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"Spider Baby" is the sums up the career of Chaney Senior and Junior - CinemaDave

Oct. 12th, 2007 02:47 pm "Spider Baby" is the sums up the career of Chaney Senior and Junior

"Spider Baby" has been re released with costar Sid Haig providing the commentary. Both times I met Sid Haig he seemed to enjoy talking about this project and his costar, Lon Chaney Junior.

"Spider Baby" has a touch of the dark themes that Chaney Senior and Tod Browning created in their movies. Monsters and Freaks who earn the audience sympathy. There are combination of errors or a violation of the seven deadly sins, chaos erupts.

Shot in glorious black and white, "Spider Baby" presents Chaney Junior as Bruno the Caretaker of mutant family. After the murder of Mantan Moreland, the caretaker is visited by cousins and lawyers who want the mutants committed.

There is much macabre humor in "Spider Baby" and a great dining scenes featuring monster movie in jokes. Yet there is a heartbreaking scene in which Chaney Junior realizes that he must euthanize the mutants, it is heart breaking to watch.

A fitting curtain call to a century of Chaneys.

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Date:October 16th, 2007 11:35 am (UTC)
Affordable video recordings played at home allow people to have access to many films and TV shows that would be difficult to see if they had to rely solely on broadcast television or local movie theaters.

It's surprising what turns up in the clearance bin of some video stores. I recently purchased a VHS tape of the 1915 D.W. Griffith silent film "Birth of a Nation" for a dollar. The film of course is about the Civil War and has its share of flaws and stereotypes, but it also perhaps unintentionally tells us what life and attitudes were like in the USA when it was released in 1915.

Years ago before home video became common, public television ran occasional silent films, but the silents for the most part were basically unavailable back then. I cannot ever recall seeing a silent film on local or network commercial TV. When a silent film did show up on TV it was often jerky or too fast. I think it had something to do with running the old films through modern projectors incapable of the proper speeds. My grandmother saw silent films in theaters in the 1920's using contemporary projectors and she told me the actors moved naturally in those films. Today the home video versions of silent movies I've seen have largely corrected this problem.
Date:November 20th, 2007 02:37 am (UTC)
Excellent Point!

My first silent movie experience were the Charlie Chaplin shorts on public television. I especially remember "The Rink" with Eric Campbell. Chaplin later supervised a musical score for some of his motion pictures.

When I moved to Florida, the local PBS station showed Lon Chaney Sr. movies like "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "The Monster" with Johnny Arthur and "He who gets Slapped," a tragic clown movie.