Chronologically. You will see Werewolf of London below An American Werewolf in London.
Ratings tend to not be the best indicators of opinions - for a better understanding read the entire review. However, ratings are also quick. So here is a quick legend of what these ratings might mean. Note that if there are multiple options, these options can merge in the hurricane that is my mentality.vAll ratings are made with both objective quality of the movie and personal opinion in mind. Reviews are made looking for all aspects of the movies, however seeking the positives as a priority over the negatives. If my rankings were chosen with a different method, this list would be entirely different.
0/5 - Nothing going for this movie. Example: Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster
1/5 - Barely anything going for this movie. Example: Assignment Terror
2/5 - Option A. Overrated. Example: The Amazing Spiderman. Option B. Had a lot of potential but it didn't fall through. Example: Dracula A.D. 1972 Option C. Nothing new, nothing special, and synthetic. Example: Scars of Dracula. Option D. At least they tried. Example: Alien 3
3/5 - Option A. Cheesy and Fun, the best and worst of Popcorn Entertainment. Example: War of the Gargantuas Option B. Good, Okay, but nothing that I even recommend by any stretch of the imagination. Just check it out if you're bored to death. Example: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
3.5/5 - Very good, enjoyable. It's a fun time, and I recommend it, but don't rush out to the theaters. Something you would rent on Netflix. Example: Dracula 2000
3.8/5 Close to awesome but just great. Example: The Return of the Vampire
4/5 - Awesome but not perfect. Example: Son of Frankenstein
5/5 - Between 90% done overtly well or 95% done well. Example: Dracula's Daughter5.5/5 - 95% Done overtly well or 100% done well. Example - Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
6/5 - Beyond Perfection. 100% done overtly well. Example: Cloverfield
All decimals represent a space in between these ratings.
NOTE: This list includes all numbers from BOTH Drankenstein Manathon II. NOTE II: Once Marathon(s) is finished, I will upload a video to this site called "The Drankenstein Manathon in a Nutshell," which will cover history bullet points (not ALL of them by God), OMPAACNT's and my personal opinion on the films. NOTE III: #1 Kept as reference, all others are part of the Drankenstein Manathon I and II.
#1: The World Moves On (1934)
#714: Werewolf of London (1935)
#768: Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
#2109: Dracula's Daughter (1936)
#3809: Frankenstein (1931/1938-Re-Relase)
#4987: Son of Frankenstein (1939)
#7973: The Wolf Man (1941)
#8129: Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
#9024: Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
#9194: Son of Dracula (1943)
#9643: The Return of the Vampire (1944)
#10190: House of Frankenstein (1944)
#11300: House of Dracula (1945)
#11426: She-Wolf of London (1946)
#13109: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
#16385: House of Wax (1953)
#18481: The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
#18858: The Return of Dracula (1958)
#18966: Frankenstein 1970/60/75 (1958)
#18981: [Horror of] Dracula (1958)
#19097: Frankenstein's Daughter (1958)
#19022: The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)
#19563: The Brides of Dracula (1960)
#20649: The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)
#21104: Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965)
#21909: Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
#22109: Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)
#22364: Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)
#22522: The Horror of Frankenstein (1970)
#22613: Scars of Dracula (1970)
#23133: Dracula A.D. 1972
#23441: Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)
#23847: The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
#24007: Young Frankenstein (1974)
#25829: Dracula (1979)
#26418: An American Werewolf in London: The Monster Movie (1981)
#27647: The Bride (1985)
#28663: The Monster Squad (1987)
#31381: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
#32419: Wolf (1994)
#33175: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)
#33994: Dracula Dead and Loving It (1995)
#35147: An American Werewolf in Paris (1997)
#37918: Dracula 2000 (Y2K)
#39302: Dracula II: Ascension (2003)
#45825: The Wolfman (201)
Let’s see if I can’t get one more review in The Drankenstein Manathon II.
This whole thing really started in 2004. That was the year Universal released Van Helsing, along with six box sets of original Universal classic monster films, leaving certain eight year old kids who drag their parents to BlockBuster at a feast for old black and white chillers. These actions were capitalizing on the newfound popularity of Dracula and Frankenstein, with films like Dracula 2000, Dracula II, Dracula III, Frankenstein, Frankenstein, Dracula 3000, Shadow of the Vampire, Dracula: Pages from the Virgin’s Diary, The Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula, Blade: Trinity, so on and so forth. Trust me, it was much more Dracula than Frankenstein.
After Van Helsing Universal has announced TONS of remakes of their movies. This includes The Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and recently an announced direct remake of Frankenstein done with Guillermo Del Toro. But the one probably announced the earliest was a remake of The Wolfman. The first thing they did was announce Benicio Del Toro (that name…) who was a giant fan of the movies in the lead role. The next thing they did was announce Mark Romanek as director, but he was all like “NOPE, NOPE” and continued to run away.
Will somebody please tell Universal to be patient? The next guy they got into the director’s chair was Brett Ratner. Quickly they were trying to go for replacements, but everybody was like “NOOPE, NOPE, DOES NOT COMPUTE, DOES NOT COMPUTE” and so they had to stick with him. A whilte later Joe Johnston got the IBM-9001 off of his chest and was like “you know what? I can do this. I did Star Wars. I did Indiana Jones. I did Jurassic Park. I can do this.” And then Universal was like “sir, you’re not effects, you’re director.” And he’s like “close enough!” And I shuddered.
In 2008 they began filming on a budget of $85,000,000. They started the project by gardening. In fact, they were so horrible at gardening that the plants weren’t dead after dehydration of malnutrition, no they were simply dead when they got put in the ground. Not bad at all, guys. Terrible, actually. They bribed some random villages with 5,000 euros for using a farm, and they’re like “dude, you didn’t have to pay us.” All in all, everybody was extremely depressed by the end of the grueling filming and they had to have mental therapy just because of all the gloom and doom. It was a wonderful mass suicide.*
*I’m never going to work in this town again*
*At least until they need me*
*Which will be tomorrow
Then one day a guy named Rick Baker (The Exorcist, King Kong, Star Wars, Ed Wood, Wolf, An American Werewolf in London, Men in Black, so on and so forth) heard that they were remaking The Wolfman. He then got in a giant tank and exploded his way into the movie, proceeding to rush in during the distraction and spill gallons upon gallons of makeup on unprepared Del Toro’s face. He was arrested but hired the next day and paid off his bail. He found the whole thing actually really easy, since he basically said Benicio was a werewolf already. Makes me want to try out for Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. *
*I’ll never date a woman in this town again.*
*When did I ever?
Rick Baker and Benicio Del Toro were like “we have to keep the makeup exactly like the 1941 movie.” But Universal was like “nope.” And that was the end of that argument. It all took about a third of the time it would have taken to apply the original makeup from 1941-1948. They were forced to use minimal CGI, and Rick Baker was like “As another one of my projects might say, NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” But then he was like “okay, fine, but I get to do it and all you can eat pancakes.” And Universal was like “all you can eat waffles.” And Rick Baker was like “what are you kidding those are even better! Deal!”
Unfortunately the buffet was leaked to the cast and they were all like “we need a few months off.” This postponed the release about a year, and then the original all you can eat pancake buffet leaked to the cast and was like “sorry, but we have sick, personal and dead days.” And Universal was like “what if I told you that you got paid overtime?” And they were like “DEAL!” They did a bunch of new scenes and finished the film in time for the New Year in Rome. Most of us got it in February, but we were happy anyhow. I’ll explain why so in the review.
I remember the last two movies I reviewed on YouTube: The Wolfman and Percy Jackson & The Olympians. Both of these videos were unreleased, because they were so close to the time when I decided to create this website. Actually, it was the very next month, on the 13th. I guess I have a candidate for a two year anniversary review. But who even knows if that will happen. Hopefully. Anyways…I must have been fourteen, thirteen as of the November before. I saw this movie as the first one I saw in the theater in 2010. At the time it seemed like a big deal, now I don’t think it’s worth the hooplaugh.
I remember I had a very good habit in that year, and I don’t remember why I stopped. That year I watched the original 1984 Nightmare on Elm Street the night[mare] before going to see the 2010 one; I saw the 1987 Predator film back when Predators was released…so on and so forth. I guess it started with The Wolfman because that night I rewatched the original the night before. I went with my dad back then…I believe this also around the time I had discovered modern horror (80’s is modern to me dammit.) So, in my idiotic fourteen year old mind, I was searching for gore primarily and looking for everything else secondarily. So I guess it only appropriate that we start talking about the gore and other visual aspects of this film.
My favorite scene in this movie back in the day was at the gypsie camp. Just like to say they got the look of the original police officer from the old Universal movies PERFECT. You know the guy, in movies like Invisible Man and Bride of Frankenstein? I swear they used a damn time machine and brought him back. Figures, it’s the same company that released Back to the Future. Hell, this movie features a guy named Dr. Lloyd. If this isn’t a good conspiracy I don’t know what is. It was during the scene with the gypsie camp where Larry proceeded to send two gigantic fingernails through the back of the guy’s throat and up through his mouth.
At the time I originally saw this, I was shocked. This and the scene in the court were awesome in the eyes of my young self. I went around telling people that I actually gagged during the movie…surprisingly, half my friends didn’t even know what “gagging” meant. Remind me to facepalm for this generation. Then remind me to facepalm again for a generation who can spawn a movie reviewer who thinks Limp Bizkit is good music. So a little piece of my childhood kind of died when I saw the reality of the CGI effects in this movie. The wolves (and bear (and Gollum)) move like they’re in a video game. The colors often don’t match with the lightning. It’s especially jarring since a lot of this movie is done with practical effects.
Those practical effects, however, are pretty impressive. Knowing Rick Baker wanted to do a Wolfman that looked like the original, this is about as good as it could have gotten. It has enough testicular composition to earn a respectable testosterone level, but still is very reminiscent of the half-lion half-wolf half-man thing from 1941. His fur is very dark, wet and moist, he looks like an experienced fighter…which doesn’t match up with the story a whole lot, but oh well, I just figure it’s a sign that the spirit of the werewolf is alive within the curse, that the curse is a separate entity from the man. He’s big, he’s muscle-bound, he’s intimidating. But his eyes also imply a thinking beast, the way they’re small yet focused. I could go into the makeup of a monster for days upon days, but I’m sure you’ve had enough of that.
SPOILERS NEXT PARAGRAPH
There’s a very predictable twist that leads to the end scene. I might spoil it soon, so I will mark this section with brackets. It’s an extremely creative twist, especially coming from a fan of the 40’s movie. But, damn, dudes. David Self. Andrew Kevin Walker. Could you guys please tone down the obvious foreshadowing? This movie strips away all the surprise of a potentially awesome villain. Especially the cast. Anthony Hopkins plays a very likable villain. Not in the Joker way where you love him because he’s kind of right; nor the Darth Vader way where you like him because you know there’s good inside; nor the Predator way where you just love how much he enjoys other people’s pain. No, he’s legitimately a very good person. His mind has just been wracked by torture. But again, he’s not like Darth Vader where the good is hidden by the evil. It’s more like the evil is hidden by the good. This is something not done a lot in movies, and would have made the twist that much more amazing, IF IT WEREN’T FOR THE INSANE PREDICTABILITY. But I digress.
You wanna talk about Lawrence Talbot, played by Benicio Del Toro? You wanna talk about a guy who was cast for his looks – not his good looks, his similarities to Lon Chaney Jr. And I agree that he looks like the dude…sort of. He’s like if Lon Chaney Jr. and Scarface were fused together…Hell, that would be a pretty cool fight scene. Scarface Meets the Wolfman. Hell yeah. But does he have anywhere near the same emotional power as Lon Chaney? No way. He is not anywhere sad enough, he is not feeling the insanity flow through him. Lon Chaney Jr. absorbed himself in the character, slowly lost his sanity. But despite the fact that the things done to Benicio are 10x worse than what happened to LCJR, he seems to keep calm and collective throughout the movie. He just…bored me. Maybe I’m not getting his point of view. Maybe he’s supposed to be super depressed all the time. But I’d just like to say this is a guy who went on to play a modern Stooge in an advertisement for Jersey Shore. What acting caliber is that, really?
The pacing is very suspicious. A lot of scenes in this movie are inserted for the sake of foreshadowing. They drive the movie down slower…maybe it’s the fact I was watching the unrated version, which is approximately 15 minutes longer. I’d hope that wasn’t the problem, otherwise I’m going to look like an idiot. These scenes don’t really add anything to the movie other than the foreshadowing, which is blatant and inflated. There are two climaxes of this movie right next to each other. That doesn’t make any sense. Unless you end the movie at the climax, you need to have quiet time after the climax. Especially if you want to rebuild the tension so that you can have double climaxes. I really hope none of you are thinking with dirty minds right now.
The visuals of this movie are pretty sick. It feels a more dated than 1891, but what do I know of history? The movie immediately immerses you in 19th century England. First thing it does is establish the fog. You know how much fog is required in the Universal monster films. Here, they really put it on. It’s not so much that it’s comedic, but they’re kind of pushing it. I sometimes wonder if this affected the lightning, but I think it’s just the DVD having a bad transfer. Brightness up too much or something. Still, if you have this on Blu-Ray and you think the fog was getting in the way, let me know. On the subject of the buildings, you got the street lamps everywhere, multiple chandeliers in every room (why?), and the stone architecture you’d probably see around that time. I don’t really know how to explain it. Play any Assassin’s Creed game between 2009 and 2011, you’ll get it.
Hopefully I covered the movie enough and wasn’t confusing as Hell. In short, I’m kind of sad it turned out as it did. There is a lot of good stuff in here and if you focus in on the good stuff, you’ll enjoy yourself. But there’s also a lot of bad stuff. The CGI effects, the disorganized plot, and plenty of stuff I didn’t touch on – the actors mumbling constantly, the dialogue being elevated but spiceless. If you focus in on the monster design, the gore (some of it, anyways), some of the visual symbolism, Anthony Hopkins and the atmosphere, then you’re good to go. I feel like this movie is the product of too much work. I suspect the additional filming was a detriment – or maybe that extra 15 minutes in the unrated cut. 3.36/5
I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.
How come nobody told me this existed?*
*They have their reasons
Dammit all, do you know how long I’ve been waiting for this mashup? Like, hot damn. The only one that would me more appropriate would be Frankenstein vs. The Mummy. But I’m sure we’ll never get that because most people see The Mummy as an action movie these days. Anyways, enough of my diatribes. I remember when I was younger I went to a Blockbuster to see if they had any copies of the 1910 Frankenstein. (I am a dumb kid.) Somehow me and one of the employees got to talking about these old monster movies. Somehow, though easily imagined, the Legacy Collections got brought up. As a kid growing up in my generation, The Wolf Man was never an image I consistently saw. Sure, the werewolf was, but not The Wolf Man.
However, The Mummy AND the Creature from the Black Lagoon were ones I saw consistently in pop culture references, at the very least more than The Wolf Man or Lon Chaney’s upright posture. Even as a kid I was D0LL₳ℛ minded*, and thought that it would make a lot more sense if the Creature from the Black Lagoon was put at the fore-front with Frankenstein and Dracula instead of The Wolf Man. Little did I think of the House trilogy…but enough of that. You see my point. So you can imagine that this battle is something I would find special. Yeah, if we got a straight up Dracula vs. The Wolf Man that would be nice…or Gamera vs. King Kong….but that’s nothing compared to the possibilities of Frankenstein vs. the Creature, or even crazier…Frankenstein vs. Jason. But we’ll get to that some other time.
*Note the Judai$m in me.
Why must you people let me down? Within the first ten minutes of the movie you can see quite a collection of the film’s faults, which is to be expected as this was an independent production of a filmmaker who only had one other film under his belt. Starts out good though. You’ve got a rocking rendition of Swan Lake, a treat for old school monster fans, however unfortunately run through a computer. Get Kirk Hammett to do a guitar solo or something….oh, right, you don’t have a budget. Or, you do, but it’s comprised of a ham and a matt.
But that’s only the beginnings of our problems. You know most movies where they hold off on showing the monster until about an hour in, even though you’ve paid good money to see this monster, he’s on the cover, and chances are if he’s an icon you know exactly how he looks? Yeah, this movie isn’t that. It’s the complete opposite. The first shot of the movie, aside from the credits, shows the Creature from Blood Cove. (He’s really from the Black Lagoon and he will be referred to as such.) Now you’ve got a problem where you gave the people half of their money’s worth, and then throw in a bonus werewolf!
Nobody’s gonna stop watching, but you’re seriously depriving your audience of building up anticipation so that they can go home and talk about how it was good beginning to end. How about this…save it until the end of the first act, right at the beginning of the second act? Get the exposition done, do some character development, build up some mystery, while not completely ripping them off at the same time. It’s not often that movies know how to do this, even though it seems like basic monster flick science.
“Would you care to join me in a friendly suck?” – Don’t even ask who said that.
The sound mixing is awful. You know how the soundtrack is supposed to be in the background? It is clearly in the foreground. You’ve got instruments powerful enough to be in Fantasia – but not nearly as classy. It would be a really good score if it wasn’t run through a computer – the one movie that answers my question “how does every movie get the money to put together a full orchestra?” Clearly, they don’t. Not this one, anyways, that runs on a ham and a matt. At least you can still understand what people are saying…actually, no, that’s not good at all. These lines are AWFUL.
These are not lines of speech written for people to say, these are lines of dialogue written for characters to speak to the camera. Every line of dialogue serves a purpose outside of the character themselves. Why can’t one character talk about themselves or the other characters. Why can’t we get some personification? Instead, it’s all about exposition, plot and backstory. That’s fine once and a while, but it would be nice if you had the writing talent (very cheap) to make it at least have a sliver of skill…or maybe actually GOOD. It doesn’t help that every actor talks like they’re just a bunch of college students and/or parents that agreed to be part of this – most likely, they are. Jeez, was this for film school or something? Ought to get an F.
The premise is complete B.S. And you know its complete B.S. because I only bring up the premise/plot when it is either really special or really special, if you know what I mean. So basically there’s a werewolf. Also, there’s a porn company. There’s some man-fish that was made in a lab…somehow…no bother actually showing how it was made, just imply that it was made. They find the Frankenstein monster out in the middle of nowhere and bring it back to life. Then shit happens. Is that not the most generic, awful, uncreative plot you could conceive for a movie like this?
Absolutely no understanding of the fandom or filmography between these two monsters whatsoever. No exploring the origins of The Creature. Here’s a better idea: Have a plot that takes place around the beginnings of The Great Depression. Plenty time after the events of the Frankenstein series (ending around 1900) and much before the events of the Creature trilogy (1954-1956). Talk about how The Creature is an age-old dinosaur like he was in the old movies, maybe even have a few shots of him interacting with prehistoric creatures. Find our main characters Brazilian scientists who are on a dig exploration.
Find our characters finding The Monster buried in the dirt underneath the remains of The Castle at the end of House of Dracula. Have our characters think he dead, NOT try to bring him to life, and bring them back as their findings. They get tons of money for their discovery, enough to showcase him and tour him around America. When they get back home, a lightning storm occurs – as often does in RAIN forests. This brings the creature back to life for in a limited capacity, enough to walk. He exists the building, getting struck repeatedly, giving him much needed power. Have him encounter the Creature for the first time, where the Creature gets an up on him and “kills” him due to his unexpectedness.
Spend another good chunk of time having the Creature run around town, killing people, with The Monster left in the lake. The scientists then come up with a plan to attract lightning to the Lagoon, electrocute the entire body and bring The Monster back to life for a final vengeance battle where Frankenstein comes out on top. You see what I just did there? That plot wasn’t even that good. Yet it’s ten times better than this plot and would have made for a much better movie. Porn company, you gotta be kidding me.
But you wanna talk about the monsters? Well…they’re actually the best part about the movie. Granted that doesn’t make them any good, but they’re still the shiniest turd. The werewolf looks fucking retarded, you could find a better costume at a Halloween store, but he only shows up for half a minute (why did he get written into there anyways?) so there’s really no point in using him as an excuse to diss this movie. The Creature looks pretty close to the original Creature. Granted, he has plates like a Stegosaurus on his body, but I just think that makes him look tougher, less rubbery and less…well, fishy…than the older one.
More like a real fighter, this is what a crossover flick needs. But then there’s The Monster. Now he’s the shining star. You guys are going to find this questionable, but here me out. Imagine if you combined Biff Atlas with Marilyn Manson. All the weirdness of an anorexic male psychopathically disturbed version of Lady Gaga with all the toughness, aggression and idiocy of the bully from Back to the Future who ended up becoming a vicious dictator. You gotta respect that. ‘Nuff said.
…Sorry, I just need to address this again. A PORN COMPANY??!?! Really? Are we serious right now? Okay, guys. Whoever your name is. You’re trying to make a tribute crossover between these two characters, right? You’re filming it in black and white intentionally, right? You seem to be, since you got the body of the Creature down so good, and the werewolf looks like it’s out of Hammer’s Curse of the Werewolf. Okay, then WHY THE HELL are you filling this movie with modern jokes? Here’s an idea. Instead of taking place in 2005, have it take place in 1935. Instead of having a gay stereotype, have a black stereotype, or an Indian stereotype, like they would have had back then.
Best not to have a stereotype at all, but c’mon, this is freaking immature. How about instead of a porn company, how about a light “men’s entertainment” magazine that would make sense in the 1930s? This is NOT Jason vs. Michael Myers for middle schoolers. This is The Creature vs. Frankenstein. How about instead of bringing up stuff like “the war on terror” something brought about during the Bush age, how about we talk about Soviets or Nazis or something to the age of these creatures? This feels like if SyFy cut its budget into a tenth and made a movie about these characters, not something legitimate fans would make. Look at me. I made The Cyclops and I could make a better movie than this!
Yeah, this is crap. I give it credit for some cool design choices and some interesting ideas, but the majority of this movie, premise and execution, is abhorrent. It’s a disrespect to our intelligent, it is a disrespect to classic monster films…it relies purely on names and trademarks, familiar images, never bothering to try to do something creative. Instead, feeding on what is synthetic and overused. A worthless film that nothing can be gained from, could be easily improved by two dozen multipliers, but unfortunately was in the hands of people who know less about film than I do. And that’s saying something. You’d be better off making your own version of this movie. It’s incredible how forceful their minds must have been to hypnotize themselves into thinking this was a good idea, and continue to make it. It serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever. Remind me why I watched it? 0.75/5
I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.
(The movie is English originally.)
So what we have on our hands this time around is a made-for-television film that was originally intended as a pilot for an entire show on the USA Network. It was going to/was based on Dean Koontz’s trilogy of Frankenstein fan fictions I-I-I MEAN books. The plot is essentially that Victor Helios (the man Victor Frankenstein may have been based on) and several of his creations have survived two centuries (give or take nineteen years) through artificial means. This is legitimately information you ought to have before going into the movie, not that is learned. The events of this movie become much more significant. If you’re more into the mystery side of things and watch movies over and over again if they have even a hint of subtly, maybe you don’t want that info. But if you’re like me and only reserve repeated viewings for the best of the best and want the clever hints the first viewing when the film is questionable – you’ll want this synopsis.
It absolutely shows that this film was made for television as after many major scenes, there are fades to and from black. Within forty minutes there are at least five fades. You can also tell this movie was made for television because the actors they got are TV-grade. Hell, they’re B-TV-Grade. That’s a horrible sign. When most people on TV couldn’t act their way through a CGI burlap sack, the BTV-Grade actor can really bring a movie down. Everybody is boring and flat, one-dimensional…but I’ve seen plenty of flicks where the characters have one-dimension of one-dimension.
Still, not good when there’s only one properly explored emotion, and all the rest are lucky if they have any hints at. The Monster is my biggest gripe. He’s always moppy, a lot like an overgrown emu child,* so down but forcing his sadness and pushing away all over emotions. This character could have worked if everybody else around him was vibrantly emotional, but here it just feels like the smallest and weakest ant in a colony of rejects. The most emotional character is Victor, an extremely freshing sense of reality and internal conflict…but still very cliché, speaking lines meant to be more emotional than sensical, and a product of a fan fiction like many of these other characters.
*I’m keeping those two mistakes thank you very much
Unfortunately the review stops here because of finals interrupting my viewing of the film. You get the gist. 3/5.
I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.
Okay, this is completely random, but, I’d just like to put this out there: Draculalucard.
So, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m gonna take a wild random tangent that probably isn’t relevant but it is because I say so. It’s well established that every movie ever made would be better with Metallica. (Hell it could be argued Metallica would be better with every movie ever made.) The intro to this movie is fucking boring. It has all the stupid graphics…actually, no, only two. There’s like twenty different credits over a three minute and five second intro with a very repetitive and non-changing background. They got some pseudo-crap to put in the background in this….but I tested it out….”All Nightmare Long” from Death Magnetic would be a perfect fit. End of story. Now we're Moving on.
Yeah, let’s talk about those actors. They suck. Massive. Testicular. Sacks. You’ve got Tommy Lister (Jackie Brown, Friday) and Coolio as your black stereotypes. One’s a super hopped up drug addict who used to be (and still kind of is) really smart. The other is a perverted six foot five steroids using muscle machine who’s impatient and impolite. Alexandra Kamp (2001: A Space Travesty) plays a pretty big-time Ripley rip-off. But in personality only. In story and appearance, Erika Eleniak (E.T., Beverly Hillbillies) plays Ripley. Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers, The Omega Code) just plays a….generic….guy.
A generic guy. I’m going to call him Gen Eric. This is one of the most boring casts I’ve seen in a movie. Period. And I saw Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster. Oh, yeah, you want to know about the vampire, right? Uuugh….damn he’s a pussy. Maybe not an Edward pussy. But he still is a pussy. He don’t eat pussy, he is pussy. His costume is all ruffled, not straight at all, all colorless, it looks like he just got it out of the washer and hung it in the sun to dry. IN THE SUN. C’mon guys. You can do better than that. And his acting is only worse. It’s like they asked for somebody “who could play Dracula, but like a pussy.” I don’t like my Dracula comprised of pussy. Unless you are what you eat. Then that’s okay.
This movie does not look good. At all. The lights are mostly weak, but do some things right. That’s the problem. You’ll have a scene that looks good as far as being dark ,but the little slivers of slight are uncontrolled and without any depth. You’ll have bright green lights that look epic put in rooms that look as exciting as a school cafeteria. Not to mention every single set off this movie looks like Alien if it was covered in snot. There are occasional messages from…somebody…somewhere…I dunno do you expect me to follow this bullcrap? Those scenes are filmed in about 35 fps while the rest of the movie looks like a normal 24 fps. It’s not wise mixing movie speed with something faster than a YouTube video. (I’m looking at you Peter Jackson. I’m going to see you on Monday.)
“Your ancestors were vampire killers. You, however, are destined for far greater things. Namely, dinner.” – Count Orlock.
The movie is just paced horribly. Nothing happens. I mean, stuff happens, but it takes so long to get to things. Or at least it feels like it. Everything is either stuff happening or filler, and you don’t care about the former because the latter is so prevalent. It’s just…uuugh…..you know, it’s kinda sad really. There are cool things in this movie. Coolio actually has some really cool lines, the action is above expectations, and even fake Stephen Hawking has his moments of actual acting. But, unfortunately, this movie is just crap. It was an awesome idea, but it just didn’t work. They didn’t have the power to make Dracula X, even with the precedent set by Jason. Oh well. It ain't like we're going to last to see this play out in the year 3000. BECAUSE #THEENDBEGINS2012. 1.5/5
I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off. #Countdown2Extinction.
One mustard seed, two mustard seeds…twenty million mustard seeds…
Between Shadow of the Vampire and Dracula 2000, Dracula was the talk of the town as far as the UMMs in the 2000s go. Not to mention, the impression from the awesome Francis Ford Coppola film had continued to resignate with the modern audience. So while characters like Frankenstein and The Wolf Man were thrown to the way-side as old-fashioned and stale, (damn you all to Hell) Dracula became rebooted as the most hardcore classic and was implemented not only into horrors, but dramas, actions and comedies as well. We saw films like the Italian Miniseries Dracula’s Curse, the really weird Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary and Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula.
Seemed like everybody…talented or not…wanted to get their hands in on the vampire action. On one end, the creators of Shadow of the Vampire had created a film so good by such humble creators that they A.) Never made another vampire film and B.) Never made any other notable movies. On the other end, the mediocre Dracula 2000 was a huge financial succe----…failure….and was slated for immediate direct to DVD sequels. And…yeah. Few damns were given. But it’s important, ‘cuz I say so. Or maybe it’s just an excuse to do this….
Well THAT was different. I’m not sure if that was good or bad…guess I’ll start at the beginning of any movie. The script is easily the worst, by far worst part of this movie. The movie, after the first third, stays in basically the same location 80% of the time. This can be really cool if you have some really, really good dialogue. Take 12 Angry Men or The Breakfast Club for examples. But unfortunately, the dialogue is stilted, canned, forced, and shows the vocal expertise of a kid with Asperger’s. (I should know.) These are the same guys who wrote Drive Angry and Piranha 3DD, so I’m not wholly surprised.
It’s not visually stimulating in any way because the one room that the majority of the action happens in is monotone, dreary, and miserable. If the movie’s tone was like that, maybe that would have been a cool idea, but it ain’t. It’s a cheesy action/horror flick. But if you want to talk about cheesy action/horror flicks, you want to talk about gore. Boy does this movie have it. Not in the splattering, squirting, gushing ways, but in the design. No John Carpenter movie this is, but gory it pretty is. Not accurate in anatomy it is, but detailed in color and shape it is remarkably notable for. Not in barrels are they measured, but the blood spelt disturbing and sensory it is. Not realistic are they, but pretty damn cool the beheadings are.
The dude who does the beheadings is our very own resident Jason Scott Lee, known for the random assortment of films as Lilo & Stitch, Back to the Future 2, The Jungle Book and Hawaii-Five-0. You think this guy would stick to somewhat family friendly flicks, right? Well, in this movie, he’s basically if you combined Simon Belmont, Van Helsing, Bruce Lee, Tommy Wiseau, the killer Priest from Dead Alive, and a generic slasher villain. That’s pretty damn badass, don’t you think? Either that or completely pathetic. He’s definitely there for the action scenes, his deliverance and facial expressions are far subpar, but he can fight like a boss. The rest of the cast (the only one you’ll recognize is Roy Sheider from Jaws) is actually considerably considerable (and redundantly repetitive) for the crap they’re given. They do the best they can with this horrible dialogue. That said, they still sound forced and boring. Khary Payton (Cyborg from Teen Titans) becomes fucking hilarious after a while.
But yeah, overall, pretty good. Better than I expected. If you’re looking for a different vampire movie, I recommend it. Otherwise, you can find much better uses of your time. Better than the first movie, I can say that much. 3.6/5
I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.
NOTE: The first section of this review is about a year old. It has been revised, but still is not up to my own standards today.
Between 1979-1999, there had been a lot of reboots and tributes of the UMMs. Dracula by far had the most of these. 1979’s Dracula adapted the 1931 movie, 1979’s Nosferatu the Vampyre adapted the 1922 movie and 1992’s Dracula adapted the novel…more or less. The tributes that featured Dracula included 1985’s Transylvania 6-5000, and 1987’s The Monster Squad. However, in the year 2000, two films came out that took a sharp left turn and attempted to “re-imagine” the creature. Dracula 2000 put time traveling in the Dracula story and gave it a massive shot of religious over/undertones.
We also had this film, Shadow of the Vampire, which gave life to an urban legend from behind the scenes. The old theory that this movie played off was that Max Schrek was actually a vampire, and that lead the director to cast him for Nosferatu way back in 1922. This theory resurfaced in the 90’s during the Internet Age when people could look up information about ol’ Maxwell with much more ease than looking it up in a book in the library. Things that lead many to jump to these conclusions included: the original meaning for the word “Shrek in Yiddish, that being “Monster.” (So many of you just started going nuts.) The fact that Yiddish is a language often associated with Israelites and Jews added to the suspicion; Dracula lore has often put vampires and Jews together, much as we’d like to ignore it. Why else was Bela Lugosi wearing a Star of David in the 1931 flick?
Thirdly, the filmography of Schrek was highly uneventful aside from Nosferatu. Fourthly, old rumors surfaced from interviews with cast members from way back in the day (surprised they’re still alive) that Max Schrek had a lot of problems with his crew backstage and…umm…stuff happened. With the excellent “makeup” that he dawned – done by an unknown artist - the conclusion that many fanatics reached was that Maxey himself was, in fact, a vampire. With the rumor now having newfound popularity, E. Elis Merhige and Steven Katz decided to make a movie. So they called up Nicolas Cage and he became a producer. They hunted down a bunch of “vampire aficionados” and now we have our movie.
Wow. Where to begin? I guess I must start rather abruptly. 15 minutes into the film, there was a scene where F.W. Murneau (the director of Nosferatu) gives a long speech about how film is a high-class art (and this is in an era where it was considered a mockery of theater.) I knew halfway through that if I did not write this speech down I would regret it. I knew that it was going to be available on IMDb, but I did not want any doubt in my head at the success of recording this speech. It was glorious. It fit the entire piece of printer paper I wrote it on. The dialogue in this movie is exceptional.
But it only can be exceptional with the acting. I felt like I was watching a real-life drama play out on screen. I saw a piece in myself that was F.W. Murnaeu, I saw a piece of myself that was Max Schrek, I saw a piece of myself that was….well, everybody. Everybody is real, fleshed out, derived straight from real life, and their personalities not clear cut as to whether you’re supposed to like them or hate them. Not in that villains do nice things heroes do bad things kind of way, there is no clear definition as to who is the villain and who is the hero. And that is good writing. That is how you write real characters. F.W.M. is so good because you believe a filmmaker would be this stubborn, would be this persistent, and would take these extreme measures to craft his art. Because the character himself believes he hast to, so much that he makes you believe he hast to – even if you don’t like that.
You believe that a vampire would be this rotten and pretentious, because he knows he’s lived as long as he had and seen the things he sees, so much so that he makes you see and know the things he’s known and seen. The conflict between the main two characters is the highlight, but everybody from the various actors to the staff is perfect. The writer who’s trying to be a producer, the producer who’s trying to be a writer. Not that they were miswritten, but that they are well written misfits. And of course there’s the annoying bitch who is somehow extremely likable, and you have the most mixed feelings when…well…you know.
I couldn’t praise the visuals enough, and talking about them is a daunting task. First off, let’s talk about how they re-create iconic scenes from the movie. When they films scenes and it’s time for ACTION the film tightens the iris and becomes grayscale. In this you can clearly see a near exact replica of scenes from Nosferatu, but maybe from different angles to show that they didn’t just rip scenes right out of the movie. In short and necessarily short, it’s near perfect….aside from Max Schrek himself. I don’t think they got him quite right. At first I thought they did him well and that his look only works in the silent, tightened iris, grayscale type of movie. But I still saw flaws in the recreation of Nosferatu. There are two things that are off. His head is oddly shaped, it’s much more round than narrow.
His makeup is obvious, and there was one scene where I actually saw through the makeup and recognized a human actor underneath his skin. That’s not good when I’m supposed to be convinced he’s not wearing makeup. I also think his eyes are not nearly pale enough, that the original Max had inhumanely white eyes and this one has much too human eyes. Maybe I’m nit-picking, but when you decide to make a movie about a certain movie you better as Hell get those very important details right. It is very possible that William DaFoe should not have played this role. He ups the cheese factor a little too much, a few too many sets were eaten. I expected him to be cheesy, what with it being 1922 and his over-confident attitude…but c’mon. At points this gets kind of stupid.
There is a ton of other visual aspects in this film to note. The entire movie is filled with detail. Everything from the miniscule mask of dust to the overbearing embodiment of lights is important in some way. Little details like that Swastika in Murneau’s bedroom, or the goggles on Murneau’s eyes, not only add to the current atmosphere of the film but tell an entire story of irony and dramatic tragedy in their own right. It seems like the director, E.E. Merhige, had some sort of psychic premonition as to how this movie needed to look. I especially loves the scenes that appear to be in grayscale, the use of focus in this movie is clever even if inspired.
An absolutely astonishing aspect of this movie are the set pieces that are gloomy and intimidating in their own right, but seem to be an entry-way to some unknown land. It feels like if I walked down that moist tunnel I would stumble across Hades’s pool of lost souls, whispering away to Hell. It seems as if I was to walk to the floors of the basement of the Castle, I would see heartless demons feasting on hundred year old innocent victims. But yet I am not allowed to see these places, nor am I allowed to see the process to which they were created, and that adds so much mystery and suspense to the film. Not to mention, not seeing Max’s backstory is pretty damn creepy too.
The script is an experimental success. Experimental may be the wrong word, but it’s very different. It focuses less on the overall story and the development of every single character, and just focuses on flowing between each and every scene with speed and smoothness without losing narratives structure or integrity. Each individual scene, however, is tightly edited, wonderfully scored, and written with suspense not only in mind but in natural talent. Steven Katz must be some sort of genius because it ain’t everyday I’m on the edge of my seat. Again, from the first part of this movie when people started opening their mouths I knew exactly that this was an amazing movie and I was not let down later.
The majority of this movie is very hard to describe in terms of its suspense, and I would be content just saying “it’s super suspenseful” but I would like to give a more artistic description. Imagine you are being slowly overtaken by a virus in the form of a slow mass of oil, and somebody is coming even slower to defeat the virus. You have so long to think before the inevitable happens, and you want the inevitable to happen, and sometimes it seems like the inevitable won’t happen, and very, very deep inside of you there is a part that doesn’t want the inevitable to happen. That wants to see death.
Woah. Wow man. Go see this movie. Right now. It’s amazing. It has very few flaws and a crew so talented that they pretty much have refused to attempt to out-do themselves in future films. Plus, it’s got John Malkovich. I think you guys like John Malkovich. He’s kind of like a much more realistic and psychopathic Dr. Horrible. But seriously. I could ramble on for thousands of words about this movie, but I think I’ll stop. You ought to see it. It’s pretty damn awesome. 5/5
“Our battle, our struggle, is to create art. Our weapon is the moving picture. Because we have the moving picture, our paintings will grow and recede; our poetry will be shadows that lengthen and conceal; our light will play across living faces that laugh and agonize; and our music will linger and finally overwhelm, because it will have a context as certain as the grave. We are scientists engaged in the creation of memory... but our memory will neither blur nor fade.” – John Malkovich as F.W. Murneau
I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off
Disney can't stay away from the fairy tale cliches even when it's an R-Rated werewolf movie.
So umm...how do I explain this? It's not a sequel to the John Landis picture, the only connection it has is the way dead corpses roam the world in limbo until the werewolf dies, and their casual tone working with their gruesome appearances for laughs. Which, is kinda lost in this movie. Sure, the concept is here, but the way Johnny translated their personalities is lost. They're supposed to remain constant in personality from life to limbo. Here, they either turn undead serious or extremely comedic in a "eh, you only have no life anyways" kinda mood. Still works, and repeating the same joke probably wouldn't have worked too well. But it's no A2-WiL.
A2-WiP starts out as an Eiffel Tower of cliches from fairy tales and the transitional period of 1989-1992. It slowly picks up new cliches and replaces old ones, cycling through genres. Cult parody, early 80's, Slasher, and even more fairy tale cliches pick up later down the road. Our main actors are like a parody of The Breakfast Club. The movie not the term used for the monopoly in pro wrestling. They are stereotypes that frankly barely exist. They're like guys who High Scholars pretend to be but never achieve to be. One's this guy who is all about personality and wouldn't dare pick up a bimbo. The other guy sees achievement in having sex on the first date.
Most of the fairy tale cliches seem self aware. Like something out of Enchanted, but maybe a little more subtle? You got the one shoe left from the party that the handsome main character uses to find his true love. Sort of, anyways. The main guy, when he learns about the werewolf situation, makes a remark like "From Cinderella to Little Red Riding Hood, huh?" The 80's cliches expand into the soundtrack. You've got a few theatrical tracks but most of it is rock music. Not anything too heavy but more than what gets called "Rock" by music companies. And then at the end Crush 40 and Sevendust have a disfigured child. Don't ask questions.
The film seems to have a pretty big budget. It's Disney after all. The camera work is not anything groundbreaking, Hell they can't even hit the road with it. But it remains interesting in a large variety of angles and plenty of movement throughout. The transformation scene attempts to rival A2-WiL in it's gruesomeness, which is does quite good. Especially now that we're watching a woman being disfigured by herself yet by no free will. But it doesn't last nearly as long as the London transformation scene, and it's all done in a computer where the Landis movie had mostly (though not entirely) all practical effects.
The CGI itself is pretty awful. I mean, it's 1997, sure. But this is Disney. Their sister company released Toy Story two years ago. The computer effects feel weightless and have a texture that looks like a smoothed image from a Nintendo 64 game. But on the bright-side, it does move with the weight of a large beast with muscles. The choreography is much better than the aesthetic portions of the werewolves. The gore is pretty gruesome but pretty much a repeat from A2-WiL. The action and chase scenes are probably one of the highlights of the motion picture.
There is plenty of tension, though part of that goes to the likeability of the characters in their corniness. It's not just constant running, nor is it some sort of dance, nor is it a brawl with a predictable direction. It's like something in the middle of all these things. Moves are pretty much never repeated, each moment seems fresh. The scenes themselves are chase based but the chases are pretty short, which makes the emotion denser and more intense. It's good. That's all you need to know. And about dat dialogue, well, what's that? The major problem with this movie is the pacing. The story moves at a sluggish pace. I hate it when side-plots drag a movie to 90 minutes, but I realize that it's better than just moving as slow as possible during the main story. Although there was an opportunity lost. Reveals are not made fast enough to keep interest, that's basically it.
All in all, An American Werewolf in Paris is actually a surprisingly good movie. It's comedy is charming and nostalgic but with little to no risk. It's action is the highlight, and the characters are very likeable. But the script is amateur and the CGI is crap. I give it 3.5/5
I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.
I never thought I’d see the day where Dracula’s Daughter gets a remake.
This is definitely one of those movies that gets much more attention (good and bad) from the indie/arthouse/4-your long Vietnamese movie about catfish-princess sex people. It’s produced by David Lynch, after all, that should be some evidence. You also know this is indie and arthouse because the budget was miniscule. A mere million bucks. I know that doesn’t sound like too little, but this was back when you either had to use big time film cameras to get anything above 240i, and when travel was way more of a hassle. Plus, you couldn’t get a following on the Internet that was willing to help you out.
You were on your own and brutal. The value of the dollar has gone down lately, but producing a movie has actually gotten a lot cheaper nowadays. One of the ways this is illustrated with this movie is that they used the cheapest ass camera ever. A home camera in 1994 that was 480i would have cost you a whole thousand bucks. The cheapest one on the market was a black and white, silent camera that took pictures with audio cassettes (figure that one out) that went for two hundred. That was actually used for this movie for the scenes where we got to see vampire POV shots. I’m looking forward to those. There’s an idea. Plus, with the pixilation and the poor frame rate, you did get this other worldly look. I just wonder how insane this thing looks on Blu-Ray. And guess what? It was so frickin low budget that it doesn’t even get an OMPAACNT
A recurring theme in narrative history is that the friend and fiend are the most important aspects. In this movie, they’re played by THE SAME PERSON….kinda. Peter Fonda doubles as Dracula and Dr. Van Helsing. Dracula is dead at the beginning of this movie, but you know that Van Helsing will always hold The Nosferatu as his ultimate enemy. He does good with Dracula as he really doesn’t need to do much. He needs to look like Dracula, which is more work of the camera work and editors, but he does it well. He needs to act like Dracula. He doesn’t get to talk as The Count, so all he needs to do is walk slowly and menacingly, like a corpse. Such as the old Bela Lugosi performance. He does this really well. What really gets me giddy is certain times when Dracula’s face needs to be shown in clear camera work, and they use clips from WHITE ZOMBIE.
As Van Helsing, it’s a bit of a different story. The movie takes place in modern 1990’s, so I guess there’s not too much of an issue here. But the Abraham in this movie is like a guy who smokes marijuana enough to not be considered sober enough as the normal member of society, but doesn’t smoke enough weed to be considered a stoner. He’s like if Van Helsing was a 25 year old. Just a dude who spoke in the slang of the times and was very “chill” but who was also an intelligent and insightful person who understands his challenges. This isn’t bad per say. I just feel like this kind of performance belongs in a movie where EVERY actor was like this. Yeah, let’s make Dracula only with the slang of the last 2 ½ decades! That sounds like a good idea. Here, he just kinda seems like a tool.
But there’s a person who isn’t just kinda a tool, but is completely a tool. Galaxy Craze as Lucy [Westerna] is as dry as war rations. She doesn’t decide to show ANY emotions at all. When her character is worried, when her character is angry, when her character is depressed, when her character is nostalgic, when her character is any emotion you can think of, IT’S THE SAME GODDAMN TONE OF VOICE AND SAME GODDAMN FACIAL EXPRESSIONS. She talks in a crackled, disinterested voice that makes it sound like she just got back from doing a concert long cover of Metallica where she lost all of her voice and energy. Her facial expression looks nearly nonexistent. Like she’s ignoring the existence of a facial expression during her performance. Gosh, NERVOUS MUCH? No. Nervous actors are better than this. Nervous actors tend to TRY. They’re nervous because they want to succeed. Here, it almost seems like she’s embarrassed to be in this movie.
Now let’s a talk about summah dat DIALOGUE! GOD DAMN, Mr. Michael Almeryda, do you know human communications from so-so entertainment? You seem like the kinda guy who does. The fact you wrote this shit down and supervised its transition to the screen bugs me man. Sometimes we actually get a good discussion, like when Lucy talks about her “born again” family and Nadja takes it as something else than what it actually is hint hint elbow elbow nudge nudge. But for the most part, you get conversation that is A.) An excuse to keep the movie longer than a forty minute experiment film; B.) An excuse to allow the soundtrack to play out, C.) An excuse for the visuals to play out, D.) An excuse to move the plot along or E.) Just plain awful. Like, look at this little exchange:
Lucy: “Is the Black Sea actually black?”
Nadja: “It’s blue actually.”
You just read that ladies and gents. And all of this, ALL OF IT, could have been tweaked so easily. You ever see that movie where you say “I can do better, I know HOW to do better, I SHOULD do this better. Let ME remake this shit!” Yeah. That’s this for me. The dialogue is such a big pile of crap. Why can’t we actually get any good conversations? For God’s Sakes, this movie is one of the best examples of how to blend vampire and human culture together, and you can’t even have legitimate small talk. What a shame guys. What a crying, motherfucking shame!
But here’s the thing, man: the camera work. Specifically the silent, black and white cheap ass camera that is used for vampire POV shots…sorta. First off, I get that back in 1994 the camera might have seemed trippy and weird and otherworldly and scary to a lot of audiences back in the day, because they were pretty foreign to digital technology. But one of the biggest things about films is if they stand the test of time, and this one fails. Now that most people who have even spoken to somebody who has even touched the quality control button on a YouTube player understand that the more pixels you have, the better the picture; today’s audiences will have a puke inducing uncomfortable nausea associated with it.
Maybe that was the artist’s intent, but that seems fucking cheap. You shouldn’t have to use crappy techniques to get a gross out moment, the shots should ACTUALLY be funky and trippy and colorful and bloody. It’s cheap, it’s gross, and I don’t like it. And you know, there’s a chance I would have given all this an excuse, if Lil’ Jimmy Denault KNEW WHAT THE FUCK A POV SHOT WAS. A POV shot is from the POINT OF VIEW of a character. The camera will be a POV shot, then sometimes slip out of the person’s viewpoint for the sake of convenience because they don’t have the techniques to film certain scenes. How cheap is THAT?
Now, how about that soundtrack? Well, to be honest, there’s not a lot of stuff I would call music. There are a few songs (not orchestral music, songs) that feel like hipster versions of pop songs from the early 2000’s. I don’t know what the fuck that is doing in my vampire movie, and I don’t know what the fuck that is doing in any movie. But most of the background sounds is a lot of NOISE. My highest inclination is that this is supposed to be an unnerving effect that plays when vampires are around. But when vampires are right next to people, it may not play, and when vampires are far away, Hell it might play for fun.
That shit gives me headaches, is poorly mixed with the dialogue, and LIKE THE CAMERA, is less scary than it is disturbing. It is not an effect that is created to make you say “God Damn, these vampires mean business, it’s time to get the fuck out of here before the roof falls off the place.” What it really comes across as is “fucking A this shit is gonna make me puke, not gonna have nightmares, will the filmmaker watch a good experimental movie already?”
Martin Donovan as Jim…uuugh…just Jim, is probably the only above average performance in this film. The guy got picked by Christopher Nolan to do a movie, what do you expect? Martin doesn’t exactly play the most charismatic, intelligent, or interesting character, and that’s mostly because he doesn’t have to be. He really is just this average guy thrown in this situation who doesn’t want to be. He understands reality better than myth, which is a skill gained through maturing, and once the myth becomes reality he can’t function as well. Martin does really good in this role. But unfortunately, he is not the Robert Englund diamond in the rough that can be the shining achievement of this film’s cast. He’s just better than everybody else out of placement, coincidence and the easy material that he was handed.
Alright…this next one is going to be a bit of a toughie. Renfield is in this movie, surprisingly enough. Even though he was dead at the beginning of Dracula’s Daughter. But, you know, this movie takes so many artistic liberties it really doesn’t matter. Including HAVING VAMPIRES SHOW UP IN MIRROS. Da Fuq Iz Diz Shit? In here, Renfield is…well, Renfield makes me pissed off. He is Edward. Edward Motherfucking Cullen. He is this lifeless, cruel, idiotic pretty boy. He is void of emotion in acting and filled with unfound rage in his writing. He is as far away as you could fucking get from ANY OTHER depiction of Renfield.
And it’s not even what you are SUPPOSED to do with this FUCKING concept. What you are SUPPOSED to do is have a weird in-between, uncomfortable zone where he is simultaneously this bug eating psychopath, and is also well spoken and attractive. Having him as a pure psychopath would have been the easy and efficient option, and based on this movie a middle ground would have been the best choice, BUT TO BE THE PREDECESSOR OF EDWARD FUCKING CULLEN IS FUCKING STUPID. You MORONS. How do you fuck this up that badly? This guy obvious knows movies, and this guy obviously knows his Dracula, but I guess he doesn’t FUCKING UNDERSTAND movies, understand Dracula, or more important, UNDERSTAND FUCKING human emotions or storytelling in general!!!!!!
But I think I’ve saved the best for last. It’s Elina Lowensohn, known for her role in Schindler’s List, she takes the cake as the biggest disappointment as Nadja. She is also a predecessor of a certain Twilight character, but she is a MUCH more important character. Her character steals away Lucy from Jim, tortures her brother Edgar, and generally mentally fucks with every single person in this movie. And she can’t even bear to change her mouth. My rant about Lucy is fairly similar to my one about her, so I’ll cut it down. Vocal expression? Dry, dead, inexperienced, nervous, and uninteresting.
And if you tell me that this is because it’s a vampire and she’s supposed to be dead, I’ll fucking blow Michael Almereyda’s head off. Can she even make facial expressions? Nope. All the time she is dead in her face, like “oh, yeah, this is what I do all the time!” Let me tell you something, Magic Mike. I love the experimental shit, and the artsy fartsy movies and the Criterion Classics and all that good stuff. But if your artistic material gets in the way of your story and characters, then you either need to replace it, transform it, or simply CUT the entire concept in general.
This film is an extensively amateurish piece of crap. It has one of the worst casts that I have seen in my history of viewing movies (and I watched Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster), it’s artistic techniques suck out all life of its story and characters, its dialogue is a complete and utter mess, and those visual and audio experiments are signs of an inept artist that cannot discern cheap agitation from legitimate terror. This film gets a 1/5 with a slam stamp of disapproval.
I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.
Don’t turn your back on The Wolfpac
Well, we fast forwarded nine years. The New Wave started by 1979’s Dracula was in full effect. These franchises were gaining new interest and there was popularity. Werewolf of London got a spin-off in An American Werewolf in London, The Bride of Frankenstein got a sequel in The Bride, the original Bram Stoker novel of Dracula got a loose but awesome adaptation by Francis Ford Copolla, and Frankenstein got his own “remake” of sorts, and he also got Unbound. There were a lot of parodies, pretty much in every form of merchandise and TV; plus there was also The Monster Squad, Transylvania 6-5000, Frankenhooker and Frankenweenie.
But there was one guy who wasn’t getting his own movie…and that would be, our own, child of Lon Chaney Jr., The Wolf Man. But of course, The Wolf Man was Universal’s own thing. Werewolves aren’t, but Mr. Larry Talbot is. Universal was currently enjoying a lot of success from non-UMM related material, such as Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List. They weren’t exactly doing fantastic but it was enough to say “we don’t have to rely on these old materials. We’re gonna try new stuff.” Columbia was the one who was enjoying the meat from all these old names from the 30’s and 40’s, they released Copolla’s Dracula, Brook’s Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and the thing of Frankenstein.
They were also kind of on a horror and shocking movie run (why didn’t you accept Pulp Fiction again?) with films like Misery, El Mariachi, Lord of the Flies, Night of the Living Dead and The Shawshank Redemption. It did make some sense that Columbia would want to release a new vision of Wolfey. Course, they didn’t have the rights. So they decided to take 1/3 words (The Wolf would be an awkward title) and make their own Werewolf movie. And so, they did. And this is it.
You could pretty much describe this movie in these few words: My name is Jack Nicholson, and you have no idea what I’m going to say. I know he’s not the best actor in the world but I’ll be damned if he isn’t one of my favorites. I know people find a crackhead too much but I am a crackhead that’s too much, I dig this guy. He gives his character the feeling, humanity, and lack of confidence that Warren Schmidt had (or would have in 1994), and the wit, selfishness and psychopathic yet genuine insight that he put into The Joker. But throughout the movie, it’s not just like “right now he’s playing Schmidt, right now he’s playing Joker.”
He likes to mix the human and lunatic personalities. He has a discussion with the love interest which I won’t spoil. But I can tell you he is legitimately trying to help her and help her and possibly find the truth, out of love; yet he is simultaneously being a narcissist and saying some pretty damn harmful things. Throughout the movie he grows, but it’s not just “no more Joker, just Schmidt.” No, if anything both well melded personalities mesh and intensify more, it’s just that he’s learned where and when to use them to get what he wants. And when it still doesn’t work, that’s when things start to get ugly. I think it’s safe to say that Jack Nicholson is one of the, if not THE, most lovable smartass in film history. And I mean love and smartass in every meaning of the words.
Speaking of words that shouldn’t be used to describe nonvisual aspects of things but yet it is, let’s talk about summah dat directing. We have Mike Nichols at the helm. Sam O’Steen, the editor, should also take partial responsibly for what I’m about to talk about. But don’t get me wrong. Mikey is good. Charlie Wilson’s War, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, Catch-22, need I say more? And that’s almost kind of the thing, he’s too good. Like an M. Night Shabalabadingdong. The 7 Oscar wins (among 27 nominations) seem to have gone to his head. There’s a LOT of cinematic experimentation.
I am all for setting your feet, or hell head first, in the artistic, never-before-swam-in swimming pool. But all residences must exit the pool at 5 o’ clock sir. Once you get to the point where it affects your pacing, we get to a risky area. 2001 was able to do that because it meshed with the plot. A trip from Earth to Jupiter with one person and a computer who wants to kill you would likely be a big roadmap of doom, am I right? Alien worked because that was supposed to be a more realistic movie, and that would be very slow and painful, am I right? You know this movie’s not going for a very realistic or lonely pacing when you have a love interest and werewolves jumping at the speed of Superman.
Again, I’m totally fine with being innovative in the arts. But when you can cut HALF AN HOUR of your TWO HOUR film and it still remain extremely artistic and intelligent, with no loss to the plot, something has gone wrong and you look like you’re either filled with a five gallon jug of gasconade or very amateur. Now, about SuperJack here. I don’t know where the fuck this came from. It seems like the most blatant and cheap deus ex machine ever. WEREWOLVES NOW HAVE SUPER GIGANTIC JUMPING POWERS! Why?!?!...Nobody knows. These types of things are self-destruction tools.
They’re invented for the sake of having super tense moments where the character has a chance of dying, but still being able to continue the script with the main character intact. But it backfires, because now that the audience knows of these incredible (in the most literal definition) superpowers, they don’t believe that the people with them have as much of a chance to die. That’s why I call ‘em Superjack. If you want an even worse (or better) pun, Superman Wolfjack. Figure that one out. But as for the rest of the werewolf aspects, there’s not much to talk about without giving away major spoilers.
I know, huh? I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I’d like to think it’s a good thing. One thing that’s really clever is that you get a lot of shots that hint at some recurring elements of Werewolf movies, but you don’t get them dished out until the climax if ever. Such as the design or a transformation scene, which is only spoken of throughout most of the movie. There’s a little scene early on where Jacky sprints on all fours, but it’s only for half a second. Us werewolf fans get kinda excited over that kind of thing. There’s also another scene that hints at big time UMM fans, where our main character is hunched over and “trapped.” Renfield anybody?
Which reminds me of the soundtrack. It’s definitely one of the most interesting and iconic things of the movie. What do you expect from a composer who was best friends with Sergio Leone? Basically, if you the idea of a mix of Majora’s Mask/Ocarina of Time dungeon music and hints of class Universal soundtracks, you’re gonna appreciate this score. If you don’t know what that first part means, it’s basically a electrical take on archetypical jungle native music. But I have a bit of a problem with it. Most soundtracks are supposed to compliment the movie, right? And not overpower it, ammirite? Well, check this out. This score decides it’s too scared of overpowering the movie and in the attempt to not seem “in your face,” just decides to go completely under the radar and not complement its own entity.
We have a cast too! Could you believe it? I mentioned Jacky in the beginning, but there are a couple other key players. James Spader, A.K.A. Really young William Regal, gives a decent performance. I mean, he’s pretty goddam overshadowed by Jack Nicholson. And I think he knows it. His acting seems to be pretty stale because he knows no matter how good he tries, he’s not going to match the guy he’s constantly on screen with. Even when he’s not with Nicholson he seems to be half-assing it, and I can only asses this is either A.) He’s not that talented (which I honestly kind of doubt);
B.) He’s intimidated by the big star player. Michelle Pfeiffer is another big name (at least in 1994), and she plays pretty alright again. Michelle herself is honestly really generic and boring, but she’s elevated at least a few floors of The Empire State Building due to some pretty damn good dialogue considering she’s a frickin’ love interest. That’s probably what happened. She didn’t know her dialogue was good, just heard the words “love interest” and just went for the paycheck. And that’s what I gotta say about Wolf.
This movie is definitely really good but it could have been great or even spectacular. Jack Nicholson is as awesome as ever, but his supporting cast is pretty 60/40. The visual artistic direction of this movie is really something, especially in its sincerity and humanity, but the fact that there’s SO MUCH OF IT that doesn’t keep the plot flowing really turns down the pacing of this movie. Not to mention, a simultaneously good yet overwhelming soundtrack. This movie feels like the first draft of a really good book. It needs to go through a redo or two. Were there no rewrites or reshoots?
The Rating? 3.9/5
I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.
…Wait. Michelle Pfeiffer. Catwoman. Jack Nicholson. Joker. OOOOOOOH MYYYY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooo…..
I feel bad for giving you the full movie.
You know what I figure? The 1980’s were the next generation 1950’s for these three franchises. Between the 1920’s and 1940’s, the three name franchises enjoyed a pretty damn good prime. In the 1950’s, they were clearly ready to be buried, but something happened. The Curse of Frankenstein showed up. Then films started to spawn again like Return of Dracula, Frankenstein 1970 and Frankenstein’s Daughter that gave the other franchises enough name power and relevancy that Hammer could start producing movies like nobody’s business. Then they enjoyed a really damn good prime between the 60’s and early 70’s.
Then, with Hammer’s bankruptcy and Young Frankenstein essentially being a goodbye love letter, they kind of drifted off again. The 1980’s was a much more drawn out life support system. The period that lasted approximately 5 years was stretched out with the same amount of material in 10 years. The awesome remake of Dracula came out, which started interest again. You started to see cartoon parodies and cereals. Those goddamn cereals. Then you got movies like An American Werewolf in London, Transylvania 6-5000, The Monster Squad, and here, The Bride. And ugh…Here it is…Yeah, there’s absolutely no production information available at all.
You know, I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but, a less from Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦: You probably don’t want to put your ending credits at the beginning of your movie. ‘Nuff said. Now then, how’s the acting? Well, let me put it to you this way. Sting comes in as the big guest start of the movie, but…HE’S A SINGER….so he’s a little out of his environment. Thus, he has a comfort food meal before each take. The Breakfast Club Special from Arby’s. It’s got all the cheese, corn and ham that you could possibly eat. However, Sting is kind of worn out from all that traveling he’s done, and still needs more food each day.
But Arby’s is kinda running low after he chows down on their Breakfast Club Special. So he goes around and chews all the sets. Since he’s the top actor and OBVIOUSLY the best choice to take mentorship, all the other actors take this format of crappy acting and adapt it to their own characters. So Arby’s opens a new location right by the studio where all the actors get The Mega Breakfast Club Special. The only member of the cast who isn’t a customer is Jennifer Beals, who’s just plain boring. But overall, we, the ones who enjoy so bad it’s good, get toenjoy ourselves.
MAKEUP DEPARTMENT! Let’s marathon it for no particular reason whatsoever because as I write this I get some sort of weird bolt of energy!!!!! The Bride: SHE HAS NO MAKEUP!!! I mean, she might have standard actress makeup to make her look better on the camera but it’s not like she’s a monster or anything which DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE considering the first monster! I mean, at least in the movie this is following, there was some sense to it! You get little stitches and tears and everything! This is just “we are America and we don’t allow any girls on TV or in movies that aren’t fucking beautiful!!11!”!”!”!OMGRELIGIOUS!!!
So how about The Monster, eh? EH? EH? Well, he’s pretty damn mediocre. You can basically take a really tall human being; give him a HORRIBLE haircut, a really tall ass face with big lips, dry skin, and DER YA GO! Not even any colors, let alone IMAGINATION?!?! Whuddah thunggit? Speaking of no imagination, here’s the situation with the dialogue: It is already bad. Salvageable but bad. It’s the type of dialogue that is written by a guy who doesn’t know how to write people talking on any level whatsoever, so he attempts and fails at the lowest level. All of his writing seems to be poorly copied prints of other conversations he must’ve seen in other movies, except here they seem 100x more awkward.
Speaking of awkward, here’s a little bonus tip for the makeup department (a ramblin’ we will go.) Maybe this is more a costume department thing. 1930s Dr. Frankenstein was played by a guy who has as much suspicion for bisexuality or homosexuality as William Shakespeare. Looking and listening to him there is no indication. But here, if there’s a scientist, ESPECIALLY Frankenstein’s partner Clevelle, they are a gigantic gay stereotype. I know movie’s a visual medium but you could have found a classier way to establish possible male interest from males without resorting to their DRESS.
You see that little golden penguin you got in the background? If that was made or painted in some sort of purple that would have been perfect visual symbolism to subtly emphasize their homosexuality. Penguins have been known to rape other males for DOMINANCE. It would have been perfect! Instead, you inexperienced director you, you resort to their DRESS. And hair. And cigars. And IT’S SO FRICKIN’ OBVIOUS. This director probably thinks a nametag with the name “Richard Gaylord” would be SUBTLE…..a ramblin’ we will go, a rambling we will go, high hoe a dairy-oh a rambling we will go!
You know, I can’t blame it all on the actors. To enhance my point about The Breakfast Club special, let me just point something out to you: 1931, The Monster’s good friend and the only one to understand him is this innocent little girl who ends up being tossed in the lake through a misunderstanding (ish.) 1935, The Monster’s good friend is a blind man; they both lack communication, therefore they help each other out with their problems. 1985? Midget who’s going to the circus and taking advantage of him. DAZZA GOOD SCRIPT! Who’s a bad screenwriter, who’s a bad screenwriter, LLOYD IS! LLOYD IS! Go fetch the pen, boy!
Lighting crew? WHERE?...I’m not even building to a joke or anything? Where the fuck is the lighting crew? The light looks no different than just taking advantage of the position of the sun and certain aspects of the script. Lazy director = lazy director. Speaking of lazy, plot? Yeah. There’s a plot. That’s when you know your story sucks. When it no longer is a chain of events and it becomes a plot. For a movie called The Bride, it doesn’t focus on The Bride too much. It focuses a lot on The Monster hanging out with the Midget (who more often is referred to as a Midget than his name Ronaldo), and I already think that subplot is too cliché and convenient.
This is 1985, not 1925! And even in 1925 it would have seemed stupid. The interaction between Eva and Frankie is mostly just teaching her how to function and what things are. You know what this movie is? This movie is taking the most famous, precious scene of the movie it’s based on; stretching it out over an hour and making variations so that the uniformed are not aware. There’s a REASON that subplot went for only as long as it did. Not just that it only worked in compaction, God no. I could have seen that thing go on for a third of the movie, because it had GOOD actors and not ultra-cheesy imitators of good actors.
But even so, they shortened it because The Monster can’t learn everything otherwise he’s basically a really ugly human. That worked in the novel but it doesn’t work on film. And even at that, cut the most heartwarming scene out first. It’s a depressed horror film. Of COURSE the right thing to do is to make that splash of good will which makes contrast to the depression last THE ENTIRE FIRST HALF. The second act of the movie is equally as cliché. One on side, it’s “oh, how they grow so fast? *puts arms on cheek* aaaah.,,,OH JEZZUZ, I FORGOT ABOUT SEX, QUICKLY, DON’T GROW UP!” One the other side, it’s “kids don’t know business, business it tough, business with kids is insanity, we make it through TOGETHER!!!!” (and other really repetitious things but that would go into spoilers) I think I need a song about this.
Ooooode to clicheeeeeees
They are really, really gaaaaay
I cooould nooooooooooot find another word to say
So won’t you now go away (now)?
There. Tuned to The National Anthem.
Here’s another nitpick for your reading pleasure: Why do they all have gold coins? I don’t know about you but is it really too early in history to use paper money? 1850’s? Can’t be that bad. And you know what else bugs me? Where’s the fucking villain? There’s no villain until about fifty minutes into the movie and it’s IN THE STORY I DON’T LIKE. The pacing is goddamn horrible! There is nothing on the line! There is no suspense! There is nothing valuable being at stake! This is telling the story of the life and times of characters that had their story properly conclude at the ending of the film this is continuing. It’s like performing a Shakespeare play that wasn’t written by Shakespeare about the lives of the mourning parents of Romeo & Juliet, where the play is called Romeo. AND FOR TWO HOURS.
And whuddubout da soundtrack? Repeat the song I recently provided.
…WAAIT. Oh my God. You’ve gotta be kidding me! I’ve got it! I think I’ve got the message this movie is trying to send! This movie has an undertone (under the surface by only a few feet) that I suspect is trying to portray woman as more sophisticated than men. Fuck you movie. Fuck you. You take a franchise that attempts to say “don’t judge a book by its cover, because that book may have a beating heart,” and then go to “they’re only civilized, acceptable people if they’re gay, bisexual or female.” FUCK YOU MOVIE. GO DIE IN HELL. I would give you the N.C. Rant but I already gave it to AVP:R and that was too recent.
Uuugh…this movie’s a piece of crap. The cast is competition for the worst. The director and writer are in competition for the laziest of their kind. The orchestrator is one of the most unoriginal of his kind. The actors are of the most over the top of their kind. The lighting crew is completely absent and the costume department is mostly absent, with subtlety being drained when they are present. There are few redeeming factors of this movie. One may be if you love horrible movies, you’re gonna see this one multiple times. And then there’s also the effect that worst movies ever like Titanic II and The Room have in common, and that’s that they tend to morph your tastes towards your stupidity during your viewing. But otherwise, it’s a piece of trash and never let it be associated with the greatest horror film of all time. 0.25/5
I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.
Let’s land back on earth and continue the Drankenstein Manathon II.
For anybody who actually cares about this marathon, you probably remember Werewolf of London, right? You know, the one that’s pretty damn mediocre? But it is the earliest surviving Werewolf movie? Yeah, how do you figure that got an American spin-off before The Wolf Man? True Hammer did The Curse of the Werewolf, with no rights for a remake and instead made a movie that barely resembled the film it was spinning off. And of course, we all remember CotW was a piece of crap. So how did this get made? I guess it was a combination of two things.
The first is that in the last 70’s and early 80’s, interest in the UMM franchises were rising. You were seeing these guys on cereal boxes and cartoons, and they recently remade the only true remake of the 1931 version of Dracula. Later we would see films like Transylvania 6-5000 and The Monster Squad. It was the dawn of an age where no kid didn’t want to be in a monster movie. Later that year there would be two unreleased big budget werewolf movies, Wolfen and The Howling. That decade we would get movies like Teen Wolf and Silver Bullet, two other big budget werewolf movies.
But relatively, it was kind of a dry decade for werewolf movies. The real thing that made this a money maker was all the merchandise and advertising. I just have this lingering craving for cereal for some reason…It seemed like perfect timing for a werewolf movie. Of course, you would want to release a remake of the most famous name for a werewolf movie, The Wolf Man. Buuuutt…there was a little jazz song released with some pretty nice success, that being of course Werewolves of London. That thing has become one of rock music’s staples. It was released in 1978. So a movie based on Werewolf of London would actually be more successful post said song
We rewind back into the late 60’s where director John Landis is in Yugoslavia, working on Kelly’s Heroes. While they were on their way back home, they came across a group of gypsies. Yes. Two guys driving around in the woods met up with gypsies. In real life. More importantly, they were performing a ritual that would keep their newly dead from rising from the grave. I do not make this shit up. For once. This made Landis super afraid of zombies, and wanted to make a movie where somebody had a crazy ass fear of zombies himself. Because everything is movies with directors…that’s not an exaggeration.
He wrote his script and shelved it for a decade. Sounds like AVP all over again. He went on to make Schlock and release it in 1973, which was essentially a parody of horror cavemen movies. It’s had its own little cult (oh how ironic the word) following since. He then went on to direct some bigger comedy movies, such as National Lampoon’s Animal House, Kentucky Fried Movie, and (a personal favorite) The Blues Brothers. They dropped $10 Million on his doorstep with instructions for another horror comedy, and Lil’ Johnny pulled out that old dusty script for preparation. Potential producers were both extremely afraid the movie was gonna fail and extremely hopeful it would be successful. The general consensus between early developers was that the film “was too scary to be a comedy and too funny to be a horror.”
So between these two chain of events, we now have a pretty damn well loved movie. But there’s, of course, one more thing…
Exposition the Fox was apparently going to get a big fat bonus if he did the first ten minutes of the movie. So he put on an extremely efficient performance. Enough has been said.
While Ridley Scott can make a sci-fi horror film out of realistic characters, only two years later John Landis would make a horror comedy with realistic characters. Yet Lil’ Johnny wrote a script that was abrupt, cliché and aware of itself. This is where the comedy comes in. Almost all characters seem to be playing pretty damn normal people. In terms of their speaking patterns, their voice, the way they move, it’s all pretty much from the normal everyday person. That’s why the heavy contrast of the script is so effective. You get these people who seem like us speaking lines and performing actions that are straight out of the strangest monster movie.
Let me set up a situation for you. Most movies tend to have actors who run away from a movie like fucking athletes on an Olympic course, but yet somehow when they trip they’re freaking paralyzed. In this movie, that same person will get paralyzed, but he will run away from the movie but tripping over everything. It’s a new, unexpected twist. You’ll get the OH SO cliché haunted saloon in the beginning of the movie. But it’s not just this one bar where everything happens to happen. There’s a frickin’ five sided triangle and ominous candles that it’s so obvious something will happen to the point where it’s funny.
And the customers and the bartender are all extremely normal – a little rude but normal – until of course they get whiff of suspicion. A lot of voice play is done here. Not word play, voice play. Where people will say lines known for one expression and said with another. Things like “you should kill yourself” and “I’m a werewolf!” are said with anywhere between casual and ecstatic voices. Announcements that “I am a murderer” are said with the “I just won the lottery” kind of voice. If you’re not big on the whole sarcasm thing, you’re gonna have a hard time understanding when to laugh. Otherwise, you will laugh plenty of times throughout the movie.
Which leads to the other aspect of horror comedy. The horror. The simple, of course, is the gore. It’s the kind of movie where, if you go in expecting a lot of blood, you’re gonna be disappointed. But if you go in just expecting a werewolf movie, you will be surprised. Again, it’s another thing that’s played up to comedy. Casually talking corpses. That’s all I will say. When you go outside, there’s an absurd amount of fog. Obviously making parody of the classic UMM films. You pretty much get the first suspense scene in a massive donut of fog. But of course, that leads to the suspense. I don’t know.
The first suspense scene is pretty damn intimidating. You JUST got to know these kids, and REALLY got to know them, and now one of them is going to be brutally murdered. That is pretty damn scary. Otherwise, Lil’ Johnny might have overloaded his script with clichés. This movie is really, REALLY goddamn predictable. I don’t need to elaborate on that point, holy shit if you know your werewolf movies you know how the general plot of this movie is gonna go down. Therefore, it becomes a little tiresome when the same conventions are used. You suddenly realize that the blood is the strongpoint of this movie’s horror, and that’s kind of disappointing. Buuuuttt…there’s one more thing. Ehem,
BEST TRANSFORMATION SCENE EVER. YOU GIVE ME A BETTER TRANSFORMATION SCENE AND I WILL GIVE YOU ONE THOUSAND FRICKIN’ DOLLARS. THAT IS THE GREATEST TRANSFORMATION SCENE EVER.
And is this ever a lovefest to the UMM films. It’s title and fog should be enough, but they mention The Wolf Man some 3, 4 times? And with references to UMM movies of course comes the obligatory reference to See You Next Wednesday. This is probably the time that title has made the most sense. It made some sense in The Kentucky Fried Movie, but it probably has the best implication here. The Blues Brothers probably made it make the least sense. I love the cinematography in this movie too. This is one of those movies that disguises it’s artistic integrity. Always will there be a cliché conversation or a very aged song playing while John Landis does his experimentation. I’ll just say John Landis probably is not hated in the film school department.
Damn, I feel like this is a short ass review. Ah well. I feel like rapping it up, and when a writer has his gut in him (as so many have more than necessary), it probably provides the better alternative. A funny movie that plays up old horror clichés beyond the atmosphere for the sake of comedy, if you’re into subtle or sarcastic comedy, or werewolf films, you’re probably gonna love An American Werewolf in London. Definitely the second best purely Werewolf movie so far in the Drankenstein Manathon II, and one of the all-time cult classics. 4.89/5
I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.
One movie starring David Prowse and Peter Cushing as the main villains to another movie starring David Prowse and Peter Cushing as the main villains.
Don’t worry, I’m still on schedule. It’s been over a month since I’ve updated The Drankenstein Manathon II, but I’m still going. So let me refresh your memory. This is the second movie in a trilogy of shitfests that would end Hammer. Hammer had been on the road to the end sinec 1968, but they were probably recoverable since 1970. Dracula A.D. 1972 was the precursor to saying “you guys are dead.” We already covered The Satanic Rites of Dracula and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, but this film in the middle seems to have much more positive allure in 2012 than either of the films bookending it.
In addition to my opening statement, it was the final time Peter Cushing would play Dr. Frankenstein. After being strangely absent from Horror of Frankenstein. Peter Cushing was well known for several things. Being an awesome human being was one. Being able to play sick sons of bitches as his villains was another thing. Another thing he was known for was his intense attention to detail. Using my psychic powers I can see the summarization of the events here. Peter Cushing forced his attention to detail to the point where he looked a little ridiculous. He designed the wig he wore in certain scenes.
In the end, it was just kinda stupid and looked more like something off a stageplay. In fact he even said he looked like Helena Hayes, who was a stage actress herself. It’s like if a writer still has his language but forgot his sense of imagination. He switches from fiction to nonfiction. It’s pretty sad but at the same time more appropriate than just going through a bad cycle over and over again. For more stories about Peter Cushing, see my review of The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. Despite his thoughts after his 1974 double feature of leaving Hammer Studios, during the production of the film his dedication to the role was as hardcore as he’s ever done it before.
Even at age 59, he insisted on doing huge stunts that would require a stunt double for a healthy Peter Cushing. And he never went as crazy as Ric Flair either. Davvy Boy, on the other hand, is the only Hammer cast member to have played The Monster more than once. He played for Hammer twice if you count Horror of Frankenstein and this; and if you also count the original Casino Royale he played it three times. Apparently this was his preferred role. It took about half an hour to get his suit and mask on in this film, where in H.O.F. it took him “several tedious hours.”
I’m not 100% sure on the continuity, but Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell appears to cap a trilogy between The Curse of Frankenstein and The Evil of Frankenstein. Its center, if must be picked in a singular sense, is NOT Baron Frankenstein. But Simon Helder, played by Shane Briant. He plays essentially Frankenstein Generation 2, a kid who gets interested in anatomy and the resurrection of the dead. He gets caught and tried for sorcery. Sent to an insane asylum for five years. Long story short, this is one of those stories where the members of the Asylum are better human beings than the director of the establishment.
See Arkham Asylum for a controversial yet possible example of this effect. The director is…well, he’s crazy for starters. And he’s clearly closed minded when it comes to asylum prisoners. Something else is revealed about him but I won’t spoil it. Then he meets Peter Frankenstein, also known as Victor Cushing. Sort of long story short again, Simon becomes Frankenstein’s assistant. Except the focus of the film is in reverse. The assistant is naïve but well spirited. He is brave enough to stand up for what he knows is right, and smart enough to know what’s right.
Unfortunately his bravery is unfounded, and his actions only get him halfway as he would have liked. Sometimes they work with as much power but against his favor. Shane is kind of a generic actor. His ability to show emotion is lacking, if we are to bring up metaphors of circular shapes; his radius is a dozen centimeters above being a dot. He always plays the generic sophisticated Englishman, even when the script doesn’t call for it. It’s only really useful in the beginning of the movie. Let us continue with the cast. Peter Cushing is here, and it’s clear he’s always been dedicated to these movies.
He’s being his usual Badass self. Being smarter and having a stronger grasp on reality, yet he is also an evil bastard. He’s not Grand Moff Tarkin in this movie, where he would be 100% pure evil. In this movie he’s more of a lunatic, which progresses steadily, naturally and subtly throughout the film. He’s delusional and views himself above everyone else…pretty much in existence. There’s an interesting parallel to Frankenstein in this movie where one of the inmates believes he is God. When Frankenstein speaks to him, he feels less like he’s talking to the inmate and more himself.
So you would think that this movie is the first pro-religion Frankenstein film, right? Well…I think so. Some of the metaphors are still hard to decipher. Like how it still shows law under Religion in a negative light. Or one moment where the typical villagers vs. monster scene plays. There’s one of the inmates praying in the background. At first you would think that this is a metaphor for religion arising in chaos. However…on the other hand, have you noticed the one with God is the only one not going insane? The movie doesn’t make itself clear, which makes the film more interesting. But it leaves me not able to give you guys a straight answer.
Madeline Smith plays Sarah the Angel. She does her part very good for the most part. But when she becomes more important in her independent self and not as a character just talked about; her atrocious acting skills show. She’s just a pretty face. John Stratton as The Director is really over the top and there’s no way we can take OUR OWN VILLAIN IN A HORROR MOVIE seriously. There are few other good actors. Charles Lloyd Pack (Quatermass II: Enemy From Space, Horror of Dracula) plays The Professor. He has really good lines, and he puts on a really good performance.
But they’re disconnected. I feel like his performance would be for an elder of average intelligence. But his character is that of magnificent cerebral powers, so he doesn’t really mesh well. And lastly…God is….well…God. Lastly in the discussion of the cast is David Prowse as The Monster. His makeup is really cool. It’s basically a cross between the 1910 Frankenstein makeup and a gorilla. I know this sounds kind of stupid, but it’s actually pretty cool. Here, let me show you a picture:
It’s no spoiler, it’s already revealed by the DVD art and movie poster. Prowse in the suit is an interesting story. He seems to be channeling the future performance of Ceaser from Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but I just feel like the performance is misplaced. I just feel like the Frankie series doesn’t call for an intellectual who cannot adapt to the universe. It should be the story of a very good person who can’t adapt. I think it was a brave decision to make this change, but it just didn’t work out that well. When you are one of the two major waves of these movies and you yourself - along with your predecessors - have established a formula then you’re best following it.
Moving onto the visual aspects of the film, we shall discuss the lab. As per usual, we discuss it with Curse of Frankenstein in mind. This film continues the trend from Horror of Frankenstein in mind, with the lab being made out of gray bricks in the daytime. Just feels too safe. In the daytime, you can see, and above bricks, you’re much more guaranteed to not collapse. As opposed to the night where you can only see by artificial, less dependable means; and where you stand on wood, which could collapse at any moment. See The Three Little Goddamn Pigs for more on this subject. As for artificial sounds, yeah, they’re there. But there’s about a third of the instruments in comparison to C.o.F., and people are talking over them. It would seem this is easiest part of what made COF so great that could be reproduced, yet they haven’t been able to do it for a long time.
The lighting outside of the lab, on the other hand, is typically really good. The film is in two lights. Sometimes it’s in that boring shade of blue that’s seen in most daytime scenes of Hammer films. Other times, it’s in a really weird state of a color between piss yellow and black. I tell you, if a psycho’s brain had a color, it’d probably be that one. Who directed this one, anyways? I gotta give him props….OH MY GOD. TERRY FISH!!!! YOU’RE BACK!!! YOU’RE BACK BABY!!! IT’S TOoo bad we’re about to go bankrupt….ah vell dat eh vell.
In conclusion, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell is a crappy movie made out of really awesome parts. The cast? Good. The writing? Really good, Anthony Hinds has surprised me. The visual aspects of the film? For the most part awesome, other than the lab. But these elements all don’t mesh. It’s like 5 different movies clashing with each other and it’s disengaging because of this fact. I feel as if a trustworthy director could make this film what it should be. Tim Burton I think would be perfect, but otherwise, will somebody, somebody good, please remake this movie?
The Rating? 3.78/5
I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.
Full movie time fuck the world!
Hammer losing its edge? NAAAH.
Okay, so I’ll explain the complicated title. Didawalil was created as a parody of the then-popular stage play Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. The ideas were A. It’s a parody of something popular; and B. That the whole “Dracula is Dead…and Living…” is a contradiction in and of itself. Despite Hammer’s quirky yet apparent sense of humor, Christopher Lee was NOT AMUSED. And let me tell you something. When you deal with the guy who’s been in the brains of Count Dracula, Count Dooku, Saruman and The Jabberwocky, you prrrrobably don’t want to make him irritated.
Not to mention at one point he was so tall he could rival The Undertaker. Yeah. The Undertaker of Film: Christopher Lee. …Oh, would you like at that, he’s played both Death and Lucifur. Death 4 times in fact….Anyways. Don’t piss of Christopher Lee. When he found out his next film would have this title, he came out with this statement: "I'm doing it under protest ... I think it is fatuous. I can think of twenty adjectives – fatuous, pointless, absurd. It's not a comedy, but it's got a comic title. I don't see the point…You know what, fuck it! If they can give the movie that kind of title, let’s do twenty adjectives. This is the day of the Thesaurus. In fact, let’s make a song out of it!
/singing/Absurd and Asinine
Birdbrained and Inane
Dense, dull and foolish
Lamebrained and ludicrous
And insensate and mindless
Mad, silly, and moronic
Witless, vacuous and lunatic
Sally, simple, stupid, witless
Witness all the times we sing
More adjectives than we need./fin/
The best part is that the song describes itself. Okay, back to topic. Somebody else is essential besides the man who probably still isn’t amused. Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. He had been in Horror of Dracula and Dracula A.D. 1972 one on one with the Badass Drac, and this would be his last time. When he signed up for Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires, Lee was like “Dude, I love you, but FUCK Hammer, I’m moving to France!” So he would play Dracula in…well, we’ll get to that one when the time comes. So the pair was split. You know how Cushing’s career went on from there so I won’t detail everything, after all, this is going to a comedic review, why down us with those details right now? It’d be like yelling CHRIS BENOIT in the middle of a Ready to Rumble review. (Even though he wasn’t in that movie, but whatever.) So what are we waiting for? Let’s star this bitch!
Peter Cushing is present. As I mentioned above, he did the one good Dracula Hammer movie and the 3 worst. That’s weird enough. But, of course, he has to add to that that he’s not really Van Helsing in the last 3. You guys remember the plot of Dracula A.D. 1972, right? Well, they kept to chronology. (OHMIGOSH). He plays Abe Van Helsing’s grandson, Lorrimer Van Helsing. But he’s essentially the same guy. An old dude played by Cushing who is huge into the occult and claims to “know” a lot of shit. He has terribly written lines. I mean terribly. Pacing?
Like, in the conversation, how much it’s spaced with others and how much they connect? Sucks. Entertainment value and uniqueness in wording or ideas? Nonexistent. Does Peter Cushing make the absolute best out of this shitty material? Oh hell yeah. He actually brings this bottom dwelling material and brings a few modicums of entertainment to the script. He is able to seem completely serious about this rubbish and acts in a character higher than the writing. He has as much energy as possible at a whopping sixty years old, and his facial expressions are various and genuine.
Moving onto the umm…editing. I think. The editor is one of Hammer’s mainstays, but…not for the better. There’s definitely a difference between the good and bad H2Fs, and this Chris Barnes should show that. He’s done Dracula: Prince of Darkness, The Plague of Zombies, The Witches, The Mummy’s Shroud, A Challenge for Robin Hood, The Lost Continent, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Crescendo, The Horror of Frankenstein, Creatures the World Forgot, Hands of the Ripper, and the film that put Hammer out of business, The Legend of The Seven Golden Vampires. The cinematographer seemingly completes a full cycle of failing Hammer flicks with Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell.
If only Dracula Has Risen from the Grave was somewhere here. When there’s scenes of low action or just dialogue, everything’s okay. Nothing really interesting, extremely conventional and not inventive in the least. But at least it works. The most interesting shots tend to be there just to get everything needed in a shot, there’s nothing artistic about angles or otherwise. Then we get to scenes with high action…there’s a problem. First off, tripods exist guys. And if you’re not gonna have the ₡₳$h to buy a tri-pod, at least have the ₡₳$h to buy a camera with stabilizing techniques.
It’s not even shaky cam, shaky cam is an intentional technique to make things seem more threatening than they really are. It’s just a matter of “Uuugh…anybody got a tripod?! ANYBODY?!?! Fuck, okay, umm…is anybody coordinated?!?! Anybody?!?! No!?! DAMMIT.” Would you believe this guy actually won an award for best cinematography in one movie? Not by this thing. And then sometimes you’ll get the editor really trying too hard to make things seem scary, removing half the frames bit by bit in order to create some sort of LSD effect or something. It doesn’t work, it’s sloppy and hard to follow. I’m sure it will make some puke. (For all of you that are screaming Cloverfield at your screan, you should be expecting a Falcon Punch at your door sometime soon.) This movie just looks…bad.
Now we move onto the script again with, quite simply, the plot. Let me try to inject some sanity as my movie-loving arch-nemesis might say. If you have a plot that resembles or in fact is a mystery, DO NOT GIVE AWAY THE REVEAL. It is stupid for only the characters to be unknowing to a mystery style plot. This is a device used TWO-THOUSAND YEARS AGO. And unless you’re really good at writing, it doesn’t work these days. Does this sound logical to you? The whole point of a mystery is to want to find the conclusion. Once the conclusion is found, the fiction exhausts its interest.
This movie does that, but on the other hand couldn’t avoid it. It seems as if they wrote an independent story, and then somewhere squished Dracula and The Vampires in, ruining the entire plot by way of default. When the characters finally find out what’s going on, you still have a long time until you get to see the other side. You’re here for the vampires and their conflict with the humans; you’re not here for the human’s side of things. This isn’t that type of movie. The fact that by the hour mark we’ve only seen vampire action two times – one being poorly done, the other still being very dry – is stupid. But if you’re here for tits…’cuz, ya know, it’s not like we have The Internet or anything…then this should be extremely satisfying in context with most horror movies, even many post 1980.
So moving on back to acting aspects, we go to the main attraction of this film. Christopher Lee as Dracula….I think. *SPOILERS AHEAD.* There’s a really creepy scene that takes place about an hour into the movie where Dracula is covering up his voice to retain his secret identity from Van Helsing’s kid some tree down the line. He mixes his voice with…what sounds exactly like Bela Lugosi. No, seriously, if Bela was injected with testosterone (sorry Bela) this voice would be him! What’s even creepier is that the first shot we get of Dracula after that hour mark looks EXACTLY like Bela Lugosi in color.
Maybe that’s just my imagination, after all Lee and Lugosi had similar hair styles, skin color and physique. But the thing that scares me is the face, it is EXACTLY like Lugosi’s face. What the hell? It’s not like Lugosi might have had a cameo, as I explain before he did a few decades before this flick. *SPOILERS OVER.* Other than this really creepy scene, Christopher Lee’s performance is top notch. When he decides to show up that is. Obviously he retains his really creepy movement pattern. Just has his hands in his pockets representing confidence, that endless look that stares at everything and nothing at the same time, and that 6’ 10’ presence like The Undertaker makes him one of the best Draculas.
When you wanna talk about voice, well he doesn’t use it until after the hour mark but I think I can describe it without spoilers. Being this was the last movie he would be doing for Hammer; I guess he figured “might as well go out with a bang.” He raises his voice to louder than it’s been in any other Dracula movie, and yet is also able to retain the ragged edge and depth of his voice acting. This is Christopher Lee at his prime, unfortunately not even there until the Third Act. And this finishes up TSRoD-CDahVB-DiDaWaLiL. A really cool concept and two fantastic actors put into a junk heap of crappy camera work, unbelievably amateur editing, a plot unfitting to the material and ruined because of it, an unfitting soundtrack and a majority of the cast being: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn7vnkIjfdU.
Go watch this movie if ya want, but you should skip to the last half an hour. 3/5
I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.
Double feature land here we come!
Welcome to the 10th entry in The Drankenstein Manathon II. While Jimmy Sangster was hanging’ round HoF, and Terrence Fisher was…nowhere to be seen apparently….Yeah, I mean, he was around for Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed! If they really wanted to see how Sangster did in the directing spot, why couldn’t they get Fisher to do this picture? It’s not like they were doing anything better! He had this random 5 year absence. The guy they got was probably a bad decision in terms of quality, but in terms of name power I guess it wasn’t a horrible idea. His name is Roy Ward Baker, and Hammer Fans might recognize him as director of Quatermass and the Pit, Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hide and the film that put ‘em out of business, The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires.
He would also work on The Avengers TV Series and a couple Sherlock Holmes movies. Anyways. While Sangster was doing HoF and Terrence was apparently jerking off in his room, Hinds decided to write a movie to double-feature Horror of Frankenstein. Seeing how Terrence was busy jerking off, he got Roy Ward Baker to direct and Aida Young to produce. She’s actually done her share of stuff for Hammer too, including She, One Million Years B.C., Prehistoric Women, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, Taste the Blood of Dracula and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. To draw an analogy, if Hammer’s best is in the $5 bin (which I hope it’s not) then Aida’s stuff is in the $2 bin. She was also assistant director for The Quatermass Xperiment which was Hammer’s first big film. Honestly I don’t know what else to talk about here, so let’s star this shit.
Hey! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! IT CANNOT BE! Renfield! Renfield Hey! Hey…hey Renfield! RENFIELD!! DON’T GO!!! DON ‘T, NO, NO YOU DIRTY TRICKSTERS NO!!!! Well, Renfield kinda is in this movie. After not showing up in any Hammer Drac. Films, he finally makes some sort of appearance. But he’s never referred to by name, and speaks only every so often. But we do have the main attraction everybody came for, and that would be The Count. Specifically Christopher Lee as Dracula. He wouldn’t stop playing Dracula in the Hammer films until much later. But we’ll get to that one in…about a week or so.
We’ve talked about Christopher Lee before, but there’s still enough to talk about here. Because this is actually one of his more unique roles. First off, he gets the most screentime. In a lot of Dracula flicks from Hammer, due to Lee not even appreciating the role throughout all of them (u fool sir) they often scripted Dracula to be in the first and last 15 minutes. Even when there was more of an allowance, the showing of THE MAIN ANTAGONIST was never very generous. This changes things around. He doesn’t show up for most of the first Act. His resurrection begins the first act and through the rest of Act I he’s asleep, his first vocal role jump starts Act II.
But throughout the movie he has much more to do. The other big difference is his humanity. In a lot of other Hammer films, Dracula only pretends to be human to attract victims. But you can always tell it’s just a disguise to protect his Satanic truth. In this movie, he does seem somewhat human. But not entirely. He’s in that weird place between humanity and Satanism. But unlike a Renfield, he seems calm in both places and not frustrated in the middle. This performance by Lee is extremely creepy and results in less predictability in the character. Continuing with the cast, Christopher Matthews plays Paul, this flick’s version of John Harker.
What has he been in? Well…not…much. But a few good picks. Doctor Who, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Scream and Scream Again, See No Evil (1971), and Space: 1999. In this movie he’s…really, really dry. I think his mentality was “English accent, English accent, English accent, English accent…what, I have to act?” The guy acts like he doesn’t want to be here but is trying to act like he does want to be here and is trying to act like he’s a guy who’s actually acting. Act. He’s forcing his performance but he’s at least putting effort into forcing his performance. Forcing performance. Do you people understand what I’m trying to get at? I sure hope you do. Because otherwise you’ve wasted a lot of your precious time. Whoever the fuck you are. What am I talking about? WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE? GOODNIGHT!
Yeah, Chris is not a great actor whatsoever. Sometimes he forces his shit so hard he actually ends up being funny. Take a look for “HELP MEEE! SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!”
Moving onto the atmosphere of this film, it’s…almost nonexistent. At least outside of Castle Dracula. When we get to Castle Dracula, that’s a whole nuddah story. FOG. SO MUCH FOG. Oh my God that’s a lot of Fog! Nobody remembers much about this movie, but it appears as if everybody remembers the set of Castle Dracula because FOG. Fucking overwhelming gusts. F.O.G. Oh, and the castle. It’s big. It’s hard. It’s built with bricks. It’s black. It’s back. And it has statues of crows. CROWS IS SAY. BIG BLACK STATUES OF CROWS. Creatures resting over wandering strangers. C.R.O.W.S.
The entire of the Castle is also really awesome. It has that old giant feeling of “I’ve been here for 500 years and I will be here for 500 more.” Yes. The castle is saying that. Last Tuesday was really weird. There’s also a lot of red, in the furniture, in the blankets, in the candles…OH I WNDR WHY?!?! http://tinyurl.com/74uraos. The only thing I kinda find absent from the interior is the feeling of imprisonment. It feels like a structure that could be left at any time, despite its enormous size. Considering our main character GETS TRAPPED, you’d figure it’d be nice if it felt like a trap? But whatever. I love crows, I love fog, I love stone giants, I love blood, I love Castle Dracula, and everything else is flat and uninteresting and this movie doesn’t look very good outside of C.D.
Dennis Waterman, back when he was young, plays Simon, Paul’s older brother. He’s been in nothing. Yes, he played in 81 titles and not a single one is worth noting. Maybe it’s a sign! Christopher at least was doing his best to force his acting. He was trying to put on a good performance even though he knew he wasn’t interested and knew he couldn’t do it. Dennis, on the other hand, is just boring and you know it. He puts a little less than bare minimum effort into his role and seeing his more prominent than even our version of John Harker here, that’s a huge let down man.
This is the part where I’ve already gotten kind of bored and I cover a bunch of bases without any detail whatsoever. Rest of the actors? Forced and dry. Soundtrack? Predictable and forgettable. Let us pretend Bernard didn’t do this, or we can realize he didn’t put any effort into it as he saw it wasn’t worth it. Pacing? Nothing is ever at steak, there’s almost no reason for the film to continue. We don’t care about the characters and the characters are the only emotional variables and thus we just don’t care. Blood and boobs? Gore is overly satisfying for gore hounds in specific scenes, but these scenes are few and far between.
Naked breasts are not present. SFX? You know how bad those bats look. While Horror of Frankenstein was a movie with redeeming qualities that was just held back by disorganization, this is just a cash-in film written by producer Anthony Hinds. I swear that guy’s got a curse on him or somethin’. If you’re a gorehound or a fan of Christopher Lee, I’d recommend finding a highlight reel of this movie and that’s it. 2/5
I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.
IT DIDN’T NEED A REMAKE JOHN EL—Sangster?
Welcome to the 9th entry in The Drankenstein Manathon II. Last time we visited Hammer Horror was at The Curse of The Werewolf. That was one of the first instances of John Elder, also known as Anthony Hinds, also known as DUDE YOU’RE NOT AN ARTIST, started writing for Hammer over Jimmy Sangster. To make a long story short, he was a crappy writer. He wrote for films like The Evil of Frankenstein, the story for Dracula: Prince of Darkness, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave and The Mummy’s Shroud. He had a couple of good movies, namely Frankenstein Created Woman and The Phantom of the Opera.
I suspect this is because A. England B. There are other talents working behind the scenes at Hammer and C. Even the worst have their moment to shine. In 1970, they had plans to remake the masterpiece The Curse of Frankenstein, where the Hammer staff was perfectly aligned. Terrence Fisher, awesome director, Anthony Hinds, awesome producer, and Jimmy Sangster, great writer. They don’t work that well when this placement is shuffled. Why remake it? Dunno. So, it seems fitting that Jimmy Sangster returns to write this movie, which is a remake of COF. Except that he’s also the director. And the producer. And he has a co-writer.
And John Elder or Terrence Fisher aren’t anywhere to be seen. And Lil’ Jimmy only directed 6 movies ever. And this was his first one he directed. *sighs.* Oh, and get this. According to Sangster, he looked at what Jeremy Burnham wrote for a first screenplay, said it was “just Curse all over again” and decided to spice it up with sex and humor. Sounds like he lost his sense of good filmmaking as he got older and was absent from filmmaking. Sounds like George Lucas. Great. But something that just takes this thing and adds 5 jack-in-the-box original soundtracks to the melting pot in Orlando, Texas, is that Burnham said he “got away with the humor and sex because nobody ever read the script.”
Question Mark. And if you’re wondering why this thing is a huge pain in the ass to find, it’s because it had no American money in its budget. It’s an entirely British production, which means American companies are not as apt to distribute the film to this c[o]untry. But anyways. I did find it somehow. So let’s review it.
OMPAACNT: 22522……Wait, how is it possible that THIS has a Certificate yet Curse of the Werewolf doesn’t?
One of the things I mentioned I was so fond of back when I reviewed COF was the atmosphere, specifically in Frankenstein’s laboratory. There’s a few changes to this interpretation I don’t really agree with. First off, the change of background. In COF, the room was made out of wooden planks. The choice of wooden planks and to have them littered with black spots represented an uneasiness – for lack of a better term – that was created through a rough texture, an uneven pattern in the colors and an unnatural fit of shapes. Think about rubbing against wood and rubbing wood against wood.
Maybe it’s not that unnerving but it’s much more so than BRICKS. Not even red bricks which are much brighter than most building materials which might replicated the feeling of imprisonment. In this film the lab is built out of gray and white, large bricks. You’ve rubbed your hand against brick before. It’s like rubbing against a pumice stone, sure it’s not silk by any stretch of the imagination but it’s on the comforting end of the feeling spectrum. The windows are also much larger than they were back in COF, which give a larger sense of optional escape. With a window which only a head can fit in, escape doesn’t feel like much of an option.
With these giant ass windows you can get out whenever you feel like. Plus they’re in a nice, comforting curve shape where the original windows were crooked squares. As for the technology, you don’t get to hear the bubbling stage that is in between life and death. Instead you get an ear-piercingly high pitched squeal of electric tools, which A. Don’t make too much sense given time and place B. Aren’t nearly as effective in a haunting atmosphere. I know I’m delving into one very specific thing a lot, which can bug some people, but I have my reasons. The lab is where a lot of the pivotal moments in the plot happen, and frankly it needs to work as a key stage piece. It’s still cool but knowing the alternative it kinda falls flat.
Moving onto Mr. Sangster’s writing, it actually….has….flaws. God Dammit. Well, you can take away the plural, because my gripe is with one thing specifically. The pace at which events occur. As a reminder to any newcomers, 30 minutes is my cutoff for spoilers. I could give a vague opinion on the pacing here, but I think an illustration would be easier for me and more poignant for you. In thirty minutes, the first act, Frankenstein goes to school, gets out of school, has sex with at least two women, KILLS HIS FATHER, goes to a University, gets a hold of a student, chef and servant, studies anatomy, drops out of the university and MURDERS TWO MORE PEOPLE AND A TORTOISE.
Doesn’t this seem like too much? Honestly I had a hard time following this because I expected the film to delve more into events and give us more detailed scenes, before I could say Dishwasher Super Saiyan they had already moved onto the next plot point. And this is not that type of movie, not like an Indiana Jones or Back to the Future where the point is keep things fast; these movies need to move slower so that both haunting and story elements have time to sink in. And that, ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, friends and neighbors, dude smoking marijuana in the background, is my gripe.
We’ll visit Sangster’s writing in an unspecified amount of carrots. For now we’ll discuss Frankenstein. Who is so obviously played by Peter Cuuuuuuntfuck! How did you not get Peter Cushing? You know, THE GUY WHO PLAYED FRANKENSTEIN IN EVERY DAMN FRANKENSTEIN MOVIE?!?! Every single one until the very last one! I would like to believe it was a sickness or injury, as is typical with Cushing’s career, but I can’t find any proof of it. Not even mention. So as far as I know they just made a crappy casting decision!...Well, crappy in terms of name recognition. Maybe not crappy in terms of playing. First, let me discuss Frankenstein as a character. This guy is Badass. He’s wisecracking, hubristic, inexorable, and perverted. He always hits the jokes the best of his peers by many strides to come. To prove this to you, let me provide you with a little quote of his:
"Hold out your hand boy." - Instructor
"No sir." - Frankenstein
"I beg your pardon?"
"If I were to allow you to beat me it would be an admission on my part that you are superior to me. Since this is patently not the case, I cannot allow it."
As for the actor, his name is Ralph Bates. We’ve discussed the guy before, he played Lord Courtly in Taste the Blood of Dracula, and he also played the titular character in Dr. Jekyll/Sister Hide. I didn’t go into much detail about him before, so I’ll go into a little more about him here. He puts on what I would like to call a C Thru performance. I wouldn’t say See Through or else I’d say he’s a bad actor. Interpret this as you will. Basically, from what I can tell (the amount of media relating to this movie is disturbingly absent) Ralph’s mentality goes a little thing like this: “Okay. I’m gonna just do what the director tells me to and wing everything else.”
This leads to a mental unpredictability that results in the actor allowing the character to literally spill through his mouth; unfortunately leaving the actor irrelevant. Almost as if there was no actor, Ralph allows Dr. Frankenstein to be Dr. Frankenstein and not Dr. Frankenstein Played by Ralph Bates. (Y) (Y) for you good sir. This revolves back into Sangster’s writing. We talked about his character, now we’re going to talk about his comedy. You know I don’t have the greatest sense of comedy, I mean I don’t even like the Naked Gun movies that much. But I do love the Back to the Future movies so maybe I can say something about the comedic value of this movie.
I find a lot of the jokes to be clever in nature as they pick on clichés from classic Hammer films with all the respect in the world. They’re not extremely subtle but they’re about as close to subtle as I suspect they were going to be anyways. The comedy is well timed and is a very good tool which gets Frankenstein over as a completely overzealous bastard. And honestly after the comedy he still does a lot of terrible things (his murder count I believe goes into the double-digits.) The only problem with the comedy is maybe the lack of jokes later on in the movie. It’s like they used up all the good wise-cracking for the earlier portion of the movie and it feels like they’ve pretty run out of a sense of humor by forty minutes in. It’s just sad, I think, because this movie is legitimately funny when it wants to be. It’s like the feeling when you see smart kid deliberately hanging out with junior high level perverts.
Now we move on to the soundtrack of the film. It’s done by Malcolm Williamson. In terms of movies, the guy has done stuff like Sherlock Holmes and the Masks of Death and Brides of Dracula. He also wrote one spot for The Matrix Reloaded way after retirement. His real spotlight, however, was being Master of the Queen’s Music. This means that he did all the music for The Queen of England back in his lifetime. That’s kind a big deal, ya know? So, with that large positive on his resume, is his music any good? Well…meh. It’s very stereotypical stuff, a lot of pieces you can recognize and have heard before. Not exactly but they have the same feeling and doesn’t distinct itself very well. It’s also not very subtle, the soundtrack would almost be thrown in your face we’re making an emotion if it weren’t for the fact it’s played sparsely and quietly. At least we can tell it was made for the movie!
Probably the only thing that stays close to CoF is the fact The Monster doesn’t appear until the last act of the film. This movie’s Monster is very different from most Monsters. You know how most are, they’re deformed beyond believability, an arrangement of colors, completely disgusting. Which works for most movies. In fact it works better than this. But I do applaud this movie for being A. Different; and B. More logical in terms of storyline. He looks like a human being stitched together! To the tee! Skin color, design, he looks like a bunch of body parts put together.
Well…except for that massive head, but we’ve gotta please UMM fans SOMEHOW, RIGHT?!?! He is taller than most people but he also has very scrawny arms, showing that this guy came from different bodies. Or the actor did some selective weight lifting before this movie, whichever happened in real life I really can’t tell. Salt addiction raises concern amongst some mothers. The Monster is played by Darth Vader. Darth Vader has also been in A Clockwork Orange, Casino Royale, The Beverly Hillbillies, Doctor Who, The Tomorrow People, Gulliver’s Travels (1977), Jabberwocky, The People That Time Forgot, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Benny Hill Show, and of course played himself in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi.
As you probably know Darth Vader does have some speaking issues so they had to get Mufasa to do his voice in Star Wars and I can’t believe I publish this bullcrap. You can tell George Lucas chose David Prowse in The Original Trilogy out of admiration for the Frankenstein and Dracula franchises. I mean, did anybody notice the cape? Did anybody notice Darth Vader’s resurrection scene in Revenge of the Sith? And besides, David Prowse was doing a mainly physical role in his movies before, so it makes sense he’d get a guy who would have a voice over.
Well that’s it for HoF. Final Verdict? The unfortunate result of an experienced writer being pushed into the director’s chair and sacrificing organization in this film. While the film harbors very amusing comedy, interesting make-up and an honorable lead actor, it falls victim to comedy running dry in the last half of the film, a stereotypical soundtrack and worst an illogical series of events. I’d say you won’t regret viewing the film if you are a fan of Frankenstein, Hammer or English Horror, but no matter who you are and especially if you are not the formerly mentioned three, there is no regret for dying without a viewing of this film. 2.7/5
I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.
Now this is one movie I don’t blame Netflix for not putting on their Insant Play.
So our 7th entry in The Drankenstein Manathon II (on time THANK GOD) is a…aa…aaa….well, it’s one of those movies. Remember how in the 1960’s, there was a bunch of random crappy tie-ins? Yeah, like the 1930s, Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man were immensely popular in the 1960’s due to specific adaptations. In this case, it was Hammer’s line. 1965 being one of Hammer’s most abundant years. Unlike the 1930s however, the classic stories of Dracula and Frankenstein were public domain, and there were several public domain Werewolf stories to fall back on.
During this time we saw such treasured pieces of pulp fiction as Frankenstein vs. Baragon, Assignment Terror, Mad Monster Party, Billy the Kid vs. Dracula, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, so on and so forth. Also very close to the 1960’s were films like Frankenstein 1970, Return of Dracula, Frankenstein’s Daughter, I Was A Teenage Frankenstein, Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Flesh for Frankentesin, Blood for Dracula, and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. I feel like there are actually few gems in that collection of crap, take Frankenstein’s Daughter, Mad Monster Party and The Return of Dracula.
Nonetheless, the cinema industry was TOTALLY POLLUTED with this shit! With a cover like that, a title like that, and a budget of 60K, I really don’t expect this to be any different. But we can try
Well, this movie in plot has pretty damn fucking close to nothing involving Frankenstein. But it does have something. Our main character is a man-made cyborg, mostly human but synthetic skin and electrical current controlled by the mechanical brain. He’s played by Robert Reily, who has absolutely no loved titles to his name other than this one. If this is loved by anybody, which I’m sure it is. Do you wanna know the character’s name? Do you really, REALLY want to know what the name of the character is? Col. Sanders. Yes, so a walking cyborg part Col. Sanders part Frankenstein’s Monster is going to face off against The Space Monster, who just so happens to be if you took the CGI creatures from the reinvention of Return of the Jedi and a Gorilla together, and a race of aliens that has no women yet simultaneously has plenty of women.
This does sound [fun], right?!?! Right?!?! Well…kind of? Let’s talk about Col. Frankenstein first. His make-up comes in before the 30 minute mark. The half of his head that holds the machinery helping his brain has its skin burnt off, revealing the machinery in a fleshy coat. He just so happens to have really nice black hair and big shoulders. That’s how they were able to make a somewhat Frankie monster look on the promotional card. As a Monster, which is what he is most of the movie, he’s pretty much just your generic “I’m gonna stick my hands somewhere I shouldn’t grunt and kill people like some gigantic ultra-retard” that is the stereotype of Frankenstein.
As a normal dude, which is what he is for only one scene, I guess he’s not that bad. His voice and tempo in his voice is definitely one characterizing the 50’s and early 60’s – interestingly enough since this was in 1965 – but he also has kind of a “don’t fuck with me because I’ve been fucked with and I know how to fuck other people,” attitude, like he has some dark mysterious past. I wanna see a Sci-Fi Drama about this guy in his normal state, some sort of cyborg trying to interact with the world and eventually going mad. But I guess then they’d just have to label it as a remake of Frankenstein, right? God Dammit now I just wanna push my DVD of Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein in.
Umm…hi, how are ye today? Yes, I agree. Fucking soundtracks, how do they work? According to Ross Gaffney they don’t work at all. First off, he’s credit as “Original Music Done By.” Second, this is HIS ONLY FUCKING SOUNDTRACK ON THE FACE OF THE FUCKING PLANET MOTHERFUCKER. Oh, hi James Rolfe, you want to sue me? Third, his soundtrack fucking sucks. You know that typical 50’s soundtrack? (For a movie made in the 60’s no less.) Those electric beeps used for the UFOs? That beach music that was the predecessor to the theme for Pulp Fiction? Some random rip-off of The Beatles?
The really loud, booming music used for when the BIG REVEAL of the creature comes? You know, that stuff? It may be because of the abundance of viewing when it comes to 50’s Sci-Fi on my part, however I find this type of soundtrack overused, cliché, uninteresting, stale, wooden and thesaurus. But when you mess it up…And I ain’t just talkin’ about it’s not as good as other movies, I’m talkin’ about they seriously fucked it up to points you can’t even expect. You take such a heinous curse of a decade and you mess it the fuck up?!?! YOU FUCK THIS SHIT UP?!?! This soundtrack is just rancid. Complete and utter total garbage, shit packed in more shit packed in more shit! The worst motherfucking soundtrack that I’VE EVER HEARD!!! EVER!!! OH MY GOD, EVER!!! Excuse me while I go listen to something good to get that off my chest!
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, fucking editing how does it work? I’ll tell ya how fucking editing works. Editing works so that a bunch of loss parts make a story. When you fail at it, it feels like loose parts still. Even the most idiotic pieces of hogwash drivel tend to do okay at the editing department. They at least seem coherent to a possible screenplay. When you see where every 10 minutes there will be at least 5 scenes out of order, you just can’t stand the fucking thing. When you see TWO SONGS. TWO SONGS MIND YOU. MIXED TOGETHER. Can you honestly stand it? Do you think this is quality filmmaking?
Do you think MASHING TWO SONGS TOGETHER can be good filmmaking? Can you honestly tell me that having a large scene in one location, one tiny tiny scene in another location and then immediately switching back to the former location is good editing? NO! It’s just a fucking retard with a fucking pair of clippers who’s jerking off to God knows what is in his bedroom! This editing just is abhorrent, abominable, appalling, awful, distasteful, degrading, disgusting, dreadful, poorly executed, heinous, hideous, loathsome, lousy, lurid, nasty, obnoxious, repellent, revolting, scandalous, trashy, thesaurus, terrible, ungodly, unholy damnation of mankind!!!
Monte Schwartz and Maurice Rosenblum! You two are responsible for this travesity of a finished film!!! YOU MUST GO TO HELL! And I mean it! I’m not talking the first floor where people like Gandhi and Thomas Jefferson reside. I’m talking the floor where people like George Lucas and Michael Bay are destined to be! Betrayers of your own craft you are! Holes, you must die in! BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Hi, my names Edward. I’m doing a review of Mr. Jefferson Fucks up His Lady in Las Vegas.
Now that I’m back on the tracks, let’s…try to continue. You know when a movie is so bad, you fall asleep? It’s pretty much a joke used in the film community. And no, falling asleep after a long night doesn’t count. I mean when a movie is just so bad that your brain stops finding use in any functions necessary of consciousness and slips into subconsciousness to preserve your functions. Well, I’ve never done that, but this movie put me really damn close. I was right on the edge, about to fall asleep. That’s how wooden the acting is. And that’s how bad this movie is.
You can’t even get enjoyment from making fun of it. It just makes so many mistakes any possible jokes you can muster are either contrived or have been used up 30 times before the end of the first Act! Maybe before the first reel! This movie is fucking horrible, if only it was a little better it’d be good in a MST3K kinda way. But it’s just awful, stay away at all costs! There’s absolutely nothing good going for it! Making fun of it, MAKING FUN OF IT, is ruined within the first 30 minutes! Well, Grown-Ups, you’re about to get some company. 0/5
I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.
The 7th entry in The Drankenstein Manathon II
So let me see if I can wrap this one around for you. The first Werewolf movie ever made was called The Werewolf, which is basic enough of a title. Then the next two were The Wolf Man from 1924 and 1929, which was adapted into a 1941 film that spawned three sequels crossing over with Dracula and Frankenstein and was put on a DVD Box Set that included Werewolf of London that had a remake called An American Werewolf in London that had a sequel An American Werewolf in Paris which shares a staking resemblance to the 1933 book A Werewolf in Paris which was not inspiration for Werewolf in London however this movie The Curse of the Werewolf which was Hammer’s version of The Wolf Man since The Wolf Man is not public domain but they already did Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is based off the book A Werewolf in Paris which was in addition to being adapted into An American Werewolf in Paris which is a sequel to An American Werewolf in London was also made into a 1975 film Legend of the Werewolf but I will not be reviewing that movie because it is nowhere to be seen whatsoever except on pirating sites which can cause viruses and are ILLEGAL.
For any of you who’s head aren’t hurting from that, let us continue. Let’s see….uuuugh….NOTHING! Well done sir! I don’t feel I need to re-iterate that Hammer was on a role reviving several famous public domain characters from the 30’s and 40’s such as Frankenstein, Dracula, Van Helsing, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, The Abominable Snowman, The Mummy, The Brides of Dracula, The Son of Dracula (?), The Cave Girls, The Phantom of the Opera and The Gorgon. Eeer…wait, I just did. Fuck you people. Fuck all of you. I hope you have a nice time eating the flesh off of Gandhi in Hell. So umm…oh, one more thing. This is technically a re-review. My original review of this movie was uuumm…yeah, just google Hard Fight Yeah and I think you get some sort of idea why I’m going back and doing a lot of reviews over again. Speaking of which, I got a little surprise for you guys in a week. But that’s a later thing.
So without further bad punch line, let’s start this baby!
I have a bunch of things to speak about that tie together so excuse me if there’s a mop on the left side of the floor and a broom on the right side of the ceiling. The film is told in a straightforward narrative, typical of…stories. And it’s just not a story that should work this way. I mentioned before that this film is based on a novel, Werewolf in Paris, and I would assume the story might work in a straightforward construction in a hundred-ending number count of a novel. With all the excessive detail that authors love to use to bloat their writings – and rightfully so mind you – the pacing might have been well used.
But this isn’t a book, this is a novel, and 2/3 things that are explained by a novel are right in front of your eye and not told but shown. After all, it is a visual medium. But let’s talk about that later. The back-story to this movie could fill an entire film in its own, there’s more than enough characters and a setting with plenty of opportunities. Hell, look at Shawshank Redemption if you don’t believe me. Sure this would have a smaller cast, but nothing unworkable. But instead of my hypothetical film. it is rushed into reel one of the film.* One of my biggest pet peeves is when things in movies are rushed.
First off, it doesn’t let the audience soak in any of the emotions that the filmmakers are attempting to make us feel. Second, it leaves us out extra details of the plot that would assist the emotions in addition to simple time levels. And that’s what movies are, isn’t it? Emotional art? As you may have suspected, this is one of those times that Anthony Hinds, clearly a PRODUCER, not an ARTIST, attempts to screen write as John Elder. I wish I could reach into The Rock’s time machine and tell Lil’ Johnny that he has to do this differently. How I would have done it is if the film started after the whole back-story.
The origins of this mysterious mute woman who was found would be revealed throughout the film as she eventually succeeds at communicating with her new found housemates. But no, we just show it instead of trying to be clever, MR. HINDS?!?! Oh, and if you still have any doubt that I am being just with this film, let me tell you THERE’S A NARRATOR. In a serious film, YOU DO NOT, repeated and exaggerated, YOU DO NOT PUT IN A NARRATOR. Now that I am done losing any reputation I had, let’s move on¿ Uuugh... Richard Wordsworth plays “The Beggar.” (Whether there should have been a man who played him is another discussion altogether.)
He’s worked with Hammer before this movie in a notable amount, in films such as The Revenge of Frankenstein and The Quatermass Xperiment. Other than this and those two, his filmography is…well, it looks like MySpace. What can I tell you? His acting role is pretty underwhelming. He does his job, he’s not horrible. I feel like it’s just like he doesn’t like his job. No matter how much he tried, I’m guessing Dick thought his job was a dick in the butt. I don’t’ see a beggar on the screen, I see a guy playing a beggar on the screen. He’s not convincing whatsoever. Very forced, not natural, I mean he’s doing his job but that’s about it. I don’t like his acting role, which is sad because his character lends some extremely good opportunities to artistic genius. His story is so sad but his acting and Anthony’s writing combined just remove any real emotion from this concept.
*For those unaware, ‘reels’ refers to the five reels that make up a film. It always depends on length, but that is the typical amount that theaters receive them in. Since those types of details tend to get lost, they are simple references to fifths of the film. Likewise, Acts are the thirds of the film, referring to the Beginning, Middle and End.
Alright, so who’s next on the actor’s list? Oliver Reed?...Yes, yes…Gladiator…Three Musketeers….The Incredible Adventures of Marco Polo and his Journeys to The End of the Earth…I was in the Movie with the Greatest Title…mmmhmm…Oh hey Jason whuzzup? Jn\pnisa]pni5...........Of course. The day I review a horror movie that takes place in SPAIN, there MUST BE a Tuesday the 13th!!!! For those who don’t know, Tuesday the 13th in some parts of Spain is the equivalent of Friday the 13th. Well, its a few days later and I’ve fended off Jason Voorhees for now. Just like every other wannabe AVGN/Nostalgia Critic.
I’ve forgotten most of the movie at this point, but I can tell you one thing. The acting in this movie, IS FUCKING ATROCIOUS. Seriously, they take clichés and make them seem 100x more ridiculous than a fucking Scary Movie could make them look!!! I—I just---WHAT?!?! Seriously!!!...Umm, yeah, what was that about being a wannabe Nostalgia Critic? Anyways. Final thoughts. It’s not really that great of a movie. As I didn’t specify, the werewolf effects and gore is pretty good. WHEN IT SHOWS UP IN THE LAST 20 MINUTES. And if you like an antagonist who’s really a good guy out of control, this also will make a fix. But, if you’re anything but that, you probably shouldn’t watch. I hate to say it but, 2/5.
I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.
Well whaddya know! A film in The Drankenstein Manathon II that actually has to do with one of our three characters!
Well there’s not a ton of behind-the-scenes information. You could look at it in one of a few ways. One is that it’s just another B-Movie double feature that came alongside Frankenstein’s Daughter and Frankenstein 1970. And there’s definitely truth to that, after it all it came as a double feature with The Flame Barrier. The film has a strong cult following, and from what I’ve gathered, they view the film as an under-viewed classic that has been tossed to the wayside because of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing; such is the way with Frankenstein’s Daughter and Frankenstein 1970. You saw those reviews, didn’t you? You could also look at it in the way of something more original, such as Blood for Dracula or Dracula 2000 – both not exactly what I’m hoping for here – due to its original-ish plot. Whatever the case, I want to watch this movie, so let’s watch it! *Snap Snap* It’s movie time!
You never know what I’ll start off with, do you? The soundtrack in this film is done by Gerald Fried, who has a lot of experience. Make of the quality of the large quantity experience what you will. Highlights in his filmography include Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Star Trek, The Cable Guy, The Killing, Killer’s Kiss, The Vampire, Gilligan’s Island, Lost in Space, Mission: Impossible (TV Show), Star Trek New Voyages, I Mobster (yes, it exists), The Lost Missile, Terror in Texas Town, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (’62 version), several United Artists flicks, Jericho, Iron Horse, The Flying Nun, National Geographic, Maneaters are Loose, aaand by this point who the fuck cares anymore.
But you’ll be happy to know that his score is….actually….really good! To describe it is simple: Sweeping+(1958xMusic). I don’t know what details you really need after that. The one problem with this soundtrack is that it doesn’t exactly match what’s happening onscreen, therefore it tends to overpower the story and actors. But I guess that’s okay. And now, for something completely unrelated. Francis Lederer plays Count Dracula, in a very, different sort of role. He also has an odd filmography, consisting of Pandora’s Box, The Gay Deception, Midnight, Confessions of a Nazi Spy and Terror Is A Man.
In this film, I stress, he plays a role I haven’t really seen out of a Count Dracula before. He takes the identity of artist Bella “no shit right” Gordal, to get close to his family. We assume, since it is Dracula, that he is attempting to get in close for a few kills and a gallon of blood. And the only similarity he has to the Bela he is based on is the foreign accent. Otherwise, this is a totally different guy. He’s not swave, well mannered, or attractive beyond just meh and the accent; and he’s not creepy, dead or ugly like most other depictions of Dracula. He moves slowly, yes, but not in the way of a deadman.
To make the most efficient description, this Count Dracula is a pedophile. But not a jokingly, Shakespeare and Sharpedo Bear kind of pedophile. I mean a guy who knows he is going to take innocence away from completely undeserving individuals. And he’s ashamed of it. He views himself as The Devil, and has trouble getting up at night. But he still does it, because it is what drives him through the day. Francis gives a perfectly satisfactory performance to this very interesting view of The Count, and I applaud director Paul Landres for this depiction; for it is truly a director’s gift to the audience.
Speaking of which, let’s get our introduction to the director. Paul Landres has worked on, other than this, The Flame Barrier, The Vampire, Naked Gun (1956; yes, it’s a remake), Studio 57, The Lone Ranger, Eyes of the Jungle, Dakatari, The Cisco Kid, and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. To continue talking about some of the things more under the director’s control, let’s talk about the atmosphere. The film is very dark all around, even during the daytime sunlight is scarce. It’s shot in black and white in a year when M*G*M would prefer color out of their filmmakers.
Err…well, there’s one color scene, but I won’t spoil it. But fret not UMM lovers, we get our shots of the full moon, fake bats, Dracula making his slow entrance out of his coffin (that one’s fantastic by the way), and FOG. Gotta love that fucking fog! The camera work is also something to talk about. It’s shot by Jack MacKenzie, who also worked on…fuck you Jackie I ain’t going through 191 titles to pick and choose so my review gets bloated another 3 sentences. Oh, and just so we’re clear HE’S DEAD. But I at least put your name in before talking about your work.
The first thing to mention is what I first brought up in my H.O.W. review. Which was the important part of camera work is not the artistic integrity, it is the subtle camera angles that can make or break the movie. Well, first off, the camera angles couldn’t be better in another point on the spherical field of vision for most shots, unless we’re talking something REALLY creative like the entire movie being shot overhead….actually, I think I gotta contact Universal, that sounds like a really good idea! Just need to figure out which cinematographers have telekinesis. Anyways.
As an added bonus, the camera is typically in the exact right place for the film to play with shadows. There’s a shot where the shadow is aligned around Dracula’s head so that it looks just like he’s wearing a mask. Clever, considering he’s posing as another person. Another shot is when he gets out of bed, there’s a few haunting seconds where Dracula is completely shrouded in darkness; possibly representing the mystery behind this man that the other residents of the house are blind to. It’s a really great looking movie, no doubt about that. Now let’s talk about something not as good. The dialogue. The dialogue in this movie, is pretty poor. When you put words like “silly” and “snow job” in your film, you can’t really expect people to say you did good. The narrator in the beginning says “It is a known fact there was a Count Dracula in Eastern Europe.” I…must I say more?
I think not.
The pacing is also not very fantastic. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this might be an example of too much time spent on developing the characters. So much time in the film is devoted to giving characters personalities, that they don’t spend enough time actually doing stuff. Yeah, this one girl is a nurse by night for the disabled, that’s good stuff. But apparently she wants to be a dress designer by day, and eventually it gets to the point where enough is enough. Stuffs gotta happen in order to make your movie durable. And ironically enough, I’ve decided I’m going to wrap this up here. The film’s negative are apparent throughout, the dialogue and pacing, but do not detract from a great lead actor, exceptional cinematography, classic atmosphere, and an extremely sweeping soundtrack. A definite recommendation for any fan of “The Monsters.” 4/5
I, Da Ca$hman, singing off. Next time on The Drankenstein Manathon II: Judas Maccabeus Inc.
And no, I’m not going to do the 2005 version. Wanna know why? Because it doesn’t have a guy named Ygor in it, SUCK MY DRY DOCK.
So where do I start with this one? Vincent Price? The 3-D? How it connects to The Drankenstein Manathon II? How often I’m going to do Drankenstein Manathon II reviews?...Let’s go backwards. First, how often am I going to do Drankenstein Manathon II reviews? My goal is to have 3 movies a month, going through the entire year, but some situations will cause 4 and 2 reviews per month such as the last two. It will average out so I can get them all done is my point. And if this sounds too ambitious…oh hell yeah it is, but as King Stephen VI said, “if you don’t start off too big for your britches, how are you gonna fill ‘em when you grow up?
Let it rip regardless of what anybody tells you, that’s my idea; sit down and smoke that baby!” Oh how wonderful it is that he would show up here. Now, let’s talk about the movie at hand, with the 3-D. While Man in the Dark, released literally two days earlier, was the first major 3-D movie released in America, House of Wax was the first major color 3-D movie in America. In addition to being the first major color 3-D movie in America, it was also a remake of the last two-strip color film. In addition to being the first major color 3-D movie in America and also a remake of the last two-strip color film, it also turned the format from a mystery to horror. Not only ‘*gets knocked out*’. “Jesus, Ca$hman, it worked once, don’t use that joke again!”
Alright, alright. However, the indie film Bwana Devil, was the first 3-D movie released, and only a few months prior to H.O.W. Those three films pretty much started up the whole 3-D craze of the 50’s-60’s, and I can tell you, it was a lot more charming and novelty-like than the 3-D craze we have today. Though not as promising as today’s and especially the craze of the 1980’s. We’re not going to talk about the 3-D craze that happened between ’01-’03 or so. And ugh…okay, we’ll get to Vincent Price and other things later, you guys want a review, LET’S START THIS THING ALREADY DAMMIT!!
The film starts off on the exact same set Mystery of the Wax Museum started on. The blue, dreary road that showcased the credits, and a very similar though not exact museum. Interesting how they are in different buildings distinctively. Smells like fan fiction. There’s different statues now, such as Abe Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth, but the main attraction Marie Antionette is present in all her glory. All of there, 99% life-like appearance. Then of course, we get to the main part of the movie that everybody remembers. Where everything goes to hell. Everything lights on fire and melts a very waxy death.
(heh heh…me made a pun.) And it’s pretty damn good. I wouldn’t say it’s THE SCENE everybody talks about, since the buildup is only 10 minutes. But for what it is, it’s pretty nice. Definitely just nice to see it in three-strip colors and not two-strip colors. One major change from there is that instead of seeing our lead Henry Jarrod, played by Vincent Price, being taken to a Morgue and escape, he has simply been waiting in the museum for years and years after the accident to take out any unsuspecting inspectors.
So, how is our man, Henry Jarrod played by Vincent Price? Well, let’s start off with the easy one, the makeup. Freddy Krueger’s retarded younger cousin, that is all that needs to be said about that. Now let’s talk about how he moves outside of the wheelchair. And…he’s pretty much a combination of Dracula and The Wolf Man, as he probably should be. He also wears a Zorror-type outfit, which adds to his uniqueness. Vincent Prince as Henry in the wheelchair is fucking great. His diatribes about his work and everything he did – whether he is truthful or not – to make them, is freaking fantastic. He makes the movie so creepy. The world around him is honestly extremely cheesy, but his story and his character paint a bleak oil all over this happy-go-lucky fantasy. That’s a horror star right there.
As I implied, most of the characters outside this world are not very interesting. A happy-go-lucky world smeared by the greatness that is Henry’s darker world….I’m starting to wonder if this was made as a darkly ironic parallel to slaughter houses. Thoughts fall off my hand like rain off a cloud I wonder if the next Pokemon game will be called Gray. There are two other pieces that make Henry’s factory/House of Wax as cool as it is. His two main learning sculptures. First is Igor, played by….Charles Bronson, no way! Igor is a deaf-mute. How the hell he gets around I’m not certain, but it’s okay this IS a movie. His face is human, but it is not anywhere near attractive. At one point, Vincent says that he’s “not impolite, he’s deaf and mute.” He seems human, but he’s not complete. As if his soul is lost. Lost in the sounds of the past, because they’re not in the sounds of the present.
The other one I really like is Leon Averill, played by Nedrick Young. He was unaccredited, and on the IMDB list is at the very bottom. I have no idea why, for God’s sakes there were so many extras and useless roles when this one was a work of art! He’s a very layered character. On the very outside he just seems like a shy kid who isn’t much of a notice. Another layer in, he’s a scholar, an artist, and a gentlemen. And even deeper than that, he would gladly take the job title Satan’s Serveant, and he would be Employee of the Month every single time the award is given out.
And then in the deepest reaches of his personality, he is simply afraid. Of what, it’s a little hard to tell…but he’s afraid. Very, afraid. And because of these layers, he’s very subtle, which is always good in film; as applies to the rule “Show, don’t Tell.” The other assistant we get to see is Scott Andrews played by Paul Picerni. He’s not that great, just a generic sweet kid with grease in his hair, who has a girlfriend he’s taking out to the super special date. And yet he actually gets billed on the card. How?!?! Ah well...If the cast of the Three Villains doesn’t sell this movie to you, the cinematography will.
It’s not extremely artistic and nothing very innovative, but it doesn’t need to be to be good camera work. All it needs to be is fresh. We’ve seen a lot of camera angles in our time, and subtle things like that can make a huge difference in how much we wanna view the film, subconsciously. I can’t think of many camera angles that aren’t fresh and interesting, even if it means just running a few extra degrees. That’s what movies desperately need. Maybe in the beginning there’s some lesser camera work, but it’s really good. I would also say that the lighting is a lot better, which is another one of those things that is subconscious and helps, but I don’t know if I can accurately say that since I haven’t seen the real transfer of the first movie.
Regardless, for its own right, I love the lighting. Very deep and colorful, not a stale set in the entire movie, even the wet streets of the city. A lot of golds and blues, very nice. I also like how a lot of scenes from the original are re-created here. The beginning, for instance. Also, while Henry doesn’t sneak into the morgue immediately after the beginning, he does go eventually and it’s pretty much the same scene but shot better and with better actors. Also, the scene where our leading later reveals the true face of Henry to herself is re-created, but in a different part of the narrative yet again. Henry also uses pretty much the same room for creating his wax figures.
This movie is a perfect, and by perfect I mean prototypical – but also perfect – example of how to do a remake that shows great affection for the original, yet betters on nearly everything that the original film was flat on. Not only that, but it’s a great watch on it’s own. The villains are great, the lighting and camera work is great, the plot is great, it’s a very fun watch and I recommend it very well. 4.2/5
I, Da Ca$hman, singing off. Next time on the Drankenstein Manathon II: We finally review a movie with one of our title characters in it!
It’s on the Legacy Collections…it counts…right?!?!
Yeah, there is a really disappointing amount of background info on this. I understand, since this isn’t really important. It was Universal trying to suck the last bit of Werewolf Money after they killed The Wolf Man, which is a sad thing indeed. Yet, the last time I watched it, I remember it being quite good, comparatively better than Werewolf of London if not for it being more unique. Let’s start this shall we?
With the dialogue. This dialogue is pretty plain from the ground up. It’s the kind of dialogue where, if an actor only uses its face value, it’s going to be pretty dry. On the other hand, any well trained actress/actor can easily take these lines and make them of some sort of importance. If you want to get more specific about it, short-term concepts contained in the dialogue are definitely overused plot devices, however are serious issues and can be taken in fresh ways. Also, the wording is very usual. It’s very much a set of lines that permits the actor’s execution, and if the execution matches the original lines then it becomes really dry.
Which is unfortunately, kind of a thing here. Can’t say I expected too much, since the actor with the most potential here is Lloyd Corrigan (It’s a Mad. Mad, Mad, Mad, World and The Manchurian Candidate), but c’mon you guys can do better than this. Everybody is just another cliché of the story, nothing extremely interesting. There’s no juices flowing here. It’s like the actors/actresses took the roles they were given and squeezed all the liquids and suds out of the roles to make the driest sponge. Then the soundtrack, again, is so cliché it’s a few steps away from being a parody of soundtracks from the Black+White+Sound=Films.
The main character, Phyllis, is actually a pretty cool character though. I still don’t like her actor, but let’s say if this was strictly written I’d think she’s pretty cool. Not only is she confused and very guilty about her possible – and she suspects definite – werewolfery – which is a plot device I will always fall for if not that it was done so well in Universal’s house – but she is also dealing with an aunt who is extremely concerned on marrying her daughter, Carol Winthrop, based on financial statues. I know that’s an overused plot point, but I just CANNOT stand people like that, for a multitude of reasons.
I won’t go into all of that shit now, but…MAN. And, there’s something else someone might suspect that also makes me really pissed off at her. No thanks to her actress, the character of Martha Winthrop is a really entertaining villain. Both in her own right, and in helping Phyllis seem more interesting. I’m not entirely certain how to really sell you on this, but the main antagonist, protagonist, and their conflict, is extremely riveting. But with the way it is worded, and the other actors being very poor…well, if you want me to be honest I’d really like to see this movie novelized. That’s where I think this story belongs. But for what it is now, while 60% is complete trash, the other 40% is freaking great. So I’ll let it pass with a 3/5
I, Da Ca$hman, singing off. Next Time: The Price is Right.
The Third Entry in the Drankenstein Manathon II.
Alright, if you didn’t already guess, I’ll be doing Three DFM2’S per month. This is the last of January, The Return of the Vampire. Getting a little – a little – more on track. After the success of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, Universal wanted to continue the crossover cash-ins with Dracula vs. The Wolf Man. Posters and a script were produced with full intention to make a full blown Technicolor film. However, the film would call for The Wolf Man to never meet up with Dracula due to Lon Chaney Jr. playing a Triple-Roll of Lawrence Talbot, The Wolf Man, and Count Dracula.
That would be disappointing. After an unsuccessful attempt to grab Lugosi for the role, the studio scrambled. They would have to pick up somebody who didn’t have much name recognition. Nobody else they saw fit to play Dracula. Plus, they had to write a whole new script in order to have them fight. When the first possibility of House of Frankenstein – which originally was meant to have 9 monsters show up – they grabbed the idea and ran, as they knew they could get some more name recognition and solve this whole conundrum. Of course it ended up being 5 monsters, but those characters are enough name recognition.
However, in House of Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolf Man do not square off. So Columbia Pictures beat them to the punch of having the One-on-One match…and with Bela Lugosi. He wouldn’t return to the Universal cycle of Vampires until 1948’s A&CMF&D&TWM. And I have no clever transitional statement.
Well let’s start by talking about the setup. This movie almost acts as a movie before the movie within the movie…”Precinemaception,” I now deem it. We follow our vampire, Armand Tesla, played by Bela Lugosi, going down and hunting blood. Not to mention, he’s also in control of Andreas Obry the Werewolf, played by Matt Willis. So the family that is being stalked goes ahead and…kills the Vampire. Right there, in the beginning of the movie! Then, World War II happens…yeah, you got me on that artistic decision…And the Graveyard where the Vampire is buried is suddenly uprooted.
Did they fucking use the Family Guy tactic to come up with this plot? When the grave is uprooted, some dudes find it and think it honorable to remove the streak that Tesla previous had. And now, he’s alive again, and taking control of The Werewolf Andreas. And that’s where the movie really begins. So basically, we just went through an entire Vampire-Werewolf movie just to get to the point where it feels like a sequel to that movie. So now let’s talk about The Resident Werewolf of this movie, Andreas Obry. He’s not that great. As a Werewolf, he acts pretty normal. He speaks English, is intelligent, and is not even his own man.
Since he’s controlled by Tesla, he’s more of a Renfield type character. And nobody can replace Renfield. NOBODY. NOBODY CAN REPLACE RENFIELD, SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU VEGETARIAN BITCHES, WE RUN THE GAME NOW, ONE WRONG MOVE AND WE’LL EAT YOU! As far as his movements go, he crouches but other than that he’s extremely tame. Not to mention, his makeup makes him look like some really dumb dog. Definitely not the work of Universal. Definitely a contender for worst Werewolf in a motion picture. But, as a human, he’s pretty good. He makes me think of if there was a MUCH more sophisticated pro wrestler acting in this movie. If Captain Lou Albano was artistic and sympathetic. Yeah, can you tell this movie is my thing? Also, I like how the transformations aren’t as unnatural as in the UMMs. It’s a much more gradual transformation, and it’s not as obvious in terms of editing.
Well, in any good Vampire-Werewolf film there’s always good atmosphere, right? Well, how’s the atmosphere in this movie?...fog fog fog fog fog fog fog fog fog fog fog fog fog fog fog fog fog etc. Well, how is the Big Gun? Bela Lugosi? Well…he’s Bela Lugosi. Literally. That’s all he does. Is be Bela Lugosi. He’s not interested in the movie, he’s not artistically worried, he’s not doing anything but what the director tells him to and use his accent. I can figure he didn’t like being a part of this production. Makes me wonder just how much he hated House of Frankenstein to sacrifice that for this!
(Hey, I got an idea, let's drink every time Ca$hman says WELL)
Lettuce talk about the mythos for a second. Vampire movies, in the grand scheme, have A LOT of mythos, sometimes by accident. As a byproduct, a lot of movies can’t really add much mythos. They’ve done it, such as in ’79, when they established vampires being able to cast a reflection in Holy Water. This movie, however, does a really good job at doing the other option. Expanding on the already established mythos for the sake of creepiness. For instance, there’s a scene where Lugosi – in all his Hungarian gloriousness – talks about how the soul leaves the body of the recently vampired (I can make new words dang it) roams around the world searching for their body, and never to be found. That’s some pretty good stuff if y’all be askin’ me. And yes, I jus’ said y’all.
Well I guess I’m wrapping this baby up. What’s the final verdict? Though the acting is good at best completely crappy at worst mostly in the middle, this movie succeeds in cheese factor, atmosphere, and a really awesome ending! What’s the final rating? 3.8/5
I, Da Ca$hman, singing off. Next time on The Drankenstein Manathon II: We Revisit London
Thanks for the bullet.
Well, FINALLY, we get to talking about this motion picture! The concept of The Werewolf, or as we know it The Wolf Man, was in existence but with different stories. Common folklore told the werewolf as prison inmates who got high off herbs that gave them wolf-like transformations and a first for blood. I’m just gonna take a guess whoever came up with that was probably on hallucinogens himself. In 1913 and 1915, very early adaptations called The Werewolf and The Wolf Man were made, but these are very lost with no existing records. The 1924 version of The Wolf Man has a little more knowledge behind it, essentially a little of the cast; the poster; and the fact it was actually a drama film and not a horror film.
Then again, most stories tend to be either dramatic or comedic. And if they’re not, they tend to be rather stale. Fucking Superman I will take your face and I will smack it. Aaaanyways. So then this film came out. This was after everyone was getting butthurt about who was in charge of film, and the term “big budget” actually meant something to movies. This is documented as the first “big budget werewolf film in cinema.” And is that a good thing…or a bad thing? The 1932 adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde had an extremely gracious reaction at its release, and this was only a few years later.
And remember, this was during a time when Universal was dominating the horror industry. Just to name some that had already came out, way back in 1913 they had Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in the silent days they had The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera, The Cat and the Canary, The Man Who Laughs, The Last Warning, The Last Performance, The Cat Creeps, and then in the last few years they had Frankenstein, Dracula, Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Old Dark House, The Invisible Man, The Black Cat, The Raven, and The Bride of Frankenstein. Yeah.
So when audiences said it wasn’t original and underwhelming, that kind of hurt the studio. So much that the film was pretty much buried, to be lost until the 1960’s. Even today Universal doesn’t take much pride in the film, as it’s only DVD release is on the squash disc of The Wolf Man set. But he got shafted for sequels too, didn’t they? Does Universal have something against wolves or something? (Because Universal is a person, right?) However, over time it has been rediscovered and known as an imaginative classic as well as introducing audiences to the genre.
It’s like, would you expect Rocky Malvia to be The Rock before he was The Rock? And would you say that The Rock would not exist without Rocky Malvia today? Even if it wasn’t the intention, it was figuring out what worked and what didn’t. We wouldn’t have the Lon Chaney Jr. Classic without it. And hell, it has such a good rap. Let’s dig in and see what he have today. The Drankenstein Manathon II is getting…a little more on track!
Well, first thing to talk about is the pacing. I know, I know, that’s a great sign. I’m a teenager commenting on the pacing of a film that in less than a quarter century we will be able to say is a century old. But trust me on this one. Our resident werewolf is a botanist who went on an expedition to the Himalayas to find this crazy rare flower, meets this one guy for no immediately decipherable reason, gets bitten by a werewolf, comes back to London, has a bunch of rich, snobby friends both male and female meets up with that guy who he meet in Tibet talks about Werewolves harvests the cure uses the cure then it backfires and finally we have our werewolf!
Did you notice any problems with that other than it was a run on sentence? It’s just too fucking complex. The Wolf Man worked because the werewolf was as simple man, with a simple life, a few lovers and an innocent hobby. He winds up with some bad luck in the forest. That’s it. Nothing overly complex. That works not because I don’t want to think more. In fact a lot of these characters are very dumb. It works because it feels more tragic. Seriously, what are the chances you are or know a traveling botanist vs. the regular country guy? Being able to relate to a person is a strong part of character, and frankly it’s missing for the sake of an unnecessarily convoluted plot. If I were you, that being you’ve read all the way here, I’d literally skip to about half an hour.
Well, now let’s talk about the characters. Not a fan. Dialogue? Boring. Hardly ever has any sustenance behind it; more often is just jibber jabber. Sometimes there’s some good stuff, but it’s either one line of text that doesn’t stand out; or it does stand out but it’s never elaborated on; or it’s played for less serious than it actually is; or a mix of any of the three. The actors are really boring. They’re just playing to the Hollywood stereotypes that existed in those days in order to get a paycheck. If this cast existed today, they’d be imitating Emma Stone, Angelina Jolie, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Nicholas Cage.
They don’t have any interesting personalities either; again refer to the whole plot. Simple people are much more tragic than rich yet unknown people. They just look like spoiled brats. And that’s pretty much what they are, they are so fucking annoying. I mean, c’mon, when your movie’s plot and characters are both weak you can’t really recover 100%. The soundtrack is alright. It would be a good thing to listen to on a CD, even then just good, not great. But in the context of the film, it’s never played at the appropriate times, whatever emotions there are, they are not elevated by the score, and it is very repetitive. That little “Dun Dun Da Duuun” jingle will make you pull your hair out.
Any atmosphere? No, of course not. A full moon once or twice, but overall the movie just looks very boring. It’s a Universal Monster Movie, where the fuck is my fog? Alright, let’s talk about the mythology before we wrap this baby off. The film, unlike most werewolf films – those being inspired by Chaney’s interpretation – this film doesn’t have the only cure be death by silver. It actually has an antidote. Skip the details, that’s another reason why this film doesn’t work as well as it should. In The Wolf Man, the fact that the only cure was death helped the tragedy because there were only two possibilities. Death of the werewolf, or death by the werewolf. In here, the possibility of everybody coming out just okey dokey is explored, and that weakens the tragic mood of the film.
So let’s bring it home now. The film, in a nutshell, does not work. As a film of the 1930’s, it is possibly the one that matches the clichés of that era the most that I have come in contact with. A weak plot, weak characters, no atmosphere, a repetitive sound and unsatisfying mythology make this film not a recommendation. Unless you’re a completest, there is no regret even to the most insignificant levels if you do not view this feature. 2.3/5
I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.
Yeah, you probably didn’t expect this to be the first entry in The Drankenstein Manathon II.
Unless you read my notes on Facebook.
WHERE THE FUCK IS MY TRAILER?
Most people, when they hear the name House of Wax, they typically think of Vincent Price’s 50’s 3D film or the 2005 critically hated remake. However this is where it all really started. There is the unpublished short story that this is based on called The Wax Works, but nothing of the Wax Legacy would have happened if it weren’t for this film. And yes, this is in color too. In fact, it was the last dramatic fiction film to use the 2-color Technicolor strip technique. From here on, color dramas would typically use the 3-strip technique, which is the high-quality color we see in Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and most films since 1953’s War of the Worlds.
Soon after the former 3 mentions, three-strip and black and white combined was so popular that there was no longer any issuing of two-strip film, thus Mystery ceased production and went into very poor protection. It was screened sometimes in the early 40’s, but was abandoned by the time the color bomb of the 50’s emerged. Until the 1970’s it was considered a lost film, until it and Doctor X were found in very good condition on 35mm. Doctor X just happens to be the film that made this movie possible (so X is the reason we have the Vincent Price film?) it gave Warner Bros. enough success to finish their Technicolor contract.
The film even reuses several actors and the theme music. Oooh…and you must be wondering how this ties in to Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man. Well…I’ll explain it when the proper time comes. Well, what are waiting for?...Dammit already used that gag. Many times. Let’s jump back in time, and start off The Drankenstein Manathon II!
Our main character is Ivan Igor, played by Lionell Atwill. Yeah, you read that right. And yes, this is my excuse for tying it in with Frankenstein. Even better is the Vincent Price starring remake has Igor as the crippled assistant. So Universal plagiarized Warner Bros. in which Warner Bros. insisted to rip-off Universal for the sake of Universal plagiarizing Warner Bros.?...You get the idea. There’s even more of a connection as Lionell Atwill played a role in Son of Frankenstein. So, you be the judge. This character starts out with an under known museum. He’s the typical artist character in tragedies.
He creates an expensive exhibition for the sake of the art, creating no drawing power that he doesn’t think is artistically creative. Inherently, nobody shows up because “everybody wants to see killers like Jack the Ripper.” He’s leasing the place on rent…sort of. He’s never paid. His landlord also gave him 15,000 pounds in the beginning for his art collection, hoping it would turn up a profit. Literally, not a single pound of gross. So the landlord burns down the place in hope of getting 10,000 pounds of fire insurance. He was originally going to share the money with Igor, but Igor refused as any artist-stereotype in a movie does.
The place gets burned down with Igor with it, and he is presumed dead. He sneaks into a local Morgue that way, as it is New Year’s Eve and many people are committing suicide…which I thought was Chri$tmas but okay. He fucking steals the dead bodies of these “suicide victims” (I haz god terminators question smark) to re-create his Wax Museum, and the film carries on from there. Now, you know my policy is it’s a spoiler if it’s after the 30 minute mark. Well, it’s not before the 30 minute mark. This is all before the 15 minute mark! And yet, it works. All the attatchment to the original museum is gained when Igor is interview by art critic Dr. Rasmussen.
He appeared humble when he knew his stuff was good, showing he didn’t care about his image as much as his art. Then it gets stripped away in a matter of moments right after we come to completely understand this guy, and his situation, and his relationship with his figures. That’s some pretty good screenwriting if you’re able to cram all this stuff in, and do it well, in 15 minutes. Oh yeah, and if you couldn’t figure it out, Ivan Igor is a wonderfully entertaining Shakespereotype. (I MAKE A NEW WORLD YA!) His makeup after he’s burnt is also really fucking badass. It’s on par with some of the stuff that Lon Chaney Sr. wore back in the 20’s.
It seems as if I’ll be ramboing consistently through this review. Anyways, Glenda Farrell plays reporter Florence Dempsy. Where you would recognize here I don’t know, and that might be for the best. Alright, here acting’s decent, but really underwhelming. She’s another classic bundle of stereotypes of the 30’s. A female reporter who is obsessed with her occupation, is a gold digger and has an attitude with everyone she comes in contact with. Again, her acting’s decent but nothing that isn’t a pure cliché of the 30’s and not a character I take liking to. Fay Wray also makes an appearance in this film, after her success in Doctor X much like Lionell Atwill.
You’re very likely to recognize her from King Kong. Among that she’s also been in The Vampire Bat, and ugh…a fuck ton of other stuff. Well, she plays essentially the same role as in King Kong. She screams and has awkward conversations about romance...You know, as much as I love K.K., Fay’s acting talents are as short of a list as the menu at The Old Dark House. Potatoes and Gin. That’s about it. Most of the other characters are really forgettable. Like, REALLY forgettable. You’ll see them on screen, and then 3 seconds later they’re gone from your memory. And then when they show up, you’re like “Oooh yeah, that random guy is in this movie.”
Not a formula for a compelling film. In fact, that’s a little bit of a trend with this movie. As you may have guessed by the title, this is a mystery. And since most of the conclusion is spoiled in the first 15 minutes, it gets a little underwhelming. The rest of the movie is side stories and the characters trying to figure out what we already know. I hate side stories, maybe it’s just a pet peve but I hate them. The main story is done well but still it is hurt when we already know what’s going to happen. The remake’s fame making this story common knowledge doesn’t help much either.
And…wow, is this really where I’m going to end it? Well, yeah, I guess there’s not much else to talk about. It’s a good movie, extremely innovative for its time, but why the fuck it has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes I don’t understand. 3.5/5
I, Da Ca$hman, singing off. Next up on The Drankenstein Manathon II: Werewolf of London.