Wednesday, January 19, 2011

100 Years of Horror/ A Century of Science Fiction

Today I'm going to take a look at two multi-part TV series that may never have played on TV. One is the history of horror films, the other science fiction films. Both run 26 episodes, however both also have radically reduced versions that run two hours. Needless to say the short versions are not the way to go.

100 Years of Horror
Ted Newsome put together an amazing, if awkward history of horror films. The history runs across 26 half hour episodes that seem to have been intended to run as a series. I don't know if any station actually ran the series, it doesn't really matter since the series is currently out on DVD from Passport Video.

The series is hosted by Christopher Lee who appears in host segments and who supplies the voice over narration. Lee makes for an interesting host with the narration he's given to deliver being both informative and wickedly funny. The only flaw with Lee's narration is that when you watch the series in large blocks of episodes you notice that some of the narration is repeated.

Actually some of the footage repeats from episode to episode, which is understandable since the film clips shown are taken from public domain film trailers and TV series. I know some people who don't like the series since the use of public domain means that the series mostly concentrates on films before 1970. On the other hand if you like the classic horror films this series is a real treat, I mean where else are you going to see Boris Karloff singing?

I'm not going to lie and say that the series is perfect. If you watch the episodes willie nilly or you don't watch the series in its entirety it came feel like its random and not very good. However if you are willing to take the time and watch the entire series something wonderful happens and its seeming random bits begin to fit together. Bits from one episode that seem not to mean anything connect to something in another episode and and you find that you are suddenly going "Ah ha!" a great deal. Suddenly what looks to be a scatter shot mess is instead found to be a wonderful whole. I love this series and I often revisit it because the odd construction makes this a something you need to see repeatedly so that you pick up all the things you missed the last time through.

A must for anyone who loves the history of horror films.

A Century of Science Fiction
Another series of 26 episodes that cover a variety of subjects relating to the science fiction genre.

Like the above series this one is constructed from trailers and other sources of a public domain origin. However where the horror series peters out with films from the late 1960's, this film goes well into the 1980's or early 1990's.

Arranged more according to subject rather with any sort of history limited to how a subject, say the end of the world or aliens, played out over time, this series plays well if you simply catch a show here or there.

For lovers of monsters and spaceships this is like an overload of candy. Its all the best parts rolled into one. Its the sort of thing that will make you want to go out and watch all of the films again.

A must see.

No comments:

Post a Comment