Nightmare City: Universal's Legacy Of Horror (feat. Universal Horror B-Sides)

“Universal Horror B-Sides” co-presented by The Woodshed Horror Company and Cinespia.


The Cinefamily and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are teaming up this October to bring to Los Angeles a massive celebration of Universal Studios’ centennial, as seen through the lens of their legendary Universal Horror library — 20 vintage titles in total, with screenings at both the Cinefamily, and at the Academy’s theater locations!


The Academy will host a lineup of Universal’s most classic spooky titles at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater (with special screenings also held at the Linwood Dunn Theater, and the Oscars Outdoors arena). As a special bonus for Cinefamily members, FREE pairs of tickets to all six of the Samuel Goldwyn Theater shows in this series are available at the Cinefamily box office. Inquire with the kindly Cinefamily box office staff the next time you’re at the theater!


The Cinefamily will host a curated selection of hidden gems featuring Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Rondo Hatton and more, on Saturday/Sunday afternoons at the Silent Movie Theater location!



BUY TICKETS, “UNIVERSAL HORROR B-SIDES” ($12/free for members. Showtimes subject to change):
Saturday, October 13th, 5PM: The Mummy w/ House of Frankenstein
Saturday, October 20th, 4:45PM: The Raven w/ House of Horrors
Saturday, October 20th, 8PM: MEMBERS-ONLY EVENT: Carla Laemmle 103rd Birthday Party
Sunday, October 21st, 2PM: Weird Woman w/ Pillow of Death
Sunday, October 28th, 3PM: Dracula (Spanish Version) w/ “Universal Horror B-Sides” Video Mix

Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, the Creature From The Black Lagoon — these venerable veterans of movie horror from Universal Studios have chilled us to the bone for now over eighty years, and have deeply (and rightly) cemented themselves in our public consciousness for all time. These legends were born, however, out of only a small handful of pictures, just a mere drop in Universal’s bucket. The studio’s dozens and dozens of other fright flicks from the Thirties, Forties and Fifties represent on their own a deep bounty of imagination and craftiness; across the strange stable of Universal Monster sequels and curious one-offs, there’s a tremendous amount of fun to be had. Our Cinefamily programming team has just returned from a heartfelt mission: to survey the entire “golden era” of the studio’s horror output, and bring back to you only the most highly entertaining nuggets you might’ve missed during your own travels. So strap yourselves in, and get ready to thrill to character creations by Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Rondo Hatton and more!
Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Universal Horror B-Sides”!






Tuesday, October 2nd, 7:30PM, Samuel Goldwyn Theater: Bride of Frankenstein w/ Dracula
Monday, October 8th, 7:30PM, Samuel Goldwyn Theater: The Man Who Laughs
Tuesday, October 9th, 7:30PM, Samuel Goldwyn Theater: The Wolf Man w/ An American Werewolf In London
Tuesday, October 16th, 7:30PM, Samuel Goldwyn Theater: The Creature From The Black Lagoon w/ The Invisible Man
Tuesday, October 23rd, 7:30PM, Samuel Goldwyn Theater: The Birds
Saturday, October 27th, 2:00PM, Linwood Dunn Theater: Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein w/ The Ghost And Mr. Chicken
Saturday, October 27th, 7:30PM, Oscars Outdoors: The Incredible Shrinking Man w/ Tarantula
Tuesday, October 30th, 7:30PM, Samuel Goldwyn Theater: The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Dracula (Spanish Version) + "Universal Horror B-Sides" Video Mix

10/28/2012 - 3PM

“Universal Horror B-Sides” Video Mix – 3:00pm
In our inaugural edition of Nightmare City, which features more films in a month’s time than any other single month in Cinefamily history(!), we were only able to squeeze in four calendar spots’ worth of juicy Universal Horror B-sides — but it seemed a shame for us to have learnt so much from surveying the entire “golden era” Universal Horror repertoire without being able to fully share the enormous scope of our discoveries. So, in classic Cinefamily fashion, we’re rectifying that with a custom hour-long video mix, featuring the most amazing stand-alone scenes from all the cool vintage Universal Horror movies we didn’t have time to show in their entirety, accompanied by insightful and colorful lecture-style notes from the Cinefamily programming staff!

Drácula (Spanish Version) – 4:15pm
Often considered “the superior Dracula” to Tod Browning’s canonical work with Bela Lugosi, 1931’s Spanish-language version (a common practice at the time, capitalizing on growing international audiences) was filmed at night using the same sets and costumes that were being used during the day to make the English-language version. Glimpsing the way the shadows curdle and bend from one sequence to the next, it’s clear why no other foreign-language film from that era has attained the legendary cult status of “Spanish Dracula”. Film buffs also laud the performances, especially that of star Carlos Villarías, widely regarded as more passionate, sensual, and intense than his Hungarian-born counterpart. The story goes that this film’s crew, working with a much smaller budget and crazier hours than Browning’s production, would watch the dailies from the English version, and plan more sophisticated, artful approaches to everything, from camera angles to line readings. One thing’s certain: Spanish Dracula vants to suck your blood — and luckily, fans of Universal Horror never let language barriers get in the way of such a juicy bite of celluloid.
Drácula Dir. George Melford, 1931, 35mm, 104 min.

Watch an excerpt from “Spanish Dracula”!

Weird Woman + Pillow of Death

A double 1940s dose of Lon Chaney Jr.!
10/21/2012 - 2PM

Based upon the wildly popular 1940s radio series of the same name, Universal’s “Inner Sanctum Mysteries” were a series of six quickly-made hour-long marvels of supernatural-tinged intrigue, all featuring Lon Chaney, Jr. (star of The Wolf Man.) Join us in a double feature of Cinefamily’s favorite entries from this franchise!

Weird Woman – 2:00pm
Right from its introductory sequence of a floating head in a crystal ball extolling the inevitability of “murrrrderrrr,” Weird Woman is a fantastic example of wall-to-wall camp — a dark, twisty delight peppered with more hysteria than any cuckoo’s nest. L.C. Jr. is a brilliant, imposing sociology professor (from a university about which the film will not let us forget is entrenched in the study of Reason vs. Superstition!) Every woman is besotted with him — and every man is rabidly jealous. Returning from a South Pacific trip with an “exotic” island wife, trouble brews quickly, thanks to corrupt colleagues and their shrewish wives, a tarty, bookish T.A. with a temperamental boyfriend, and an evil old flame armed to the elbows with metaphorical gaslights. Though Chaney’s stellar as a monster, it’s wonderful to see him in a gripping, soapy thriller that delivers its absurd histrionics in voodoo-spouting spades.
Dir. Reginald Le Borg, 1944, 35mm, 63 min.

Pillow of Death – 3:15pm
Touting one of the strangest titles in vintage moviedom, Pillow of Death is, from start to finish, exactly the kind of lazy Sunday afternoon matinee programmer that one has fantasies about, when one thinks of “What exactly was it like to go see those old B-movies in a movie theater?” Ol’ dependable Lon is an attorney whose friends and family are plagued by a rash of pillow-smothering deaths. Since he’s the prime suspect, Lon turns to a fussy medium named Julian Julian(!) and his creepy séances in order to get to the sordid bottom of the whole affair. Delivering on the haunted house/metaphysical angle many times over, this lighthearted murderama cuts right to the chase — straight up until the mind-boggling ending, in which the culprit dispatches of themselves in the most head-scratching way possible. Liberally dosed with precious old-timey atmosphere, this is a rare title from the vaults that you’d be foolish to miss.
Dir. Wallace Fox, 1945, 35mm, 66 min.

Watch an excerpt from “Weird Woman”!

MEMBERS-ONLY EVENT: Carla Laemmle 103rd B'Day Party (Carla Laemmle in person!)

Carla Laemmle in person!
10/20/2012 - 8PM

NOTE: This show is free (first-come, first-serve).  To help us track attendance and limit waiting line size, you must pre-register for “first-come, first-serve” admission.   One registration per person.  All current Cinefamily members get first entry (and +1).   Your registration does not guarantee you a seat.  Early arrival is highly recommended.  Doors will open 30 min. before showtime.  No one will be admitted after the film has begun.

One of the last living links to the silent film era, actress Carla Laemmle is still with us, and continues to make her home in Hollywood, CA — a place that is home for her in a way that few others will ever experience.   The niece of Carl Laemmle (who founded Universal Studios), Carla grew up on the Universal lot, in the early days of the San Fernando Valley.  Beginning her long professional acting career at the age of 16 with an uncredited role as the prima ballerina in the original silent film version of the Phantom of the Opera, Carla is perhaps best known for her role early on in Dracula, making her the first actress to ever utter a line of spoken dialogue in an American horror film!  Come join four generations of Laemmle family members, as we welcome Carla in person to screen clips from her film appearances (both dancing and acting), and a slideshow of rarely-seen photos of Carla (from the early 20th century to the present day.)  Plus, we’ll have live 1920s-era music, and birthday cake!

The Raven + House of Horrors

Lugosi, Karloff and Rondo Hatton!
10/20/2012 - 4:45PM

The Raven – 4:45pm
The teaming of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff as two of the most idiosyncratic characters of their respective careers instantly renders The Raven a classic must-see — and the tale of a vengeful mad scientist and his murderous cohort still holds up as it builds to its feverish climax. Lugosi is haunting as a morbidly obsessive, Edgar Allen Poe-worshipping surgeon tasked with healing a beautiful car wreck victim with whom he quickly falls in love. Spurned by her and rejected by her family, Vollin hatches a plan that makes grisly use of the Poe-inspired torture chamber on his property. Karloff is also stellar as the conflicted, monstrous escaped convict ensnared by Vollin’s scheme after asking for face-altering plastic surgery to begin a new life. Masterfully and tautly edited, The Raven makes perfect use of its stars’ sizable capacities for scenery-chewing hysteria and heart-rending sensitivity. Lugosi’s performance still elicits shudders: “Death hasn’t the same significance for me as it has for you.”
The Raven Dir. Lew Landers, 1935, 35mm, 61 min.

House of Horrors – 6:00pm
“Utterly absorbing in its alternately dismissive and sympathetic attitudes toward art and abnormality.” — John Beifuss, The Bloodshot Eye

Part film noir, part high-camp Frankenstein, House of Horrors winds its way around a cartoonish version of the New York art world with the snap and melodrama of a riveting vintage radio play. This movie also has gleefully enjoyed a wicked reputation down the decades thanks to Rondo Hatton, its bulbous-faced giant co-star whose visage launched an entire era’s worth of kiddie nightmares. An insane and impoverished Peter Lorre-like European sculptor (who occupies a dank, crumbling house full of his own art, mostly enormous headless torsos) is ready to commit suicide by hurling himself into a river — but instead ends up fishing out a disfigured, elephantine serial killer (Hatton), whom he of course employs to viciously murder every slanderous art critic in town! Every time he appears onscreen in this film, Hatton is genuinely disturbing, especially considering his brutish, minimal line delivery and heavy-as-an-anvil deadeye stare. An absorbing little slice of mayhem, House of Horrors is one of the best-kept secrets in the Universal Horror canon.
House of Horrors Dir. Jean Yarbrough, 1946, 35mm, 65 min.

Watch the trailer for “The Raven”!
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Watch an excerpt from “House of Horrors”!

The Mummy + House Of Frankenstein

Karloff in a deadly double shot!
10/13/2012 - 5PM

The Mummy – 5:00pm
“How can you call one of Universal’s most famous movie monsters a ‘B-side’?”, you ask. It’s true: this film not only spawned an entire slew of sequels, but also a run of Hammer knock-offs, and the millennial blockbusters bearing its name as well — but everything you remember about the The Mummy’s grim, zombie-like terrorizing originates from Universal’s 1940 loose remake The Mummy’s Hand. 1932’s The Mummy, starring Boris Karloff in what’s arguably the second greatest role of his film career next to Frankenstein’s Monster, is decidedly different from any later Mummy incarnation, remaining forever ripe for rediscovery. Filled with unforgettable imagery and a startling sense of dread rarely matched even in modern horror, this Mummy finds Karloff’s Imhotep resurrected in the famous rags ‘n tatters only in the opening sequence, and from there on has him disguised himself as a modern Egyptian dude in utterly creepy quasi-human form, out to murder a young woman whom he attempts to then resurrect, so that she might be his undead bride! Directed by Karl Freund (cinematographer for such filmmakers as Murnau and Lang), this impeccable experience is the best way possible to kick off our B-Sides series.
The Mummy Dir. Karl Freund, 1932, 35mm, 73 min.

House of Frankenstein – 6:30pm
They don’t get any more whizz-bang than this. House of Frankenstein gives you Boris Karloff as a murderous mad scientist, a murderous hunchbacked henchman, John Carradine as Count Dracula (who only shows up for ten minutes ‘n change in the middle of the film before going bye-bye), a dynamic duo of Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man and a Frankenstein’s Monster who’ve both been thawed out Iceman-style, a fiery gypsy girl, and even a drowning in quicksand — all in just a hair’s breadth over an hour’s running time. WOW!!!! Made at the tail end of the “monster rally” craze (wherein Universal would increasingly cram as many of its trademark filmic horror properties as possible into a single picture), House of Frankenstein is the apex of zany Forties studio B-movie horror fare, and one of the most giddy reasons this entire series exists.
House of Frankenstein Dir. Erle C. Kenton, 1944, 35mm, 71 min.

Watch the trailer for “The Mummy”!
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Watch the trailer for “House of Frankenstein”!
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