Showing posts with label frankenstein. Show all posts
Showing posts with label frankenstein. Show all posts

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Franken-Watch: The Bride (1985)

Ever since I was a kid, I'd be meaning to watch the 1985 movie, The Bride, but was first told it was "too adult" or something, and later, "it's not very good".  And, you know, that second one is far more correct than the first rationale for skipping this film.  But between my interest in the Frankenstein story in general and because the movie Bride of Frankenstein is easily in my top 5 or 10 movies (especially when paired with Frankenstein itself, for a neat, under 3 hour package), I figured that if I could watch Christmas Vacation over and over, I could make time for a movie I hadn't seen.

If our trend this week is about failed marriages, we can twist that idea a bit to include how the doctor lost his lady friend, Jennifer Beals.



The movie features a fascinatingly 1980's cast, probably meaningless to the kids today, but you Gen X'ers and post Gen X'ers will probably at least raise an eyebrow.  Cast as Doctor Frankenstein (who I don't know ever receives a first name in this version) is former rocker/ current adult contemporary wunderkind, Sting, who was transitioning as the Police collapsed for the fifteenth time and as he made a stab at an acting career in some offbeat movies during the era (like Dune!).  As the titular Bride/ Eva, the movie casts Flashdance star Jennifer Beals, most likely as she and Elsa Lanchester are both the proud owners of gigantic, dark eyes, lots of hair and striking features.  Not too distant from his role in The Highlander as the Cossack, Clancy Brown plays Viktor/ The Monster (yeah, artistic license), but well before he became Mr. Crabs of SpongeBob fame.  And, David Rappaport, who you'll recognize from Time Bandits, plays a new character, Rinaldo the dwarf, a guy who befriends the monster as he wanders in the woods and helps him realize personhood.  And, a young Cary Elwes shows up, all fresh faced and prettier than everyone in the room.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Finally getting around to comics again

This is how I know the schedule for the past two months was a little wacky.

I haven't been to the gym for at least four weeks, and I was sorting my unread comics, and I have three months' worth of some titles backed up.  No working out - which is it's own funny story - and no time made for comics in the evenings.  At least not those floppies, as I have read some collections.

The nice thing is:  Looking at this pile on my coffee table, I actually want to read all of these comics.

In the past when I'd hit a point where I was too busy to read comics, it was always instructive to look at what I didn't want to read in multiple issues at a time.  That usually meant I was dropping the title.  But with the limited number of titles I'm buying as floppies these days, (a) I know I can catch up, and (b) the spark still seems to be there as I'm sorting through my comics to start cutting down the pile.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Octoberama! Sundays with The Bride! Part 2!

As we head into Halloween, let's just celebrate with some Bride Miscellenia and fan art from around Tumblr!

As Ms. Lanchester celebrates her 110th somewhere in The Infinite, clearly I'm not the only one with a thing for girls with interesting hair-do's.

If you didn't read our post on Ms. Lanchester earlier today, please take a moment to do so.  It's her birthday.

from the Mondo Universal Horror celebration.  Saw this in person, and it is absolutely stunning.
This is a collection of fan-art of varying provenance - some official, most not.  From what I can tell, somehow The Bride and The Monster have become icons for the rockabilly-retro crowd as it exists in 2012, applying late 50's aesthetic to the 1935 character with the tattoo sensibilities of today.

Go, pop-culture.

Octoberama! Sundays with The Bride - Happy Birthday, Elsa

Last week, JimD emailed me and asked if I planned on posting about Elsa Lanchester's 110th Birthday, which happens to fall on today, the day I'd planned the finale post for Sundays with The Bride.  Honestly, I had no idea the birthday was coming, so, everybuddy, take a moment and thank JimD and then take another moment and appreciate cosmic happenstance.

I had another post ready, and so you'll still see that today, later, but as it's Elsa's birthday, we need to give the lady her due.



We all grew up seeing clips from The Bride of Frankenstein, or saw the role of The Bride parodied in other films, in cartoons, or pop art.  The role passed into western iconography as much as the rest of the Universal Horror pack of monsters, but - oddly - The Bride appears for a total of one scene in this single film.  The Bride has no speaking lines, and, of all the Universal Horror "monsters", she is the only one which hurts nobody.

But that's only if you don't count breaking hearts.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October Watch: Frankenstein (1931) and Bride (1935) Double-Bill!

I don't really keep a list around of "what is my favorite movie?" (I mean, go ahead and check out my recommendations at the tab above, but...) but the first two James Whale directed, Karloff-starring Frankenstein films are in the mix somewhere.

It's one of those things that is difficult to explain.  And it's funny, because I am absolutely not alone in my admiration of these two films - but the folks who like these movies also seem to have a hard time putting feelings into words.  Even the eloquent Neil Gaiman seems at a bit of loss, but I think he does as good of a job explaining the appeal of The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) as you're likely to see.

The Honest Truth About Why No Post and Mondo Gallery

I've already pre-loaded a number of October posts, and you'll get those for several days.

Sadly, now is one of those times that I'm terribly busy at work, and things like AWS going down don't make my job any easier.  Especially when I'm flying to Denver in a week and a half to talk about why my organization uses AWS.

So, the bottom line is that I've been super busy.  I worked Sunday night and I worked tonight when I got home.  I'll be taking tomorrow night off, but then I'll be working again on Thursday, and then on Saturday and Sunday.  Because: deadlines.

In the meantime, I'll try to provide some content, but I'm pretty busy, y'all, so bear with me for a couple of weeks.



I did make a trip during my lunch hour today to the Mondo Gallery in Austin.  They're doing a show on the theme of Universal Horror Movies, focusing on Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Invisible Man, Creature from The Black Lagoon and Phantom of the Opera.  As you may know, it is Universal Studio's 100th Anniversary, and, historically, their most enduring franchise includes those creature features, even if they haven't known what to do with them for quite a while.*

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Octoberama! Sundays with The Bride!

Here's a bevy of posters used to promote screenings of The Bride.

FYI - you can see The Bride of Frankenstein and Frankenstein on the the BIG SCREEN on October 24th!

Get tickets now at Fathom Events. These are two of my favorite films of all time. If you're in Austin and want to go, let me know!






Sunday, October 14, 2012

Octoberama! Sundays with The Bride!

Hair and make-up check.

It takes work to look this good.



October Watch: Frankenweenie (2012)

I had actually planned to go see Hotel Transylvania this weekend, but then I looked at Rottentomatoes and had second thoughts.  That movie had scored a 43%, but I noticed Frankenweenie was cruising at around 86%.

The trick is that I like Halloween movies, and Jamie will not watch anything scary.  I've had The Thing on BluRay forever, and one day she'll watch it, but that day has not yet come.  But we can do movies where all the monsters are silly, etc...  My biggest issue is that I haven't really cared much for Tim Burton's work since the golden age of Ed Wood and Mars Attacks.*  I know he has his devoted following, and good for you.  I am not to be counted among your number.

Anyone who's marginally aware of Burton's history knew he was working at Disney when he made Vincent and the original short of Frankenweenie, which, in the post-Batman brouhaha, used to be available on VHS for rent, but for some reason I never did.


Friday, October 12, 2012

October Watch: Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Probably the weirdest thing about this movie, an all ages movie featuring classic Universal Monsters at their least scary meeting the comedy duo of Abbott & Costello, is that there's a sort of continuity to the Universal Monster pictures, and this movie is absolutely a part of the long narrative tied together by meetings of Frankenstein, Wolfman and Dracula.

In fact, in addition to the stars in the title, this movie also features Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Lon Chaney Jr. as Talbot/ The Wolfman, and Glenn Strange as Frankenstein's monster (who he'd played in at least 2 prior films).  It's 17 years after the first Dracula film and 16 years after Frankenstein (and 7 years after The Wolfman, so you don't need to look that up).



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Octoberama! See the 1910 "Frankenstein" from Edison Studios!

I'll be honest with you cats. I thought this film was lost until I stumbled across it this week while doing something completely unrelated. Apparently, totally not lost.

So, spend 12 minutes with a movies made 110 years ago, why don't you?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Signal Event: Anyone Want to Catch a Frankenstein Double-Bill on October 24th?

Holy cats, people.



On October 24th, Fathom Events will be showing both of the James Whale directed Frankenstein movies at cinemas all across the country.

Basically, the movie theater will show a high-resolution digital copy of the movie in full cinematic sound, etc...  and you sit in your theater seat and eat popcorn and whatnot and know you're sharing the same experience with people all across the country.

So, a double-bill?  Well, yes.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: Frankenstein Island (1981 - but you'd never know it from looking at the movie)

I don't really know where to start.

Ok.

To explain, we watched the VOD version of this movie from RiffTrax with Doug, and he was right - the new VOD stuff RiffTrax is doing is every bit as good as the better MST3K stuff.

While the RiffTrax guys strayed from the world of punching-bag-bad movies and have stepped up to big budget Hollywood stuff in this format (and absolutely killed with it), it's still fun to see the old tools come out and see these guys at work.

So...  Frankenstein Island (1981).  

Oh, John Carradine, even your unused b-roll deserved better...

There are many things one could say about this movie, and among those things is the idea I find inescapable that director Jerry Warren, who had spent the mid-50's through the mid-60's creating the exact sort of movie that wound up on MST3K in the first place, was sitting around with his pals and said "Hey, let's do one more!  It'll be great.  Let's make a movie!" and this is what happened.  And so, in a way, I really hope those guys had fun making the movie, because it makes no sense and it's both mind-boggling and boring.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Frankenstein turns 80 (sort of)

According to website Frankensteinia (who I would think would know), today the movie Frankenstein turned 80 in that August 24th, 1931 marked the start of filming.

You kids today and your "Final Destinations".  In my day our monsters grunted and  wore sport coats, like gentlemen!
I don't know exactly when I finally watched Frankenstein.  It certainly was never on TV while I was growing up (black and white movies did poorly back then, thus the horrendous Turner colorization effort circa 1991), and I recall it just wasn't really around much of VHS that I ever saw at Blockbuster or wherever else I was renting movies.  Mostly I remember books around the house about monster movies, but who knows when I saw this at long last?  I do know I saw the Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein movie first when I was at a birthday party when I was very little (it was on 8mm.  Pre VHS, people).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The League's Favorite/ Least Favorite Monsters Part 1

So now its up to me, I guess.

Let's start with the obvious.

1)  Frankenstein and his Monster - favorite

"What's up, party people?"
Shelley's Frankenstein hit me over the head like a ton of bricks when I read it as assigned reading in high school, and the character of Victor Frankenstein and his unbridled ambition, followed by his inability to take responsibility for what he'd created...  pretty good stuff.

While there's no question the Monster is murderous, Shelley also infuses him with a craving for understanding and a humanity that Frankenstein himself may have set aside.

The movies, of course, turn the monster into an invulnerable, inarticulate beast, but the first three in particular explore much of the same themes, and are a lot of fun in their own right.

Is The Monster actually scary?  Well... yeah.  I mean, he's a hodgepodge of parts of various people sewn together and brought to life through artificial means.  He also kills folks both accidentally and intentionally (and just to make a point - that's gangster).  In the movies the Monster is more or less a superhuman, immortal walking weapon with quite a different personality.  However, I think we can look at Victor/ Henry* Frankenstein as us, and he, of course, is far scarier than the Monster.  After all, he dreamed the creature into being, and he failed to contain what he'd made.



but for my dollar, I'll take The Bride...

Baby, you can re-animate for me anytime
Of course, the portion of the novel featuring The Bride and the movie follow two entirely different trajectories.  I think the pursuit of The Bride (or a mate or whatever) for The Monster is so terribly tragic and part of what makes the story so haunting, that longing for contact and love that humans can grasp, and the lengths the Monster will go to for fulfillment of that need can read as the horrible act of a murderer, but that's a pretty dim reading of the characters.

Of all the monsters, its the understanding forged between The Monster and his creator that's the most fascinating aspect to me (more so in the novel than in the movie, but the movie doesn't shy away from this, either).  Having to face down the monster you've created and abandoned, who you've rejected and whose one dream you've torn apart?  Well, that's a pretty tough conversation to have.  In the sequel, Dr. Pretorious certainly adds a whole new aspect to the proceedings as Whale was making a movie completely separate from the novel.

Curiously, its Young Frankenstein that seems to be the one version of the story we can see that bridges the gap between the monster and its creator. 



The original novel is the template for a thousand more stories, movies, comics, whatever... but in my book, the original is still the best in both novel and the first two movies, and its a template for a reason.  The story says something very interesting about us as a creative species, and its a lesson you hear reflected and rebounded throughout science-fiction. 

As per The Monster, he's the avatar of that creation, and one that is entwined hopelessly with its creator.

*that's what he's called in the movies

2) American Remake Godzilla - Least Favorite


I like a good Godzilla movie from Toho studios.  Man in Suit is where its at, if you ask me.  And I love how Toho always makes sure there's some reason Godzilla is rampaging across Japan, be it an anti-nukes warning, people not loving one another enough, or as a reminder to recycle.  Whatever.  Godzilla is sort of a nation's conscience and psychic backlash stemming from guilt writ large and with atomic breath.

With total sincerity, I contend that this is a metaphor.  Also, its @#$%ing awesome.
In the summer of 1998, Roland Emmerich (I assume, I can't remember) got his hands on a high-grade CGI crew (well, 1998 good) and went about making an American version of Godzilla.  I went opening day, popcorn and Diet Coke in hand, and was naively quite excited to see what a couple hundred million thrown at a Godzilla movie would get me.  The answer: an absolutely horrendous movie featuring a CGI Godzilla that made me long for the days of Man in Suit.  And it featured a complete waste of Vicki Lewis.

This version of Godzilla is so reviled by true-blue Godzilla fans that the creature and the movie is referred to online as "GINO" or "Godzilla in Name Only", which I fully support.

While Godzilla in this movie was also created by nuclear tests, Americans get off guilt free as the tests were French atom bomb tests.  And, of course, we were just hapless victims in our version of the story, which...

Anyway, there's my social commentary quota for the month.

Yes, the monster looks a little like a squatting mime playing dinosaur
The monster-as-emblem-of-psychic-punishment-for-national-shame angle is completely missing from this Godzilla, but...  that's of course not quite enough.

The creature just looks stupid and does stupid things.  Its a 30-story monster that sneaks around between sky scrapers, runs so quickly in the middle of Manhattan that it ditches military helicopters, and slithers through the New York subway line.  It has a bizarre and almost lithe body for something of its scale, including oddly human limbs.  Its just really perplexing to see on something of that scale that's just so off that your brain knows it and sort of sends you signals about how this just doesn't look right at all.

Godzilla has really been hitting the gym
American Godzilla is supposed to be a mutant iguana, I think, so the filmmakers decided that while a 30 story iguana with shoulders* isn't a stretch, apparently giving us some nuclear-fueled fire breath is just getting silly (although they do give it a sort of "air blast" thing, which...   @#$% you, American Godzilla.  Your dumb fake fire breath via exploding gas line isn't going to cut it here!).

I recently watched this movie in its entirety, by the way, convinced it couldn't be as awful as I'd remembered (I took Jason to see the movie because he wouldn't believe it was as bad as I'd said).   It may have been worse.  Just.... truly...  an horrendous movie in so many ways, from scripting to acting to derivative creatures and scenarios to the worst love interest in a movie I can remember...  and it will make you very glad we escaped 90's big-budget movie-making alive and intact.

What's stunning is that so many people had to have worked on that GD iguana, and apparently nobody pointed out that this thing just made no sense, and wouldn't it just be better to redesign based upon the Japanese version rather than start from scratch?  And didn't anybody talk to a biologist or even a high school anatomy student while figuring out what a 30-story animal would look like if they were going to walk away from Gozilla classic?

Anyhow, this movie has largely been forgotten, and gladly so.  I wouldn't mind another American remake or Japanese/ American remake where it seemed like everyone wasn't so busy patting themselves on the back and second guessing 50 years of awesome movies that they wound up with a boorish movie with a crummy looking monster.  Sure, go CGI and do some mild redesign, just so long as Man in Suit never goes away...

UT is hosting an informational seminar on the bio-mechanics of  Kaiju (Giant Monsters) on Wednesday.  Be there or be square.

*btw: an anatomical difference between lizards and dinosaurs?  Lizards have splayed legs vs. how dinosaurs have hips that place the legs under them.  Think how monitor lizards get around versus how triceratops stands.  See, you learn important stuff here all the time.