Evil Expo 2021
February 19-21, 2021
Piscataway, New Jersey
Thank you for an amazing Evil Expo I! Stay tuned as we work on Evil Expo II, and don't forget to check out our summer event, Gilt & Fanfare!
Movies with Movie Mike
There’s nothing quite like the experience of watching original film in its intended format, when great actors and aspiring writers fought to catch the attention of a brand-new audience, back before billion-dollar budgets and the power of CGI, when Villains had to catch your mind with acting, personality, and, of course, more theatricality than you could shake a stick at. Join the Master of Movies, Movie Mike, for a buffet of cinema’s most fascinating old-school stories and villainy!
BLUEBEARD, with John Carradine as the serial strangler of women in old Paris. In this 19th century period piece he plays a sinister puppeteer who operates a diabolical marionette opera. Jeanne Parker is the lady he’s stalking; Nils Asther is the detective who is stalking him. Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, who was a genuine German Expressionist, and it shows in this deeply lit and intensely styled low-budget film.
Ulmer was a production designer who worked with Murnau before he came to Hollywood. All his work shows superbly sinister, threatening design and lighting. This film is all atmosphere and suggestion, hardly any violence is shown. When Bluebeard strangles his victims, we see a tight closeup of Carradine’s eyes bulging maniacally! You couldn’t ask for a better homicidal maniac.
Most Dangerous Game (1932)
Robert Armstrong, Fay Wray and Joel McCrae are pursued through the jungle by Leslie Banks. Based on Richard Connell’s classic short story. A cabin cruiser is shipwrecked off the coast of a remote island and the three passengers survive. The island is owned by Mad Count Zaroff, who invites them to stay. But he’s a psycho sadist who enjoys hunting, and he only hunts The Most Dangerous Game — Man!
Leslie Banks hams it up in a very archaic stage-actor’s style, the sort of mugging that was later adopted by Vincent Price in his villainous roles. A very early sound movie, where the actors must stay close to the hidden mics and shout. But action scenes, lacking dialog, are nice and fluid, like the best of late silent cinema. Here is the transition from silent to sound usage. The pre-code Freudian subtext is nice, too, as Zaroff shows the link between passion and murder.
Early in the War of 1812, Mark Stevens is an American sea captain, commissioned to run the British blockade and fetch an unofficial war loan in gold bars from France. His first mate, Patric Knowles, is a dishonored former British Navy captain. The gun crew, headed by Gene Evans with a hook hand and rowdy Rhys Williams, plot a mutiny to seize the gold.
The plot thickens when a femme most fatale, the very young and lovely Angela Lansbury, comes on board. She’s after the gold, too, and doesn’t care who she betrays or kills in order to get it. The climax involves a primitive wooden submersible, a very unreliable kind of early submarine. Edward Dmytryk directs this salty and exciting tale.
Ring of Fear (1954)
A very entertaining feature starring crime novelist Mickey Spillane and animal trainer Clyde Beatty as themselves, set in Beatty’s circus and padded out with many specialty-act performances.
Actor Sean McClory shines as a scary, scheming homicidal maniac. He’s escaped from the nut house and joined the circus to stalk his former girlfriend and set up a series of mysterious accidents. Beatty asks Spillane to help solve the mystery.
There is a faint echo of Nightmare Alley (1949) in the plot and characters. The Beatty circus is still in business; you can see it every spring in Marine Park! Spillane is best known for his hard-boiled detective Mike Hammer in a series of violent novels.
Sherlock Holmes: Dressed to Kill (1946)
Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce are master detective Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson.
Someone is willing to kill in order to get three mysterious music boxes. Patricia Morison adopts a variety of disguises but fails to bamboozle Holmes as she seeks the clues to a hidden cache of counterfeit banknote plates. The key to the mystery is at last provided by Watson, though he does not realize it.
A smart, snappy mystery with much-beloved characters giving you exactly what you expect.
January 24-26th, 2020
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