Oh, the horror of it all.
Eighty years ago saw the release of two seminal horror films from Universal — James Whale’s “Frankenstein” and Tod Browning’s “Dracula” — and their combined success wrote a major new chapter in the history of the cinematic genre. For the next several years, Universal would produce horror hit after horror hit including 1933’s “The Invisible Man,” 1935’s “Bride of Frankenstein” and 1939’s “Son of Frankenstein.”
On Sunday, the Fox Theater in Pomona will celebrate the 80th anniversary of these two legendary horror giants with screenings of both films and a special guest panel featuring Karloff’s daughter, Sara Karloff, and Lugosi’s son, Bela Lugosi Jr., as well as film historian Ted Newsom; monster-film historian Bill Warren; make-up expert Craig Reardon; visual effects artist Shane Mahan; actor Dan Roebuck and “monster artist” Frank Dietz. The panel will be moderated by Scott Essman, instructor in cinema studies at the University of LaVerne.
Doors open at 2 p.m.; “Dracula” screens at 3 p.m., “Frankenstein” follows at 4:45 p.m.
It’s hard to overstate the impact on the films on the cemetery sector of cinema.
Boris Karloff, who had been kicking around Hollywood since the silent era, became a superstar as the Frankenstein monster, as did Bela Lugosi as the aristocratic, blood-sucking Count Dracula. Interestingly, the great Lon Chaney was supposedly Browning’s original choice to play Dracula — they had made countless films together at MGM, including 1927’s vampire thriller “London After Midnight” — but he died of cancer in 1930.
– Susan King
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