Universal Monsters are back on Horror Channel and Kim Newman is here to tell you all about them
By James Whittington, Thursday 14th October 2021
Kim Newman

Respected journalist, film critic, and fiction writer Kim Newman takes us through the Universal monsters joining Horror for our Classic Horror Halloween event running from 30th-31st of October.

With Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Wolf Man (1941) and The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), Universal Pictures introduced the lasting icons of horror... combining the presence of stars Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr with the make-up artistry of Jack P. Pierce (except for the Creature who came later in the day and was designed by the extraordinary Millicent Patrick ). These are the genre's cornerstone fiends, and - despite the way they have been domesticated and parodied (notably in The Munsters), the original films retain the power to instil terror, awe, pity and reverence. These are the films where the story starts...

But another thing Universal more or less invented was the sequel. Decades before Marvel decided to have a Cinematic Universe, Universal decided that all their monster films were interconnected and a night would come when Dracula, the Wolf Man and the Monster would prowl together (until they ran into Abbott and Costello, which is another story). One or two silent monsters had mini-franchises - there were three Golem movies, though only one survives - but we never saw Son of Nosferatu, Bride of Dr Caligari or The Phantom of the Opera Returns.

Initially, Universal opted for follow-ups rather than sequels... after Dracula, they made Frankenstein. The reasoning was that the main acts died in their first films. It took a few years to realise monsters probably couldn't die in any lasting sense - even if they were irrevocably turned to dust, they might still have relatives around to take over the business of terrorising unwary souls who crossed their paths.

Horror Channel's Classic Horror Halloween Weekend includes Channel premieres of some of the greatest follow-ons of all time.

The Invisible Man (1933)
The Invisible Man pops up (played by Vincent Price) in the tag scene of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, confirming that he's a part of the monsterverse - though his screen career is an odd mix of science fiction, horror, humour, heroism (in Invisible Agent, he's a Nazi-fighting proto-superhero) and villainy. James Whale's The Invisible Man, based on the novel by H.G. Wells, was the last of Universal's first slate of monster movies and a special effects showcase which is imitated by every invisible man movie down to the recent reboot. Claude Rains gives raspy voice to the megalomaniac title character, sometimes under bandages and dark glasses (and a disturbing false nose) and sometimes as an unseen presence. His misdeeds range from mischief like stealing a postman's bicycle and tweaking noses to wholesale murder (by crashing a train, the Invisible Man racks up a bigger body count than Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster and the Mummy put together).

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
The first great horror sequel, this is also a sly send-up, shot through by director James Whale with satirical, camp, sacrilegious and whimsical humour even as it delves even more deeply into the nastily grotesque. The Monster (Karloff) survives the burning mill of the first film and wanders through the countryside one clumping step ahead of the angry mob, only to fall in with a blind hermit who teaches him rudimentary speech ('bread, gooood ... fire, baad') and the pleasures of friendship and cigars. Dr Frankenstein (Colin Clive) is tempted back into the mad science business by the supremely eccentric Dr Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger), who thinks a suitable challenge would be the creation of a mate for the Monster. In the finale, we meet Elsa Lanchester as another indelible Jack Pierce creation, the shock-haired bride.

The Mummy's Hand (1940)
Though it lifts Egyptian flashback footage from the 1932 movie, The Mummy's Hand isn't strictly a sequel but a reboot. It is, in fact, the template for almost all later mummy movies, with a linen-wrapped thug limping after those who have dared violate the sacred tomb and screaming victims backed into a corner to be strangled. Unwary archaeologists Dick Foran and Wallace Ford, not to mention stage magician Cecil Kellaway and his hotcha assistant Peggy Moran, trespass in the tomb of Princess Ananka and the fez-wearing high priest (George Zucco) doses up the living mummy Kharis (Western star Tom Tyler) with a brew of 'tana leaves' that keep him stumbling and invokes the curse whereby all the infidels must die. Whereas The Mummy is a romantic supernatural melodrama on the model of Dracula, The Mummy's Hand is a lively adventure movie - this is where that Brendan Fraser version got its tone - with thrills, spills, laughs, and a bandaged bogeyman.

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
Grave-robbers disturb the resting place of werewolf Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr), who returns to life and travels to middle Europe in the hope that the surviving notebooks of Dr Frankenstein hold the secret of curing his affliction. This was the first great team-up monster movie, simultaneously a direct sequel to The Wolf Man, in which Chaney Jr created his most lasting monster character, and The Ghost of Frankenstein, in which he had taken over from Boris Karloff as the flat-headed, big-booted Frankenstein Monster. Since Chaney couldn't play both title roles, it was a clever, if ironic casting stroke to put Bela Lugosi, who missed out on playing the Monster in the 1931 film that made Boris Karloff a star, into the make-up. Silly but enormous fun, complete with gypsy musical numbers and a battle royal finish as the monsters rip each other apart while some loon dynamites the dam and the castle is swept away in a flood.

Return of the Creature (1954)
In the 1950s, Universal retired their gothic monsters and concentrated on science fiction fiends - the mutant of This Island Earth, The Mole People, Tarantula! But only one of this generation earned sequels, and approached the iconic status of Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster, and company. The Creature From the Black Lagoon was such a hit that the Gill-Man, sinuously played underwater by swimmer Ricou Browning, was revived for a follow-up in which he was kidnapped from his South American habitat and transplanted to a Florida aqua park for study... only to resent captivity and rampage again. Returning director Jack Arnold stages plenty of action and remembers to include those odd lyrical moments that - as Guillermo del Toro's virtual remake The Shape of Water bears out - make the Creature one of the oddly sexiest monsters in the menagerie. Watch for a tiny bit by young hopeful Clint Eastwood as a lab assistant.

Interview with Marcel Sarmiento co-writer and director of Faceless
Posted on Friday 15th October 2021

Showing at Grimmfest Online Edition is the incredibly inventive horror/sci-fi hybrid Faceless. Here, co-writer and director Marcel Sarmiento speaks about this superb movie.

HC: Have you always been a big horror movie fan?

MS: Definitely as a kid. My first movies made with my Betamax were all about scaring one other and how gross we could push makeup effects. We mostly strangled, stabbed, and threw each other off buildings. I think as I got older, I appreciated what you could do with horror more than horror for horror's sake. I love that you can make characters do things that in any other genre you couldn't make them do and still come out the other end liking them and routing for them.

HC: Where did the idea for the movie come from and what was your writing process between the three of you like?

MS: It originated with my friend Ed and I wanting t...

Horror Channel goes out of this world to bring Channel premiere of Brit sci-fi thriller series UFO from October 20
Posted on Wednesday 13th October 2021

Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing great cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Season 1 of the 1970 British science fiction TV series UFO, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and produced by the Andersons and TV mogul Lew Grade.

One of the best of its genre, the 26-part series combines the remarkable talents of the Andersons with those of special effects director Derek Meddings. And with a stellar cast including Ed Bishop, Michael Billington and George Sewell, it proved a popular hit at the time.

Following syndication in the US and favourable ratings, a possible second series was plann...

Horror Channel - Now on Instagram!
Posted on Saturday 9th October 2021

You can never have too much Horror Channel in your life, so follow us on Instagram too!

Find us at instagram.com/horrorchannel_uk/

Classic monsters will rise this Halloween on Horror
Posted on Thursday 7th October 2021
Classic Horror Halloween Banner

Famous monsters rise again!

To celebrate the Halloween weekend on Saturday 30th October and Sunday 31st October, Horror Channel presents Classic Horror Halloween, two diabolical daytime marathons highlighted by five channel premieres, including Bride Of Frankenstein, the celebrated sequel to the 1931 classic with Boris Karloff reprising his role as the Creature, Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman, featuring the original Wolfman, Lon Chaney, Jr. and Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein's monster, The Invisible Man, in which Claude Rains delivers a remarkable performance in his screen debut, Christy Cabanne's frightening chiller masterpiece The Mummy's Hand and Revenge ...

Horror Channel unleashes primetime premieres for October
Posted on Tuesday 21st September 2021
Oct line-up-social

Horror Channel has seven weekend primetime premieres line up for October, including, at 9pm on Sunday nights, the UK TV premiere of Brad Paxton's supernatural thriller Incarnate, starring Aaron Eckhart, and the channel premieres of David Cronenberg's erotic psychological chiller Dead Ringers and Juan Carlo Fresnadillo's atmospheric fantasy Intruders (2011), starring Clive Owen.

Plus, there are four premieres at 9pm on Saturday nights: Darren Lynn Bousman's nightmarish mystery Abattoir, Iain Softley's Southern Gothic-style frightener The Skeleton Key, starring Kate Hudson, dark horror comedy Mom And Dad, starring Nicholas Cage and Selma Blair and Mama, the Guillermo Del Toro exec...

Tom Paton, director of G-LOC chats about his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman
Posted on Tuesday 14th September 2021
Tom Paton on the set of G-Loc-3-1

Ahead of the Horror Channel premiere of his sci-fi action thriller G-LOC, director Tom Paton reflects on why making movies is like solving a puzzle, his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman.

Horror Channel will be broadcasting the UK TV premiere of your Sci-fi adventure G-LOC. Excited or what?

It's honesty so strange to me every time Horror Channel debuts one of my movies. The channel has been such a big part of my life growing up and informing my taste in films, that it's always a "pinch myself moment" when I see something that I've made appear on their TV listing. G-LOC is much more of a SCI-FI adventure than any ...

Horror Channel reveals slate of TV premieres for September
Posted on Tuesday 17th August 2021
Sept films

Tom Paton's sci-fi action thriller G-LOC is amongst three films receiving their UK TV premieres on Horror Channel this September. G-LOC, which deals with the increasingly topical issue of space migration, stars Stephen Moyer, Casper Van Dien, Tala Gouveia and John Rhys-Davies.

Another UK-produced movie receiving it's UK TV premieres is disturbing haunted house thriller, The Haunted, starring Sophie Stevens (The Black Prince), Kirstie Steele (Waterloo Road, Glasgow Girls) and Nick Bayly (Goodnight Sweetheart, Emmerdale). The third is The Last House. which stars I Spit On Your Grave's Camille Keaton, who is back and out for revenge again - this time against a trio of home invaders.

Arrow Video FrightFest 2021 announces second wave of films for August Cineworld event
Posted on Thursday 22nd July 2021

It's full scream ahead as Arrow Video FrightFest 2021 announces its second wave of hugely anticipated Discovery Screen and First Blood titles - a summer collection of provocative, edgy and transgressive entertainment to die for. There are fourteen World and ten European/International premieres amongst the thirty-four films on offer.

Eleven countries are represented, with titles ranging from Canadian entries Bloodthirsty, Amelia Moses' simmering LGBQT+ werewolf movie and sinister isolation thriller Motherly to Francesco Erba's As In Heaven, So On Earth, a stunning Italian blend of live action and Gothic puppet animation. Then there's Peter Bergendy's sumptuous Post Mortem, an epic Hu...

Horror Channel raises hell in August!
Posted on Tuesday 20th July 2021
Horror Channel - Aug tweet banner

August is a wicked month on Horror Channel, as the UK's number 1 destination for genre films revives some horror, sci-fi and fantasy classics - including Clive Barker's Hellraiser trilogy, which has one of the most stylish and ferociously original horror fantasy franchises ever and Night Of The Living Dead (1990), Tom Savini's colour remake of George Romero's original Night Of The Living Dead, which transcended the world of horror movies to become a film classic .

Other highlights include Re-Animator, the late Stuart Gordon's darkly comic classic, that has been acknowledged as one of the most celebrated, outrageous and original horror films of all ti...

Original Vs Remake: Which one do you prefer?
Posted on Thursday 15th July 2021

Horror Channel has always celebrated the classics as well as the more recent chillers around. Inevitably we come across some remakes which have either caused celebration or contention among viewers.

But are all remakes bad? Here's five of the finest which are showing at the moment on Horror.

Night of the Living Dead (1990)
SFX maestro Tom Savini was given the job of bringing George A Romero's all-time classic back to the big screen, and in doing so gave the classic a colourful retelling. Set during an unexplained event, namely the dead rising from their graves, strangers stranded in a house battle the undead as well as themselves. Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman, and Tom Towles ta...

Carpenter, Cronenberg and Eli Roth lead a summer charge of seasonal shockers on Horror Channel this July
Posted on Thursday 17th June 2021
HC July 2021 - PR header image

Carpenter, Cronenberg and Eil Roth lead a summer charge of seasonal shockers on Horror Channel this July.

Considered one of David Cronenberg's early genre classics, Scanners was based on Cronenberg's scripts The Sensitives and Telepathy 2000, which he planned to pitch to Roger Corman. Starring Michael Ironside and Patrick McGoohan, the film went on to became one of the first produced in Canada to successfully compete with American films at the international box office. Also airing is David Cronenberg's other cult classic body horror The Brood, which stars Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar. To many this remains one of the director's most frightening and resonan...

Horror Channel adds First Wave to its weekday evening Sci-Fi Zone
Posted on Thursday 10th June 2021

Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with suspenseful, action-driven drama First Wave, which stars Sebastian Spence as Cade Foster, a former security specialist, accused of murdering his wife and now on the run, determined to expose a vast alien infiltration on Earth.

Helping him in his quest is "Crazy" Eddie, a computer hacker who works on a web tabloid, Paranoid Times. Out to stop them is Joshua (Roger R Cross), an alien hit-man, whose mission is to eliminate them before they can expose 'The Gua' (who live among humans in the form of hybridised genetic clones), a...

Features Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
John Carpenter's Vampires
Tuesday 26th October
9.00 PM
All Cheerleaders Die
Friday 22nd October
9.00 PM
Saturday 16th October
10.45 PM