100 Years of Horror DVD Review: A Look Back at the Genre

Not the best of horror documentaries, but Christopher Lee more than makes up for its shortcomings.
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When it comes to the history of horror, there have been many documentaries tracing the beginning of this rather infamous of film genres, such as Nightmares in Red, White & Blue; Syfy's Masters of Horror, and Bravo's Scariest Movie Moments series. However, 100 Years of Horror, hosted by the late, great Christopher Lee, somehow gets overlooked. This may be a good and bad thing. Considering that the entire series consists of 26 half-hour episodes, narrowing in quality (VHS, mind you), but there is enough information to slighly satifsy the most jaded of horror fanatics.

As the back of the DVD states that 100 Years of Horror is the 'first show of its kind', which is biased, but whatever, Mr. Lee guides the viewer through from the earliest experimental efforts, including the golden age of movie monsters, to today's terrifying fright films. As fair warning, the original version of this doc is from and stops at the late 1990s, so any mention of the new horror: Eli Roth, The Ring, Japanese horror, the Saw series, torture porn, among others is sorely missing.

DISC ONE: "Dracula And His Disciples," "Blood-Drinking Beings," "Frankenstein and Friends," "Baron Frankenstein," "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," "Werewolves," "Bela Lugosi," "Boris Karloff,"  and "The Evil Unseeable."

DISC TWO: "Phantoms," "Witches," "Demons," "Mutants," "Freaks," "Scream Queens," "Girl Ghouls," "Maniacs," and "Gory Gimmicks."

DISC THREE: "Sorcerers," "Aliens," "Mummies," "Zombies," "Mad Doctors," "Man-Made Monsters," "Giants," and "Dinosaurs." 

Despite some setbacks, you are treated to film clips from Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, The Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, as well as more 'recent' creepfests as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Halloween, Poltergeist, The Omen, and The Haunting.

There aren't any special features, but included in every episode are outtakes, screen tests, vintage interviews with the likes of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, and Claude Rains. There are also those from film critics, Sara Karloff (daugher of Boris), Bela Lugosi Jr., Jamie Lee Curtis, and many others.

Closing this review, you may see what you've already seen in many other horror compilations, but even they don't have the Christopher Lee to add some intelligence and funny antecodes, which overall completes this show. I do and don't recommend this show, especially because of the picture quality, but if you're in the mood, you'll probably enjoy it. Stay scared!

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