Monday, October 23, 2017

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Over the past few days as I continue my countdown toward Halloween, I have enjoyed my trip back into the world of classic Universal Studios monsters. Today, I decided that it was time to venture into that world once again with the 1935 entry Bride of Frankenstein

Plot/ Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

Sequels to movies can be a mixed bag with only a handful living up to the baseline set by the original. In this case, that could not be further from the truth, as it not only meets but also surpasses the original in almost every way. There is so much to like with this one, as it builds upon an idea mentioned in the Mary Shelly classic novel. The cast is wonderful with solid performances littered throughout including the returning stalwarts Colin Clive and Boris Karloff repeating their roles from the original, the setting and atmosphere work really well, the storyline is layered and complex, and the visual effects, cinematography, and production elements surpass those of the original. Truly, everything is tremendously done and honestly, it should be held in a higher regard than the original Frankenstein. Yes, it does have a short run time and it leaves the viewer wanting more, but that is something that to me does not hurt the film in any way. In the end, it is always a great debate on which early Frankenstein film is the best. For me, it is the Bride of Frankenstein hands down because it shows that if a sequel is done right, it can be a powerful entry into a franchise. If you have never watched this one, you are missing out. Head to Shudder and check it out!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Dracula (1931)

After spending most of my night last night working on my video for the Poe Arts Festival Poetry contest, I decided to jump back into the classics today. My next selection from Shudder was the one that started it all, Dracula from 1931.

Plot/ The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina.

For me, this was one of my first horror films that I watched back in my younger days and one that still resonates with me today. While I do love the classic silent unauthorized adaptation Nosferatu, there is something with the adaptation that takes the Bran Stoker story to an all-new level especially when you remember that the movie was made in 1931. Whether it was the amazing performance by Bela Lugosi or the technical vision and work of Tod Browning, this film creates one of the most iconic and memorable films of the history of cinema. Of course, there are other factors that help make this one great. All of the performances are solid and work within the storyline; the setting and cinematography create something dark and atmospheric, and as the first in the run of Universal Monsters the movie allows the rest of the universe grow by laying a tremendous foundation everything that would follow. Yes, the ending is a bit mellow and there are some head-scratching moments, but those do not really hold the movie back in any way. In the end, this movie remains a must see (along with Nosferatu) for fans of the vampire genre and one that stands tall in horror history. If you have not seen it, you are missing out.

Poe Arts Festival Entry - Darkest Night

As a huge fan of the works of Edgar Allan Poe there are times when I draw on him for inspiration. That was the case with this piece that was done for the POEtry Contest for the Poe Arts Festival. Please check out the video that was made for this contest (just remember, I am a writer not an actor)! #ShowUsYouPoe

Darkest Night

Help me please; protect me, as these shadows close,
Oh, what have I done, cleanse my darkest darkened heart.

The eyes! Stop…no! The eyes!
Staring deep within the bounds of my soul,
Why me, why now, why?
The screams grow louder as the howling winds grow,
Swallow me whole, silence my cries,
Bury me alive, inside these walls; entomb me by your side.

Midnight nears, hear the echoes of bells?
Fetid flesh binds every move; every quiver,
Scarlet tears, sips of blood, the oceans swell,
Your whispers call, heartbeats shiver,
Something is coming, something from the well,
Save me, do not allow me to die alone!

The aging stones hide the illicit deeds,
Your soul removed, impaled by love and despair,
Truths turn to rust; bosoms turn shallow, pale eyes bleed,
For in your lair, scents of lust fill the air,
And empty hearts and dying embers calm my needs,
Hear my pleas, forgive me, and make me whole again.

Years have passed; your pulse has faded,
Memories remain, visions so pure,
The blade upon your neck, an empty sacrifice, long I have waited,
For this day, and every day, for you to open the door,
Sins of flesh, Satan’s touch, and two lives sated,
Together at last, my tomb awaits, finally you call.

At last I hope, my deeds are forgiven,
And you will embrace my darkened soul.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Invisible Man (1933)

With Halloween being right around the corner, it is fun to sit back and enjoy the classics from Universal Studios. Last night it was The Mummy, and tonight, I followed that one with the classic The Invisible Man from 1933.

Plot/ A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.

Being in a classics mood, this adaptation of the H.G. Wells sci-fi classic may be one of the best movies of the golden era of the Universal Monsters. Complete with some of the best special effects of all time, this movie boasts tremendous creativity, cinematography, and technical aspects. The performances, especially Claude Rains, are outstanding, the storyline is interesting, and as I mentioned already the effects are tremendous especially considering that this movie was shot decades before the first computer was ever thought of. Yes, it does lack the scenery that made the other Universal Monster movies so memorable and the overall story lacks the layered depths of the other films from the studio, but those elements do not hurt the movie in any way. In the end, like the other classic monster movies of the early 1930s, this movie is a must see. Sure, it often overlooked in comparison to the other timeless entries from Universal Studios, but from a cinematic and technical perspective, it should sit near the top of the chart and it remains one of the most memorable sci-fi films ever made. Go to Shudder and check it out.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Mummy (1932)

After watching an entire series last night in Lore, I decided that I wanted to go back to the roots of horror for my next movie and review. My viewing choice for the evening is the 1932 Universal Studios classic The Mummy.

Plot/ In 1921 a field expedition in Egypt discovers the mummy of ancient Egyptian prince Im-Ho-Tep, who was condemned and buried alive for sacrilege. Also found in the tomb is the Scroll of Thoth, which can bring the dead back to life. One night a young member of the expedition reads the Scroll aloud, and then goes insane, realizing that he has brought Im-Ho-Tep back to life. Ten years later, disguised as a modern Egyptian, the mummy attempts to reunite with his lost love, an ancient princess who has been reincarnated into a beautiful young woman.

People who suffered through the latest reboot of The Mummy should definitely head over to Shudder and revisit the 1932 Universal Studios classic to burn the modern monstrosity out of their minds. While this is not a straight horror film with it actually feeling more like a gothic romance/drama only in a different location, it does have all the elements needed to make it an entertaining and memorable trip into darkness. This movie screams atmosphere and creates a dreamlike state that takes the viewer to a different place. The performances are outstanding, especially horror icon Boris Karloff in one of his most memorable characters, what little make-up effects that are used are tremendous, and the cinematography, setting, and the set pieces are remarkable. Of course, many viewers that watch this will not like the slower pace and lack of action, but those elements just help bring the story to life in a way that ties the entire movie together. In the end, this may be one of the most subdued horror films from that early 1930s Universal catalog, but it is still an amazing watch. If you have not seen it, there is no way you can call yourself a true horror fan. Head over to Shudder and watch it. It is a must see.