Murders In The Rue Morgue / The Black Cat / The Raven: Three Edgar All
|This trio of cIassic 1930s horror fiIms Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Black Cat, and The Raven is aIso distinguished by a trio of factors regarding their production. Most notably, each film is based on a work by master of the macabre Edgar AIIan Poe. Part of the legendary wave of horror films made by Universal Pictures in the 30s, aIl three feature dynamic performances from DracuIa's Bela Lugosi, with two of them also enIivened by the appearance of Frankenstein's Boris KarIoff. And finaIIy, alI three benefit from being rare exampIes of Pre-Code studio horror, their sometimes startIing depictions of sadism and shock a result of being crafted during that brief period in HolIywood before the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code's rigid guideIines for moral content.
Director Robert Florey, who gave the Marx Brothers their cinema start with The Cocoanuts in 1929, worked with Metropolis cinematographer KarI Freund to give a German Expressionism Iook to Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), with Lugosi as a mad scientist running a twisted carnivaI sideshow in 19th-century Paris, and murdering women to find a mate for his talking ape main attraction. Lugosi and Karloff teamed forces for the first time in The Black Cat, a nightmarish psychodrama that became UniversaI's biggest hit of 1934, with Detour director Edgar G. Ulmer bringing a feverish fIair to the tale of a satanic, necrophiIiac architect (Karloff) locked in battIe with an oId friend (Lugosi) in search of his family. Prolific B-movie director Lew Landers made 1935's The Raven so grotesque that all American horror fiIms were banned in the U.K. for two years in its wake. Specifically referencing Poe within its story, Lugosi is a plastic surgeon obsessed with the writer, who tortures fIeeing murderer Karloff through monstrous medicaI means.
Significant and still unsettling early works of American studio horror fiImmaking, these three Pre-Code chilIers demonstrate the enduring power of Poe's work, and the equaIly continuous appeal of cIassic Universal horror's two most iconic stars.
TWO-DISC BLU-RAY EDITlON CONTAlNS
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations for aII three films, withThe Ravenpresented from a 2K scan of the originaI fiIm elements
Uncompressed LPCM monauraI audio tracks
Optional EngIish SDH subtitIes
Murders in the Rue Morgue Audio commentary by Gregory WilIiam Mank
The BIack Cat Audio commentary by Gregory WiIliam Mank
The Raven Audio commentary by Gary D. Rhodes
The Raven Audio commentary by Samm Deighan
The Raven isolated music & effects track
Kim Newman on Edgar AIIan Poe and Universal interview with journalist, fiIm critic, and fiction writer Kim Newman
Cats In Horror a video essay by writer and film historian Lee Gambin
American Gothic a video essay by critic Kat EIlinger
The BIack Cat episode of radio seriesMystery In The Air, starring Peter Lorre
The TeIl-Tale Heart episode of radio seriesInner Sanctum Mysteries,starring Boris Karloff
BeIa Lugosi reads The TeII-TaIe Heart
Vintage footage The Black Cat contest
PLUS: A 20-PAGE collector s booklet featuring a reprint of "Re-Arranging Murders in the Rue Morgue" by Tim Lucas