FOX HORROR CLASSICS COLLECTION: The Lodger / Hangover Square / The Undying Monster
FOX HORROR CLASSICS COLLECTION: The Lodger / Hangover Square / The Undying Monster
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This three-disc collection of vintage suspense from the Fox vaults not only presents three atmospheric and underrated thrillers in sparkling remastered formats, but also serves as a long-overdue tribute to the talents of director John Brahm and actor Laird Cregar, who stars in two of the three films. 1944's The Lodger is probably the best-known of the three; it's a remake of a 1926 Alfred Hitchcock film and stars Cregar as a mysterious house guest who may be Jack the Ripper. Cregar is top-billed in 1945's Hangover Square as another psychologically tormented soul; here he's a concert pianist (Bernard Herrmann composed the film's stunning concerto) who flies into a psychotic rage at the sound of a dissonant chord. And 1942's The Undying Monster is the "truest" horror title in the collection due to its werewolf plotline, but there's more than a touch of detective drama (and scientific procedural) in its frames as well. All three pictures are distinguished by German-born director Brahm, whose expressionistic visual style and emphasis on psychological terror over physical frights help to set these films apart from the monster-driven horror films coming from Universal at the same time. He's aided considerably by Cregar, who set the standard for movie madmen for decades to come. In addition to their stunning remastering, all three films feature in-depth featurettes on their principal players and histories. Concerto Macabre: The Films of John Brahm traces the director's offbeat career (after making an impact with the three films featured here, he concentrated almost exclusively on TV, where his output included stellar episodes of Alfred Hitchcock PresentsThe Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits), while The Tragic Mask: The Laird Cregar Story explores the oversized actor's struggle with typecasting and his homosexuality. The Lodger gets its own making-of documentary, The Man in the Attic, which explores Brahm's stunning visual compositions and Cregar's intense performance in detail. Trailers and advertising galleries for all three pictures are included, as are two complete radio adaptations of The Lodgerand Hangover Square, both starring Vincent Price, who became Fox's in-house heavy after Cregar's untimely death at 31. Commentary on Hangover Square by film historians Richard Schickel and Steve Haberman with cast member Faye Marlowe, and James Ursini and Alain Silver on The Lodger, round the extras on this chill-filled set.

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