Turner Classic Movies offers more horror for Halloween with a special spotlight on the films of genre director Tod Browning on October 19, 2013. The Saturday prime time and late night schedule includes five films from the horror icon best known today as the director of the Bela Lugosi adaptation of "Dracula" (1931).
The showcase kicks off at 8 pm Eastern time with "Freaks" (1932), a cult classic about circus performers that remains controversial today for its use of actual sideshow workers. Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, and Olga Baclanova star along with a large cast of circus sideshow veterans, including the siblings Harry and Daisy Earles.
At 9:15 pm, "Mark of the Vampire" (1935) reunites Browning with "Dracula" star Bela Lugosi in a story of vampiric murder, mystery, and misdirection. Lionel Barrymore, Lionel Atwill, Jean Hersholt, Donald Meek, and Elizabeth Allan also star, with Carol Borland as the memorably creepy Luna. (Follow the link to read a full review of "Mark of the Vampire.")
Lionel Barrymore also stars in Browning's bizarre horror tale, "The Devil-Doll" (1936), which airs at 10:30 pm. Barrymore plays a man who escapes from prison to exact a strange revenge on the men who wronged him and destroyed his life. Maureen O'Sullivan, Frank Lawton, and Rafaela Ottiano also star. Highlights include the opportunity to see Barrymore in drag and witness the zombie-like actions of the miniaturized people who give the picture its name. (Follow the link to read a full review of "The Devil-Doll.")
At midnight, TCM shows "Miracles for Sale" (1939), a murder mystery that involves a stage magician and fake spiritualists. Robert Young, Florence Rice, and Frank Craven star, with Henry Hull, Gloria Holden, and William Demarest in supporting roles.
The final film on the schedule is "London After Midnight" (1927) at 1:15 am. This lost silent picture stars Lon Chaney and Marceline Day. TCM will show a reconstructed version of the picture using stills and art titles.
In addition to the Tod Browning showcase, horror fans can enjoy Vincent Price movies in the Star of the Month lineup as well as the Friday Night Spooklight programming that runs through Halloween. Visit the official TCM website for more information about this month's schedule.
You can check out clips from Browning's "Dracula" and see how it ranks against other memorable vampire movies in the video at the top of this article.
Jennifer Garlen writes as the Huntsville and National Classic Movies Examiner. Her book, "Beyond Casablanca: 100 Classic Movies Worth Watching," is available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.