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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Random Thoughts On... The Universal Monsters


I thought I would really change it up today and talk about a genre I’m not a big fan of: horror. I don’t know why I’m not into horror that much. My dad and sister like horror movies. I know I’m not a fan of most modern horror. I’m really not a fan of gore. If I do watch any horror movies, they’re usually older ones like the Halloween series, the Friday The 13th series, or other stuff. I do like horror movies with a sci-fi feel like The Thing and the Alien series. I think it also has to be a pretty good movie for me to really get invested.

One area of the genre I’ve always had a fondness for is the stuff that Universal Studios did back in the early part of the 20th century. I’m talking about the old black-and-white stuff they did between the 1930’s and 1950’s. They also did non-monster horror movies, but these were the ones I mostly saw and heard of. I first got into this stuff with a little movie called Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. I don’t know how many times I rented that movie from Jitney Jungle’s video store.
Awww! Well, that won't turn out good! We know what happened to the gorilla!

It wasn’t until later where I got to see some of the other movies like Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Son of Dracula. They were at the Movie Gallery in Pulaski and I think I saw them around the time it first opened in the 90’s. I never saw the original Dracula at that age though. I guess my mom would only allow for so much or something. It’s weird because I ended up seeing Bram Stoker’s Dracula around that time too. That was probably one I shouldn’t have seen at that time and not because of Keanu Reeves’ British accent either.

Another thing that fueled my interest into those movies were these books published by Crestwood. The public library used to have them in stock when I was much younger. They had information about the movies and other tidbits. They even talked about non-Universal properties like the monster movies from Hammer Films. Not only did they have books for the Universal Studios stuff, they actually had books for King Kong, Godzilla, and the original Blob. There were even a couple of books at my old elementary school about some of the movies. I also remember this other book that was about old school horror. I don’t remember what it was called though.
I wish I knew who ultimately bought those books from the library. I hope they didn't get thrown away.

My interest kind of dwindled with them over the years but I did try to see them when they were aired on TV. My mom did get me the Frankenstein/Wolf Man movie on a church trip when I was back in high school. I think it got broken a few years ago. One thing (or person) that brought my interest back with them was Cinemassacre. James Rolfe, aka The Angry Video Game Nerd, is also a horror fan and reviewed a lot of those movies on his site. He even did all of the Godzilla movies which is something I’ll get to next time. Last Christmas, my sister had actually gotten me and my dad a DVD collection that had all of the monster movies. I actually spent most of the break watching some of them. We didn’t do much that year. I ended watching ones I hadn’t seen like Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, The Invisible Man, some of the Mummy movies, and one of the Creature movies.
My sister's cool. I hope she doesn't see I said that though.

I can’t really say what my favorite movies from the line are. I’d have to watch them all. I do know that I used to enjoy the Frankenstein and Wolf Man movies. Frankenstein’s Monster and The Wolf Man were probably my favorite monsters in general. They were kind of the most sympathetic guys of the lot. The Monster was like that in the beginning. Lawrence Talbot (the Wolf Man) was always like that. He could never help in changing into the Wolf Man. Heck, most of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is Lawrence trying to find a way to kill himself. Yeah, I realize I would watch some weird stuff in my youth. We all did.
Let's face it. The guy makes Bruce Banner seem tame at times.

The other monsters were fine but don’t really interest me. The Gill Man (Black Lagoon) was okay but pretty cool-looking. The Invisible Man was okay as well and had a nice first outing. The Mummy was alright but I have to say those later movies weren’t good. As for Dracula, aka “‘Ole Vladdie Boy”, he’s probably my least favorite of the Monsters. Maybe I’m not the fan of folk climbing into windows and snacking some people up. I’ve heard that Universal is trying to get the ball rolling on the monsters again. They remade The Wolf Man a few years ago. I know they also  tried with Dracula Untold a couple of years ago and now they’re doing another Mummy movie. I might interested in seeing them if they’re good.

I’m probably going to re-watch most of them for this Halloween. I might even talk about some of them. I’ll probably talk about the Frankenstein and Wolf Man ones here at least. I may even talk about a couple of homages. It is October, after all. Should you yourself check these out? I’d recommend them. They are what introduced me to the horror genre as a child. While they are old, it’s pretty cool to see what they were able to do in those days with movies. Some of them may not be good, but they may give you a laugh or two. That’s all I got for now, so Peace, God Bless, and remember to actually run from the Mummy… unless it’s Christopher Lee’s Mummy. That dude might get ya.
I need to see the Hammer Films one of these days.

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