Theme Month! March 2020: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…

We’re going into a creepy direction for March! 1920s horror movies with a special focus on Old Dark House pictures and generally spooky abodes.

I was inspired to embrace the creepy after a certain famous British baking show featured a 1920s themed episode and the judges became huffy that one of the contestants used horror elements in her bakes. What in the world does horror have to do with the Roaring Twenties?

We know the answer and it is: EVERYTHING. The 1920s were all about the creepy. Scary houses had been a thing since the dawn of film and Cecil B. DeMille made an adaptation of The Ghost Breaker in 1914. (Not saying he was the first, just that it’s a pretty early Old Dark House picture.)

So, I decided to break into my stash of silent films and review some Dark and Stormy Night-type pictures. In the meantime, here are some silent horror films (or films with creepy elements) that I have already covered.

The Cat and the Canary (1927): One of the finest examples of the genre, scary and funny and stylish.

The Last Warning (1929): Another creepy tale of murder from director Paul Leni, who I consider to be the king of this genre.

Waxworks (1924): Leni directs a three-part carnival fantasy with progressively darker imagery.

The Monster (1925): It’s a dark and stormy night at the sanitarium and Lon Chaney is on hand as a mad scientist.

Warning Shadows (1923): Infidelity and shadow puppets play a large part in this stylized tale of revenge.

The Bat (1926): There’s a masked killer on the loose in a manor house and suspects galore!

Haunted Spooks (1920): Harold Lloyd and Mildred Davis are terrorized by phony ghosts.

And, finally, London After Midnight may be a lost film but we do have its direct remake, Mark of the Vampire, also helmed by Tod Browning.

I hope you’ll have a spooky good time!


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