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A Very Special Halloween Episode! The writer-producer Val Lewton produced and ghost-wrote 11 films in just three years as head of the horror unit at RKO, many of which — Cat People, I Walked With A Zombie, The Curse of the Cat People,The Body Snatcher — were huge hits, helping to keep the troubled studio afloat in the early 1940s, and becoming influential genre film classics. Lewton died super young, but he crammed an enormous amount of life into his 46 years. Before establishing his unique style of horror at RKO, he was a publicist and a terrible journalist; he published at least a dozen books (including at least two porno novels, one of which he was very proud of), and through his career-making apprenticeship with David O. Selznick, collaborated with Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, and countless other classical Hollywood luminaries. Today — which would have been Lewton’s 110th birthday, if not for his untimely death in 1951 — we take a look back at his life and career, break down his groundbreaking aesthetic, and ask and answer an incredibly reductive question: did Hollywood kill Val Lewton?
Excerpts from the scores of Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, Bedlam, The Body Snatcher and The Seventh Victim, performed by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
The Bride of Frankenstein theme, performed by the Cincinatti Pops Orchestra
"Cat People (Putting out fire)" by David Bowie
I Walked With a Zombie
The Seventh Victim