Sunday, November 27, 2022

Tag: 1940s

Lon Chaney Jr. in The Mummy's Curse horror movie poster
This mummy film takes place not in Africa, but in Louisiana. Why? Gumbo perhaps? Napoleon Simpson plays (eesh) Goobie, who speaks in the exaggerated, stereotypical "massa" and "sho' 'nuff" style -- though not for comedic effect, which may be more offensive, depending on your point of view. He's not...
Midnight Menace horror movie poster
Midnight Menace is a 24-minute all-black musical showcase for Lollypop Jones, who apparently was a vaudeville singer and dancer back in the '40s. Unfortunately for us, he wasn't an actor. Jones stars as himself, a performer who shows up for a gig and goes to his dressing room (he...
Meeting at Midnight Charlie Chan movie poster
This Charlie Chan outing (Battle of the racial stereotypes!) isn't really horror, but Mantan Moreland's role is limited -- even in light of the time period -- to being spooked at the mere prospect of there being ghosts...which there weren't. Too bad, because the gag gets old quickly, with...
Mantan Moreland in Lucky Ghost movie poster
An all-black horror comedy starring Mantan Moreland and sometimes partner (and straight man) F.E. Miller, Lucky Ghost is amusing low-brow fare that exploits the more base, stereotypical elements of old-time black life (chicken thievin', gamblin', runnin' from ghosteses) for laughs -- sort of like the BET of its day....
King of the Zombies horror movie poster
King of the Zombies features Mantan Moreland in his typical horror role, the simple-minded, jittery spook: "Not me, y'all go on in there! I’m ain't goin' in dere!" The manservant of -- oh no! -- "Mr. Bill" (John Archer), he crash lands on a Caribbean island with his boss and...
I Walked with a Zombie horror movie poster
One of the more high-minded zombie films you'll find, I Walked with a Zombie is as much (melo)drama as it is horror. There's not a hint of the humor that was to propel the spoof Zombies on Broadway two years later, nor the explicit brain-munching that was to propel,...
Bela Lugosi in Invisible Ghost horror movie poster
Clarence Muse has a surprisingly significant role as the butler to the occasionally homicidal Charles Kessler (Bela Lugosi). Muse plays the part with rare class, self-respect, articulation, and balls. For instance, he schools the scheming white maid, Cecile (Terry Walker): "If you wanna stay here, I suggest you don't...
Boys of the City movie poster
Boy, this ranks up there with Curse of the Voodoo in the "Most Likely to Be Boycotted by Al Sharpton" category. Lone black East Side Kid Scruno (Ernest "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison) is the butt of so many racial jokes, it's almost fascinating -- like a time capsule of how...
Abbott and Costello in Hold That Ghost movie poster
Hold That Ghost is typical Abbott & Costello fare with minimal black presence, but a couple of scenes of note. In one, an unnamed black gentleman appears behind singer Ted Lewis, mimicking his movements during his rendition of "Me and My Shadow." (Get it? Shadow? Racism is funny.) Later, when Abbott...
The Ghost Breakers horror movie poster
Four decades before Ghostbusters, Bob Hope and his "boy" (as he's billed in the film's trailer) Willie Best were The Ghost Breakers, investigating a haunted house in Cuba in this remake of a lost 1922 Wallace Reid film called The Ghost Breaker. Hope, to his credit, isn't as demeaning...