TCM Horror Fridays in October
In my countdown to Halloween, I’ve already started watching my Friday night fright movies with help from my favorite classic film channel Turner Classic Movies. Fridays in October at 8:00 pm, they’re featuring theme-based horror flicks. The theme for Friday, October 9th is ‘Rogue Body Parts’. (sounds like fun!) To help other fans with fright flick selections, I’ll be recommending my DVR worthy choices for the TCM Horror Fest. So fire up the DVR, grab your favorite go-to snack and settle into the Halloween spirit!
My DVR choice of movies featured in the ‘Rogue Body Parts’ theme, is “Mad Love” (1935) directed by German filmmaker Karl Freund and starring Peter Lorre, Frances Drake and ‘Dr. Frankenstein’ himself, Colin Clive. An adaptation of Maurice Renard’s story The Hands of Orlac, it’s probably one of the most bizarre movies you’ll ever see.
“Mad Love” was so disturbing for the time that the studio released the film with an opening disclaimer that began, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer feels that it would be a little unkind to present this picture without just a word of friendly warning….” The Hays censorship office had objections to the showing of the train wreck or any “gruesome” images. It also had issues with the torture scenes and a shot of Dr. Gogol fondling the wax replica of Yvonne. Oops!
This movie is Lorre’s American film debut and he portrays the strange Dr. Gogol – his name alone evokes an unsettling mood. Well, Gogol seems to have a thing for sadomasochism which he enjoys at the ‘Théâtre des Horreurs’. Actress Yvonne Orlac (Frances Drake) is the object of Dr. Gogol’s obsession as she embodies his fantasy on stage in the theater company’s latest torture production.
So sorry Dr. Gogol but Yvonne is married to Stephen Orlac (Colin Clive) – accomplished concert pianist – but anyway, she is so NOT into this creepy little man who has a standing box seat and has attended every performance. Gogol is so obsessed with Yvonne that he buys the wax figure of her after the show’s final performance. Mind you this is a life-size replica that he enshrines in his home so he can “always possess her.” Told you he was creepy.
The brilliant Dr. Gogol is a renowned surgeon with whom Yvonne, in desperation, must plead with to save her successful pianist husband’s hands and career after a gruesome train wreck. Well, of course, he’ll help his love but during emergency surgery on Stephen he comes up with the twisted idea to graft the hands of a knife-wielding killer who has just been put to death on the guillotine. (And of course, Gogol attended the decapitation.) However, soon afterward Stephen begins to suspect that something is seriously wrong with his new found extremities.
This is where we add another level of freaky to the plot. I’m not going to give anything away – that goes against every film fan rule. So, check it out and let me know on a scale of 1 – 10 the creep/freak factor in the comments. Also, be sure to stay tuned for next week’s DVR worthy fright flick. Theme – ‘Scary Kids’.