by Eric Veillette
Since tomorrow is the first day of the Rue Morgue Festival of Fear, I thought it’d be fitting to share this ad featuring the premiere of Universal’s Murders in the Rue Morgue, starring Bela Lugosi. The film opened on Friday, March 18, 1932 at the Tivoli, which was then owned by Famous Players Canada. It was also host to many early Universal horror films, beginning with Dracula in April, 1931, followed by Frankenstein, The Mummy and The Invisible Man .
A real bevy of classic films were playing in Toronto that week. At the Oakwood, you could see Marlene Dietrich and Clive Brook in Shanghai Express; Greta Garbo in Mata Hari at the Palace (Danforth/Pape); Charlie Chan’s Last Chance at the Parkdale; Douglas Fairbanks in Around the World in Eighty Minutes at the Madison (now the Bloor); and Eddie Cantor pulled a minstrel routine at the Crescent (Dundas W./Gilmour), singing “There’s Nothing Too Good For My Baby” in Palmy Days. Yikes.
If you can make it to the Festival, which runs concurrently with FanExpo, and if you’re not too busy lining up for Guest of Honour Bruce Campbell, be sure to drop by a panel I’m hosting on Saturday afternoon called Movie House Macabro. I’ll be getting together with a bunch of off-beat film programmers, and for forty five minutes, they’ll regale you with tales of cinematic debauchery, splice-ridden prints, missing reels; true stories from the trenches, kids. The September issue of Rue Morgue will also be available. In it, I shed light on The Walking Dead, a 1936 Michael Curtiz film which features one of Boris Karloff’s most underrated performances. It’s out on DVD next month as part of a new set highlighting a few other Lugosi/Karloff performances.