The Devil-Doll (1936)

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The Devil-Doll aka The Devil Doll is a 1936 horror film directed by Tod Browning (Dracula, Freaks) and starring a cross-dressing Lionel Barrymore (Mark of the Vampire) and Maureen O’Sullivan (Jane to Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan) as his daughter, Lorraine Levond. The movie was adapted from the novel Burn Witch Burn! of 1932, written by Abraham Merritt.

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17 years after being wrongly convicted of robbing his own bank, Paul Lavond (Barrymore), escapes from incarceration at the Devil’s Island penal facility, along with fellow prisoner, Marcel (Henry B. Walthall, London After MidnightThe Birth of a Nation) a scientist who is trying to create a formula to reduce people to one-sixth of their original size. Eluding the chasing guards and hounds, they eventually reach sanctuary at the riverside home of the scientist’s widow, Malita (Rafaela Ottiano, an actress from the original Théâtre du Grand-Guignol). Marcel’s aims are entirely just, aiming…

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Man Bites Dog

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Man Bites Dog (French: C’est arrivé près de chez vous, It Happened in Your Neighborhood) is a 1992 Belgian darkly comic crime-mockumentary written, produced and directed by Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel and Benoît Poelvoorde, who are also the film’s co-editor, cinematographer and lead actor respectively.

The film follows a crew of film-makers following a serial killer, recording his horrific crimes for a documentary they are producing. At first dispassionate observers, they find themselves caught up in the increasingly chaotic and nihilistic violence.

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In modern day Belgium, a small amateur film crew are filming the exploits and philosophical musings of a very ordinary man, Ben (Poelvoorde, A Town Called Panic) who happens to be a serial killer. In between pointing out the intricacies of the local architecture and nature of the chattering classes, he dons a suit and kills people for both fun and profit, however small. Accompanying him…

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The Evil Dead (1981)

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‘The ultimate experience in gruelling terror’

The Evil Dead is a 1981 American horror film written and directed by Sam Raimi and executive produced by Raimi and Bruce Campbell, who also stars alongside Ellen Sandweiss and Betsy Baker. The Evil Dead focuses on five college students holidaying in an isolated cabin in a remote wooded area. After they find an audiotape that releases a legion of demons and spirits, members of the group suffer from demonic possession, leading to increasingly gory mayhem.

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Five Michigan State University students: Ash Williams (Campbell, Bubba Ho-Tep, Maniac Cop) and his girlfriend Linda (Betsy Baker, 2084, Witches’ Night), accompanied by Ash’s sister Cheryl (Sandweiss, Satan’s Playground, The Dread), their friend Scotty (Richard DeManincor), and his girlfriend Shelly (Theresa Tilly), venture into the Tennessee hills to relax in an isolated cabin during their spring break. The journey quickly escalates from small-talk to a…

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The Catman of Paris

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The Catman of Paris is a 1946 American horror/mystery film, directed by westerns specialist Lesley Selander (Fury, The Vampire’s Ghost) and starring Carl Esmond, Lenore Aubert (Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein), Douglass Dumbrille and Gerald Mohr (The Angry Red Planet).

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It’s 1895 and the upper echelons of Parisian society are gathered to welcome returning hero, Charles Regnier (Esmond) to their midst, after the runaway success of his latest book. Sadly for Regnier, this turns out to not quite be the case, The Men In Suits being more than a little concerned that his writing appears to be informed by top-secret government documents. To make matters worse, the very same evening, an official who is connected to the documents is brutally murdered, suspicion immediately being focussed on the author.

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The finest police minds of the French capital are scrambled (Inspector Severen, Mohr and the Prefect of…

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Count Dracula’s Great Love

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Count Dracula’s Great Love (originally El gran amor del conde Drácula) is a 1973 Spanish film directed by Javier Aguirre. The film is also known as Cemetery Girls (American reissue title), Dracula’s Great Love (American promotional title), Dracula’s Virgin Lovers (UK and Canadian theatrical title) and The Great Love of Count Dracula (International English title). The titular vampire is played by Spain’s most famous horror star, Paul Naschy, the stage name of Jacinto Molina, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Aguirre and Alberto S. Insúa.

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Through the thick forest fog we witness a coach losing a wheel on Borgo Pass (one of the few nods to Bram Stoker‘s novel) and the five extravagantly-costumed travellers setting off on foot to find shelter for the evening. A local sanitarium is deemed suitable and they are granted a hearty welcome by the owner, Dr. Wendell Marlow (Naschy). The doctor is actually none other than…

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Death & Horror – BBC Sound Effect LP’s

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In 1967, the BBC created its own record label, designed to exploit the demand for commercially released TV tunes, comedy shows and, finding an unlikely niche in the market, sound effects. These LP’s appealed to amateur film-makers, those attracted by the lurid and engaging sleeve designs and people with a ‘healthy’ interest in the subject matter. They ultimately released dozens of themed records across a whole host of sometimes baffling subjects (worldly travels, transport…farms!) but perhaps the best remembered are their three horror-related collections.

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Volume 1, the endearingly-titled Essential Death & Horror (actually volume 13 in the BBC’s run of releases) appeared in 1977 and offers a dizzying collection of 91 different (though sometimes very similar) effects, handily batched together under the following headings; Execution and Torture, Monsters and Animals, Creaking Doors and Grave Digging, Musical Effects and Footsteps, Vocal Effects and Heartbeats and Weather, Atmospheres and Bells. It is…

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A Book of Monsters by Ruth Manning-Sanders (book)

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“The monsters in this collection are huge, hideous and ugly; they are hated and feared and people run screaming at the sight of them. Most of them are bad and brutal: their one wish is to eat as much as they can – especially tasty humans…”

How could any child resist?

Ruth Manning-Sanders (21 August 1886 – 12 October 1988) was a prolific British poet and author who was perhaps best known for her series of children’s books in which she collected and retold fairy tales from all over the world. All told, she published more than 90 books during her lifetime. It is difficult to substantiate whether the stories she told were indeed in existence before she published them or this was actually part of the charm she wove into their mystique. Occasionally she recounts the gestation and birth of the original tales, other times they are oddly curious in…

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