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Classic Universal Horror - Page 2

post #51 of 142
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Ma View Post
I watched Frankenstein for the first time, the other night and thought it was great. Karloff's performance was brilliant, giving us a classically tragic movie monster. There were some unintentionally hilarious moments in this film, namely Frankenstein going 'Rroaw' to Mae Clarke, it just made me laugh.
Are we sure that's "unintentional" on the part of James Whale? The guy did make Bride after all.
post #52 of 142
It's possible, it just seemed out of place with the general tone. I haven't seen Bride yet.
post #53 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilTwin View Post
The Black Cat (1934)
An underrated classic! Great sets, mood to spare. Definitely the best of the Karloff/Lugosi films I've seen. Ulmer's underappreciated.
post #54 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Ma View Post
It's possible, it just seemed out of place with the general tone. I haven't seen Bride yet.
I think it's just a weird cut that might feel like comedy now, but honestly probably scared the living shit out of people in 1931. FX makeup wasn't that common (aside from Chaney), and that face wasn't something anyone was used to seeing. The first film treats that visage like the most special thing ever; Bride is "taking the piss" here and there.
post #55 of 142
Yeah, The Black Cat is a nice fucked up pre-Hays Code little flick. It might be Karloff at his creepiest.

I always wondered why Lugosi never returned as Dracula until Abbott and Costello. His career was pretty much in the toilet by the '40s, and it seems he could have used the work in House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula. It's a shame because Carradine might be best shittiest Dracula ever.
post #56 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarence Boddicker View Post
It's a shame because Carradine might be best shittiest Dracula ever.
Aw, give the guy a break. He was probably blitzed out of his mind the entire time!

Carradine actually is closer to the way Dracula is described in Stoker's novel, at least in appearance.
post #57 of 142
Thread Starter 
It's been ages since I've seen SON OF FRANKENSTEIN. I've got a couple of Hammer films I'm working my way through, but I think I'll throw in that one as a palate cleanser before jumping into the Dracula films.
post #58 of 142
I really like SON OF FRANKENSTEIN. It features some really cool sets, and it has my favorite Lugosi performance. Although the villagers naming the village Frankenstein just seems like asking for trouble, and why the Basil Rathbone's kid speaks in a southern accent I will never know.
post #59 of 142
And Karloff wears the cool furry vest.
Son is the last legitimately good Frankenstein film. After that you start entering the "you need to be a fan" area to enjoy them.
post #60 of 142
Son is also the longest Universal monster movie at 99 minutes. That's like Lawrence of Arabia for those movies.
post #61 of 142
And it's all original footage, which is also something of a novelty for these sequels.
post #62 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobClark View Post
And it's all original footage, which is also something of a novelty for these sequels.
The universal films use stock footage, heavily?
post #63 of 142
I think he means footage from the previous films.
post #64 of 142
Except for Frankenstein Meets Churchill.
post #65 of 142
hahahaha
post #66 of 142
Anyone see that little short 'Boo' on the Frankenstein DVD. It's funnier than it has any right to be, made me chuckle quite abit.
post #67 of 142
Just ducking in here to back up Dracula's Daughter and The Black Cat. And The Old Dark House doesn't get nearly enough love these days.

Also, a viewing of Son of Frankenstein is essential to appreciating most of the in-jokes in Young Frankenstein.

Let's talk logos. For some reason, I've always found Universal's little rumbling airplane to set a perfect, ominous tone.
post #68 of 142
Agree. And the old-time showmanship of "It's A Universal Picture" and "A GOOD CAST IS WORTH REPEATING."

And I love the stills so hi-res you can see the wig lines and such (your browser will scale it down; click on it).
post #69 of 142
Watching Lugosi's performance in Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman really shows that we dodged a bullet in 1931 when he refused the part of the monster. I had forgotten how awful he was in that role. Although to be fair to Lugosi, I'm sure Karloff would not have deserved to smell his shit as Dracula.
post #70 of 142
Karloff would have been an amazing Dracula. Watch The Black Cat or The Mummy. And I'm not saying "better" or "as good as"; it would have been a totally different thing. But it would have been (under someone other than Tod Browning's direction) amazing.
post #71 of 142
Thread Starter 
I'm also a fan of the old fashioned plane rumble. Really sets the mood.

I watched SON OF FRANKENSTEIN yesterday. Yeah, that's a good movie although it's certainly not up to Whale's films by any stretch. Very impressive sets and a good cast, although Lugosi really steals the show from everybody. Nice exciting climax too. Too bad the plot is so barebones. They obviously spent money on this, but Whale's creature got to roam the countryside while this feels very claustrophobic in comparison. The creature is sent into town twice on missions of revenge. There's plenty of stuff that YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN borrowed from this film and Hammer's EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN uses the basic plot of the outsider using the creature for revenge against a town.

The "happy ending" coda is pretty jarring. Pretty much undeserved too.
post #72 of 142
I watched Dracula and thought it was good, Bela Lugosi was occasionally hammy but overall he gave the definitive performance which has since been embedded into pop culture. Some of the scenes were very atmospheric, especially in the castle. Dwight Frye was the real standout here, he delivers a great performance as the creepy Renfield.

I think Nosferatu is a superior telling of Bram Stoker's novel but Dracula is still worth watching, I really want to watch the spanish version.
post #73 of 142
I just saw Bride for the first time, and I'm curious (and spoilery) -- when the Monster meets Praetorius in the crypt, and he says "I love dead, hate living," were we meant to take that, at the time, as him saying he enjoyed the peace of the crypt compared to constantly being harassed by the villagers? After the climax it felt like some crafty foreshadowing (or at least, crafty for a Universal monster movie).

And I wonder if the Bride was popularly considered as sexy back then as she is now. What constitutes horror in these films suggests a pretty puritanical audience, so finding a zombie woman hot must have been conflicting.
post #74 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Junior View Post
I just saw Bride for the first time, and I'm curious (and spoilery) -- when the Monster meets Praetorius in the crypt, and he says "I love dead, hate living," were we meant to take that, at the time, as him saying he enjoyed the peace of the crypt compared to constantly being harassed by the villagers? After the climax it felt like some crafty foreshadowing (or at least, crafty for a Universal monster movie).

And I wonder if the Bride was popularly considered as sexy back then as she is now. What constitutes horror in these films suggests a pretty puritanical audience, so finding a zombie woman hot must have been conflicting.
First question, yeah, pretty much, I think. Can you blame him?

Second question, I sorta doubt it; audiences demanded hideousness from their horror, after all, and I can't really think of a celebrity known as attractive who resembles her until maybe the Punk era?
post #75 of 142
Bride spoilers again --

I guess to clarify my interpretation of the Monster's dialogue in the crypt is that I took it to be a simple observation that he prefers dead people to living people ("I hate living [people]"), rather than the self-aware existential angst it seems to have been in retrospect. Just in case my meaning didn't come across before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielRoffle View Post

Second question, I sorta doubt it; audiences demanded hideousness from their horror, after all, and I can't really think of a celebrity known as attractive who resembles her until maybe the Punk era?
That seems like a pretty good criterion.
post #76 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Junior View Post
Bride spoilers again --

I guess to clarify my interpretation of the Monster's dialogue in the crypt is that I took it to be a simple observation that he prefers dead people to living people ("I hate living [people]"), rather than the self-aware existential angst it seems to have been in retrospect. Just in case my meaning didn't come across before.
Oh, ok. I guess that makes even more sense, actually.
post #77 of 142
Wow, the Universal Horror DVDs look like absolute garbage on an HD set. Blu Rays next Halloween, maybe?
post #78 of 142
It sounded like he was simply saying he loved the dead because they don't fuck with him all the time.
But that line carries extra thematic weight when you consider it's delivered shortly after he learns that he's made from corpses. The line ties in to his need to find a place to belong. And yeah, there's gay subtext as well.
post #79 of 142
I've decided this film is so much better with the Philip Glass Kronos Quartet score.
post #80 of 142
Revisited the HOUSE OF... films this year and they're worse than ever. For some reason I never realized just how fundamentally lame they are. In both movies the three big monsters barely have any screentime and they are promptly killed before they have a chance to do anything.
HOUSE OF DRACULA has the worst instance of this. The Frankenstein monster doesn't get off the table until the final two minutes. He takes a few steps, somebody yells "It's the monster!" then the lab blows up all around him (and those shots are recycled footage from GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN). The end.
post #81 of 142
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Episode29 View Post

Dracula: I've only watched the first, but it was a chore. Lugosi's great, but the film is like watching paint dry. I'll stick with Nosferatu, thanks. I've never bothered to check out the sequels.
As others have said, DRACULA'S DAUGHTER is worth checking out. Obviously it's missing a standout performance like Lugosi, but the whole thing works as a movie much better. It's no NOSFERATU or even VAMPYR, but it stands up against any other vampire film in the era prior to HORROR OF DRACULA.

SON OF DRACULA only really has an interesting ending to its merits. HOUSE OF DRACULA doesn't even have that going for it.
post #82 of 142
SON OF has a nice offbeat script. But Lon Chaney as Dracula is probably the worst casting of all of them. Worse even than Lugosi as the Frankenstein Monster.
post #83 of 142
As for the first Dracula, it is often said that Lugosi and Frye save the entire movie. It's so odd that Tod Browning's most successful film would be his stiffest. FREAKS and MARK OF THE VAMPIRE have so much more visual style.
Check out the Spanish language version of Dracula shot at night on the same sets. With an inferior Dracula and superior direction, it's like a bizarro version.
post #84 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Junior View Post
And I wonder if the Bride was popularly considered as sexy back then as she is now. What constitutes horror in these films suggests a pretty puritanical audience, so finding a zombie woman hot must have been conflicting.
She's clearly intended to be beautiful in an unexpected way, what with the glam makeup and the Nefertiti hairdo. The whole joke when the bandages come off is that she isn't a horrible mess of scar tissue like Monster 1.0.
post #85 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobClark View Post
As for the first Dracula, it is often said that Lugosi and Frye save the entire movie. It's so odd that Tod Browning's most successful film would be his stiffest. FREAKS and MARK OF THE VAMPIRE have so much more visual style.
The commentary (and the awesome book Hollywood Gothic) get into this a bit. Uncle Todd liked to drink! Some people say Browning was barely on set. One actress claims Karl Freund directed all her scenes (which is odd because he directed the shit out of The Mummy 2 years later).

In my autumn years, I've really come to appreciate the monster also-rans like Werewolf of London and Dracula's Daughter.
post #86 of 142
Freund help design the three camera system pioneered on I Love Lucy, didn't he? So maybe he was experimenting with that? Or perhaps somebody (Browning, I'm looking at you) decided that shooting it to resemble the popular stage adaptation would be a smart stylistic choice.
Whatever the reason, we'll never really know the sceret of the armadillos.
post #87 of 142
BTW- Halloween night we projected BRIDE on a sheet in our driveway. All the neighborhood kids under ten enjoyed it. Take that, Sommers!
post #88 of 142
Didn't it rain all night? We projected 42nd Street Forever. I don't like my neighbors.
post #89 of 142
Canopy tent.
That heavy 5 minute downpour came when they were creating the bride in the storm. It was awesome in the truest sense of the word.

42nd Street? No wonder you need a gun to protect yourself.
post #90 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarence Boddicker View Post
Watching Lugosi's performance in Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman really shows that we dodged a bullet in 1931 when he refused the part of the monster. I had forgotten how awful he was in that role. Although to be fair to Lugosi, I'm sure Karloff would not have deserved to smell his shit as Dracula.
I used to feel the same way until I found out the cuts that the film suffered. At the end of the previous entry in the Frankenstein series, Ghost of Frankenstein, the brain of Ygor (Bela Lugosi) was placed into the body of the Monster..............leaving us with a pretty intelligent evil Monster with full speech capabilities. It was also revealed that the transplant didn't fully work and Ygor Monster was left mostly blind. They cast Lugosi as the Monster in the next film because in the script (and the cut scenes that were filmed), the Monster spoke. It made more sense to use Bela than to just dub his voice over Lon Chaney's as the Monster (although they briefly considered Chaney doing dual roles as both the Monster and Talbot). So when watching it now you have to account for the fact that Bela's dialogue scenes have been completely excised and the reason he stumbles around so clumsily is because he is blind! So instead of having the monster speak as the sinister Ygor, we are only left with scenes of Bela stumbling around and occasionally growling.

I know that the "making of" book about the film that was available years ago had the dialogue scenes still intact in the script section. I am pretty sure they were filmed, but not 100% sure. Anyway, if they were I doubt that the footage was even saved.......let alone left in a state where it could be restored to the film itself.
post #91 of 142
You can still see his mouth moving in certain scenes, but his audio was removed. Poor Bela was in a lot of pain from the monster boots. And he was a lot older. And he was hopped up on goofballs. Supposedly they cut his dialogue because his speech was so unintellegible.
Really, the only other actor to effectively play the monster was stuntman Glenn Strange.
post #92 of 142
I still would also like a reason for Carradine playing Dracula instead of Lugosi. I have never really been able to find one. Especially since they ended up using Bela anyway in the Abbott & Costello film. I guess it is high time for me to pick up one of the many tomes on Universal's classic horror films. Been tempted to on many occasion before.
post #93 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobClark View Post
As for the first Dracula, it is often said that Lugosi and Frye save the entire movie. It's so odd that Tod Browning's most successful film would be his stiffest. FREAKS and MARK OF THE VAMPIRE have so much more visual style.
Check out the Spanish language version of Dracula shot at night on the same sets. With an inferior Dracula and superior direction, it's like a bizarro version.
It's a shame it wasn't included as a double disc set, I wouldn't have minded seeing it.
post #94 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammerhead View Post
She's clearly intended to be beautiful in an unexpected way, what with the glam makeup and the Nefertiti hairdo. The whole joke when the bandages come off is that she isn't a horrible mess of scar tissue like Monster 1.0.
I'd never made the Nefertiti connection! The look just became so iconic in its own right. And I totally missed the impact of the reveal as you describe it. I've never thought of Bride imagery saturating the culture the way the other monsters have, but I couldn't see it with an objective eye, even seeing the film for the first time.
post #95 of 142
This is my current desktop image. My 5 year old daughter says "Frankenstein and the Wolfman are doing karaTAY!" My kid's awesome.

post #96 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by S.D. Bob Plissken View Post
I still would also like a reason for Carradine playing Dracula instead of Lugosi. I have never really been able to find one. Especially since they ended up using Bela anyway in the Abbott & Costello film. I guess it is high time for me to pick up one of the many tomes on Universal's classic horror films. Been tempted to on many occasion before.
In McFarland Press' Universal Horrors, all that's said on the subject is that "Lugosi was considered for the role, but it is said he had to bow out on account of other commitments." David Skal's Hollywood Gothic hints at a different reason (but seems oblivious to/uninterested in hitting it head on) - "Lugosi changed agents frequently, and would frustrate them with periodic refusals to play Dracula at any price." It's noteworthy that Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein is his last speaking role for a major studio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Ma View Post
It's a shame it wasn't included as a double disc set, I wouldn't have minded seeing it.
Are you referring to the Spanish language version? It's been on every DVD of the Lugosi Dracula.
post #97 of 142
Some more digging. From Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, by Greg Mank:

Quote:
Horror fans - even Carradine fans - have wondered why Universal cast Carradine rather than Lugosi (in House Of Frankenstein). In fact, Lugosi wasn't available - he was still on the road in Arsenic and Old Lace. On Carradine's first day of shooting, April 27, Bela was playing in Newark. In yet another case of cataclysmic bad luck, Bela was to close in Arsenic the end of the month, and hence was unavailable by only a few days.
The book also cites Universal squeezing in the film to fit the back half of a 12 week contract they had with Karloff, rendering them unwilling or unable to wait for Lugosi, as well as evidence that they'd been building up Carradine as their new horror star the year before. But elsewhere in the book, Mank offers another motive as to why Universal wasn't hot on Lugosi:

Quote:
Clearly, Universal saw Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man as something of a Waterloo for Bela. Playing the Monster, he'd required two doubles (at least), collapsed on the set and given a performance that had required extensive post-production editing...It almost appears Universal was punishing Bela for his troubles as the Monster. When he returned just one more time in 1948 for Universal-International's Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, it was almost as a studio afterthought.
post #98 of 142
He practically had to beg for his part in A&C.

I love how Lugosi kept returning in different roles - as the Count, as the Monster, as Ygor, as a gypsy. He was the Cheech Marin of the series.
post #99 of 142
Whoah, we almost got a Technicolor Universal Monster flick.

Quote:
Following Phantom of the Opera (1943), in the middle of the Silver age of Universal Studio's monster movies, a new sequel to Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman was considered for a Technicolor production: Wolfman vs Dracula!

Lon Chaney Jr., who was the only actor to portray Universal's four classic monster roles; Dracula, frankenstein's monster, the mummy and the wolfman. At first Chaney was to play both roles, as his father Lon Chaney Sr. had done in several of his famous silent films. But Larry Talbot in his human phase would look exactly like Count Dracula so the role of Dracula was given to it's originator Bela Lugosi.

A script was prepared by Bernard Shubert, who had written the screenplay for Tod Browning's London After Midnight(MGM 1927) remake Mark of the Vampire (MGM 1935). Shubert kept the settings very tight in its scenes, to keep the cost down to balance out for the extra expense of technicolor. But by 1944 Bela Lugosi was in his 60s and would have had to play part of his role as a giant bat much like in the Copolla Bram Stoker's Dracula in the 90s - and that would have been too much for him. And they couldn't have the Wolfman fighting an animated bat much like John Carradine's depiction of the Count or even Lugosi's portrayal in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. So they decided to make one of their Arabian Nights film on the Technicolor contract and all that remained of Wolfman vs Dracula are some color 8x10s of Chaney in both parts.
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Subject: Wolf Man vs. Dracula
The Wolf Man vs. Dracula
(Bear Manor Press, 133pp, $24.95 pb)
Reviewed by John Sinnott

In the 30's and 40's Universal made a series of classic horror movies that are still highly regarded today. With movies like Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy's Tomb, House of Dracula, and The Wolf Man vs. Dracula they crafted a mythos around the... wait a minute. The Wolf Man vs. Dracula? That wasn't a Universal horror film. That's right, it wasn't, but it almost was. In 1944 Screen writer Bernard L. Schumann, who had was the scribe behind The Mummy's Curse, was tapped to write a new monster movie to be filmed in Technicolor. It was to start Lon Chaney Jr. reprising his role as the cursed Larry Talbot, and Bela Lugosi as the world's most famous vampire. Unfortunately the film was never made, but Schumann did finish the script which he put in a box where it sat for 40 years.

Now thanks to Philip J Riley and Bear Manor Publishing, fans of the old Universal monster flicks can read Schumann's script (reproduced directly from the original manuscript with typos intact) and see what might have been. A nicely done first draft, there would certainly have been minor changes made to the script, the story has everything fans would want: action, eerie night scenes, and two great monsters. Though the battle at the end is a bit anticlimactic, it still would have made a good movie.

The body of Larry Talbot is found in a forest. (This takes place after the events in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.) Though it's obvious that he has been dead for years, his body has not deteriorated. A scientist takes the cadaver back to his lab where he discovers that a silver bullet is just grazing the dead man's heart. When it is removed the body comes back to life, miraculously.

Equally miraculous is what happens while the scientist is giving a press conference: the light of the full moon hits the man, now revealed to be Larry Talbot, and he turns into a werewolf, killing the scientist's assistant, breaking the bars on the window, and escaping into the night.

In a nearby town the local lord, Count Dracula, is paying a visit to a peasant, Anatole, and his lovely daughter Yvonne. Dracula has moved into the old castle in the area, his ancestral home, where it is rumored a vampire once lived. He's very interested in Yvonne and wants to marry her. Anatole isn't sure about the match, there's something odd about the count, and Yvonne knows she wants to have nothing to do with him.

Cornering Yvonne in a barn one evening, the Count tries to get her to take off the crucifix she wears around her neck by giving the young lady a pearl necklace, when a disheveled Larry Talbot enters. He's looking for Anatole because he thinks the old man can put him out of his misery once and for all. After only spending a short amount of time in the household however, Talbot becomes enamored with Yvonne, making him Dracula's foe. The Count isn't going to take a rival for Yvonne's affections lightly and sets about to destroy the man.

This was a good script that works in more places than it doesn't. Like many of the Universal horror films, it does drag a bit in the middle, and the big battle that the movie builds to is a bit too short and feels a bit anticlimactic. Even with these minor flaws, it would have made a good film and having this script is the next best thing. My only complaint is that script writer Bernard L. Schumann is not credited on the cover (or title page) for his work. Highly Recommended for Universal monster fans.
post #100 of 142
The Old Dark House is one of the funniest horror movies I've ever seen, up there with Dead Alive and Shaun of the Dead. There's something utterly sublime about Ernest Thesiger's performance. "Have another potato".
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