CREEPY CLASSICS presents...
Every weekend we're watching movies together...whether you're in Pennsylvania USA, or Sydney Australia. It's a throwback! Back to the days when you had the anticipation for waiting till the weekend to see the classic horror or science fiction film that was listed in the TV Guide. The plan is to watch a movie at 7:30PM on Saturday night in your own time zone. Or, if you can't Saturday night...anytime during the weekend. Then, we'll all get together and e-mail our thoughts on the film...a few paragraphs...or simply a sentence if you'd like. They after-viewing reviews appear on our Creepy Classics/Monster Bash News Page. See the latest thoughts posted by viewers ther now.
Concept submitted by Mike Adams of Carteret, New Jeresey.
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Creepy Classics Spotlight Movie Last Weekend - THE MASK OF FU MANCH (1932)
Every week, readers here are selecting a movie to view...then we all try to watch it together utilizing our DVD/video library. This past Saturday night, many of us watched THE MASK OF FU MANCHU (1932). This was suggested by Andy Fish, Worcester, MA. Details about movie nights to come are HERE. Please include your name and location after your comments, so we can see how we're all joining together from diffeent locals around the globe! Let's all Synch-Up Saturday nights at 7:30PM, or catch it sometime over the weekend!
Got to watch this with fellow Monster Bash staffers Barb Heiss, Geoffrey and Eddie Curtis. Always a lot of fun, this thing is full of adventure, Karloff at his most evil, and just plain weirdness. Pre-code, there was some pretty nutty stuff, like Myra Loy taking unusual pleasure in watching a guy whipped. Whew-wee. Plus all the slander on the "White Race" by Fu Manchu had been edited out for years, but was restored on the laser disc and the current DVD. It appears as part of a great DVD collection issued by Warner Brothers. It's called HOLLYWOOD LEGENDS OF HORROR (It also features MAD LOVE. MARK OF THE VAMPIRE, DR. X, THE RETURN OF DR. X, and THE DEVIL DOLL -- top flight collection). Al-in-all, MASK OF FU MANCHU is a treat from beginning to end...never a dull moment. "Ahhhhhh, I forgot to tell you. It was salt!"
-Ron Adams, Ligonier, PA
For many years I have heard about this movie. I saw pictures of it in Famous Monsters of Filmland and, of course, the charcter being portrayed by Boris Karloff. Always saying that Boris played the best Fu Manchu for many years. Since the movie was never shown on television where I lived I figured the film was lost after finding out about the racial refrences in the film. It was a very racial movie. Thanks to Creepy Classics and Warner Brothers the film is finally shown uncut and beleive me now I know why Boris is the best Fu Manchu the most evil, sadistic of all the actors that played Fu Manchu. The only other film I had seen of Fu Manchu was played by Christospher Lee. Although he played the character in several movies they were kind of dull. He never really did anything, only his underlings or henchmen did anything. I can see why the movie was cut for many years and never showed in its original form. This Fu Manchu I wouldn't want to meet 'cause he means buissness! But in closing, the torture devices that were in the film remind me of the old batman show with Adam West and the catwoman charachter who used these same kind of devices on Robin and Batman. No doubt the writers might of seen the original Fu Manchu with Boris Karloff. The film is a lot of fun to watch and is hilariouse and shouldn't be taken to seriously. In fact movies made of Poncho Villa staring Wallace Barry put my family in stiches. To a great film I'm glad they put it on DVD.
From Michael Aguilar, Arizona
This was the first time I saw Karloff's supremely evil Dr. Fu Manchu and I
The Mask Of Fu Manchu is pure pulp action that people love so much. It has nasty oriental villians, greedy white folks and tons of stuff they couldn't have done two years later with the Hayes Code.
Boris Karloff tunrs in a performance that is easily one of his best and Myrna Loy as his sadistic daughter is a standout!!
- Kevin Coon, Twin Falls, Idaho
Where do you start with this one? The early 1930's was probably the best friend horror movies ever had. We truly get to see writers, directors, and actors cut loose with the raw materials that would create cinematic legends. This was when horror achieved an artistry that still goes unmatched. The Mask of Fu Manchu is certainly a product of this age. Never was Karloff so sinister! Never was Myrna Loy so sexy! Never was torture and danger used so effectively to wear down the viewer. And do I dare say anything of racism? Never was the white man in such peril. It was a different world back then, and the movies prospered by it.
When watching The Mask of Fu Manchu I laugh as I squirm uncomfortably at hearing lines like " Christian dogs" , "one move and I'll put a bullet through your stiff British spine", and the repetitive use of the word "yellow" (in non artistic references). This movie does little to improve Chinese - American relations with it's depictions of sinister Asians lurking in the shadows or acting in rather non flattering fashion. The opium den scene still has me shaking my head in disbelief as the man says "nicey dleams" to Lewis Stone, who never put himself in danger like this (as Judge Hardy) in all those Andy Hardy films. Yes this movie really loves that whole "stranger in a strange place" theme.
Visually it's a masterpiece as well. Karloff's makeup is outstanding. He looks more demon than human. The scene where the Sword of Genghis Khan is tested for authenticity is still a wonder to behold. The scene where the mind control serum is created still captivates me. It's a wonderful depiction of Fu Manchu's brilliance and evil when we see how callously he wastes the life of one of his goons in order to create a component of the serum. As I stated before, never was Karloff so sinister nor frightening! Most of his parts one can feel sympathy for him, for he was usually cast into the role of villain by cruel circumstances. Here however he is just evil. He breathes a great deal of life into Sax Rohmer's creation and in doing so cements him as not only one of literature's greatest villains, but now cinema's as well.
Most of the cast do fine with their parts, but I think most of us can agree that a very young Myrna Loy steals the show as Fu's daughter Fah Lo See. She radiates a sexuality that would never make it past 1935. Her infatuation with Terrence's looks is only matched by her infatuation with his torture. Nothing is implied in her reaction to his whipping. It's as clear as spring water what is happening to her as she's watching. To this all I can say is "WOW!"
On a more noble note, Lewis Stone creates quite a memorable hero as Sir Nayland Smith. He throws himself into the lion's jaws with no hesitation. He is totally alone, yet he faces the faces the worst dangers with a cool head. The worst peril was sitting in that "lounge" and listening to that woman sing! I think I would have thrown an oil lamp too, but not for the same reasons he did. One last thing before I end this, the ultimate fate of the sword and mask! ( Spoiler alert!) Stone just tosses them overboard...huh? I hope he picked a really really deep part of the ocean to dump them. I won't mention the last bit of dialogue with the ship's gong clanging servant.....wait...I guess I just did. Anyway, have a great week, see you Saturday.
Michael Adams, Cartaret, NJ
Armed with a piece of Friday's left over birthday cake, I sat down Saturday evening to watch "The Mask of Fu Manchu". It is probably the best, most enjoyable, over the top, pre-code horror film. It's filled with wildly inappropriate racial insults, sadistic torture sequences and over the top performances.
Myrna Loy, in her autobiography, said that she and Karloff felt that the screenplay was ridiculous and played their roles with humor. You can see that both actors are having a fun time in the movie.
Loy plays a sadistic nymphomaniac. Karloff makes Fu Manchu a crazed, educated maniac who hates white people! Quite a combination. Their performances make this move a must see.
Another highlight of "The Mask of Fu Manchu" is Kenneth Strickfaden's mad scientist equipment. In fact if you look at the scene where Fu tests the sword to see if it is the real one; it's Strickfaden who is made up as Fu Manchu playing with the electric current not Karloff.
Every race is insulted the this film. Karloff is insulting repeatedly throughout the film. My favorite insult is Karloff shouting, "Kill the white man and take his woman."
"The Mask of Fu Manchu" is a wildly entertaining film that has stood the test of time. It's a delight to watch because of it being so over the top that you stare in disbelief of all the bizarre things that occur in the film. This was Karloff's first speaking role in a horror film and, next to his Universal films, one of his best early performances.
Happy Birthday Bruce...glad you and Fu could get together to celebrate!
Hey Bash Synchers,
This is my second lifetime viewing of this film, the first was not too long ago. I remember seeing photos in FM of this film and was excited to see it for the first time after so many years. So here we go!
The British Museum! I went there, fascinating place. It is obvious that they ruled much of the world for a time, as they have so many fantastic antiquities from all over the world, things sovereign countries would never let go of these days.
-Ken Blose, Mexico
You can get the DVD of HOLLYWOOD LEGENDS OF HORROR COLLECTION in the Complete DVD Catalog on-line at Creepy Classics. It features the restored, crystal clear print of THE MASK OF FU MANCHU (1932)!