We have one major film for today, but OMG it’s a biggie: Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, which influenced science fiction filmmaking for generations and today remains one of the foundations of the genre. It’s available in many versions, but the one to look for is the Kino DVD and Blu-ray release from 2010. It was released today in its native Germany in 1927.
If it’s January, you take your pickings when you can get them, which means finding skeezy little genre films that actually have a little flair and enthusiasm. The Relic, Peter Hyams’ bit of silliness involving a monster set loose in a museum, is just such a film. It doesn’t transcend expectations, but Hyams’ competent direction delivers the scares and the monster (designed by the legendary Stan Winston) is a hoot. It opened today in 1997.
If you need some John Wayne in your life, today had it, with the release of Mark Rydell’s The Cowboys in 1972. As late-era Wayne goes, it’s hard to top… and Bruce Dern is still living down what his character did to the Duke in this movie.
On a completely different note, visual effects maestro Stan Winston made a rare stint as director with Pumpkinhead, released today in 1989. It’s standard horror fare in a lot of ways, but the monster is top-notch thanks to Winston and his brilliant team, while the great Lance Henriksen provides us with a suitably tormented protagonist.
And while we’re on the horror kick, we might as well go old school: Son of Frankenstein hit theaters today in 1939, featuring Boris Karloff’s final turn as the Monster that made him famous and Bela Lugosi as the good doctor’s sinister assistant.
Are we gonna mention Demon Knight? Yeah, we’re gonna. Demon Knight. Un film du Tales from the Crypt. Jada Pinkett-Smith. A pair of Bills (Zane and Sadler). Released today in 1995. We hate that we love it so much, but we do. We really, really do.