Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Classic Monster Madness

Well, I've been spending most of this Shocktoberween watching TONS of classic horror films....
All the greats here, folks: Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Invisible Man, The Mummy. Yup -- all of 'em.

(Thank you, Universal, for some of the greatest memories Hollywood ever created.)

Indeed, I am a lifelong fan of the classics. There's a poetry to the old horror flicks that cannot be found in modern motion pictures. As Bela Lugosi said in Ed Wood, these films were mythic; even the crappiest throwaway monster pictures of the 1930s and 40s had an artistic vision and sort of grand cinematic flair that is only recreated in modern films by the very greatest of directors. Ah, how I wish I could travel through time and walk into a packed theater in 1931 to check out Dracula in all its strange glory. What a thrilling experience that must have been for folks back in the day.

(That would be AWESOME.)

I tell you, it's been one heck of a week. I LITERALLY watched every single classic Frankenstein movie on Sunday, in order of their original release. That's eight films in all. Hey, what can I say? One thing led to another, and I just kept streaming them as the day went on. I REGRET NOTHING!!!

And I gotta thank You Tube for making that adventure possible. See, it's perhaps a little known fact that, like, ALL of the classic horror flicks are actually available, in their entirety, on the good old You Tubes. You can watch 'em for hours and hours!

The copyright situation here is a bit murky. I mean, one would THINK that if it were a violation for someone to post these films on the site, they'd be removed pretty darn quick (YouTube is surprisingly efficient about finding stuff that doesn't belong there and taking it down, in general). Yet, there they are.

On the other hand, though, if movies like Frankenstein and The Wolfman, etc. are actually PUBLIC DOMAIN, then why the heck don't they appear on the compilation disks I like to pick up for five bucks each year around this time??? You know -- if enterprising distributors of non copyrighted material from decades gone by are selling stuff like Maniac and The Last Man on Earth on a single disk for a couple of dollars, they'd be crazy not to throw together a release with the true heavy hitters! The fact that they fail to suggests to me that doing so would not be legal.

(The kind of awesome public domain collections you can scoop up this time of year.)

So...IS it legal for, say, The Creature from the Black Lagoon to be on YouTube, then??? I have no idea, and frankly, don't really care. Hey, that's someone else's issue to deal with, anyway. The POINT is that...well...it's there now, and you can watch it.

Check out this guy, in particular. He's got TONS of great old movies posted in playlist format, so you can view them without having to get up to click the next segment every ten minutes. That's where I watched all the Frankenstein flicks. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Seriously, people -- I cannot stress this enough....

And, as long as I'm talking Frankenstein, here's a very quick report on what I learned about all of that lovable character's classic films in recent days. Let's take a look at each one.

Frankenstein (1931)

The first one, and my second favorite. You really can't argue with this icon of horror cinema on any level. Lavish and creepy sets, combined with an inspired performance from Colin Clive, make this motion picture one of the best EVER.

5 out of 5.

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

While not as culturally significant as the first Frankenstein picture, Bride of Frankenstein is actually my personal favorite. It's beautiful in just about every way; performances are top notch; and I find the relationship that the monster establishes with a blind monk about halfway through to be deeply moving. This one is the most tragic story in the entire series.

5 out of 5.

(Is it weird that I find her kind of hot???)

Son of Frankenstein (1939)

This one brings some really interesting ideas to the table. I liked the characters, in particular. For example, it's the first time we're introduced to Igor, even though most people think that Igor was Doctor Frankenstein's assistant in ALL of the films (nope -- that's incorrect). An extra special treat is the fact that he's played by the brilliant Bela Lugosi.

4 out of 5.

Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

The last truly good classic Frankenstein picture. This one is where the series started to run off the tracks, although it manages to finish off fairly strong. The fact that Boris Karloff is no longer playing the monster perhaps hurts the overall experience, although the presence of Lugosi's Igor once again kind of compensates for that. I enjoy this movie, but it's probably where Universal should have stopped trying to milk the series.

3 out of 5.


And the rest....

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), House of Dracula (1945), and Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) are all pretty weak. The character of the monster is a rather empty caricature in these flicks, and in fact, barely appears AT ALL in some of them. I rate each one a 2 out of 5. Meh, blegh, and blah.

So, there you have it. All of the Frankenstein movies that I watched IN ONE DAY this week. I'm kinda proud of myself for pulling that off, to be honest.

(I thought I told you to shut up.)

ANYway, just thought I'd give you a quick recap of what I've been doing this fine week in Shocktoberween (how annoying is it that I keep saying that???). I'll be back in the coming days with a review of a much more recent horror film. In the meantime, have yerself a fine weekend, and go check out some classic cinema while you're at it.

Peace out.

b.

27 comments:

  1. Why must that cat torment you so?

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  2. Bet they're on NetFlix as well.
    I watched Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein recently - does that count.

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  3. I'm with John. You gotta get rid of that downer cat, man.

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  4. John -- Because he's a lousy JERK.

    Alex -- Nope, they're not streaming on Netflix. I meant to mention that in my post.

    Debra -- I totally agree.

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  5. you have a horror fest over at TOP 10 UK FILMS, Dan's place :) You have his banner somewhere in my left sidebar :)

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  6. Awesome, I've always meant to watch the later Frankenstein films so I'll check those out, although probably not in all one day - that's quite an achievement!

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  7. I obviously need to force my friends into a Frankenstein movie night, because that sounds awesome.

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  8. Great stuff as always, Andrew! These sets are actually really cheap now. Thank you for reminding me with this post as I am missing the MUMMY and INVISIBLE MAN sets.

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  9. One of the many amazing things about the original Frankenstein is how gorgeous and atmospheric it is without any music! It's almost impossible to do, but James Whale did it.

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  10. I grew up on these classics. They used to show them every Friday and Saturday night on the movie shows like "Shock Theater" and the like. I'm sure I've seen them all.

    I've been wanting to get the Frankenstein official box set. I've got the Creature from the Black Lagoon box and it's great-- excellent quality and good extras.

    I relished all of this stuff when I was a kid. Haven't seen too many as an adult, but don't see much period I guess when it comes to movies.

    By the way, I showcased your blog on my "Pay It Forward" contribution that's going on this weekend.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  11. Dezmond -- Cool! I'll check it out.

    Chris -- Yes, all in one day can be a bit draining.

    Megan -- That's an excellent Halloween idea.

    Venom -- A Frankenstein box set would rule.

    Kelly -- I agree completely.

    Arlee -- Really? You featured me?? Thanks!!!

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  12. I found you from Arlee's site--hi there!

    Okay, you have me convinced I have to see the classics I've missed.

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  13. I love these horror classics. I found you via Arlee's site.

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  14. Hi Andrew, saw your link over at Arlee Bird's blog and am stopping by to follow and say hello!

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  15. I love the old horror films and never get tired of watching them. I don't care how hokey they look. Thanks for the photos and linkage!

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  16. Came over from Arlee. I'd never be able to sleep after watching some of this stuff.

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  17. See, I'm a weird freak who's never seen any of these classics. But I AM on holiday from work this week comming... hmmm I can feel a plan forming :) Nice to meet you through Arlee's place - an yes, it is weird that you find her attractive :)
    Lx

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  18. Lydia -- Welcome! And, yes -- check em out.

    Ciara -- Welcome to you, too!

    Stephen -- Hey, thanks for stopping by. That Arlee sure has given me a lot of traffic!

    Ali -- I had a feeling you'd be a fan of the classics.

    J.L. -- Awe, come on. They're not THAT scary!

    Laura -- Nice to meet you, too. And thanks for being honest with me on the hot Bride of Frankenstein thing. :)

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  19. Must admit I'm not a fan of horror, because I'm a big wuss and I get scared! :)

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  20. Talli -- Not a fan of horror??? You're missing out on some great fun. Please, give in to the dark side.

    Laughing -- As do I, pal. As do I....

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  21. These are great movies and hey, now, I love Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman. :) Of course werewolves are my favorite monsters. I have all of these and I do love to indulge every now and again. Universal was the best at monster-making. No one does that anymore. Horror is definitely not what it used to be.

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  22. I adore these b/w monster movies. I watched them as a kid and continue to as an adult. Let's not also forget the Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein, 1948. Another favorite. Thought you might like to visit this site: http://cutencool-itkupilli.blogspot.com/
    She has a great Buster Keaton background and header setup for free.

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  23. All my favorites!!!!!

    Time for another post with kitty commentary. (cracks me up when the kitty comments)

    Cheers!

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  24. Melissa -- You are so right. Horror used to depend upon SKILL, and not just shocking "jump moments."

    Jenny -- First of all, that's awesome. Secondly, YOU RULE!!! Thanks!

    Sea Witch -- Great link. I checked it out, and it's awesome. Thanks a lot!

    Lulu -- Heh heh. Yeah, something tells me that cat will be around Who Wants Taters for a foreseeable future...even if he is the bane of my conscience.

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