4 Shots From 4 Films: Happy Birthday Bela Lugosi!

A special Halloween treat courtesy of Through the Shattered Lens… enjoy!

Through the Shattered Lens

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps we usually post, 4Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking. Today is the 135th anniversary of the birth of one of horror’s most iconic stars, the great Bela Lugosi! In his honor, here’s a special Halloween tribute to everyone’s favorite Hungarian actor!

White Zombie (1932; D: Victor Halperin)

Mark of the Vampire (1935; D: Tod Browning)

The Devil Bat (1940; D: Jean Yarborough)

Zombies On Broadway (1945; D: Gordon Douglas)

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Remembering Lionel Atwill: DOCTOR X (1932) and MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM (1933)

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When film fans think of their Mount Rushmore of horror stars, a few names immediately come to mind. Boris Karloff. Bela Lugosi. Lon Chaney (Sr & Jr). Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee. One name usually omitted is Lionel Atwill. Which is a shame, because the actor was front and center at the beginning of the horror cycle of the 1930s. While hard-core horror buffs certainly know his work, Atwill is best remembered today for his supporting role as the wooden-armed Inspector Krough in 1939’s SON OF FRANKENSTEIN. But at the dawn of the Golden Age of Horror, Lionel Atwill starred in two of the earliest fright classics, both produced by Warner Brothers: DOCTOR X and MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM.

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DOCTOR X is more along the lines of an “old dark house” mystery, with dashes of the new horror genre added for extra spice. Dr. Xavier (Atwill) is called in by the police in the matter of the “Moon Killer” murders, involving a cannibalistic madman. The cops say these murders could only be caused by a special scalpel used at Xavier’s academy. The doctor, worried about bringing bad publicity to his research, asks for 48 hours to investigate on his own. Meanwhile, nosy reporter Lee Taylor (Lee Tracy) is snooping around trying to get a sensationalistic scoop. We’re introduced to Xavier’s faculty, and they’re an odd lot indeed: one-handed Dr. Wells (Preston Foster) is an expert on cannibalism, Dr. Haines (John Wray) a brain surgeon once shipwrecked in Tahiti under mysterious circumstances, and Drs. Duke and Rowitz (Harry Beresford, Arthur Edmund Carewe), studiers of astronomy. Taylor goes to Xavier’s estate to dig up some info, where he’s thrown out by Xavier’s lovely daughter Joanne (scream queen Fay Wray). He manages to find out Xavier is bringing his faculty out to Cliff Shoales manor, and follows along.

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