Horror movie, released in 1927. It was directed by Tod Browning and written by Browning and Waldemar Young (based on an original story by Browning called "The Hypnotist"). It starred Lon Chaney, Sr. (as Burke), Marceline Day, Henry B. Walthall, Percy Williams, Conrad Nagel, Polly Moran, Edna Tichenor (as Luna the Bat Girl), and Claude King.

This silent movie is probably the best known of the "lost films" -- as far as anyone knows, no copies of this movie exist anywhere.

On Halloween 2002, Turner Classic Movies aired a reconstructed version of this movie -- instead of moving pictures, the reconstruction consisted entirely of still photographs. Filmmaker and archivist Rick Schmidlin collected over 200 still photos and, using the film's original continuity script, rebuilt what was left into a complete narrative. Composer Robert Israel added a new film score to finish the picture. While it would be a mistake to claim that the reconstructed film makes for a particularly scary movie, it is an important historical record, and it's interesting to see glimpses of what the original film might have been like.

The plot is a bit convoluted: the death of wealthy Roger Balfour is ruled a suicide by Scotland Yard's Inspector Burke, but Balfour's executor, Sir James Hamlin, insists that he wasn't suicide-prone. Five years later, two new lodgers arrive at the abandoned Balfour mansion: an evil-looking man with pointy teeth, bulging eyes, and a tall hat, and a pale young woman in a long gown. Hamlin suspects they had something to do with Balfour's death and calls Inspector Burke back in; Burke thinks there's nothing wrong, but then Balfour's body disappears from his crypt, the fanged stranger menaces a maid, Balfour apparently takes a walk around his old house, and Balfour's nephew becomes convinced that the new tenants are vampires. Balfour's daughter is kidnapped by the vampire and taken to the Balfour mansion; when Hamlin tries to help, the vampire hypnotizes him.

In the end, it all turns out to be an elaborate ruse. The vampire was really Inspector Burke in disguise, the pale woman in the gown was an actress, and the maid was an assistant detective. Hamlin reveals, under hypnosis, that he murdered Balfour and made the death look like a suicide; he was angry because Balfour told Hamlin he would not let him marry his daughter. Justice is served, and the daughter and the nephew get married. Huzzah!

Best trivia bit: Chaney wore a set of false animal teeth for his vampire scenes. He was only able to wear them for a few minutes at a time because they were so painful.

Research from the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com) and from seeing the film back in '27 at -- Oh God, I've said too much! (/me turns into a bat and flies away)

Deathrockers London After Midnight formed in the early 90s, quickly gaining goth-rock fame after blow-out shows at Los Angeles' Helter Skelter nightclub.

Fronted by Sean Brennan, LAM members include bassist Michael Areklett, keys player Tamlyn, drummer Douglas Avery, and guitarist Edward Hawkins.

Often considered an important part of second wave goth music, the band is notorious for hating the 'goth' label, and is known to get quite irate if it's suggested during an interview.

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