven Keys to Baldpate, House of the Long Shadows, you accidentally referred to Vincent Price as Vincent Prince.

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