SINISTER CINEMA TOP 10s, Vol. 2
Here is Sinister Cinema's second set of "top 10s." This time we're covering the top supporting actors’ performances in horror films from the ‘30s and ‘40s. As with our previous listings, this is purely subjective on our part, strictly our opinion of what performances were the best. In compiling these two lists, the main problem encountered was determining exactly which were supporting roles and which were not. For instance, Boris Karloff's role in "Tower of London" is clearly a supporting role, yet he and Basil Rathbone are given top billing. Contrastly, one could reasonably argue that Bela Lugosi's performance in "Son of Frankenstein" was a supporting role, yet we listed it in the top performances by a lead actor for the '30s. Lugosi certainly didn't receive top billing, yet his performance I felt was large enough and certainly powerful enough to be considered a lead. The same can be said about Lionel Atwill's performance in the same film, which was also listed as a leading performance. Frankly, there were a lot of performances on both sets of top ten lists that could have gone either way. The 1930s were filled with a lot of fine supporting performances and it was indeed difficult trying to rank them. Some might be surprised to find my listing of both Humphrey Bogart and John Litel from "The Return of Dr. X." Although the film doesn't have that good of a reputation, I have always thought that both of these actors were outstanding in what I consider to be a very underrated B horror gem. A couple of other surprises might by Irving Pichel in "Dracula's Daughter" and Georges Renavent in "East of Borneo." Both of these performances never really get their just due. Elsewhere, there were three actors who pretty much dominated the proceedings: Dwight Frye, Ernest Thesiger, and Edward Van Sloan. The 1940s seemed to be a little more difficult, simply because there just weren't as many solid performances to pick from. Victor Francen, though, was a real standout in "The Beast With Five Fingers." As before, we’d love to hear your feedback on these lists. Please…send us your own top ten lists or write a separate article. More top ten lists to come in the near future.