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Hollywood's Legends of Horror Collection (1932 - 1939)

Cast: Lionel Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Bela Lugosi, more...
Director: Tod Browning, Tod Browning
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Horror, Suspense/Thriller, Classics, Vampires, Classic Horror, Classic Horror
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

Synopses
Doctor X / The Return of Doctor X (1932 - 1939)

Doctor X (1932)
Fay Wray screams when she first lays eyes on Lionel Atwill in Doctor X, but don't let that fool you. Atwill plays Fay's father this time around, and he may very well not be the diabolical "Moon Murderer" whom the police are seeking. Dr. Xavier (Atwill) maintains a research lab in a remote Long Island estate. The police suspect that one of Xavier's assistants--all "second-chancers" whose previous misdemeanors range from botched experiments to cannibalism!--is the mysterious murderer who strikes only when the moon is full. Newspaper reporter Lee Tracy sneaks into the estate to get a swell scoop, whereupon he falls in love with Fay. In trying to help the authorities, Xavier stages an elaborate trap for the Moon Murderer, with his daughter as the willing bait. The killer (we won't tell you who it is, but you'll figure it out anyway) reveals himself by coating his body with "synthetic flesh", which gives him supernatural powers. Based on a play by Howard C. Comstock and Allen C. Miner, Doctor X was originally filmed in two-color Technicolor; available for years only in black and white, the film was restored to its full tinted state in the 1970s. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

The Return of Doctor X (1939)
Humphrey Bogart makes his first and last appearance in a horror movie in this film. Though the title implies that it is a sequel to the classic 1932 chiller Dr. X it is not. The terror begins when an eager-beaver reporter stumbles across the corpse of a popular actress who turns up, after much media hoopla, not to be dead at all. At least she seems to be alive on a surface level and is eager to sue the reporter's paper. The reporter can't help but notice that here skin is unnaturally pale and that she keeps her face concealed beneath a long-black veil. Suspecting that evil is afoot, he--who by now is unemployed--launches a private investigation to prove that she really was the corpse he saw. His search leads him into the terrifying world of a psycho blood doctor, and into a series of unsolved murders in which all the victims were found with no blood in their veins. Ultimately, the reporter finds himself face-to-face with the nefarious Dr. Maurice Xavier (Bogart), a man executed several years ago for murdering patients while performing Frankensteinian experiments. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide

Mad Love/The Devil-Doll (1936)

Mad Love (1935)
In his first American film, Peter Lorre portrays egg-bald Dr. Gogol. A brilliant and highly respected surgeon, Gogol would give up everything he has in life for the love of Yvonne Orlac (Frances Drake), star of the Parisian Horror Theatre. But Yvonne is deeply in love with her husband, concert pianist Stephen Orlac (Colin Clive). When Orlac loses his hands in a train accident, Yvonne pleads with Gogol to save her husband. Perversely, he does so by grafting the hands of a recently executed murderer onto Orlac. Not only is Orlac unable to resume his musical career, but he has suddenly developed a peculiar talent for throwing knives; he also has a bad habit of attempting to win arguments by throttling his opponents. Gleefully exploiting his patient's torment, Gogol disguises himself as the executed killer and tries to convince Orlac that he, Orlac, was responsible for a recent murder. In a effort to prove her husband's innocence, Yvonne goes to Gogol's home and switches places with a lifesize replica of herself that the obsessive Gogol keeps in his living room. Only the last-minute intervention of Orlac saves Yvonne from being strangled by the crazed Gogol. The first of several film versions of Maurice Renard's The Hands of Orlac, Mad Love was directed by cinematographer Karl Freund. Its deployment of certain visual elements that would later (consciously or otherwise) be adopted by Orson Welles in Citizen Kane brought Mad Love a surfeit of latter-day attention when Pauline Kael annotated the resemblances in her 1971 New Yorker article on Kane (Ms. Kael's assessment of Mad Love as a "dismal, static horror film" is both unfair and untrue). ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide


The Devil Doll (1935)
Falsely convicted Lionel Barrymore escapes from Devil's Island with fellow prisoner H.B. Walthall. A brilliant scientist, Walthall reveals to Barrymore that he has developed a process to shrink human beings. Upon Walthall's death, Barrymore makes his way back to the old scientist's lab, intending to use Walthall's formula to exact vengeance on those who have wronged him. He does so, clearing his name and securing the future happiness of his daughter Maureen O'Sullivan (who believes that Barrymore is dead) in the process. But Barrymore's crazed assistant Rafaela Ottiano isn't satisfied. "We'll make the whole world small!" she hisses, forcing Barrymore to kill her and destroy the formula. To save his daughter from scandal, Barrymore disappears into the night, the implication being that he plans to commit suicide at the first opportunity. The excellent miniature work in The Devil Doll (much of it accomplished with outsized sets, a la the Laurel and Hardy comedy Brats) successfully takes the viewers' minds off the rather silly plot. Director Tod Browning was always stronger with atmosphere than with plot and dialogue, and this film is no exception. Far less logical than the miniaturization process is Barrymore's decision to disguise himself as an old woman, since this transparent guise wouldn't convince a 2-year-old in real life. Based on the novel Burn, Witch, Burn by Abraham Merritt, The Devil Doll was scripted by several hands, including Erich Von Stroheim. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Mark of the Vampire / The Mask of Fu Manchu (1935)

The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)
Boris Karloff stars as the villainous Dr. Fu Manchu in this wild and wooly -- and wildly racist -- adventure yarn, based on Sax Rohmer's fiction about the personification of the "yellow peril." Sir Nayland Smith (Lewis Stone) of the British Secret Service recruits Sir Lionel Barton (Lawrence Grant) to lead an expedition with Prof. Von Berg (Jean Hersholt) and McLeod (David Torrence) to the Gobi Desert, to find the tomb of Genghis Khan and retrieve the scimitar and golden mask held within. To Barton, these are mere archeological trophies, but Smith has learned that Dr. Fu Manchu also has his designs on them; and if he gets hold of these artifacts, he will use them to cause a rising in the East, and foment a war for the destruction of the white race. The action is fast and furious, resembling a Saturday-morning serial, as Barton is kidnapped and brought to Fu Manchu, who proceeds to torture him to find the location of the tomb. Barton's daughter, Sheila (Karen Morley), replaces her father to guide the expedition, accompanied by her fiancÚ, Terry Granville (Charles Starrett). They find the tomb and retrieve the sword and mask, and find themselves in the company of Nayland Smith as they try to return to England, and surrounded by enemies on all sides. One man is dead and soon Terry is in the hands of Fu and his sadistic daughter Fah Lo See (Myrna Loy), who proceeds to torture him; Nayland Smith is slowly being lowered into a pit of crocodiles, Von Berg is trapped between moving spiked walls, and Sheila Barton is about to be sacrificed as part of the ritual in which Fu will declare himself the reincarnation of Genghis Khan. ~ Bruce Eder, All Movie Guide


Mark of the Vampire (1935)
Mark of the Vampire is Tod Browning's remake of his own 1927 thriller London After Midnight, which unfortunately no longer exists. The sudden appearance of ghostly vampires in a remote mittel-European community is seemingly tied in with an old, unsolved murder case. Police inspector Neumann (Lionel Atwill) and occult expert Prof. Zelen (Lionel Barrymore) investigate, with the full cooperation of leading citizen Baron Otto (Jean Hersholt). For awhile, it looks as though the vampires -- Count Mora (Bela Lugosi) and his chalky-faced daughter Luna (Carroll Borland) -- will continue to hold the community in thrall, but the truth behind their mysterious activities is revealed midway through the film, whereupon the story concentrates on identifying the well-concealed murderer. In the original London After Midnight, Lon Chaney played both Count Mora and Prof. Zelen, which should provide a clue as to the film's incredible outcome. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide


GreenCine Member Ratings

Doctor X / The Return of Doctor X (1932 - 1939)
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7.25 (12 votes)
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Mad Love/The Devil-Doll (1936)
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7.29 (7 votes)
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Mark of the Vampire / The Mask of Fu Manchu (1935)
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7.56 (16 votes)
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Science Fiction: Double Feature
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classic SF movies, with a little help from Richard O'Brien
AshleyY

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