One of my favorite discoveries in my college library was the volume Universal Horrors: The Studio’s Classic Films, 1931–1946 by Tom Weaver, Michael Brunas, and John Brunas. The 1990 book was one of the first to look at the entire canon of Universal’s horror and mystery pictures from their Golden Age and treat them as something more than the “kiddie TV entertainment” they were once relegated to. I grew up watching these movies on weekend afternoons, but until Weaver et. al I knew little about the behind-the-scenes tales of their making.
I must’ve kept the book checked out of the college library for a straight year, constantly renewing it. It gave me a huge uptick in appreciation for classic horror and instilled in me a hunger to dig up the more obscure movies the authors covered. And they covered everything: The Sherlock Holmes movies; the Inner Sanctum mysteries; the supernatural comedy Ghost Catchers; films such as The Secret Key that only count as horror because a star like Boris Karloff appeared in them; historical epics with gruesome content, like Tower of London; plus obscurities The Mad Ghoul, House of Horrors, and the film I’m writing about today.Continue reading “This Is Not the Black Cat Movie You’re Looking For”