This still from the lost film
LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT (1927) gives a sense of twisted potential. In recent years, a partial restoration has allowed us to see that the mystery surrounding the
LON CHANEY vampire role may well be one best left in the dark. Not a remarkable story or overall presentation, but an evocative characterization nonetheless from the silent film legend.
On a personal note, I once rendered a powerful dream (which became the cover of this e-book) a couple of years before discovering the image of Chaney as the vampire above. Interestingly, an alternate title of LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT was THE HYPNOTIST. Because I also wrote a book called
THE MESMERIZER, I find myself drawn to the similarities.
The creepy doll story starts with ETA Hoffmann, with ancient roots in the mannikin, or mini-self seat of the soul which
Fraser discusses in The Golden Bough.
The forced mask of glee...
Chaney was born to deaf-mute parents, and therefore had a
as an actor in regard to conveying information silently.
Tod Browning directed Chaney in several films and would have cast Chaney as Dracula for the 1931 classic if he could. Browning himself grew up in a circus.
Much of the focus in film on deformity, perversity, and Gothic thought during the 1920s
resulted as a cinematic comment on the horrors of World War I.
That's a constant.
This is one of my favorite movies. I love the soundtrack with the version I have. I believe the composer won a contest hosted by Turner Classic Movies.
Chaney hides from the law posing as an armless wonder in the circus. He's in love with cute Joan Crawford, and she likes him just fine since he has no arms. But oh boy, watch what happens when he decides to go all the way with her...
As Erik in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925)
His most famous role.
The book by Gaston Leroux is nothing compared to the Lon Chaney movie.
Erik got his leprosy, and apparently his meth addiction, from Devil's Island, aka French Guiana. Harsh.
His son, Lon Chaney, Jr.,
starred in THE WOLFMAN (1941).
Born April 1, 1883 in Colorado Springs,
the Man of a Thousand Faces died on
August 26, 1930 in Hollywood.
NOTE: I own two of the images here in this blog post, the VISIONS FROM THE GUTTER cover, and the one of The Phantom below, but I do not own any of the others. I present this post purely to share and further interest in movies.