Joe Dante

Joe Dante

Joe Dante is a lifelong film buff who turned his obsession into a career.  He got his start cutting trailers for Roger Corman and later directed the hit movie Gremlins, as well as Gremlins 2: The New Batch, for producer Steven Spielberg. His feature films include The Howling, Innerspace, Matinee, Small Soldiers, The ‘burbs and the 3-D thriller titled The Hole, first winner of the 3D Persol Award at the Venice Film Festival. His TV directing work includes:  the HBO film, The Second Civil War, the “Masters of Horrors” titles,  Homecoming and The Screwfly Solution, episodes of Eerie, Indiana , which he was in on the creation of, as well as episodes of CSI: NY, Hawaii 5-0 and Salem. His latest feature, the zom-com Burying the Ex, is currently available on VOD.

Commentaries by Joe Dante

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Taste the Blood of Dracula

1970
Warner Bros.
Probably the last creditable Dracula sequel and one of the better...
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These are the Damned

1962
Columbia
Fascinating mixture of science fiction and social comment from Hammer Films circa...
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Space Children

1958
Paramount
This last in the Jack Arnold/William Alland series of ’50s sci-fi classics is a...
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The Atomic Kid

1954
Republic Pictures
From Fail Safe to Dr. Strangelove, Hollywood’s reaction to the atomic bomb has veered between grim horror...
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The Horn Blows At Midnight

1945
Warner Bros.
Jack Benny used this film’s disappointing box office as a long-running gag...
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The Wasp Woman

1959
The Filmgroup
“A beautiful woman by day. A lusting queen wasp by night!” If that...
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The Alligator People

1959
20th Century Fox
A drugged amnesiac Beverly Garland confides in two psychiatrists about her terrible repressed...
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Fail Safe

1964
Columbia
Lumet’s minimalist adaptation of the doomsday best seller is one of the director’s most...
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Mickey One

1965
Columbia
Warren Beatty is one movie star who constantly took chances on offbeat projects, and...
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Hold That Ghost

1941
Universal
Ok, so there’s no ghost–but this is one of the best Abbott &...
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Teenagers From Outer Space

1959
Warner Bros.
Indie filmmaker Tom Graeff, inspired to make his own movie after completing...
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The High and the Mighty

1954
Warner Bros.
William Wellman’s soap opera in the sky is the granddaddy of...
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College Confidential

1960
Universal
Noted moralist Al Zugsmith takes the directorial reins on this smutty followup to High...
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The Private Lives of Adam and Eve

1960
Universal Pictures
Albert Zugmith’s 1960 film about a motley band of...
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The Last Adventure

1969
Universal Pictures
Although this bittersweet French adventure-drama was one of Alain Delon’s biggest domestic hits...
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The Sadist

1963
Fairway International Pictures
It took decades for this sleaze classic to be appreciated. It provided Vilmos Zsigmond with...
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The Ballad of Cable Hogue

1970
Warner Bros.
“He found water where it wasn’t”. Hardly seen even in its...
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Frankenstein 1970

1958
Allied Artists
Well, it seemed pretty futuristic in 1958! At least there’s a new-fangled atomic reactor...
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The Black Room

1935
Columbia
A Boris Karloff tour-de-force casts him as twin brothers under the thrall of...
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The Man Who Lived Again

1936
Gaumont British Picture Corporation of America
Originally titled The Man Who Changed His Mind, this nimble and...
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Robot Monster

1953
Astor Pictures Corporation
This much maligned and conversely beloved 1953 cheapie, one of the most bizarre and...
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The Mask

1961
Warner Bros.
Julian Roffman’s The Mask, Canada’s first horror film, alternates a routine 2-D horror story with trippy...
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Conquest of Space

1955
Paramount
Star-gazer George Pal’s infatuation with scientifically accurate depictions of our interplanetary future came...
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The Innocents

1961
20th Century Fox
Jack Clayton’s masterpiece, one of the greatest cinematic ghost stories, is ill-served by this...
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The Blood on Satan’s Claw

1971
Cannon
Lush, brooding and somewhat perverse, this highly atmospheric 17th century British...
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Burying the Ex

2015
Image Entertainment
Joe Dante’s latest film is a self-described “zom-com” starring Anton Yelchin as the...
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Blood and Roses

1961
Paramount
Even with a trailer tracked with library music from Teenagers from Outer Space,...
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The Stranger

Posing as a college professor in a small Connecticut town, a Nazi war criminal plots all manner of perfidy under the unsuspecting eyes of his bride-to-be....
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Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

1974
Janus
Jaromil Jires’ ethereal Czechoslovakian combo fairy tale/medieval horror fantasy makes...
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The Mummy’s Hand

1940
Universal
Universal’s 1940 sequel to The Mummy is a breezy day in the park...
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The Mummy ’32

1932
Universal
Directed in 1932 by the brilliant Karl Freund (a year after he photographed...
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Tarantula

1955
Universal
Universal was the leader in slickly produced 50s genre pix, and here’s another eerie desert-set...
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Blast of Silence

1961
Universal
Finally retrieved from undeserved obscurity, Allen Baron’s 1961 shoestring feature debut is one...
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The Night Walker

1964
Universal
Tormented heroine Barbara Stanwyck is haunted by an expressionistic dreamworld in 1964’s The Night...
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Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde

1972
AIP
The title suggests a feminist take on the Robert Louis Stevenson...
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The Tomb of Ligeia

1964
AIP
Roger Corman bids farewell to his Edgar Allan Poe series with a...
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The Tingler

1959
Columbia
William Castle’s craziest and most famous ballyhoo extravaganza unfolds in “PERCEPTO – Newest and...
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Scared to Death

1947
Screen Guild Productions
The sinister presence of Bela Lugosi at his skulkiest (though he’s hardly in...
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Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla

1952
Realart Pictures Inc.
After dutifully playing straight man for The East Side Kids,...
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Invisible Ghost

A haunted Bela Lugosi prowls his mansion and lurks in shadowy doorways as houseguests bite...
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Confessions of an Opium Eater

1962
Allied Artists
Albert Zugsmith’s shining moment in an amiably disreputable career that nonetheless...
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Riot in Cell Block 11

1954
Allied Artists
An intelligent, well-acted “message” melodrama hides behind that hard-nosed title. Directed...
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Black Legion

1936
Warner Bros.
One of the more provocative entries in Warner Bros.’ line of socially conscious potboilers, Black...
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Sex Kittens Go to College

1960
Allied Artists
The psychotronic title is perhaps exploitation virtuoso Albert Zugsmith’s greatest gift...
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I Married a Witch

1942
United Artists
A savvy satire of both political and sexual gamesmanship, I Married A...
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Planet of the Vampires

1965
AIP
Gothic grandmaster Mario Bava leaves his corpse-strewn crypts behind and takes off...
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The Man From Planet X

Austrian shoestring auteur Edgar G. Ulmer hits it out of the...
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Black Friday

1940
Universal
More brain games from screenwriter Curt Siodmak, this time involving Boris Karloff as an...
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Donovan’s Brain

1953
United Artists
Lew Ayres, who achieved stardom as the benevolent Dr. Kildare, plays yet another kindly...
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Captive Wild Woman

1943
Universal
A circus ape transforms into doe-eyed sex-bomb Acquanetta via a brain swap performed...
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Harvey

1950
Universal International
One of James Stewart’s most memorable performances anchors a comedy classic that’s enriched by the...
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Weird Woman

1944
Universal
Fritz Leiber’s pulp novella “Conjure Wife”, which originally appeared in the April 1943 issue...
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The Mad Doctor of Market Street

1942
Universal
One of the lesser lights in the Screen Gems Shock...
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Targets

1968
Paramount
Peter Bogdanovich’s harrowing directorial debut was made independently and sold to Paramount, becoming an effective...
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Phantom from Space

1953
United Artists
“From the files of the Central Bureau” comes this terminally uneventful, stock footage-laden docu-style...
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Lisa and the Devil

1976
Peppercorn-Wormser Film Enterprises
A career high– and low– point for director Mario Bava, who was...
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The Seventh Cross

1944
MGM
Vienna-born Fred Zinnemann’s first major MGM directorial assignment is an uncommonly intelligent and...
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The Night of the Following Day

1969
Universal
An uncooperative Marlon Brando put director Hubert Cornfield through the...
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The Trial

1962
Astor Pictures
Franz Kafka’s 1925 novel about an office clerk who is arrested for a crime...
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The Lady from Shanghai

1947
Columbia
A shell of what may have been a great film. What remains...
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The Day Mars Invaded Earth

1963
20th Century Fox
Moody, atmospheric B picture that recalls the Val Lewton formula of...
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I Was A Teenage Frankenstein

1957
AIP
“Speak! You have a civil tongue in your head. I know,...
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Teenage Monster

The sole directorial effort of cinematographer Jacques Marquette (A Bucket of Blood, Attack of...
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Wrong is Right

1982
Columbia
Movies set in the near future are sometimes rendered moot by subsequent events,...
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Nothing but the Night

1973
Cinema Systems
Perhaps the least seen of the Christopher Lee/Peter Cushing vehicles, this was...
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Horror Express

1974
Scotia International
This Spanish-British coproduction, shot in Madrid under the evocative title Panic on the Trans-Siberian...
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I Bury the Living

1958
United Artists
This low budget graveyard chiller was producer-director Albert Band’s second outing and...
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The Prize

1963
MGM
All-star cold war thrills from the writer of North By Northwest set against the...
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The Red Badge of Courage

1951
MGM
Audie Murphy goes back to war and doesn’t like it. Still...
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The Hole (British)

2012
Big Air Studios
A dysfunctional family faces its fears in a retro-80s style horror film from...
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The Hole (Italian)

2012
Big Air Studios
A dysfunctional family faces its fears in a retro-80s style horror film from...
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The Hole (US)

2012
Big Air Studios
A dysfunctional family faces its fears in a retro-80s style horror film from...
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The Invisible Boy

1957
MGM
Sci fi icon Robby the Robot followed his breakthrough role in Forbidden Planet...
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No Blade of Grass

1970
MGM
Socially committed filmmaker Cornel Wilde (who often specialized in directing showcases for...
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The Gamma People

1956
Columbia
John Gilling’s odd Euro sci-fi-fantasy has pretty much slipped through the cracks since...
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The Devil and Daniel Webster

1941
RKO Radio Pictures
A classic piece of Americana. William Dieterle’s haunting fantasy is that...
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To Be or Not to Be

1942
United Artists
Jack Benny’s greatest movie role, and no wonder–it was written...
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The Haunted Palace

1963
AIP
Although seeming quite a bit like one of Roger Corman’s period Edgar Allan...
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Voyage to the End of the Universe

1964
AIP
Jindrich Polak’s 1963 Czechslovakian space odyssey was originally titled...
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Gigantis, the Fire Monster

1959
Warner Bros.
Scaly Toho superstar Godzilla plays his most challenging role as his distant cousin Gigantis....
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Valley of the Dragons

1961
Columbia
During the 50s and 60s the continuous boxoffice success of such big...
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The Black Scorpion

1957
Warner Bros.
“The management reserves the right to put up the lights any time the...
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The Undead

1957
AIP
Filmed under the title The Trance of Diana Love, this period time travel fantasy...
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Bride of the Gorilla

1955
Banner Productions
“A blonde beauty and a savage beast alone in the jungle! Her clothes...
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The Last Man on Earth

1964
AIP
It’s Vincent Price vs. plague-ridden zombie/vampires  in what is in retrospect...
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Invisible Invaders

1959
United Artists
“Earth Given 24 Hours to Surrender!” It’s those darned aliens again! This time they’re...
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The Monster of Piedras Blancas

1959
Filmservice Distributors Corporation
Low rent but affectionately made by professional monster movie fans, this ...
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Verboten

1959
Columbia
Once again Samuel Fuller uses the skimpiest of budgets as a tool to contrast reality...
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The Big Clock

1948
Paramount
Ray Milland is the fall guy in Charles Laughton and George Macready’s murder...
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A Boy Ten Feet Tall

1965
Paramount
One of Alexander Mackendrick’s lesser known efforts, this hard-luck family movie...
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Dime With a Halo

1963
MGM
An offbeat B-picture that slipped through the cracks. This Tijuana-set street urchin...
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Daughter of Horror

1955
Exploitation Pictures
Filmmaker “John Parker” has only a single (grubby) credit: this bizarre hour-long dream...
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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

1935
Warner Bros.
An unlikely pairing of Shakespeare and Warner Bros. with an all-star cast...
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The Patsy

1964
Paramount
Jerry Lewis writes, directs, produces and stars and probably does the craft service on...
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The Nanny

1965
20th Century Fox
Middle-aged leading ladies from prior decades found new starring opportunities during the sixties in...
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Little Shop of Horrors

1960
The Filmgroup
The little picture that could. Emerging from initial mini-budget obscurity to full...
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Family Plot

1976
Universal
Although Alfred Hitchcock was working with Ernest Lehmann on the script for a project...
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VCI Entertainment Collection
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Blood and Black Lace

1965
Allied Artists
Mario Bava’s influential and fabulously stylish murder parade, one of the great...
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The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues

1955
ARC
Radioactivity is not our friend: that’s the message ’50s sci fi...
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Macabre

1958
Allied Artists
The movie that began the William Castle legend is a modest affair with a terrific...
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The Giant Claw

1957
Columbia
“Winged Monster from 12,000,000 B.C.!” Sounds good, huh? Well, it might have been...
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Viva Las Vegas

1964
MGM
Viva Elvis! Viva Ann Margret! That’s all there is to this one, but...
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The Angry Red Planet

AIP
Any movie with a giant amoeba in it is ok with us,...
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Invasion of the Body Snatchers

1956
Allied Artists
The filmmakers were hoping for a classier title (Sleep No More),...
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Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy

1955
Universal
Bud and Lou meet their last monster in this well-worn...
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Giant From The Unknown

1958
Astor Pictures Corporation
Hapless supporting players flee from yet another B-picture monster on the loose....
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The Return of Doctor X

1939
Warner Bros.
A studio contract player has to accept what he’s assigned to,...
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Five

1951
Columbia
Survivors of an atomic blast fight for survival in a bleak, irradiated world. Radio pioneer...
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Portrait of Jennie

1948
Selznick Releasing Organization
Obsessive producer David O. Selznick fussed over this metaphysical celebration of wife Jennifer...
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House of Dracula

1945
Universal
Cut-rate climax to the “straight” Universal Frankenstein series gives us two Lon Chaneys...
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VCI Entertainment Collection
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Blood and Black Lace

1965
Allied Artists Pictures
Mario Bava’s trend-setting murder parade played only grindhouses and drive-ins in its...
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The Bravados

1958
20th Century Fox
Gregory Peck tracks down the gang of varmints who murdered his wife in Henry...
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The Abominable Snowman

1957
20th Century Fox
The Yeti. Eerie. Mysterious. Does it exist? Sure does, according to this unsung...
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Son of Dracula

1943
Universal
The most underrated of the wartime Universal horror films is steeped in atmosphere...
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X The Unknown

1957
Warner Bros.
A radioactive blob terrorizes the Scottish highlands in this low key but suspenseful...
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Children of the Damned

1964
MGM
Underrated sequel-cum-remake of Village of the Damned didn’t get much attention in...
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Madmen of Mandoras

1963
Crown International Pictures
Mostly nobody saw this in its limited 1963 second feature run, but a...
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Candy Stripe Nurses

1974
New World
One of the most popular of the New World “nubile nurses” series and...
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The Hideous Sun Demon

1959
Pacific International Enterprises
Not widely distributed (more kids saw the photos in Famous Monsters of...
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Monster A-Go Go

1965
B.I. & L. Releasing Corp.
Is it possible? Could this be the Worst Movie Ever? Another unfinished amateur...
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The Curse of Frankenstein

1957
Warner Bros.
The international sleeper hit of 1957. Terence Fisher’s then-gorily shocking re-imagining of...
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Horror Island

1941
Universal
Fast-paced B-movie fun in the Old Dark Castle mode. Treasure hunters on a pirate...
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Them

1954
Warner Bros.
Nine years after Hiroshima the atomic chicken has come home to roost in the shape...
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It Conquered the World

1956
AIP
One of Roger Corman’s most beloved 1950s drive-in double-bill quickies. A pointy-headed...
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Circus of Fear

1967
AIP
One of numerous entertaining coproductions based on the voluminous writings of British mystery...
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The Ghost of Frankenstein

1942
Universal
The third sequel continuing Universal’s Frankenstein saga firmly descends into B-picture territory,...
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Curse of the Cat People

1944
RKO Radio Pictures
One of the strangest sequels ever, this offbeat psychological fantasy employs...
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You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man

1939
Universal
As traveling con man Larson E. Whipsnade, W.C. Fields battles...
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The Cosmic Man

1959
Allied Artists
For decades this small-scale programmer, like the title character, was hard to see....
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The Satanic Rites of Dracula

1978
Dynamite Entertainment
Last of the Hammer Draculas. A barely seen swan song, general...
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The Skull

1965
Paramount
Probably the most accomplished of the non-omnibus Amicus horror pix. Dedicated occult collector Peter...
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The Giant Gila Monster

1959
McLendon-Radio Pictures
Not all 50s monster pix came from Hollywood–some were regionally produced on...
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King Solomon’s Mines

1950
MGM
“Actually filmed in the wilds of the Dark Continent!” H. Rider Haggard’s adventure...
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The Terror

1963
AIP
This 1963 offshoot of Roger Corman’s popular Edgar Allan Poe series has slipped into...
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Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers

1956
Columbia
The second of Ray Harryhausen’s low budget Columbia series improves on...
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This Island Earth

1955
Universal
One of the bigger interplanetary spectacles of the 50s, and one of the...
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The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T

1953
Columbia
Columbia Pictures chief Harry Cohn never forgave producer Stanley Kramer...
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The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake

1959
United Artists
The kind of dual-bill programmer they stopped making in the...
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VCI Entertainment Collection
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Blood of the Man Devil

1965
Medallion
When is a movie not even a movie? When it’s just...
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Invasion USA

1952
Columbia
Lest America become overrun with Commie hordes, this urgent warning from Al Zugsmith in...
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Lord of the Flies

1963
Continental
Author William Golding turned down numerous entreaties for movie adaptations of his...
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No Name on the Bullet

1959
Universal
Sci fi specialist Jack Arnold’s best Western casts Audie Murphy against...
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Creature From The Haunted Sea

1961
The Filmgroup
Roger Corman’s goofiest movie didn’t play many theaters in 1961 but...
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Mesa of Lost Women

1953
Howco Productions Inc.
“Have you ever been kissed by a woman like this?” There are...
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Target Earth

1954
Allied Artists
Before Robby and The Terminator, movie robots tended toward the bulky and box-like. One...
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The Beast of Yucca Flats

1961
Crown International
By the time Swedish wrestler and best-selling Halloween mask Tor Johnson...
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Horror of Dracula

1958
Universal
Terence Fisher’s seminal vampire triumph pits Cushing against Lee in their greatest Hammer...
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The Black Sleep

1956
United Artists
Basil Rathbone’s coldly obsessed Dr. Cadman looks like a dry run for Peter...
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Mr. Arkadin

1962
Cari Pictures
Orson Welles’ most mysterious film has him playing a sinister international tycoon who, like...
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Daughter of Dr. Jekyll

1957
Allied Artists
Low-budget auteur Edgar G. Ulmer, who gave us “Detour” and “Man from...
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The Revenge of Frankenstein

1958
Columbia
Terence Fisher returns to direct the first (and best?) of six sequels...
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She Demons

1958
Astor Pictures Corporation
Castaways on a tropical island run by Nazi fugitives who turn native girls into...
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The Cyclops

1957
Allied Artists
Giant monster specialist Bert I. Gordon’s only somewhat improved followup to “King Dinosaur” was...
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The Fiendish Ghouls

1965
Pacemaker Pictures
The truncated third US release (after earlier tries as “Mania'”, then “The Psycho...
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The Incredible Petrified World

1957
Governor Films
Petrified is right! 30 percent new movie plus 70 percent stock footage...
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The Unearthly

1957
Republic Pictures
If you want monsters, this last gasp (circa 1957) of the old-fashioned mad doctor...
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