100 YEARS OF HORROR is the first show of its kind ever produced; chronicling the history of movie horror from the earliest experimental chillers through the unforgettable "golden age of movie monsters," and on through toda... more »y's terrifying fright films. Hosted by Christopher Lee, the screen's legendary King of Horror, the show features appearances by Robert De Niro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Hugh Hefner, Charlton Heston, Kenneth Branagh, Joe Dante, and many more. Also featured are fascinating interviews with Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, and Claude Rains. Included as a special bonus are never-before-seen interviews with the friends and families of the legendary names of horror such as Bela Lugosi, Jr.; Boris Karloff's daughter, Sarah Karloff; Claude Rains' daughter, Jessica Rains, and more. "100 Years of Horor" also highlights rare and chilling scenes from current films such as Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, Halloween, Poltergeist, and The Haunting, to classics like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, Phantom Of The Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, and The Body Snatchers. Also included are rare photographs from private collections, home movies from the sets of horror classics, as well as outtakes, screen tests, previously "lost" films, and other exciting surprises. Each episode offers unique production sidelights and insights to make 100 YEARS OF HORROR the most interesting and informative horror chronology ever assembled. This show was produced, written and directed by Ted Newsom, creator of Cinemax's ED WOOD: LOOK BACK IN ANGORA and the BBC's FLESH AND BLOOD-THE HAMMER HERITAGE OF HORROR.« less
"I saw the DVD version of this video and, being a horror film buff, found it very entertaining. The problem with documentaries like these, however, is that they do tend to get sort of dated in just a few years (e.g. although fairly recent films such as Bram Stoker's Dracula, Jurrasic Park and Wolf were discussed, more recent films such as the Mummy remake were not) especially in this genre wherein advances in make-up and special effects play an important role. Still, I would recommend this series to any serious horror film afficionado. Unlike many documentaries which seem to be made up of 90% interviews and 10% (movie) scenes, this is composed primarily of scenes with Christopher Lee's voice-over, interspersed with a few interviews. Notable highlights include hilarious outtakes from the film Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein as well as footage from obscure movies such as the 1960 version of Lost World. There are also interviews with John Carpenter, Peter Cushing and Claude Rains. I found this very enjoyable, although I'm giving just 4 stars for the DVD version since the sound quality was not very good for this medium (for VHS I'd probably let it off with 5 stars)."
Christopher Lee at your service
Jerry McDaniel | 03/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""call them fantasy films...but please don't call them horror" is one of the lines given by the host, Christopher Lee, jokingly looking in utter disgust that the public would call these films 'horror'. his performance is hilarious because of his sophisticated and always serious approach to acting and yet he's offering a self-parody much in the tradition of Vincent Price. although he doesn't go over-the-top, Lee's participation/narration was vital for this program's legitimacy. clips of horror and Sci-Fi films are shown throughout...there's also clips of interviews with Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, and Roger Corman among others...the so-called drive-in horror titans of the '60s are also spotlighted: American International and Hammer, the two companies that were responsible for 90% of the horror output in the '50s, '60s, and early '70s. this is a great look at horror films and Lee's commanding voice and screen appearances keep it from being too tedious, as it may have been had a contemporary hot shot with little to no affiliation with the genre narrated the show."
A survey of film's scariest and best...a pure cinematic deli
DanD | 09/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Christopher Lee is delightful as the host of this program, which explores pretty much every aspect of the horror movie, from the nineteen twenties to the early nineties. His anecdotal stories and whitty narration keeps things moving along at a splendid pace. The material itself is top-notch, featuring interviews with everyone from John Carpenter, to Dick Miller, to Roger Corman, to Ray Bradbury, to Richard Matheson, to Robert De Niro, to Vincent Price, to Hugh Hefner (those are obviously my personal favorites; there are many, many more interviewees whom you'll know). The program deals with all aspects of the horror genre in cinema, from sections devoted entirely to Bela Legosi and Boris Karloff, to a survey of the roles of women, to detailed histories of certain monsters, to the use of subliminal advertising (Lee's comment: "As you can see, subliminal advertisements DO have an effect--they are very annoying"). If it CAN be discussed, it IS discussed (with the exception of creature features; no "Jaws" here, except for a very brief nautical clip not attributed to the film). True, more time could've been devoted to Stephen King, Brian DePalma, and a few others (though they are mentioned here and there), but this the most thorough account of the genre I have come across yet. Not only is it detailed, but it's ENTERTAINING; I wasn't once bored, despite frequent repitition of scenes and commentary.
Let me explain the four stars. I dropped a star for one reason only: this DVD collection is poorly edited. Sometimes, when a segment ends, Christopher Lee gets cut off mid-sentence. At other times, the screen is split (i.e., it is not formatted to "fit this screen"). These are trivial things, however; don't worry, you'll still enjoy this unique, superb, and purely enjoyable survey of cinema's scariest and best."
Can't get the movie rights? Buy the trailer!
Jeffrey Ebright | Dayton, OH | 05/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I don't know where this series originally appeared, but its safe to assume it was not initially made for US consumption. The 5 disc set is actually 26 half-hour long episodes. Each episode features a specific topic such as vampires, mad scientists, the Frankenstein monster, et al. I was surprised the transfer wasn't better since this project is only 10 years old (The copyright says 1996).
The series spends more time on the roots of the subject in the episode. That is to say the zombie episode focuses on White Zombie but barely foot notes a classic like Dawn Of The Dead. This could be because the research on this multi-part documentary seems to peter out around 1985. Or maybe the producers believed the meat of the meal was in the creation of the genre topic and not in the recent trends.
The true genius of this series is the fact that it draws its visual representations from the movie trailers and not clips from the movie itself. For those who don't know, it is much easier to go to a "trailer house" and buy the rights to use their pre-movie trailers and TV commercials library then to negotiate with each studio for those impact clips that cost an arm and a leg. As a result of doing this "on the cheap", we get to see the campaigns of how these movies were marketed to their audience. I find it a fascinating look at how they advertised a movie like Night Of The Living Dead then have to watch the same old archival clips you've seen on a dozen other retrospectives.
My only complaint is that you have to manually select each episode and each episode has a synopsis screen which you have to thumb your way back through to get back to the main screen to get to the next episode. There is no "Play All" feature and it gets a little irritating. However, its nice to know Passport Video corrected this oversight with their future offerings like A Century Of Science Fiction documentary.
So, if you want approximately 13 hours of easily portioned horror then this is the documentary for you. Besides, it is more than reasonably priced for a 5 disc set (Although the actual DVD case has a funky storage system which leads me back to the non-US comsumption theory)."
Cinematic french fries
mrliteral | 08/25/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The problem with french fries is that you know they're not good for you, but once you start eating them, you just can't stop. 100 Years of Horror may not add to your cholesterol level, but it has its own set of issues. Nonetheless, it's fun to watch and each of the 26 episodes represents just a bite-sized portion of time (roughly 25 minutes), so it is a nice visual snack.
This collection of five discs is hosted by Christopher Lee who is a decent narrator who can add bits of his own knowledge about the horror film industry. Each episode features a different topic, such as witches, mummies, zombies, vampires and werewolves, as well as a couple segments on Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.
There are definitely problems, however. To start with, the length of the complete set is closer to 650 minutes than the stated 750. The episodes seem cobbled together from some other larger episodes; only around half have closing credits, and even those merely repeat the same credits over and over. And speaking of repeating, Lee has a tendency to repeat the same line in different episodes, which is probably due to the writer more than Lee himself. (One example is when he says that the only thing more inconsequential than a film's budget is the amount of critical praise it received.)
There are lots of film clips, but they are taken primarily from public domain movie trailers and only occasionally from the films themselves. While we do get some rare footage, it does tend to be shown in multiple episodes (such as the rare color film of Karloff in his Monster get-up). There are also plenty of omissions that most horror fans will catch: for example, how can the Mad Doctors episode discuss The Island of Dr. Moreau without mentioning its classic predecessor, Island of Lost Souls? Then there are some interviews and anecdotes that seem to be rambling filler more than actually useful fare.
For all my criticism of this set, however, I still enjoyed it overall. Partially, this was because of Christopher Lee, but also because it does give a chance to see clips from some older, more obscure horror movies. Despite the flaws, each segment is an entertaining bit of viewing, and like those french fries, you rarely eat just one. And like the fries, it might be better to skip this one altogether, but if you start watching, it'll be hard to stop."