London After Midnight

On Halloween 2002, Turner Classic Movies premiered Rick Schmidlin’s reconstruction of perhaps the most famous lost movie of the silent era. Production stills were used to illustrate the scenes, and title cards were drawn from the original shooting script. I appreciate the effort, since this is likely the closest we’ll come to seeing the actual film, but watching it I kept thinking that it might’ve made a better book¹ — maybe with a lengthy introductory essay from some noted silent-horror expert. When you see the same still of a horrified woman for the third or fourth time, it gets sort of goofy, and the story itself is more than a little corny. Still, Lon Chaney has become a horror icon for a reason: he knew how to craft ghastly makeup, and his work here is disturbing even today. From what I see here, all the movie really had going for it was Chaney and a great title (appropriated by a goth band); maybe Tim Burton should remake it.

¹Something like this, maybe.

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