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.
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.