Here’s something that won’t surprise anybody: I love old horror movies. The Universal ones, the Hammer ones, the Vincent Price ones, the other ones. I love them for all sorts of reasons, but one of the big ones is because they inspire me so much.
What’s perhaps a little more surprising is that, in spite of how much I love the Draculas and the Frankensteins and such, it’s often the lesser-known ones that inspire me the most. Maybe it’s because their contents have been assimilated into our pop culture less thoroughly, or maybe it’s for some other reason, but give me a Werewolf of London or a Night Creatures or a Murders in the Rue Morgue or a Mystery of the Wax Museum and that’s much more likely to get my creative mechanisms grinding along.
Recently I got through all but one (Mark of the Vampire) of the movies in the Hollywood Legends of Horror Collection, and all of them fit the bill, to greater or lesser extents. (Even the incredibly awkward yellow peril of Mask of Fu Manchu had its moments.)
Mad Love was the best of the bunch, both objectively and for the purposes of inspiration. Not only did it have Peter Lorre being great, but it also had a grand guignol-style theatre, and one of the best outfits in the history of film. Devil Doll was surprisingly great, too, and the two Doctor Xs (which had nothing to do with each other) each brought their own considerable charms. (I think I liked the first one best, but I’m a sucker for the old dark house-style setup, and for the weird color pallette of two-strip technicolor.)
I’m not sure where I’m going with this, exactly, except to note that I love old horror movies, and sometimes its the old B movies that I love the most. That’s it.