No other name is as associated with the genre of horror films as Boris Karloff…o.k., maybe Vincent Price, but no one else. He is definitely top two! During his heydays (1930s-1950s) he was the master of horror and a big star in Hollywood. Karloff was such a big star that he had a postage stamp with his likeness on it. His role as Frankenstein in Mary Shelley's classic made his face synonymous with the monster. What I learned and I did not know about this man was that although he was born in England he emigrated and started his acting career in Canada. One night when you are at home alone, turn off the lights, pop some popcorn and get ready to be scared out of your wits with this DVD collection.
Night Key (1937):
Director: Lloyd Corrigan
David Mallory (Boris Karloff) is an inventor whose eyesight is failing him, so he invents a fool proof burglar alarm in order to make the money he needs for an operation. The company and former friend, Steve Ranger (Samuel S. Hinds – It's A Wonderful Life, You Can't Take It With You) he sells it to double crosses him so he gets no money. In anger he breaks into places with Louie (Hobart Cavanaugh – State Fair-1933), a small-time crook, with the company's older alarm system to show how ineffective they are. A gang of crooks led by The Kid (Alan Baxter – Paint Your Wagon, Judgment at Nuremburg) finds out about Mallory's ability to break in anywhere and kidnap him then force him to commit robberies.
Tower of London (1939):
Director: Rowland V. Lee
The ruthless Richard (Basil Rathbone – We're No Angels, Dressed to Kill), Duke of Gloucester is trying to claw his way to the throne. He is aided to this end by his loyal executioner, Mord (Boris Karloff). With Mord's help Richard seems as if he will execute anyone ahead of him to the throne.
The Climax (1944):
Director: George Waggner
This was Boris Karloff's first colour film. Dr Hohner (Boris Karloff) is insanely jealous of his mistress and so he murders her. Ten years later the latest soprano, Angela (Susanna Foster – Phantom of the Opera-1943), reminds so of his first mistress that it drives him to the brink of insanity once again. He wants no one to sing with her but himself and will go to any lengths to make that happen. Tension builds as we wonder if Angela's boyfriend, Franz (Turhan Bey – Arabian Nights), will be able to save her.
The Strange Door (1951):
Director: Joseph Pevney
Dennis de Beaulieu (Richard Wyler – Little Women-1949, The Three Musketeers-1948) stays at the chateau of the evil Alain de Maletroit (Charles Laughton – Spartacus, Witness for the Prosecution). His servant, Voltan (Boris Karloff), is trying to free all the prisoners in the dungeon, but soon finds himself a prisoner there.
The Black Castle (1952):
Director: Nathan Juran
Sir Ronald Burton under the alias of Richard Beckett (Richard Greene – Tales From the Crypt) heads to the castle of Austrian Count Karl von Bruno (Stephen McNally – appeared in episodes of Fantasy Island and Charlie's Angels) and Countess Elga von Bruno (Rita Corday – The Body Snatcher) to search out two of his friends who are missing. The two friends had been guests of the Count. Dr. Meissen (Boris Karloff) helps Burton/Beckett at the risk of his own life.