Friday, October 21, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 21 - Movie 1

The Cat and the Canary (1927) is one of the earliest Universal Horror movies, and a cornerstone of the entire sub genre of "old dark house" movies would be built. Twenty years after the death of Cyrus West, his relatives gather at his mansion for the reading of his will. He leaves his estate to his niece, Annabelle, but she must be deemed sane by a doctor, otherwise the estate falls into the hands of someone else. The identity of that someone else falls into question once the lawyer mysteriously vanishes. There's also the matter of diamonds reputedly hidden within the mansion, an allegedly escaped murderous lunatic who may be hiding somewhere inside the mansion, secret passages, suspicious characters, and strange things which only Annabelle seems to see, making her sanity questionable in the eyes of everyone else.

The Cat and the Canary (1927) is a very entertaining and well made movie directed by Paul Leni who filmed it in a manner similar to German expressionist films, such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). It would influence the look of movies such as Frankenstein and Dracula (both 1931) and even the content of the popular animated television series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? (1969-1970).

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