In 1970, cult director Jess Franco and screen legend Christopher Lee collaborated on what they promised would be the most faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel ever filmed. From its remarkable performances to its lush locations and atmosphere of sinister sensuality, it remains perhaps the most spellbinding version of Dracula in movie history.
In this program, Ian Nathan, author of “Stephen King at the Movies”; Neil Norman, film critic and writer; Stephen Armstrong, writer and film critic of The Sunday Times; and Bonnie Greer, writer and critic, discuss and review their top 20 horror films of the last 100 years. Films discussed include Nosferatu, Psycho, Night of the Living Dead, The Exorcist, The Omen, Carrie, and more.
"Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive" draws on the rich palette of Poe's evocative imagery and sharply drawn plots to tell the real story of the notorious author. Featuring Tony Award-winning actor Denis O'Hare, the film explores the misrepresentations of Poe as an alcoholic madman. It reveals the way in which Poe tapped into what it means to be a human in our modern and sometimes frightening world.
Frankenstein: the scientist who created life! Was the famed character conceived solely in the mind of novelist Mary Shelley, or was Frankenstein based in reality, as some argue? This episode of Ancient Mysteries explores Shelley’s possible influences. Had she learned of the 18th-century German doctor who experimented on dead as well as live bodies, or was her inspiration the Britisher Andrew Crosse, who claimed to use electricity to create life? Distributed by A&E Television Networks.
Seeking to better understand Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, author and anatomist Professor Alice Roberts returns to the original manuscript and traces the story of Mary's life. She finds someone concerned with the very act of creation itself, discovers clues of another writer's influence, sees a critique of the Romantic ideal of the solitary creative genius, and examines the influence of Mary's parents. Professor Roberts shows that the ideas informing Frankenstein make the novel much more than a simple horror story. Mary Shelley's account does deal in death, but ultimately it provokes us to ask questions about how we live.
Vladimir Nabokov, widely considered one of the world’s great writers, was also a remarkable professor at Cornell University. Here, we have Christopher Plummer as witty Nabokov, providing entertaining insight into The Metamorphosis, Kafka’s perplexing story of a man who wakes up one morning to discover that he has turned into an insect. One of the most widely read and studied novellas of all time, Kafka’s surreal gem is humorously and intensely brought to life in this adaptation.
In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, a handsome young aristocrat descends into evil and debauchery under the influence of an intelligent friend with a cynical outlook on life. The corruption of Dorian Gray’s soul is represented by a portrait of him that grows uglier at the years pass, even as Dorian himself retains his perfect beauty. This 1945 film adaptation, shot mostly in black and white but with occasional bursts of Technicolor, is remarkably faithful to Wilde’s novel. It won the Oscar for Best Cinematography. Starring George Sanders, Hurd Hatfield, Donna Reed, Angela Lansbury, and Peter Lawford. Directed by Albert Lewin.
Romantics, such as Hawthorne, Poe, and Melville, traversed the dark side of existence and were intrigued with the grotesque and fearful, laying the foundation for today's thriller novel and horror movie.
Filmed in Gothic monochrome and recited in lively fashion by British actor Joss Ackland, Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short story of premeditated evil comes alive in this engaging program. Supplementing the dramatization, writer and film director Neil Jordan discusses the story’s powerful imagery, particularly that of the eye and the heartbeat, along with Poe’s lasting influence.
Vampires have always fascinated us. These universal, timeless creatures are both attract and repulse, arousing our greatest fears as well as our shameful desires. They appear in over 200 movies, a dozen TV series, countless video games, comic books, musicals and novels. Vampires have never gone out of style and today are experiencing a real comeback. It all began at the turn of the 20th century with Bram Stoker’s gothic masterpiece “Dracula” which introduced us to the iconic vampire we all know. Join us to rediscover the thrilling story of the Prince of Darkness and his many incarnations.