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Showing posts from May 27, 2012

The Raven (1915) - Charles Braben

The Raven from 1915 seems to be the biggest failure, chronologically speaking. Up until now a Horror movie hadn't been this bad. This was really like the film-makers... Charles Braben, didn't even try. This movie is an exaggerated biography of the famous horror writer, Edgar Allan Poe. The movie stars Henry B. Walthall as a pretty decent Poe. 
The movie is long and incredibly boring. It teeters on the edge of being scary and it never tips over. Its just a wast of time. It shouldn't be considered horror. I am only writing and posting this review to warn you all. This "horror" movie misses its mark by a huge margin.
There are some pretty great scenes with Poe going into an alcohol induced hallucination of himself in his own poetry. That is about all that I can take away from this piece of junk. Sorry. 
I recommend steering clear of 1915's The Raven. There are a ton of other silent horror pictures that better serve the purpose of entertainment.
...nevermore.
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The Avenging Conscience (1914) - D.W. Griffith

The Avenging Conscience is a loose adaptation of the Tell Tale Heart and Annabel Lee by none other than Baltimore's own Edgar Allan Poe. The original context of the stories depicted in this film are already scary, so it only serves for the film to be just as scary. right? Well, no. This movie is in no way scary. Not by any sense of the word.

The story is a pretty decent one that shows a man being pushed to his limits. He turns to murder to finally ease his pain. That is the coolest part of the whole story. The movie doesn't ever really take off though. It just sits on the stage failing to ever take that extra step that's needed for a movie to be mildly entertaining. We are still shades away from the Silver Age of Film. Once we hit the 1920's the quality of not only the film but also the story will be apparent. Movies will start to actually be scary, well, sort of.

As far as silent movie story-lines, this one is pretty top notch. I am also going to give credit to the s…

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1913) - Herbert Brennon

The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde is a famous story by Robert Louis Stevenson that has been adapted for the screen more times than Dracula. However, it is not as good as Dracula. It doesn’t have that spark that does it for me. That one thing that really scares me. That is what I expect when I am watching a horror movie. This is a good try though.

The problem that I have with this franchise is that this horse has been beaten. This particular adaptation, which came out 1 year after the previous, features King Baggot as the good doctor Jekyll. Doctor Jekyll takes his potion one time and turns into the biggest annoyance ever. For his first act of menace he goes to a dance hall and screams at them. Then he leaves. Proud of himself. The most shocking thing in the movie finally comes when he chases a crippled child down and beats him for no reason. What the hell?

Although bizarre, this film has some high points. SOME of the transformation scenes are good. Some of them. Other…

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1912) - Lucious Henderson

This is a very basic and direct attempt to tell the tragic tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This version happens to be 8 minuets and leaves out a good deal of the plot and fluff. The plot establishes Dr. Jekyll as a chemist that is working on a secret formula and stumbles upon the drug that creates the maniacal and chaotic, Mr. Hyde. He goes through his usual transformation and ends up creating havoc around the town. He rips paper, knocks little girls over, generally runs amok. However, that isn't what makes you want to run out in the streets singing the praises of this century old cinematic. The movie uses its tiny budget to really show a good cast. James Cruze is the biggest name in the film and does a great job at portraying the evil Doctor. It has been told that Director Lucious Henderson helped James Cruze with his acting. He would actually stand in at times for James, giving him pointers and helping him out with his acting.

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