The folks at Heritage House will offer five feature films from The Ultimate Vampire / Mad Scientist / Voodoo Master and they will be streamed each Thursday in October at 7:30 p.m.
Each of the films will be preceded (at 7 p.m.) by a 20' chapter of Bela's 1939 serial -- The Phantom Creeps, in which Mr. Lugosi portrays a mad scientist intent on, well, “Destroying the world." In order to screen all 12 chapters of The Phantom Creeps, the Heritage house will also be streaming additional episodes on Saturday and Monday nights at 7 p.m. as 'solo' entries.
Here is the full schedule of gothic season at Heritage House.
Thursday, Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m. White Zombie (1932)
The Phantom Creeps ep. #1: The Menacing Power at 7 p.m.)
Saturday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m. The Phantom Creeps ep. #2: Death Stalks the Highways
Monday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m. The Phantom Creeps ep. #3: Crashing Towers
Thursday, Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m. The Silent Command (1923) (Bela’s Hollywood film debut!)
The Phantom Creeps ep. #4: Invisible Terror at 7 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 12, 7 p.m. The Phantom Creeps ep. #5: Thundering Rails
Thursday, Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m. Bride of the Monster (1955)
The Phantom Creeps ep. #6: The Iron Monster at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m. The Phantom Creeps ep. #7: The Menacing Mist
Monday, Oct 19, 7 p.m. The Phantom Creeps ep. #8: Trapped in the Flames
Thursday, Oct. 22, 7:30 p.m. Vampire Over London (aka: Mother Riley Meets the Vampire) (1952, comedy)
The Phantom Creeps ep. #9: Speeding Doom at 7 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m. The Phantom Creeps ep. #10: Phantom Footprints
Thursday, Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m. The Human Monster (1939)
The Phantom Creeps ep. #11: The Blast” at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 31 The Phantom Creeps (finale) ep. #12: To Destroy the World!
Review for the movies:
The Phantom Creeps (a 1939 serial in 12 chapters)
directed by Ford Beebe and Saul A. Goodkind
In this excellent low-budget cliffhanger serial, Lugosi plays one splendidly evil mad scientist — Dr. Zorka, sporting a rather Mephistophelian beard. Over the course of 12 thrilling installments, he uses a variety of technological gadgets to advance his master plan: wearing an invisibility belt (the better to drive unobserved around town in his station wagon); makes his giant robot smash things (controlling it via a radio-set strapped around his wrist); and soaring high above the city in a biplane, joyously throwing ‘bomb liquid’ explosives down at the populace below and cackling away!
Thursday, Oct. 1, White Zombie (Victor Halperin, 1932)
This ghoulish, still-chilling low-budget classic boasts one of Bela Lugosi's finest performances as the homicidal madman ruling over a tiny tropical island. Drenched in atmosphere, the film tells the story of Murder Legendre (Lugosi), who helps a wealthy fellow claim an unwilling girl by turning her into a living-dead zombie, until realizing that he would rather keep her for himself . . .
Thursday, Oct. 8, The Silent Command (J. Gordon Edwards, 1923)
In his American film debut, Bela Lugosi plays the role of a foreign saboteur who is part of a plot to destroy the Panama Canal. Produced in cooperation with the US Navy as a propaganda film to encourage support for a larger fleet, The Silent Command was shown at the opening of several Fox Theatre locations and was sometimes marketed in conjunction with naval recruitment efforts.
Now recognized as the film that launched Lugosi's career in the States (he had previously only done small films in his native Hungary and Germany), it is one of the few Fox films to survive from the silent era.
The cinematography of The Silent Command focuses on Lugosi’s eyes, at times even in extreme close-up, a technique which helped to establish his screen persona for later roles.
Thursday, Oct. 15, Bride of the Monster (Edward D. Wood, Jr.; 1955)
Besides Tod Browning’s Dracula (1931), many may be most familiar with later era Lugosi from his role in this film (as lovingly recreated by actor Martin Landau in Tim Burton's 1994 Ed Wood biopic, a role for which Landau won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.)
As we would be sadly remiss if we neglected to screen an example of Lugosi & Wood’s brief partnership (they made three films together) here is the original article, a film in which Lugosi plays a mad scientist attempting to create a race of atomic supermen while plotting from deep in his swamp-bound hideout.
Thursday, Oct. 22, Vampire Over London (aka: Mother Riley Meets the Vampire/My Son the Vampire) (John Gilling, 1952)
In the last of the popular English ‘Mother Riley’ series of comedies, the cantankerous Irish washerwoman (played in drag by Arthur Lucan) foils an evil scientist (Lugosi) who aims to take over the world with his series of radar-controlled robots.
At the time of the movie’s lensing, Lugosi had recently travelled to the UK to appear in a stage revival of Dracula (which he had originally portrayed the legendary vampire prior to it being adapted into a film.)
Unfortunately, the production failed to connect with English audiences. As he needed money to return to the US, his producer persuaded a coworker to use Lugosi in a movie while he was in London. It was felt that Lugosi's presence in the cast of Vampire Over London might give the film a chance of success outside Mother Riley’s normally British audience, where her escapes were traditionally considered children's pictures.
Thursday, Oct. 29 (“Halloween Thursday”): The Human Monster (aka: The Dark Eyes of London) (Walter Summers, 1939)
In London, philanthropist Dr. Orloff (Bela Lugosi) volunteers his services at a home for blind men, which serves as a cover for his notorious exploits.
For on the side, Orloff is running an insurance company that offers loans to desperate, unattached men — whom he then convinces to list him as a beneficiary.
With the aid of a blind man from the home, Orloff then coldly murders the men one by one to collect their insurance.
And although the police are hot on his trail, Orloff continues his brutal killings unabated . . .
We hope you enjoy this sequence of special evenings devoted to one of the original masters of on-screen horror.