Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em: Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter, or a Different Kind of Sucker

Vampire hunter Captain Kronos (Horst Janson, left) with his beautiful female companion Carla (future Bond girl Caroline Munro, right).

The movies by British studio Hammer Film Productions might be among the most fondly remembered shockers in the history of cinema. Some of them have even held a cult status in fan circles for decades and made their leading men and women world-famous.

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Private Investigations: The Birth of the Hard-boiled Detective in John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon

Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart, right) uses his very own investigative methods on the sneaky Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre, left).

Nowadays, devious investigators must be considered an integral part of the Hollywood repertoire. That wasn’t always the case. Their archetype is a guy named Sam Spade, who first appeared on the big screen in 1941. At the time, the character created by writer Dashiell Hammett had already been immensely popular as the hero of the crime novel The Maltese Falcon.

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School’s Out: John Hughes’s Cool Way to Skip Classes in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara, left), Cameron Fry (Alan Ruck, center), and Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick, right) enjoy their day off.

When John Hughes died of a heart attack at age 59 in 2009, the filmmaking world lost one of its true greats in the comedy realm. His biggest box-office smashes as a writer have been family movies in the 1990s, such as Home Alone and 101 Dalmatians. Earlier, however, John Hughes had already pulled off a string of beloved comedies as a director in the 1980s. The Breakfast Club comes to mind. So do Plains, Trains & Automobiles and Uncle Buck with another late great, John Candy. John Hughes is also known for coming up with the scripts for the popular National Lampoon’s series starring Chevy Chase. Yet the finest moment of his career is arguably Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

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