Odd movie pairings

Mystery of the Wax Museum

I’m fascinated with interesting and weird movie groupings, such as films that share actors, directors, writers, themes or stories. And I recently experienced perhaps the oddest pairings ever.

I watched two of the original screwball comedy/horror films (directed by Michael Curtiz), from the early 1930s (in two-strip Technicolor): Doctor X (1 star on 0-5 scale) and Mystery of the Wax Museum (2 ¾ stars). The similarities between the two films are obviously abundant, but the results diverge wildly, thanks to the latter being far scarier (as it reinvents the sub-genre of wax-museum horror arguably begun by Waxworks in 1924) and also much funnier (when it chooses to be funny), thanks to superior performances and pacing. Still, both movies represent an odd time in both the history of filmmaking and the career of Curtiz, who, 10 years, later would direct Casablanca. It’s also worth noting that the remake, 1953’s House of Wax, with Vincent Price, also prominently featured a cinematographic innovation (or gimmick, if you prefer): 3-D.   

An even stranger — but irresistible — pairing is The Devil and Miss Jones (2 ½ stars), directed in 1941 by Sam Wood, and the porn classic The Devil in Miss Jones (1 star), directed  in 1973 by Gerard Damiano. In the former, the devil comes in an unexpected form while in the latter the devil cums in an unexpected form. For Damiano’s film, don’t let the 1-star rating fool you: This is the Citizen Kane of pornography.

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