Actors & Directors

Brief excerpts with links to full-length articles and short blurbs I’ve written about actors and directors who have worked in the horror genre.

Joan Bennett: Fritz Lang’s Muse

Joan Bennett got her start in Hollywood as a lovely, demure, fair-haired ingénue but made her mark as a sexy, feisty, dark-haired femme fatale. Her transformation was atypical in Tinseltown where many natural brunettes such as Carole Lombard, Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, found success after becoming bottle blonds. Bennett’s makeover happened during… Continue reading Joan Bennett: Fritz Lang’s Muse

Oliver Reed: A Conversation

Feb. 13th marks what would have been Oliver Reed’s 77th birthday if he was still with us. Reed died in 1999 but he has long been one of my favorite actors so to honor his memory I decided to contact filmmaker Kent Adamson who worked with Oliver Reed in the 1980s and is friendly with… Continue reading Oliver Reed: A Conversation

Mae Clarke: Frankenstein (1931)

The name Mae Clarke might not immediately ring any bells but the fair-haired, spirited and sad-eyed beauty was a promising leading lady in pre-code Hollywood before personal disappointments, mental health issues and a disfiguring car accident took their toll. When Clarke died in 1992 at age 81 most classic film fans remembered her as the… Continue reading Mae Clarke: Frankenstein (1931)

Roger Corman

Every Thursday night throughout the month of May TCM will be spotlighting American International Pictures (AIP) with a block of films hosted by director and producer Roger Corman. Corman learned his trade while working with AIP, which was established in 1954 by Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson. The Los Angeles based company was… Continue reading Roger Corman

Goodbye: Lee & Johnson

Horror fans received a double blow this week. It started with the news that Richard Johnson (1927-2015) had died and today we woke up to the news that Christopher Lee (1922-2015), arguably the last of the great classic horror film icons, had shuffled off this mortal coil to join his old pal Peter Cushing in… Continue reading Goodbye: Lee & Johnson

Jack Palance: Horror Star

Everyone seems to have their own Jack Palance. The Oscar-winning actor, who would be celebrating his birthday today if he was still with us, is typically remembered as the star of popular westerns including Shane (1953) and City Slickers (1991). Others might remember him as a familiar face in Film Noir and numerous crime films… Continue reading Jack Palance: Horror Star

Robert Fuest

The late Robert Fuest, who died in 2012 at age 84, has become one of my favorite filmmakers over the years thanks to his artistic direction and ability to mix fear and humor into a creative combustible cocktail that yielded such gems as The Abominable Dr. Phibes and its sequel Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972)… Continue reading Robert Fuest

Happy Birthday Bava!

This week marks the 100th birthday of Mario Bava who was born on July 30th (according to leading Bava researcher Tim Lucas and author of the essential Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark) or 31st (if you want to believe IMDB.com and Wikipedia). The brilliant Italian director, cinematographer, special effects artist and screenwriter… Continue reading Happy Birthday Bava!

James Whale: Soldier & Director

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) is commonly considered the best of James Whale’s two Frankenstein films and while I absolutely love Elsa Lanchester’s iconic performance as the hissing she monster, I prefer the original. There are a number of reasons why I tend to gravitate towards FRANKENSTEIN (1931) over its sequel. First and foremost, the… Continue reading James Whale: Soldier & Director

Lady Killer: Lon Chaney Jr.

I recently set aside some time to watch all six of Universal’s Inner Sanctum Mystery films starring Lon Chaney Jr. Seeing these relatively short (60-67 minute) B-movies back to back over a couple of days was a joy and I found new things to admire and appreciate about the film’s leading man. But afterward I… Continue reading Lady Killer: Lon Chaney Jr.

Julie Harris 1925-2013

My earliest memory of Julie Harris stems from an unplanned late night viewing of THE HAUNTING (1963). I was home alone and sulking about having to take orders from a teenage babysitter who was just a few years older than me. Much to my delight, the babysitter had very little interest in what I was… Continue reading Julie Harris 1925-2013

Vincent Price on Stage

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the death of one of my favorite actors; the remarkable Vincent Price. Vincent Price also happens to be TCM’s Star of the Month and every Thursday throughout October viewers can tune in to see him in a wide-variety of films that showcase his exceptional talents. I can’t think… Continue reading Vincent Price on Stage

Vincent Price & Gene Tierney

Throughout the course of Vincent Price’s long career he worked with some of my favorite actresses such as Barbara Steele, Diana Rigg, Jennifer Jones and Linda Hayden. But if I had to point to Price’s most important costar I would single out the incomparable Gene Tierney who appeared in four movies with Price beginning with… Continue reading Vincent Price & Gene Tierney

Cooking with Vincent Price

Since moving to the Napa Valley–one of America’s premiere ‘foodie’ capitols–three years ago I’ve been trying to teach myself how to cook. Decades of city apartment living had turned me into a takeout junkie and I could barely remember how to put a proper sandwich together. Why bother when you have a great Italian deli… Continue reading Cooking with Vincent Price

Beware! Louis Jourdan is Here

We lost Louis Jourdan on Valentine’s Day and since then there has been an abundance of considerate obituaries and tributes to the debonair French actor who stole film fan’s hearts and swept many of his leading ladies off their feet. Jourdan was strikingly handsome but I’ve always found him a bit intimidating on screen. In… Continue reading Beware! Louis Jourdan is Here

Jon Finch 1942-2012

Writing obituaries is never easy but when I decided I wanted to memorialize the British actor Jon Finch, who recently passed away at age 70, I found myself seriously struggling to find the right words. His death, which occurred when he was alone over the holidays and apparently suffering from dementia as well as health… Continue reading Jon Finch 1942-2012

Jess Franco 1930-2013

If you tuned into TCM Underground on March 15th you may have had the pleasure of seeing Jesús “Jess” Franco’s eerie and atmospheric horror film THE AWFUL DOCTOR ORLOF (1964). When the movie aired I noticed a surprising number of classic film fans discussing the movie on social media sites such as Twitter and I… Continue reading Jess Franco 1930-2013

Simon Ward 1941-2012

One of the strangest aspects of today’s Internet film culture is being bombarded by death notices week after week. No one’s life is unworthy of celebration and onetime television TV actors with a single role under the belt often compete with Oscar winning movie stars for attention after they’ve shuffled off this mortal coil. In… Continue reading Simon Ward 1941-2012

José Ramón Larraz

ON VAMPYRES AND OTHER SYMPTOMS (2011) is the clever title of a new documentary directed by Celia Novis focusing on the reclusive filmmaker, writer and artist José Ramón Larraz. If Larraz’ name doesn’t ring any bells don’t be alarmed. Although the 83-year-old Spanish director is well regarded by his peers including Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg… Continue reading José Ramón Larraz

An Evening with Terence Stamp

Even though I wasn’t able to attend TCM’s Classic Film Festival I did make time for Terence Stamp’s special appearance at the 2011 San Francisco International Film Festival this year. It was a somewhat spontaneous event that was only announced a week before the actual festival took place and it didn’t receive any mention in… Continue reading An Evening with Terence Stamp

Christmas with Peter Lorre

“To my small boy’s mind, no other event could compare in grandeur and enchantment with the thrill of Christmas. For nights my dreams were filled with wonderful thoughts of a bag of beautiful toys and luscious candies dropped down our chimney by the ever-thoughtful Kris Kringle. But always I was doomed to disappointment. My family… Continue reading Christmas with Peter Lorre

Alain Delon

It’s hard to believe that Alain Delon has aged at all but on November 8th my favorite French actor will be celebrating his 75th birthday. His impossible beauty, quiet intensity and powerful magnetism have been immortalized on screen so he remains ageless in my mind. Like a modern day Dorian Gray, Alain Delon retains his… Continue reading Alain Delon

Ken Russell 1927-2011

Controversial film director Ken Russell passed away suddenly this week at the age of 84. Russell has long been considered the bad boy of British cinema or the original ‘enfant terrible’ of the empire, but for almost as long as I can remember he’s been one of my favorite filmmakers. I was introduced to his… Continue reading Ken Russell 1927-2011

15 Favorite Hitchcock

Back in May when I debuted Klara Tavakoli Goesche‘s video tour of VERTIGO locations at the Movie Morlocks I made note of the fact that: “Alfred Hitchcock’s name seems to be everywhere these days.” It seems that my observation was somewhat premature because I had no idea that Hitchock would became a subject of daily… Continue reading 15 Favorite Hitchcock

Mike Raven

I recently watched and reviewed the British supernatural thriller Crucible of Terror (1971) for the Movie Morlocks Blog. The film stars Mike Raven; an underrated British actor who resembled Christopher Lee and appeared in only four horror films during his lifetime. I didn’t know much about Raven before writing my review so I did some… Continue reading Mike Raven

Remembering Ingrid Pitt

Hammer Glamour girl, Ingrid Pitt has suddenly passed away at age 73 due to heart failure. Her unexpected death took me by surprise and my condolences go out to her friends and family. One of my fondest blogging memories occurred in 2007. After writing up a brief birthday tribute for Ingrid Pitt and receiving a… Continue reading Remembering Ingrid Pitt

Caroline Munro

Hammer Glamour girl Caroline Munro turned heads in the ’70s appearing in horror films like Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) and Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter (1974) as well as popular genre films such as The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974), At the Earth’s Core (1976) and the James Bond feature The Spy Who Loved Me… Continue reading Caroline Munro

Barbara Shelley

Like many of my fellow Americans I’m enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday so I’ve been distracted by family, good food and drink. But I wanted to take a moment to shine a spotlight on The First Leading Lady of British Horror, Barbara Shelley. Barbara starred in no less than eight Hammer films that I’m aware of… Continue reading Barbara Shelley

Ishiro Honda

For the past week the Bay Area has played host to a Godzillathon taking place at Viz Cinema in San Francisco’s Japan Town. This Godzilla film festival started on May 5th and ends tonight on May 13th with a showing of Yoshimitsu Banno’s film Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971). The Godzillathon coincided with what would have… Continue reading Ishiro Honda

Jerzy Skolimowski

Recently Turner Movie Classics played two of director Jerzy Skolimowski’s terrific but often hard-to-see films, Deep End and The Shout. This seems to have created a sudden surge of interest about the director’s work and I received a few comments and notes asking about the availability of his movies after making a brief comment about… Continue reading Jerzy Skolimowski

Emilio Vieyra (1920-2010)

I recently learned that director Emilio Vieyra passed away on January 25th at age 89 thanks to a tribute to the director written by Robert Monell for his blog. As Robert pointed out, Emilio Vieyra was often referred to as the “Roger Corman of Argentina” because he also produced and wrote his own films but… Continue reading Emilio Vieyra (1920-2010)

Paul Naschy 1934-2009

I was gutted by the news of Paul Naschy’s death today due to complications from cancer. He was 75 years old and had a very full and productive life but I didn’t realize he was so ill. Naschy directed and appeared in some of my favorite Spanish horror films and as I’ve mentioned before, I… Continue reading Paul Naschy 1934-2009

Barbara Steele

Fall has finally arrived in all its gold and copper splendor. As I’ve mentioned many times before, Autumn is my favorite season. Summer be damned! I’m more than happy to see it go and I look forward with unabashed glee to dark mornings, cold evenings and watching lots of horror movies during the month of… Continue reading Barbara Steele

Ted V. Mikels

I’ve expressed my admiration for B-movie maestro Ted. V. Mikels before when discussing the life of Mikels’ starlet Tura Satana as well as Mikels’ ode to go-go dancing, Girl in Gold Boots (1968). He’s my favorite purveyor of American no-budget movies and if you haven’t experienced a Mikels’ film yet you should stop reading this… Continue reading Ted V. Mikels

Interview: Shane Briant

The talented British-born actor Shane Briant made his screen debut in the Hammer horror film Demons of the Mind. Since then he’s gone on to appear in over 60 films and television productions including Straight On Till Morning (1972), The Picture of Dorian Gray (1973), The Mackintosh Man (1973), Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974), Frankenstein… Continue reading Interview: Shane Briant

Anthony Perkins

I’ve had the late great actor Anthony Perkins on my mind a lot lately. September 12th marked the 16th anniversary of his death and whenever September 11th rolls around I’m reminded of Perkins’ wife Berry Berenson (and the mother of his two sons, Oz and Elvis Perkins) who was killed when the plane she was… Continue reading Anthony Perkins

Congratulations Mr. Corman

One of my favorite filmmakers will be getting an Honorary Oscar this year! Surprising news came out of Hollywood this morning when the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that Roger Corman, along with actress Lauren Bacall and cinematographer Gordon Willis will all be recipients of a much deserved Lifetime Achievement Award. Disappointingly,… Continue reading Congratulations Mr. Corman

Pupi Avati

At this time of the year it seems like every film critic suddenly becomes an expert on horror films and starts publishing their quickly put together “Top 10 Scary Movie Moments” or “Best Films to Watch on Halloween.” These lists are often compiled by people who’ve seen a limited amount of films and their horror… Continue reading Pupi Avati

Patrick McGoohan 1928-2009

2009 is gotten off to a rough start. After the death of Bob Wilkins, I caught wind of the news that the talented British actor Patrick McGoohan has passed away at the age of 80. The incredible television series The Prisoner (1967-68) was McGoohan’s own creation and a follow-up to the previous television series he… Continue reading Patrick McGoohan 1928-2009

Isabelle Adjani

One of my favorite actresses is the stunningly beautiful and incredibly talented Isabelle Adjani. Like many lovely actresses, it would have been easy for Adjani to take glamourous roles during her lifetime that accentuated her beauty and relied on her batting her big blue eyes, but instead she has chosen to appear in challenging films… Continue reading Isabelle Adjani

Dario Argento

One of my favorite Italian directors has been making lots of news lately. On July 7th Dario Argento launched his first official website which is shaping up to be a really magnificent site jam packed with lots of info and eye-candy spanning Argento’s 40 year career. Unfortunately it’s only an Italian language site at the… Continue reading Dario Argento

Stalking Klaus Kinski

Today would have been Klaus Kinski’s 83rd birthday and in honor of the event I thought I’d share something I originally wrote about the actor back in 2003 on Valentine’s Day but have since expanded on.* “One should judge a man mainly from his depravities. Virtues can be faked. Depravities are real.” – Klaus Kinski… Continue reading Stalking Klaus Kinski

Tura Satana

Real bad girls who are beautiful as well as dangerous, are hard to come by. There are plenty of attractive and talented actresses who “play” action heroines in the movies but few seem like they can really hold their own off the set. They use stunt doubles for their action scenes and special effects to… Continue reading Tura Satana

Edwige Fenech

Europe has produced many lovely and talented actresses who have had memorable careers in horror cinema and one of my favorite European “Scream Queens” is the beautiful Edwidge Fenech. Fenech was born on December 24, 1948 and began her career as a model before getting into acting in the late sixties. She started out making… Continue reading Edwige Fenech

Jess Franco

I never made a film thinking that I’d win the Grand Prize in Cannes. Never. I always thought it would be so beautiful for my films to be shown in theaters in the suburbs and the theater is packed with people who are enjoying my films. There it is, That’s more than enough. There’s nothing… Continue reading Jess Franco

Lucio Fulci

Lucio Fulci b. June 17, 1927 – d. March 13, 1996 Today is the 11th Anniversary of Italian director Lucio Fulci’s death. To celebrate the life of one of my favorite filmmakers I thought I would share a brief overview of Fulci’s early career in cinema, which is often overshadowed by his later years as… Continue reading Lucio Fulci

Bob Wilkins

Cinebeats is celebrating its one year anniversary this month so I thought I would write about two men who changed my life and got me hooked on movies, my dad and the Bay Area horror host Bob Wilkins. If you’ve read my brief About Me bio, you may have noticed that I talk about my… Continue reading Bob Wilkins

William Beaudine

When I was a kid I often spent my weekends watching double features that played on television as part of the “Monster Matinee” and I thought I’d write about one I can vividly remember seeing for the Double Bill-a-thon currently running at Broken Projector. I watched a lot of great double features on the Monster… Continue reading William Beaudine

Alida Valli 1921-2006

The talented actress Alida Valli passed away this weekend. She appeared in a lot of terrific movies and will be missed. IMDB had this to say about her passing: “Alida Valli died at her home in Rome, Italy on Saturday. She was 84. Valli rose to fame in the 1930s and 1940s starring in a… Continue reading Alida Valli 1921-2006