We already watched the classic Universal Frankenstein and the Hammer Frankenstein for the podcast, but I always watch Frankenstein and Bride as my final movie or so of Halloween. So, I swapped in this version, which I hadn't seen in forever. And I know I hadn't seen it in forever, because Jamie had never seen it.
My memory was "that sure felt like it thought it was much better than it was". It was directed by already-respected Shakespearean actor/director Kenneth Branagh, borrowed indie cred by casting Helena Bonham Carter (who was the indie-fan's sex symbol of the time), borrowed established cred with Robert DeNiro as the Monster, Tom Hulce of Amadeus fame, Ian Holm, John Cleese and others. The sets are lavish, the score: sweeping.
I saw The Monster Squad at Showplace 6 on a weekday in late summer when I was a kid. I must have said something about the movie and thinking I'd miss it (it wasn't released until mid-August of 1987, which would have been just as school was starting), so I'm guessing I thought the clock was ticking. My dad loved movies, too, when we were kids. Not like some of your dads who showed you Carrie or whatever, he just liked going to the movies or making a bucket of popcorn at home and watching a movie with us.
All I know is that on a weekday in the few weeks Monster Squad was out, my dad took the afternoon off work - came home and got me, we watched the movie - and then he dropped me off and went back to work. I don't think he remembers this at all, but it meant a lot to me when I was 12.
Well, what better way to wrap up our review of classic monsters and monster movies than to discuss 2004's mish-mash of Dracula, Frankenstein, werewolves, hats, hair, bodices and swing around on ropes? Universal threw money at the guy who gave them the 1999 Mummy franchise and he promptly went bananas, abusing SFX teams and creating the worst kind of fan-fic. Join us as we make our way through Van Helsing.
I've watched the few Frankenstein movies from Hammer that I've seen completely out of order. And this is no exception. I think this is the second to last movie, but, really, do not know.
Completely spinning the opposite direction from Universal, Hammer decided the selling point for their Frankenstein films was not the monster, but the good doctor himself. Building on the arrogant sonuvabitch from the novel, this version of Frankenstein is NOT humbled by his first creation, but emboldened by his success, and so the subsequent films are him doing what all good scientists would do - keep working on it.
Jenifer picked this particular gem for our Tuesday screening, and it was a g-d delight.
For reasons that are never explained, NASA creates a sort of synthetic man they want to launch into space in place of an astronaut (we are all fine with automation in our space probes, and I'm not sure why the ruse is necessary). He doesn't actually work very well, but they go ahead with the plan.
Meanwhile, aliens from a distant world that has experienced a wave of self-destruction via nuclear exchange have come to Earth in a space ship roughly the size of a small house, with plans to steal our women - because they have none. Except for their leader, a sort of imperious-but-fun Space Queen (Marilyn Hanold) in a heck of a pant-suit and head dress.
It's the story of a scientist with a dream and the friends he made along the way! We stitch together three films for one monstrously excellent discussion about one of pop culture's favorite go-to's, the mad scientist and his shambling pal(s). From the shocking arrival of the 1931 film by Universal to the mid-50's experiments by Hammer to bring the story to life, we chat what makes the story work from any angle, and why we're still watching 90 years later.
Format: Amazon Streaming
Director: Richard E. Cunha
Oh. Oh my.
Well. So. I dunno, you guys.
I mean, "Oliver" Frankenstein just doesn't sound right. And I don't know why he was turning the pretty young lady he was living with into a monster in the evening with a potion he kept passing off as fruit punch. I was never clear what was going on with the girl's uncle and what he was science-ing upon. But we do run over a kind of catty young lady and she gets turned into a shambling monster.
Anyway. There's a backyard cookout with a band and a very long musical interlude.
Viewing: Unknown. well into double digits
I'm a Frankenstein fan. Maybe not as much as other people, and I got a late start. I didn't watch the movie until 1997 when I rented it during a blitz into Universal's horror offerings that, if you know me a little, you know had a deep impact that resonates to this day.
Growing up in the wake of the 70's monster-craze, the Frankenstein monster's image was everywhere, from kid's cartoons (including the Flintstones for some reason), but I don't remember ever seeing Frankenstein offered on TV, nor do I remember tapes available at the local video store. Austin and Houston didn't have latenight monster movie hosts, so... the availability was pretty low.
So, yeah, I rented it from the I Love Video near my apartment and gave the 1930's movie a spin, genuinely concerned that after all the hype, I might not like it (I'd seen Dracula in high school at a local cinema, but that's a different story). While the movie only borrowed from the book, the movie was so much it's own thing, and so weird and creepy and heart breaking, what wouldn't I like about it?
I've written plenty on this movie, and every time I watch it, I'm stunned by the storytelling, the design of sets, creature and sound. It "transports" me, and I genuinely find the movie electric, so to speak. There's so much to love in Whale's picture.
I won't belabor it all here - this is a checkmark on my 2018 Halloween movie watching, and I'm on to The Bride of.
The project I'm on at work is a joint partnership between Northwestern and Indiana Universities, and while I've been to Chicago plenty to get to NU (it's my institutional "home"), I'd not been to Bloomington, Indiana where a good chunk of my team lives and Indiana University resides.
Today marks the 200th Anniversary of the first publication of Frankenstein (or, The Modern Prometheus). It's a book many of us were assigned to read. As with any book, your mileage will vary. Absolutely, that seems to depend upon interpretations and baggage brought to the book.
It is true that I am a fan of the Frankenstein films from Universal that appeared in 1932 and onward, but I'd read Shelley's book twice before seeing the first movie circa 1997. My Freshman year of high school I *absolutely* grokked the "wretch's" perspective and Victor's craziness, and of course the romantic torment that befalls them all.
What's to say at this point about Young Frankenstein (1974) that hasn't already been said?
After we handed out candy last night, which ended early, we came in and put on this movie. As much as Frankenstein and Bride of have become part of my Halloween routine, so has Young Frankenstein become how we put a capper on the holiday - which just isn't that spooky once you're handing out "fun-sized" boxes of Nerds to miniature firefighters, princesses and Batmans for a few hours.
It's been a good, if odd (thanks to the World Series), Halloween season, and we appreciate you bearing with us.
Watching a Frankenstein/ Bride of Frankenstein (1935) double-bill has become my personal Halloween tradition. I'd already watched Frankenstein this year, and so needed to work in Bride of, which has been tough with the Cubs actually making it into the World Series. I mean, usually by early October, I'm kinda done with baseball and my football watching is contained to Saturdays.
But, what would Halloween even be (for me) without The Bride of Frankenstein? I don't even want to know.
The movie remains horrific, beautiful, eerie, hilarious. Everything I'd want in a single movie, and everything I like about the holiday.
Here's to Mr. Whale and company, and everything that makes this one of my favorite films.
A few apologies to my brother and Jamie who watched this movie with me. While technically a horror movie, this one moves along more like a 19th century novel reflecting upon injustices until the last third. I'm not sure that last third is actually scary - it's more interesting from a science-fiction/ fantasy point of view.
I selected the movie in part because I've been trying to get my head around what Hammer was doing with it's Dracula and Frankenstein films back in the day, and in part because it's the closest to a Bride of Frankenstein film I've noted the studio producing. It is, of course, absolutely nothing like Bride of Frankenstein, so that was a wash.
The third Frankenstein movie in the Universal Monsters line of films is not terribly well known among the normals but it's a staple for monster kids. People who don't know the movie often ask "why is Frankenstein wearing that furry shirt?" when they see pictures from the movie, and - honestly, it's a legit question.* Son of Frankenstein (1939) picks up a generation after the events of Bride of Frankenstein, when the literal child of Henry and Elizabeth Frankenstein returns to Frankenstein castle to reclaim the family homestead, and, as it turns out, help restore The Monster to fighting form after finding him in a catatonic state.
The movie is not directed by James Whale, and of the original cast, only Karloff returns. It lacks some of vision of the prior installments, but picks up on and expands some elements, visual and otherwise. It also softens the story a bit more, providing us with a more sympathetic Dr. Frankenstein in the son of the good doctor.
Overall, it's fairly watchable with some pretty great bits, and at least tries to maintain some level of A-list distinction before the Frankenstein movies would descend down the slope to matinee material. It's not exactly the world's best movie, but it's still a Halloween-worthy treat.
My Halloween viewing is a little slowed by the arrival of Luke Cage on Netflix, but Sunday night TCM presented a Frankenstein Triple Feature. They'll be showing Frank movies all October on Sundays (and Christopher Lee, star of the month on TCM, will be Mondays, so check for Hammer Horror).
This year marks the 85th Anniversary of the release of James Whale's screen classic, Frankenstein (1931). So, I appreciate the Franken-centric approach to Halloween that TCM is going for all month long.
Turner Classic kicked it off right with the three Frankenstein pictures that defined the monster and mad scientists for the 20th and early 21st Centuries. They showed the Universal movies that started with the 1931 Universal feature, Frankenstein,starring Boris Karloff as "The Monster". Then, of course, TCM went right into Bride of Frankenstein and Son of Frankenstein.*
I've seen Frankenstein numerous times since first watching the film back in college, and I've written on the topic often enough that I've given Frankenstein it's own tag on the site. I'm a fan, and I watch the movie at some point every October.