Conquest of Man

The Monster

Legendary actor Lon Chaney stars in what may be called the blueprint for old dark house films. This 1925 horror comedy is well filmed by Roland West, and introduced many tropes, like the young couple seeking a phone in a dark mansion after a car accident, the eerie, cowled henchman to the mad scientist, etc. (7/10)

Aelita, Queen of Mars

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (8/10) Ostensibly Russia’s/USSR’s first sci-fi film, this political 1924 space fantasy lays down a surprisingly intelligent criticism of the communist revolution, once you look past the clunky, propagandistic symbolism […]

The Hands of Orlac

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (9/10) The Austrian 1924 film that inspired cult classics like Mad Love, The Beast with Five Fingers and Body Parts is a tour de force of psychological Expressionist terror. […]

Black Oxen

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗  (7/10) This 1923 film about a woman who undergoes medical treatment to become thirty years younger is a steadily paced and calmly directed mystery drama as well as a poignant, […]

Melchiad Koloman

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (2/10) Czechoslovakia’s first science fiction film, and one of its earliest domestically produced feature-length films, this 1920 production brings together a mad scientist, a spiritualist and a Japanese businessman […]

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (8/10) In a career-defining role as Jekyll/Hyde screen legend John Barrymore elevates this 1920 adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel from a run-of-the-mill potboiler to a minor masterpiece. Barrymore’s […]

Homunculus

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (8/10) A huge success upon its release, this German 1916 6-part epic film series follows the exploits of the soulless supervillain Homunculus, a creature created by science, as he […]

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (4/10) The earliest surviving adaptation of R.L. Stevenson’s novella was produced by American independent Thanhouser in 1912. The 12 minute short has some fair acting and decent production, but […]

An Over-Incubated Baby

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (5/10) Britain’s first sci-fi film features a marvelous incubator. The short comedy clip was directed by Walter R. Booth, early cinema’s most prolific science fiction director and the artistic […]