Summary: While visiting their father’s grave, a sister and brother, Barbara and Johnny, are attacked by a strange, disheveled man. Leaving the unconscious Johnny behind, Barbara flees to a nearby farmhouse and discovers a horribly mutilated corpse. Meanwhile, the strange man has been joined by several other ghoulish figures who are trying to help him break into the farmhouse. Suddenly, Ben, a young black salesman also seeking refuge, appears and fights his way past them into the house. While barricading the windows and doors, he explains to Barbara that a mutation resulting from radiation has caused the dead to arise and devour the living. Ben learns from a television report that fire frightens the ghouls and that they can be killed by a bullet or blow to the brain. Barbara and Ben then find that they are not alone in the farmhouse: in the basement are teenaged couple Judy and Tom as well as married couple Helen and Harry and their young daughter, Karen. Unknown to Helen and Harry, Karen has been injured by the ghouls and is slowly acquiring their disease. Ben improvises a plan to help Tom and Judy escape; but they panic and die in a fire and are devoured by the zombies. The ghouls finally burst through the barricades, and Ben accidentally shoots Harry; Barbara is dragged away by her brother Johnny, who has become a ghoul; and Helen is murdered and eaten by her infected daughter. By morning, when the living have succeeded in suppressing the dead, only Ben has survived by barricading himself in the basement of the farmhouse. But he is mistaken for a ghoul and shot through the head when he bursts out to greet a posse sent to destroy the zombies.
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Watch President Reagan in This Classic Western
At the West Point Academy in 1854, cadet Carl Rader, a disciple of the fanatic John Brown, is dishonorably discharged for conspiracy. His classmates, Jeb Stuart and George Custer, graduate and are assigned to duty at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the most dangerous post in the army. On the way to Kansas, Custer and Stuart meet Cyrus Halliday, the man in charge of building the railroad to Santa Fe, and his daughter Kit Carson, with whom both soldiers fall in love. Arriving at the fort, they find the state bloodstained and war-torn, a victim of John Brown’s relentless crusade against slavery. Meanwhile, Rader has enlisted as a mercenary in Brown’s army, which has been terrorizing the countryside with their bloody raids. During Brown’s raid on a freight wagon under the protection of the U.S. Army, Stuart and Custer capture Brown’s injured son Jason, and before dying, the troubled boy informs them about his father’s hideout at Shubel Morgan’s ranch in Palmyra. In disguise, Stuart rides into Palmyra, the center of the underground slave railroad, but is recognized by Rader, who takes him at gunpoint to Brown. While trying to escape, Stuart is trapped in a burning barn but is saved as Custer leads the troops to the rescue and drives Brown into seclusion. Believing that Brown’s force has been broken, Stuart and Custer are sent back to Washington, where Stuart proposes to Kit. However, far from being a broken man, Brown is planning to ignite war by raiding the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry. When Brown refuses to pay Rader for his services, Rader rides to Washington to inform Stuart of Brown’s plans, and the troops arrive just in time to crush the rebellion and hang Brown.
White Zombie (1932)
On their arrival in Haiti, Neil Parker and Madeleine Short, a young couple, take a coach that passes a funeral in which the body is being buried in the road. That night, they are followed by several eerie figures who, their coachman informs them, are zombies. He explains that the dead are buried in the road in hopes that the many passers-by will prevent the body from being exhumed and turned into a zombie. As their coach passes him while he is standing in the road, “Murder” Legendre, owner of the local sugar mil
l that employs the zombies, snatches Madeleine’s scarf. Neil and Madeleine arrive at the home of the wealthy Charles Beaumont, whose desire for Madeleine prompts him to ask Murder for supernatural assistance, although he has invited her and Neil to be married in his house. Because Murder looked deeply into Madeleine’s eyes while she was in the coach, he knows her love for Neil is true and unwavering, and his only solution for Charles is to transform Madeleine into a zombie. Charles is horrified by this alternative, but takes the potion given to him by Murder. During the wedding ceremony, Charles entreats Madeleine to leave Neil, but to no avail. Shortly after the wedding, Madeleine, having been given the potion, apparently drops dead and is buried, only to be disinterred by Murder and Charles and brought back to life as a zombie. Neil, who in a distraught and drunken state sees apparitions of Madeleine, seeks the assistance of a missionary, Dr. Bruner. Bruner consults with a witch doctor who is the only man known to have left Murder’s fortress alive. The doctor, however, refuses to become involved. Neil and Bruner then journey to Murder’s castle and camp on the beach below the cliffs. As Neil suffers from a tropical fever, Bruner approaches the castle alone, but later, images of Madeleine awaken Neil and he, too, enters the castle. Charles, meanwhile, regrets Madeleine’s transformation and begs Murder to return her to life, but Murder has his own ideas for Madeleine, who is completely under his control, and refuses. Charles realizes to his horror that he, too, has been tainted by the potion and is slowly being transformed into a zombie. When Neil enters the fortress, Murder senses his presence, and after Neil collapses, Murder silently orders Madeleine to kill him. Unaware of her own actions, Madeleine approaches Neil with a knife, but Bruner grabs her hand from behind a curtain, and she drops the instrument and walks away. Neil awakens and follows Madeleine to the cliff, and Murder commands his zombies to kill Neil. Bullets do not stop the zombies, but when Bruner knocks Murder out, the zombies topple off the cliff to their deaths. Murder awakens and eludes Neil and Bruner until Charles, who has recovered some of his motor capabilities, pushes Murder off a cliff. The fall kills Murder, and Charles is unable to regain his balance and falls to his death as well. Murder’s death releases Madeleine from her stupor and she is restored to Neil.
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)
Brief Synopsis – The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
In 1928, young Martha Ivers is returned by the police to Iverstown, Pennsylvania after running away for the fourth time to escape the tyranny of her aunt. When her aunt insults her dead father, then attacks her pet cat with a cane, the child kills her aunt with the cane. Martha’s friend, Sam Masterson, with whom she was trying to run away, flees the scene and joins the circus. Mr. O’Neill, Martha’s greedy tutor, and his weak-minded son Walter, support Martha’s story that the murderer was a strange intruder. In 1946, Sam inadvertently returns to Iverstown when he wrecks his car. He meets Toni Maraceck, who was let out on parole that night on a theft charge of which she is innocent. Walter, now a dipsomaniacal district attorney, is running for political office at the urging of Martha, who is now his wife and runs the family mill, which she has built into a considerable fortune. Although Walter loves Martha, they have a passionless marriage because she has never stopped loving Sam. When Toni is picked up by the police for violating her parole, Sam goes to Walter’s office and appeals to him for help, and Walter assumes that Sam is in town to blackmail him and Martha. When Martha enters, Sam realizes she and Walter are married. He later visits Martha at the Ivers home, where she confesses her love for him. Walter forces Toni to make a deal with him or be sent back to prison, and she sets Sam up, unaware that Walter’s men are going to beat him. Sam awakens from the assault to find himself in a ditch. He then confronts Walter, who accuses him of blackmail.
Sam investigates Martha’s aunt’s death in archival newspapers and learns that the case had remained unsolved for years until a man who used to work for the Ivers family was picked up on a small holdup charge and accused of the murder. Walter, who was engaged to Martha at the time, handled the prosecution of the man. Armed with new information, Sam demands half-ownership in Martha’s factory. She later takes him for a drive, and at a hillside campfire, inadvertently confesses to the murder, unaware that Sam never knew. Terrified that Sam will use her confession against her, Martha tries to burn him with an ember, but he kisses her, turning her rage into passion. She then blames Walter for sending an innocent man to die. Later, a drunken Walter orders Sam to the Ivers house and claims that it was Martha’s idea to hang an innocent man. Sick with the knowledge of what they have become, Walter begs Martha for help, then falls down the stairs. Martha tries to seduce Sam into killing Walter while he is knocked out, but Sam gently carries Walter to a chair. Although she pulls a gun on Sam, he walks out. As Martha and Walter watch Sam from the window, he tells her she will always love Sam, but she swears that now she loves only Walter. Walter then presses the gun into Martha’s ribs, and she puts her hand on his, and together they pull the trigger. Walter then shoots himself. Toni and Sam drive out of town, planning to marry and vowing to never look back.
The Outlaw (1943)
Although the youth, William Bonney, an infamous gunslinger known as Billy the Kid, maintains that he bought Red from a stranger, Doc insists that he stole him.
Shortly after he disembarks at the Lincoln, New Mexico train depot, gun-slinging gambler Doc Holliday reunites with his old friend and former partner-in-crime, Pat Garrett. When Pat, who is now the town’s sheriff, hears that the penniless Doc is searching for his horse Red, who has been stolen, he directs his friend to the local dentist’s office. There Doc finds Red tied up outside and confronts the young man who comes to claim the horse. Although the youth, William Bonney, an infamous gunslinger known as Billy the Kid, maintains that he bought Red from a stranger, Doc insists that he stole him. Despite their disagreement, Doc takes Billy’s side when Pat tries to arrest him for theft. Annoyed, Pat orders Doc and the smooth-talking, quick-fisted Billy to leave town by sundown. Doc and Billy, however, ignore Pat’s command and play cards together in the cantina. Doc wins hand after hand from Billy and is unruffled when his rival accuses him of cheating. After Doc announces he is giving Red to Billy as a gift, however, he tries to sneak the horse out of the barn, but is caught in the act by a watchful Billy. Moments later, as Billy is about to settle down next to Red, he is shot at by an unseen assailant. In the darkness of the barn, Billy overpowers his attacker, who turns out to be a beautiful woman named Rio McDonald. While struggling to free herself, Rio condemns Billy for murdering her brother and vows to kill him. Billy admits to shooting Rio’s brother in a fight over a woman, but insists that the match was fair and gives Rio a passionate kiss. The next morning, in the cantina, Billy is approached by a stranger who identifies himself only as an enemy of Pat. The stranger enlists Billy’s help in confronting Pat and suggests they stage a mock fight as practice. Suddenly sensing a set-up, Billy draws his guns one second before the stranger does and kills him. After they learn that the stranger was actually a friend of Pat, Doc advises Billy to flee, but Billy insists on facing the sheriff.
Maintaining that he was pushed into the gunfight, Billy refuses to give himself up to Pat and his deputies, and is shot by Pat. Before Pat can fire his rifle again, Doc shoots the gun out of his hand and downs two of his deputies. As Doc and a wounded Billy are about to leave the cantina, Pat angrily declares his friendship with Doc “finished.” Doc takes Billy to recuperate at Rio’s house, unaware that Rio, his girl friend, had previously tried to kill Billy. After Doc leaves, Rio contemplates stabbing the unconscious Billy, but is unable to do the deed. Instead, Rio and her aunt Guadalupe nurse Billy through fever and chills until, one month later, he is recovered. Rio admits to Billy that she is Doc’s “girl,” but gives in to his seductive charm and kisses him. Soon after, Doc returns and learns that Rio married Billy during one of his delirious periods but has not told him about their new relationship. Although Doc is angered by Rio’s change of heart, he is more infuriated by Billy’s continued insistence that Red is his horse. To resolve the matter, Billy offers Doc a choice between Red and Rio. Doc quickly picks Red over Rio, and the two men ride off toward the desert together. When they see Pat approaching in the distance, they deduce that Rio revealed their route and then discover that she filled their canteens with sand. After a thirsty night, Doc wakes to find Billy gone and Pat at his side. Pat arrests Doc, while Billy sneaks into Rio’s house and takes her by surprise. Later, on the trail, Doc and Pat find Rio tied between two rocks, abandoned with no water. Confident that Billy will return to free Rio, Doc and Pat lie in wait for him. As predicted, Billy shows up the next morning and is apprehended. While Doc and Billy argue about whether Billy is in love with Rio, a hostile Indian group sends smoke signals announcing the white men’s presence. Pat, Billy and Doc jump on their horses and head for nearby Fort Sumner, but are soon overtaken by the Indians. Reluctantly, Pat gives Billy and Doc guns, and the three men charge madly for the fort, chased closely by the Indians. By dragging cacti behind them, the men create a moving dust storm, which causes the Indians to give up their pursuit. While the men stop at a house to rest, Pat gives owner Pablo a note to deliver to the Fort Sumner marshal. Overhearing Pat and Pablo’s conversation, Doc is about to flee on Red when he is stopped by Billy, who insists once more that the horse belongs to him. Billy challenges Doc to a duel over Red, and although Billy outdraws Doc, he is unable to shoot him. Annoyed by Billy’s sudden passivity, Doc shoots the youth’s hand and then his earlobes. Stating that Doc is the only partner he has ever had, Billy refuses to fight back, however, and the two men finally reconcile. Humiliated by Doc’s obvious preference for Billy, Pat explodes with anger and shoots Doc. The next morning, after a remorseful Pat and Billy bury their friend, Pat allows Billy to leave. As he is about to ride off, Billy invites Rio to join him, and Rio happily accepts.
The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
After two Oregon newlyweds are robbed and murdered in their car by a hitchhiker, police release a photograph of their prime suspect, ex-convict Emmett Myers. The hitchhiker then kills and robs a salesman in central California. Soon after, two Arizona men, draughtsman Gilbert Bowen and garage owner Roy Collins, drive across the California-Mexico border on their way to a fishing vacation in Baja. Once past Mexicali, Roy and Gil offer a lift to a stranded stranger. Almost immediately, the man, Myers, pulls out a gun and forces them to stop on a side road. Myers, who freely admits his identity, confiscates Gil’s rifle and ammunition, then orders them back on the highway. After warning Roy and Gil not to “get smart” like his previous victims, the excitable Myers demands to know when their wives expect them home. To keep Myers calm, Roy responds that they are not due back anytime soon. Later, while stopped for gas, Gil starts conversing in Spanish with the non-English speaking attendant, and Myers, who does not understand Spanish, flashes his gun at Gil to keep him quiet. At the next deserted side road, Myers studies a map and decides he is going to catch a ferry in Santa Rosalia, 500 miles away. Myers then shows off his shooting skills and forces Gil to fire his rifle at a tin can that Roy is holding hundreds of feet away. Gil’s shot hits the can, but both men are shaken by the incident. Pushing on, Continue reading
The Great Train Robbery (1903)
The Great Train Robbery is a 1903 American silent short Western film written, produced, and directed by Edwin S. Porter. At ten minutes long, it is considered a milestone in film making, expanding on Porter’s previous work Life of an American Fireman. The film used a number of innovative techniques including composite editing, camera movement and on location shooting. The film is one of the earliest to use the technique of cross cutting, in which two scenes appear to occur simultaneously but in different locations. Some prints were also hand colored in certain scenes. However, none of these techniques were original to The Great Train Robbery, and it is now considered that it was heavily influenced by Frank Mottershaw’s earlier British film A Daring Daylight Burglary.
Santa Fe Trail (1940)
Santa Fe Trail is a 1940 American western film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Raymond Massey and Ronald Reagan. Written by Robert Buckner, the film is about the abolitionist John Brown and his fanatical attacks on slavery as a prelude to the Civil War. Subthemes include J.E.B. Stuart and George Armstrong Custer as they duel for the hand of Kit Carson Holliday.
Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor in “Father’s Little Dividend” (1951)
In this sequel to Father of the Bride (1950), newly married Kay Dunstan announces that she and her husband are going to have a baby, leaving her father, Stanley Banks, having to come to grips with becoming a grandfather.
Middle class family man Stanley Banks reminisces on events of the past year: One afternoon, returning from the office feeling happy and energetic, Stanley’s routine is interrupted when his wife Ellie tells him that they are having dinner with their daughter Kay and her husband, Buckley Dunstan, to hear some important news. Although Stanley is certain that it concerns Buckley’s business, the newlyweds reveal that Kay is expecting a baby. Buckley’s parents, Doris and Herbert, are delighted, as is Ellie, but Stanley broods that he is too young and vibrant to be a grandfather. Soon Ellie, flush with excitement, throws Kay a baby shower, something Stanley thinks is highway robbery not punishable by law. Later, Ellie suggests that they remodel their house to enable Kay, Buckley and the baby to move in with them, but Stanley puts his foot down. Ellie is near tears when the wealthy Dunstons announce that they are planning to add a wing to their home for the couple, but is overjoyed when Kay and Buckley reveal that they have just bought their own little house, enabling Ellie to have free rein helping Kay decorate.