FrankensteinTurns200 horror & scifi movies

I, Frankenstein

I,Frankenstein (2014) is GREAT. If your use of the word “great” is at the start of a sentence that begins “Great! There is at long last a worthy partner for Reign of Fire, the 2002 epic in which Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale take off their shirts and fight dragons.”

I always expected that the double-feature-mate for Reign of Fire would be a Ben Kingsley movie. Sure, that dude was Gandhi, but that dude has also been in some seriously craptacular movies. Un-ironically.

I, Frankenstein does, however, have Bill Nighy, so that’s nice. No Liam Neeson, but I kept confusing Frankenstein’s monster (Aaron Eckhart) with Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) and assuming that I’d spaced out during the scenes where he learned how to fight from Ra’s al Ghul, because that was the only way I could really make any narrative sense out of this thing. Hey, if you look at it that way, the film is honorarily somewhere on the Axis of Neeson-Nighy.

This film is so expensive, yet so cheap-looking. I, Frankenstein has the insane Whatthefuckitude of SciFi Pictures Productions circa 2003-4 but with the smug seriousness of Underworld, but with a budget. A big budget.

And the grunting and growling! Oh god, so many characters growl. It reminds you how rare growling is in contemporary cinema. Aside from werewolf movies, just not a lot of growling these days. I, Frankenstein goes all-in on the growling.

Oh, gods, and the ineptitude of the effects! They have the modern syfy intentionally-shitty-looking-to-seem-hip aesthetic, but clearly aren’t intentionally shitty. And the scale of the set pieces! The deranged self-serious terribleness boggles the mind! And, and, and…the GROWLING!


pop culture

Frankenstein Meets the Mermaid

I declared Halloween 2008 over. I guess that means we’re now in the Halloween 2009 season? Truth be told, everyday is Halloween around here so I’m not ever really clear on when the whole season begins and ends. At Target, Halloween shopping season seems to begin sometime around the 4th of July, but that’s probably my imagination. Whatever. Anyway, this was too good not to share:

Via Professor Ravensdeath’s Master Rally via Hugo Strikes Back via Vintage Photo. Also – thanks for the link, Prof Ravensdeath!

movies television

Hocus Pocus! (Halloween film fest, redux)

The animation that transformed the top-hat wearing Count Dracula into a bat in House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula reminded me of my favorite Bugs Bunny cartoon, Transylvania 6-5000. I hadn’t seen it in years, maybe since I was a kid, so I was excited to find it online in it’s entirety.

Bugs Bunny – Transylvania 6-5000

About House of Dracula – Glenn Strange returns as The Monster but footage of Lon Chaney (Ghost of Frankenstein) and Boris Karloff (Bride of Frankenstein) are used to pad the movie. Chaney also has a starring role as Lawrence Talbot, the Wolf Man who’s despair is at the heart of many of these movies. The poor immortal bastard just wants to quit chasing cars and howling at the moon, but every scientist he finds who’s willing to try to cure him turns out to be mad. Plus, they always turn out to have a fetish for reviving Frankenstein’s Monster that screws everything up by the final reel and leaves Lawrence Talbot once again in need of some new clothes and a case of flea collars. Poor WolfMan, he’s got the worst HMO ever.


Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman & The Haunting (13 Days, blah blah blah)

The Sunday night double-feature was Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman and the original Haunting.

The Haunting is every bit as good as when it came out. Beautiful cinematography filled with shadowy depth, a stellar cast, solid writing, amazing sets, and jolts and scares that come from subtle sound effects rather than flashy visuals that would look tired and dated 40 years later.

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman grapples with eternal questions, such as, “What in the hell is going on in this movie?” and “I wonder when dinner’s going to be ready,” and “Did I take the clothes out of the dryer?” It’s the wolfman’s picture, the Monster is only in a few scenes. Although this one picks up where Ghost of Frankenstein left off (sort of), different actors play some key roles. Lon Chaney, jr, who played the Monster in Ghost, is, of course, Larry Talbot, the beleaguered Wolfman who wants nothing more than to end his eternal life. Bela Lugosi plays the Monster now, since Ygor died at the end of the last film but lived on in the body of the Monster thanks to a brain transplant. If you think too much about the continuity issues in this movie you’ll need a brain transplant by the end of it.


Frankenstein, redux (13+ Days of Halloween)

So far, Husband has missed every movie in the Halloween marathon. He was sad to miss the Frankenstein fest so I put on Son of Frankenstein so he could catch up – it’s his favorite of the post Bride-movies and all. (The things we do for love). While he watched, I looked up the annoying kid, Donnie Dunagan, to see if he ever worked again. Would you believe he was the voice of Bambi? After that – a lengthy career in the Marine Corps.

At one hour and 40 minutes, Son is, in Husband’s words, “a bit of a trial.” I wandered off for about 30 minutes and baked pumpkin cupcakes. I’m so tired I didn’t bother to make any frosting. They came out quite well, regardless. I didn’t pay attention to the cupcake liners I bought, I just grabbed the last package on the shelf. They seem to be comedy cupcake liners, they’re twice as tall as normal ones. When I first put them into the pan I thought I’d grabbed an extra-shallow pan from the cabinet. We have a lot of pans, and, like I said, I’m really tired.

After we ate cupcakes, we forged ahead to the mercifully shorter Ghost of Frankenstein. Bela returns as Ygor, who you only thought died at the end of Son. At the end of Son, the Monster had been thrown into the sulfur pits. At the beginning of Ghost, he’s accidentally freed. All that time encased in sulfur was good for the Monster’s wardrobe. In Son he shuffled around in some of sort of nasty fleece vest, but when he’s freed from the sulfur he’s wearing the ill-fitting jacket from the first two films.

Just don’t think too much about these things, they’ll make your brain hurt.

Our – if by “our” you mean “my” – goal tonight is to get through Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, but I suspect we’ll be throwing in the towel after the first two. Besides, Ben Affleck is supposed to be playing Keith Olbermann tonight on Saturday Night Live and I’d like to catch that before I lose consciousness. We’ll see….