Looking Back on Classic Horror Movies – The Wolf Man

Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.

As I have written recently, I am introducing my twelve year old daughters to the classic Universal Studios monster movies.  The one that we have liked the best so far has been The Wolf Man.  With fewer plot holes than many of its contemporaries and a smattering of witty dialogue from one of the better screenwriters of the genre, Curt Siodmak, the film ages well.  Amidst the deftly wielded special effects, there is the decently crafted story of a man who clearly questions his own sanity when faced with an unbelievable truth.

Part morality tale, part cautionary treatise, the film walks a well balanced line and rarely falters.  Lawrence Talbot is essentially a man caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, something that can happen to anyone no matter their station in life.

The supporting cast features two of Universal’s other monster movie leads: Bela Lugosi (Dracula) and Claude Rains (The Invisible Man).

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Looking Back on Classic Horror Movies – Frankenstein

Cropped screenshot of Boris Karloff from the t...

Image via Wikipedia

I recently watched several of the classic Universal Studios monster movies with my daughters.    Last night’s selection was Frankenstein.  They were somewhat unimpressed and I can understand why.  The story as presented in this version is kind of a mess, picking and choosing only some bits from Mary Shelley’s novel, and playing up the “monster” angle, presumably for ticket sales.  Besides Boris Karloff, who manages to show emotion despite the makeup, the performances were 2 dimensional.  Many of the scenes simply don’t fit;  I’m all for “enter late, leave early” but not “enter late, everybody already left”.  I found myself laughing at some of the timing.  In one of the scenes, the monster is heard upstairs, so all of the men go that way, only to hear that he is now in the cellar.  They rush there only to find that he is now menacing a woman on the ground floor.  He moves faster than the rage-infected zombies in 28 Days Later…!

I am going to try to find the 2004 TV miniseries, which is mentioned as the most faithful adaptation of the novel.  Meanwhile, we’ll continue our journey through the Universal Monsters flicks. There’s gotta be something in there that will give the girls a scare!