Dracula, Chaney Style

April 28, 2017 UntoldHorror 0

As the more hardcore fans of the original Universal monster movies know, Bela Lugosi wasn’t the studio’s first choice to play the title role in 1931’s Dracula, despite starring in the stage play version of the Bram Stoker novel that the film was based upon. Studio head Carl Laemmle reluctantly gave his son, Carl Laemmle Jr., permission to make Dracula only if he could secure Lon Chaney for a dual role as Dracula and the creature’s nemesis, Professor Van Helsing. Chaney was big star at the time, having starred in Universal’s The Phantom of the Opera in 1925, but was under contract to rival studio MGM, where he had starred as a pointy-toothed ghoul in the Dracula-like London After Midnight in 1927 — now the most famous of all lost horror films. Chaney and director Tod Browning (Freaks, and then of course Dracula) had apparently discussed making a version of the film as early as 1922, and Laemmle Jr. was eager to get him. There was a script written by Pulitzer-prize-winning author Louis Bromfield that followed Stoker’s books more closely. Since it was’t based on a stage play, it’s more dynamic, with more locations, but also more sensual and violent. Alas, Chaney died of throat cancer on August 26, 1930, and the film was re-tooled for a new star. The earlier version of the script, along with the story behind it, the script for the 1922 Nosferatu, and a reprinted magazine feature in which Chaney talks about his life, was released as a book titled Lon Chaney’s Dracula. Part of series by Philip J. Riley featuring scripts of unmade genre movies, including Universal’s The Wolf Man Vs. Dracula, it was released by Bear Manor Media in 2010. It’s a fascinating read, especially because it feels tailor-made for Chaney, something that’s most evident in its description of The […]

Unknown Untold: TASHMAD

April 11, 2017 UntoldHorror 0

In our ongoing research into Untold Horror, we have uncovered a variety of projects which for better or worse went unrealized.  Many of them only exist in pitch material artwork if nothing else.   This ongoing series, entitled “Unknown Untold”, will shine a light on artwork for movies that never existed beyond what is seen on the page. If you have any further knowledge of any of the images posted, please let us know – Email mark@untoldhorror.ca with any details you may have about these projects! In digging into this one, let’s start with the title: TASHMAD. Who or what does this exactly refer to?   Some research turned up the following: The four Hebrew letters representing the new year 5744, each bearing numerical values as in Latin, form the Hebrew word Tashmad. The word means ‘destroy.’ So, taking this bit of knowledge and combine it with the the below pre-sale artwork and stated cinematic comparisons to The Exorcist and Poltergeist, one can only assume that this was some sort of end-of-the-world scenario, religious horror film. Besides literally citing the film, there are certainly more than a couple of similarities between this artwork with the iconic poster art for The Exorcist as well. Moving along  –  lets take a look at that catchy tag line: IT STARTED AS A GAME… BUT NOW THE EVIL WAS THE OPPONENT. If you find yourself  reading that over several times you’re not alone.   I’ve read it well over a dozen times, and the changing from past to present back to past tense is way more jarring than it should be. But perhaps this all makes sense when we get down to the director behind the attached filmmaker… Lucio Fulci. Fulci, director of genre classics like The Beyond, Don’t Torture a Duckling, Zombi 2, New York Ripper, and many more, is among […]