I, Da Ca$hman's Movie Reviews

U Can't Beat Me Man!

How will the Horrifying stuff be organized?

Chronologically. You will see Thomas Edison's Frankenstein before James Whale's Frankenstein.

Requests

They are available, but not my top priority.

Ratings System:

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 Daughter

5.5/5 - 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.

Ad Space

MPAA Certificate # Records:

#1 Kept as reference, all others are part of the Drankenstein Manathon.

#1: The World Moves On (1934)

#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)

#10190: House of Frankenstein (1944)

#11300: House of Dracula (1945)

#13109: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

#18481: The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

#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)

#21909: Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)

#22109: Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)

#22364: Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)

#23133: Dracula A.D. 1972

#24007: Young Frankenstein (1974)

#25829: Dracula (1979)

#28663: The Monster Squad (1987)

#31381: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

#33175: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)

#33994: Dracula Dead and Loving It (1995)

#37918: Dracula 2000 (Y2K)

War Horse (2011)

The final film of 2011.

War Horse is a film that has not got the attention it deserves due to the idiots drooling over TinTin. Make a movie with as much originality as the strip and as fast-paced as a DreamWorks motion puke my ass. That film has gotten the recognition it does not deserve, while War Horse had been thrown under the bus for all of 2011. Guess it didn’t matter much to the movie makers, they were happy with both and they were still getting their money. Not to mention Peter Jackson was working with TT and not this. And in a little bit, I’m gonna tell you why this film is great. First, an SS Discussion.

Steven Spielberg is the director of this film. In his lifetime he’s been involved with 10 World War II films. Of these 10, 7 of these are drams and 2 of them are MiniSeries. Of the 5 proper World War II Dramas, he has directed only 3. These 3 are Empire of the Sun, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. But this isn’t even World War II! This is The War to End All Wars, or as we now call it, World War I. Although, this film isn’t based on a true story or anything. Hell, it’s not like the writers Richard Curtis and Lee Hall actually went and researched anything for their own original story…NO!

This is based on the children’s novel…I repeat children’s novel….published back in 1982. But it certainly is not for kids. This movie is 5 stories, all happening in sequential order, all related to each other, and all involving the Horse named Joey. Who will be a staple character among film fans from now going on. And here comes the first problem and positive with this movie. It runs at 2 and a half hours. I feel a film with 5 stories in a single narrative should be more of Peter Jackson length, between 3 and 3 and a half hours. Naturally, the film does feel a little crammed and it can feel like there’s too many characters to follow.

But for the fact the film was at this length, the exposure, emotion, and relatability that all these characters possess is astounding. I understood the comings from absolutely everybody 100% naturally, in a time when nearly everybody still owned a farm. None of the actors showed a lack of emotion, although they did come off as learning from the past a little too much. Nothing to gripe about, they’re just a little stale maybe but they’re still really good. And nobody is just shown and then all of the sudden pulled away in the last second, no we get to know these characters and get the appropriately sized little slice of their life.

The Horse itself was really good. A lot of animal-centered movies attempt to make the animal look emotional by the reactions of all the surroundings. No, this horse really interacts with its environment and shows a cognitive and emotional understanding that baffles me as to how they were able to direct the horse like this in such a human manner. Since in takes place in World War I, is it accurate or biased?...Well, I can’t honestly tell you that since all I know about World War I is that the US and most of Europe were involved.

I can tell you that it did, even if not accurately, effectively was able to bring up how the average man is affected by wars. Mainly, financially. A chunk of dialogue that sums this movie up goes as follows. “When will this madness stop!” “We’re in War, and the War is taking everything from us. You’ll be back to normal when the war is over.” “THE WAR WILL NEVER END!” “…Then you have your answer.” God, if anything above all this movie has some really excellent dialogue. It’s one of those movies you see at least twice and instantly you’re quoting at least half the script.

The movie is more than that still. It’s not hopeless, it’s uplifting. The real message is that, shit happens, but if we can make it through we’ll be so many times better off than if we just sit there and let stuff happen to us. That’s a fucking good lesson to teach. And now for something completely different. It’s Lil’ Johnny! John Williams does the score for this movie. After a completely forgettable score in TinTin (no seriously it was so forgettable I forgot to talk about it in my Loon Review), he makes a really good comeback for this movie. It’s enchanting, yes, uplifting, yes, theatrical, yes; but at the most it emphasizes that there is a sunshine past the dark midnight.

And yes guys, music can create that kind of complex emotion with or without lyrics. A John Williams score alone can make some people cry. However, Mr. Michael KHAAAAAN, editor of this film, could you have calmed down with the music? There were a lot of scenes that had this score and would have been stronger without the music. Then again, some of the scenes are amplified by many folds with this score. So it’s a give or take situation. Overall, War Horse is a great movie, definitely worth checking out, but very mature so do know what you are getting yourself into. The Rating? 5/5.

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

The Adventure$ of TinTin: $ecret of the Unicorn (2011)

*WARNING: NOT a review for kids. This is a Looney Bin Review.*

Anything for a cash-in I guess.

 

And apparently anybody for a cash-in….*sigh.*

Alright, in all honesty I shouldn’t be talking about “cash-ins” and “who has stepped down.” I’m not familiar with any of the material. So, this isn’t a review for TinTin fans on whether they would like it or not. This is a review as a recommendation for movie fans who aren’t familiar with the comic strips and cartoons. In addition, nobody has “stepped down.” Everybody has had their flops. Look at Spielberg, one of the two guys here, he’s been involved in Transformers 2, 3 and 4, The Flintstones, Jurassic Park II: The Lost World, The Money Pit, Men in Black II, and other stuff. But he’s done so many movies in comparison that are phenomenal, we forgive him.

Jackson, on the other hand, is relatively new in his career, so he might not have as many flops. I will say that District 9 is heavily overrated, but most people like it so I’ll let it slip. And since we’re getting a little subjective, Jurassic Park II is underrated to hell. So what the fuck were we talking about?....RAMBO. But we’re not reviewing any of those movies (of which I will soon) we’re reviewing TinTin. SO LET’S FUCKING DO IT.

------------------

First, we’re gonna talk about the positives. There are three way I see it. And these three positives are AWESOME#M. Remember back when I reviewed X-Men: First Class? (Another movie we’re NOT reviewing today.) I stated that I would refrain from talking about CGI in today’s movies since it’s so damn good these days and it would feel redundant. Well, I’m kind of hoping that happens to all other movie reviewers from now on. After this, all other CGI attempts are completely pointless. The CGI is amazing. I’ve heard people praise stuff like “OMG I TOUT I SAW RL LIVEZ!!” When it’s distinctively far from real life.

Even the stuff in Avatar was clearly the work of movie magic. Today, that changes. It was the first time in movie history that I actually felt confused as to whether some of this shit was real or not. Oddly enough they did a camel the best. The only reason why they refrained from making this stuff is perfect, is because, well…it is a cartoon. It needs to look cartoonish. But that’s just a sign if this wasn’t a cartoonish film, it would look exactly like real life. I cannot emphasizes this enough, if you’re looking for visuals, THIS MOVIE NOW. The one thing that scares me is the thought of the art of live action being lost.

The fact is, some arts do die. When was the last time you heard a radio show, or went to a drive-in theater? Godzilla doesn’t even get guys in suits anymore, the last two times he was in production was with human-sized puppets and the next time will be straight up CGI. Dear God, do not let live action die. Now, there are two other things that are positive that I will talk about. The comedy. This movie is funny as hell. The film perfects slapstick and makes innocent, loving fun of the popular “drunk man at sea” stereotype. It is able to create its own ridiculous situations out of something that could seemingly be a dozen times less complex easily.

Yeah, it’s frickin’ hilarious. But do keep in mind I freely admit my taste in comedy is far below satisfactory or even average. Now, for the last positive I wish to admit. TinTin. He’s played by Jamie Bell, who in the 2005 King Kong remake he played…he played…he played…LIL’ JIMMY!!! LIL’ JIMMAH!! GOD DAMN LITTLE JIMMAH! YOU GOING AS PAR TOF THE CONSPIARYC  JNOKQ JNOKQ JNOKQ JNOKQ YOU ARE YOUR SUPERCENAH, GONNA MAKE THE WHOLE WORLD LOOK LIKE CHOCOLATE CAMAHLS AINT YA!!q AINT YA!!! *whisper whisper* I’m going insane? *YES.* Ah, I see. I need to look shipshapesophisticatedwhyamibritishobbitydoodah for the press writers. GET OUTTAH MAH FACE LIL’ JIMMAH!!!!

*One brain bashing later.*

So what was I talking about again? Ah, TinTin is played by Jamie Bell. And since Jackson gave him a role in King Kong, he’s gone on to star in Flags of our Fathers, Jumper and The Eagle. A questionably wealthy filmography to say the least. He’s the serious guy, the sane man who’s trying to make sense of everything. But he thinks too fast. He gives up too easily, and gets his hopes up to easily. So why is he one of the good things if they completely wrecked the purpose of a detective? You know, to be smart and secure with himself to figure out problems? Well, that gets into what’s bad about this movie.

Annoying, Comic Relief side characters. I like the concept of them. Look at a film like The Lion King, that does it right. The LK’s teenage and adult cast is not jokey at all, not comedic, very dramatic and focused. Except for Timon and Pumba. While I’m no fan of them, they are TWO characters in a surrounding of stable characters. Plus, they actually have SOME understanding of how to act socially. They don’t get in the way, and they don’t dominate the film. This movie is a very different case. Every major character except for TinTin is there for comedic relief. It’s funny, but overwhelming. I want to see some well written characters for a movie, not a childish laugh fest or even an adult laugh fest. I didn’t pay for that.

Even Haddock, who I expected to at least get SOME serious time, is thrown at us like some fucking circus attraction. “What about the main villain Bheema?” What main villain? That guy who doesn’t show up until the final act and barely gets any time during? Yeah, I guess he’s good, but he doesn’t count since HE NEVER SHOWS UP. The film is fucking written horribly! If you’re honestly gonna have Spielberg and Jackson direct and produce but not have one of the big guns write, you’re just throwing this in our face for automatic cash and automatic good reviews!!!!

This film is the ultimate product of stupidity. The writing is what I always dreaded to see in a movie! Every fucking family adventure cliché I’ve ever fucking seen! “We will meet again!” “It’s just a mirage.” They can’t get fucking pirates right! “Which means….” “This might sound crazy but I’ve got a plan.” There is no intelligence put in this movie AT ALL. Nothing is done new, nothing is done with any intention of making it exciting. Hell, there’s never even a freaking quiet moment! This movie has no time to breathe. We don’t know this character because everything is moving, new plot twists that don’t really matter are showing up!

“It’s a code!” AAGH! The fucking dog! He’s the fucking centerpiece of the movie! He’s not like Abu who’s written softly and only gets involved when the plot beckons, no he’s the fucking star of the movie and it’s so that they could sell motherfucking plushies!!! God, this movie is so fucking atrocious! You know what, here’s how I summarize it: “ADVENTURE AWAITS US!!!”…………….Nope. I am The Grinch today. I don’t know, I was hoping that another Avatar wouldn’t happen. Something so horribly hideous but everyone THINKS there’s good script in here because all they’re using is their eyes.

You can consider this movie hated. If you have any intelligence, any thinking capacity whatsoever even to the subtle extent, this is a piece of shit. Fuck you people for giving this good reviews. But hey, you’re just the people who suck James Cameroon’s big fat dick. 1.4/5

*Huff Huff*. Steven, you better be prepared to make this up when I see War Horse.

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

[The Invention of] Hugo [Cabret] (2011)

What is with the titles these days? "Hugo." How can you tell this is a tribute to the art of mind? "John Carter." How can you tell that's Avatar except more blatant?

For those who don't understand The Invention of Hugo Cabret is the name of the book this movie is based on. And just to set the record straight, John Carter of Mars is the title of the book the upcoming John Carter is based off. So I went into this movie with not many expectations. All I knew was that a master filmmaker, Martin Scorsese, is doing a kinda family-oriented film in 3D. I knew this was either going to be fucking amazing, or the worst tragedy in cinema in the last 10 years. Optimism is weak, depression is suicide-food. So I really just went in with an open mind. Dear God am I happy that the former is true.

Martin Scorsese, at age 69, has done so many movies that have been notable. Taxi Driver; New York, New York; Raging Bull; Goodfellas; Casino; Gangs of New York; The Aviator; The Departed; Shutter Island; really that's only about 60% of the awesomeness he's done. So he has a pretty damn good track record. But did ya notice something? All of those movies are very adult. And aside from this movie, I couldn't find any exceptions. That's why a lot of people were going in skeptical, and the fact it's 3D made people fearful. Luckily, two good things happened.

(im not procrastinating am I?)

The 3D is an example of one of the few non-animated films that's totally worth it for 3D. We've seen Martin has an eye for this kind of thing, especially when it comes to the camera. Not only in depth of field, but the camera becomes it's own character. It has that very neccessary natural balance, not moving so much that's it's too blockbusterish, but not too stale and stiff that it feels like a piece of machinery and not a portal into the film. That's the idea, it's supposed to be our portal into this universe. Yeah, it's romantically fantastic but...we're watching a movie. 

The entire movie has an atmosphere of, whatever it is, light. Not light as in bright, light as in soft and calorie free.  None of the colors are actually as vibrant as they are in real life, and heck are they not some of the fake vibrant we see in films from...I dunno MICHAEL BAY. Everything moves like a cloud, given it stays believable. And Everyone is dressed in ways that become predictable, that childhood instinct of false predictability comes in to effect. The soundtrack is an appropriate accompaniment, as best described by me "a much more classy version of a Harry Potter soundtrack."

And trust me, the Harry Potter soundtracks are already pretty classy most of the time. Now, I would guess it work for most of us but it works best for me because my mother would put me to sleep to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart back when I was a small child. (As opposed to a big child.) So this ultra-classy, ultra-classical, ultra-French (yeah trust me on that one) helps the dreamy atmosphere of this movie. And I complain a lot about American movies, especially movies aimed at very small children (as opposed to big children) not having any quiet moments to calm down, but this movie almost puts an overload on that.

Now, you may be screaming (or whispering) to me "Ugh...Bheema, is this movie like excessively boring?" If you don't pay attention (which you always should when watching a movie) the fun factor for you is gonna go down the tube. This 2 hour movie will turn into 3 and a half hours for you. And due to the plot's concept - which you'll have to find out for yourself - this movie is not going to be for a casual day/night at the movie. (Although the theater I was at was freaking packed for a 4 o' clock Matinee.) If you dearly appreciate the romance of the mind, you will love this film. (Translation: If you have a hobby and a heart you will love this flick.)

Yeah, have you figured out that Dreams are a running theme in this movie? Actually, that seems to be a huge running theme with movies lately. Just in the last two years we've had 3 movies that deal with dreams as a theme, those being A Nightmare on Elm Street, Inception and Hugo. (Which of the three doesn't belong?) Continuing with that theme, the actors all fit their characters and do it well, but they all act as if they're under sedation...I know this is with the theme but it just makes me laugh. C'mon, when Hugo is in danger of being *beep beep* he can't show emotion? The kid cries like once or twice and he should be crying at least a baker's dozen times in this movie!

But I respect Martin's choice as a casting director. In fact, I respect pretty much everything he decided to do with this movie. It's not for everyone, and that's great. It's for who it's made for 100%, it's not watered down so that everyone can love it. But apparently people are seeing it anyways and it's getting $$$$...which is good.(?) Anyways, final rating, 5/5. Really, really slow movie but it's amazing and one of the best flicks of the year.

I, Da Ca$hman singing off.

ANONYMOUS (2011)

Because every Roland Emmerich picture has to be in ALL CAPITALS.

Roland Emmerich = Disaster Movie Master. His most famous 5 films include INDEPENDENCE DAY, GODZILLA, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, 10,000 B.C., and 2012. Even after that he's done mostly fantasy and Sci-Fi, such as THE NOAH'S ARK PRINCIPLE, JOEY, MOON 44, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER and STARGATE. And apparently THE PATRIOT. When I watch his movies, I don't see a horrible filmmaker. I see a man who could make great films but doesn't for the sake of money. Even when Patriot came out, it still had Mel Gibson as star power. Now he's doing something completely different.

ANONYMOUS breaks the typical trend of Emmerich films since Day 1. The film is a conspiracy theorist film (okay maybe not THAT far off) based in the Oxfordian Sub-Theory of Anti-Strafordian Theory. AKA, William Shakespeare did not write his own plays. The actual scope of Anti-Strafordian Theory is vast compared to the feature film; but we'll get to that later. This movie is good. The characters were appropriately over-acting, and I do mean appropriately. It felt like a well acted Shakespeare piece. Never too silly, but sillier than normal. The atmosphere was great, there's a common theme with smoke and fire. I'm not sure I get that one but it's still cool.

And the lighting is just really nice, kind of giving that "only we know about this" feeling. That "we" is the audience and the play-creators, as this is a play inside of a movie! Cinemastageception! And as much as I hate those jokes I love Inception so much I will still make them! The dialogue is quite intelligently worded, ya know, 16th/17th century England. I kind of wish that there was actually a little more intelligence in the dialogue, but hey it has to be accessible to more than FIVE of us! Me not being one of those! So I kept on wondering why even though what I was seeing on the screen was good and interesting, I was getting bored.

It's Robin Hood all over again. Except Emmerich has no idea what he's doing. The film lacks explanation for who the characters are and why they do such actions. I was able to follow it for half of the film, but by then there was so little backbone that the fucks just started flying away. It's because the film aims at Anti-Strafordians, as in, "this is your movie guys, made by a guy who doesn't like the guy either." So I didn't exactly follow, since my knowledge of Anti-Strafordian theory is average at best. Which is what you guys are screaming at me since I didn't yet mention what I'm about to mention.

Apparently this movie is not accurate to the historical events AT ALL. So let's see our options. Average Viewers: Nope, won't like it, they won't have any idea what's going on. Shakespeare Lovers: Will hate it because it insults Shakespeare. Really, it doesn't, it's just Roland providing a healthy alternative for the sake of entertainment,  it's nothing snobby. But apparently they all think it insults his genius. Anti-Straforidans: Won't like it because they think it makes them look like idiots. So, me included, there is literally NO target audience for this movie. Even though it's an excellent film, NOBODY will like it.

A sad day indeed. I'm gonna end it off here. One final note, I do believe Shakespeare wrote his plays but I'm completely open if the official report was that he didn't. Most people use absence of evidence as evidence of absence. Which is unreliable. They also take him spelling his name twelve different ways as evidence for illiteracy. For years and years I could spell schizophrenia fine but I always spelled poison with an extra U, get over it guys! He probably did have some form of very mild autism! Asperger's, I dunno. Probably. Anyways, rating for this movie? Hmm...Impossible. It's a great film with no audience whatsoever. 

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

The 2x4 Musketeers (2011)

All for one, one for all, and $8 for the movie ticket please.

This film is an adaptation of the candy bar of the same name produced by the Mars, Inc., which was later developed into a very popular trilogy of films from the 1970's starring "Man of a Million Voices" Christopher Lee. You know guys, DRACULA. SARUMAN. Well have we already gotten off-topic? Fuck the World! This film is reportedly (Yes, Ca$hman trusts Blaze The Movie Fan) being called "a rip-off of Pirates of the Caribbean." When I first saw the trailer, I suspected it was trying to look like the recent Sherlock Holmes adaptation, but in the end each is a modernization of a classic tale and yes they take inspiration from each other but are also their own distinct films.

Which is a plus. I really liked the art direction. Normally, I can't stand 17th Century European designs. I'm cool with almost anything else from any time period, but 17th century Europe is not my thing. Yet in this film, I quite enjoyed the design of the film. Everybody's costume was good and felt like it was with the times of the film, even though some seemed to vibrant. The town is absolutely the image of 17C.Eur. however does have a much sleeker and natural feel to it then most designs of it. It does ring of course of the previously mentioned films, but I digress.

This film is an international project. From most involved to least involved, Germany, France, United Kingdom and United States. It also takes place mostly in France and the United Kingdom/England/Britain/Wales/Scotland. I ask you then, why did every accent in the film be lightly foreign to not at all? And if it existed, it was more than likely forced? Ah, whatever, just a nit pick. But this does loosely transition into the actors. They're pretty good, there was only one person who I ever felt like "damn, you're just not trying" and that was Christopher Waltz as Cardinal Richelieu. Otherwise, everyone gave their best shot.

Unfortunately, they were NOT given good material. The dialogue, I really hate to use this term, is mild-retarded. Definitely feeds the face of the mainstream movie goers who aren't familiar with the source material. You know, the candy bar. *whispers whispers* I'm playing the wrong game? *whispers whispers* I'm going insane? *this review's really lame* WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT'S BASED OFF OF A BOOK?!?! Well, guess I'm not that familiar with the source material after all, so I guess I can't talk. Besides, it's not that good tasting anyways. The Novel. Still, I didn't like the dialogue, that's all I'm saying.

The worst part of this film is the narrative. The writer of this film, Andrew Davies, MUST have been on some mild drugs. Nothing here makes sense, it becomes hilarious, and about as random as Robot Chicken (to take a page out of The Book of Blaziken-Master); but because it is for 10 minutes under 2 hours I had an extremely hard time caring about the film. But that's enough bashing for now. Let's talk about some of the positives. The soundtrack is fucking awesome. I'm gonna go beg Summit Entertainment or hell even Impact Productions to release a CD of the score. It's really fun.

Paul W.S. Anderson, director and producer of this film, MUST have been paying good attention to the cinematographer Glen MacPherson. He needs to take this experience and go do some more epic work, because this is the prime example of 2011 of how to do camera work right for a run-of-the-mill film. Never, EVER, stalemate. Camera angles are constantly changing and it's never awkward or inappropriate, which in a subconscious way does help the film out a lot. As I mentioned, Art Direction is really good. No, it's no King's Speech, but it's high above average.

The best part by far is the action scenes. I want to see someone do a fan edit with the action scenes, add some more epic music and condense that into a mega music video. Because it is really damn fun, some really well choreographed action scenes. Unfortunately since I didn't give a damn about anybody, it couldn't help the suspense. There was no suspense. This film is okay, it's nothing academically good and as a film to go have fun well...there are much better options. Such as Real Steel, which I will FINALLY review tomorrow! The Rating? 3.28/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off.

Real Steel (2011)

What do you get when you take Wolverine, Rocky, Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, The Future and Wrestling In-Jokes and put into one movie?...EPIC.

*Just for the record, since the trailer doesn't give away any of the plot you're going to get some spoilers. Just for a simple recommendation, GO NOW.*

Based on the popular toy set "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots" published by Marx Toy Company, Real Steel is a film set in the year 2020 when human boxing has become too tame for modern audiences and they go to things that are legal to brutally murder and that is Robots! It has already come to massive critical success, an extremely early and high profit, tons of merchandise and a definite sequel is the works; all in the last 3 weeks. It stars Hugh Jackman, is produced by Touchstone Pictures and CAN YOU GUESS I'M HAVING A HARD TIME TRANSITIONING INTO A WAVE OF INFORMATION?

...Wait, that works. Most people know this, but it's never blatantly stated, a "open secret." Touchstone Pictures is Disney. Disney uses this label when they want to release higher-PG Rated films and PG-13 Rated films. Examples are this film, Roger Rabbit, Nightmare Before Christmas, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Gone in 60 Seconds, and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Black Pearl. So OBVIOUSLY "treasured" Disney cliches appear in this film. One is the dead parent. Jesus Christ Disney, when people are making a running gag of the dead mom you'd think you guys would stop?

This film is definitely full of those cliches. Custody fighting, schmuck dad down on his luck, underdog, and of course the only people of races different from East Coast American are villains. There's only one Russian, one Japanese person, and one person from Southern USA. Well, I guess we can't really get away from the cliches so we might as well work around them. And surprisingly, it works. Typically in a Disney movie, the parent dies while the family is united. Here, the family was already broken up before Max's mother died, so it makes the story a lot more tragic and gives the character of Charlie many more inner demons to battle.

Which I guess that just leads into the characters, huh? Well, back onto the subject of the villains, they were crap. Probably the only thing from this movie I will call crap. Most of them I will not remember from this day forth, and the two that were behind Zeus I'll just remember because they were such a big focus. The only person who wasn't a totally generic drag was "the Japanese designer" who seemed to go a little crazy during the fight but easily just shoe-horned in; not natural. Now let's get onto the human protagonists. Hugh Jackman plays Charlie Kenton.

As I may have hinted at earlier, he is a very well written character. His transition from schmuck, down on his luck doesn't give a damn about anybody but getting money, has lost his good times; to a wants to make things better for his son, and more so for himself, fighting his inner demons, seeing the meaning and not the numbers, is completely natural and everything about the execution is genius. Besides his written part, Hugh Jackman was the perfect person to cast. He embodies his character in every way possible and is always natural. And ya know what, fuck you spell check if you don't think Jackman is a real word.

Dakota Goyo plays Charlie's long-time-no-see son, Max. I started off not liking him, thinking things like "kid, that's enough." I realized later what he was doing. He was giving his Dad a hard time for all the shit he's had to be put through because of that douchebag. Later in the film, he starts to not think about himself and starts to look at the bigger picture; and his transition to mature, trooper child from "FUCK YOU DAD" annoying child is also extremely natural, written beautifully and Dakota embodies his character perfectly. And don't worry, yes, I like his performance the full way through.

Not just that, Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo have beautiful Father-Son chemistry. It feels absolutely perfect and natural, and how can I say natural so many times in a movie about boxing robots in the future? That's another thing, this film is probably the most realistic setting for the future ever. Films like Metropolis, Star Trek, etc., you watch them and you're occasionally taken out of the film because you know this shit isn't going to happen. In this film, yeah there's a lot of futuristic gadgets the most out-of-this-world being the Tron Chick, but it always feels like "yeah, this could happen."

Rodeos, old cars, trailers, and with the way cell phones are progressing those things will happen. During the final fight, there's a poster for the "XBox 720" and this is just beautiful polish that the director Shawn Levy chose to include. Although it does mean you will be gagging at the amount of ads in this movie. Like, in the background. There's a lot of moments where HP, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, ESPN, all sorts of stuff get in and I'm sure they were trying to please WWE. Zeus = Triple H, enough said. Which...does that mean that Triple H = God? He is The King of Kings after all. But I digress. The phrase The People's Champ is used often throughout the film; and I dunno those in-jokes are a guilty pleasure of mine.

The robots look and move pretty much perfectly, with a surprising mix of CGI done with professional boxers, puppets and animatronics. Dude, the SFX are pretty damn amazing. But that comes to my second and final complaint with the film. It wasn't long enough. I could sit through another half an hour, hour easily, and the film was already 2 hours. I would really like to see an extended edition on Blu-Ray that does one simple thing. It really needs to focus on the robots having human emotions, being real people. Guys, I'm sorry, it wasn't vague, it's definitely there. They even say it outright, it's not blatant but it's nowhere near vague.

So I say they need another half an hour or hour to develop these characters as real, emotional creatures, as they CLEARLY are; there's no question. But what was there as far as that aspect, was done extremely well. I just can't say much more about this movie. Go see it! 4.8/5, and The Kickass Seal of Approval, you will definitely be pleased.

I, Da Ca$hman singing off....WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT'S BASED OFF OF A SHORT STORY!??!

Dream House (2011)

So is Dream House on Elm Street in Camp Crystal Lake, Colorado?

DON'T WATCH THE TRAILER.

Heh. The Shining Dream House on Elm Street the 13th. That's a movie!

I’ve heard many people talk about how the trailer gives away one of the plot twists. If you haven’t seen the trailer, stop reading this and go see the movie; everyone will tell you that is what you should do. If you have seen the trailer, then keep on reading for reasons to see the movie regardless. The plot twist featured in the trailer is probably about 1 of 5-8. Given, it’s the most important one; but what I’m trying to say is that doesn’t take away from the entire movie. What, just coming for the ending? Imagine if you wanted to go to a concert and all you wanted to hear was that last note played by the electric guitar. It’s stimulating but that’s not the reason you go.

Besides, that plot twist doesn’t even happen at the end. It happens around the latter part of the very middle. If that makes sense any whatever so. Even when you have some of it spoiled for you, it’s really interesting seeing how people react to other people knowing what will eventually be found out. In fact, some stuff you don’t know prior is enough motivation to go watch it a second time, get even a little more enjoyment out of it just out of dramatic irony. A term being well overused in my World Literature class as we discuss Oedipus Rex. BTW, ain’t it funny how everything interesting in that play happens before hand?

Okay, now I’m getting very off topic. But that’s half the reason you guys come here anyways! The other half is typically my random insanity. So I think based on my thoughts I just laid out, we can say that this movie is carefully written and well executed for suspense. Although, during the first 20 or 25 minutes, we get some instances where they used that high-pitched sound effect used in every horror movie post-1970 when there’s not even anything to be afraid of! But that’s pretty rare and nitpicky. If you want to get into dialogue, for the most part it’s pretty good but maybe a bit over written and confused at points. And there are those weird points that you know should become internet memes.

Daniel Craig plays our main character. I honestly think he is the worst portion of our film. Remember just a couple sentences ago I mentioned lines that should become internet memes? Yeah, it’s because of his acting. To me, Daniel Craig is the guy who everybody thinks is Nicholas Cage. When he’s supposed to be messing around with his kids, he’s almost TOO good, and when he’s supposed to be serious he really is going towards Nicholas Cage territory - or hey I used to call him Nicotine Cage - trying his best but unfortunately he comes out hamming it up and was not very believable.

You know, as a side note, I feel kinda creeped out at the location. This movie takes place in Connecticut. That state, Colorado and Maine seem to be the center of A LOT of Horror movies; with the cities of Los Angeles, Tokyo and New York taking the Sci-Fi Genre. I just gotta say, as far as the horror movies, I have a ton of connections in 2/3 of those states; being Connecticut and Colorado. The movie’s sets is full of good stuff. The atmosphere enhances the emotions associated with certain scenes perfectly, and well suited for dramatic irony, as the atmosphere changes rapidly according to events. Great choice on director Lil’ Jimmy Sheridan.

Not just the lighting, but the “House” itself is really creepy. The more the main character finds out about this house and what happened, the more graffiti starts to show up and the more the house starts to decay and look deserted. Not only that, but the main character seems to literally age. This movie has some really good visual film techniques, and that is something not often seen in movies these days. The director gets a big applause. Play that clip where everyone on the planet says “Congratulations” that’s I think featured in Pokémon.

The last thing I feel like I should mention are the supporting cast. Nobody really strikes me as incredible, they all just range between okay and good. I think that is the thing that struck everybody about this movie, because the characters are the center pieces of the movie. If you’re gonna tell me there are movies where atmosphere or visuals are the centerpieces, then the atmosphere and visuals are the characters. But guys, let us not judge the movie badly just because half the cast feels like they just finished smoking pot.

This movie isn’t really a horror film, but there is some pretty gruesome stuff. Let’s just say it’s a horror film in the way Alfred Hitchcock films are horror films. This movie is great, it’s a lot better than the average crap being thrown at us these days; even the films that I enjoy have to be called “extremely hollywoodized” compared to this piece of film. It’s the closet we’ll get to M. Night Shabalabadingdong making a Haunted House flick, and I don’t even like his freaking movies! This movie was made for $50 Million and it has only made $15 Million so far due to the shitty marketing and some nitpicking tunnel vision reviews. But I say go check this movie out, I give it a 4.7/5

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off. Next week, I’m doing the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots Movie, I PROMISE!!!!

Moneyball: Based on a True Story (2011)

The ONLY time I will give a DAMN about Baseball.

"There's the rich guys, then there's the poor guys, then there's 50 feet of crap, and then there's us." - Brad Pitt as Billie Beane.

Moneyball: Based on a True Story is based off the novel Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. It has been in production since 2004 and has it's roots in MLB team Oakland Athletics (or Oakland A's) "changing the game." But don't worry fellow electric addicts, you don't need any knowledge of professional sports to enjoy this film. I'll tell ya, it helped me out a lot that I had A.) A very basic understanding of how a team drafts players B.) A superior to average understanding of mathematics and C.) How the public views "icons." This film has plenty of big names in both actors and writers, with Aaron Sorkin as the writer, Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman as actors.

Alright, now let's start getting subjective here. Easily, this film will be the beginning of the Oscar Season. Summer just ended, and there are very few horror films coming out this year between September and November. However my bet for best film of the year, since Rise of the Planet of the Apes will be rejected for not having humans as the main characters and being a sequel, is Clint Eastwood's upcoming film J. Edgar. If I had to nominate this film for one Oscar nomination, and only one, it would be best supporting actor for Jonah Hill. Now lemme..."lemme" is a word according to the Webs dictionary.

Now LET ME tell you something about spark. An actor needs to have a certain amount of spark based on his role. Spark is energy. It goes on a scale of 1 spark to 100 sparks, both extremes being pretty much impossible to reach. Brad Pitt plays the role of Billie Beanie, and his spark count was probably 3-5 sparks away from crossing the threshold that his character desired. Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) and Billie Beanie (Brad Pit) hold pretty much the same beliefs about Baseball. They are very similar people, however Billie is more outgoing and cocky, while Peter is more intelligent and straight forward but yeah very nervous and conservative.

If Brad could light his sparks just a little bit more it would have worked out. Now, as for the characters in their similarities...this is like another movie for me. 2011 hasn't exactly been "my year," but with films like The Adjustment Bureau, Source Code, Super 8, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and now Moneyball, there's definitely something to be said for the dramatic quality these days especially when it comes to my personal beliefs. The way that Billy and Peter use mathematics and logic to solve the problems of Baseball instead of iconography, and how they are completely tolerant of any single person as long as they know how to play the game, made me say "if I was running this show THIS is how it would be done."

That's kind of how I feel about the movie. If I made it, this is how it would be done. I do have one problem. The editing, and how it affects the pacing. I assume editor Christopher Tellefsen was panicking while cutting and pasting this movie. It does go kind of slow, and there's a reason. No scene is useless, but a LOT of scenes can easily be called "unnecessary." Everything builds up to the plot and characters but so many scenes that made this film 2 hours and 6 minutes aren't really essential. This bogs the film down but that takes very little away from it's legitimate quality.

The film has some really good directorial choices. Now, of course only seeing this once I was mostly paying attention to storyline, but I did notice a few symbolic film techniques. There are several scenes where Billy is driving in his car, and the atmosphere around him and what his facial expressions look like very much symbolize the situation he is currently. In the final scene, this really makes a difference. I hope to "buy it on Blu-Ray" (as a famous YouTuber with the acronym JJ would say) so that I can observe some more of these choices by the director.

Maybe the most glaring problem is the dialogue. No, not what they're saying. That's fucking amazing, I love the mathematical talk and the way it makes you look at reality from an underdog perspective. But it's written...slowly. Or executed. Films already getting criticized if the dialogue doesn't overlap, like a real conversation. In THIS movie, people talk at half the speed of normal, wait 5 fucking seconds to see if it's their turn yet, and then speak as slowly. That also bogs it down a little bit! Well, anyways, there's Moneyball: Based on a True Story, based on the novel Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.

It's a really good movie, with some of the best writing I've seen in a while. After all, it is Aaron Sorkin, the man who did The Social Network for Christ's sake! Not to mention Steven Zallian, who did Schindler's List, Hannibal and Gangs of New York!!! You would THINK there'd be some awesomeness there! It has some really great actors, very good directing, and I honestly can't say anybody could have made it more to my liking. My final rating is 5/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Next time, we Rock 'Em, we Sock 'Em, WE...Real Steel WTF?!?!

Dolphin Tale (2011)

Because I have to do a negative review at least every once and a while.

I would just like to say that the only reason I ended up seeing this is because my family was seeing it and I had heard okay reviews, so I figured why not. I would have rather seen Drive or Money Ball, Midnight in Paris, even Killer Elite; and both Warrior and the Re-Release of Jurassic Park aren't showing here. I saw The Lion King last week, but I waited too long to review it.

Anyways, as many of you wonderful people of mine know; as it is being heavily emphasized; this motion picture is based off actual events. According to what I've heard, it sticks really close to the story. That's one of two good thing about this film. The story is charming and provides hope to those who are struggling with disabilities, physical or mental. That is literally all there is good about this movie. According to Wikipedia (and the opening logo) this film was released by Warner Bros., but I'm dead certain that The Disney Channel produced this film. To make sure parents don't complain about artistic integrity in a children's movie, they tried balancing the film out with corny humor.

Of course, it didn't work. It relied on magical non-harmful slapstick humor, and animals; like any other bad family movie. And before we continue this, let's just make sure you guys know I'm not against family films. The Lion King and all three Toy Stories are some of my favorite films, because they have artistic integrity over financial intelligence. Anyways, the comedy hurts the drama because I know that in 2 minutes we'll get some stupid jokes so that they don't actually evoke emotions in children. Because parents don't want any emotions in their children. 

Aside from that, the drama doesn't work at all. Why? Because it's obvious what's going to happen. America would not have bad a family film off of this if it didn't have a happy ending, and before it was released everyone knew what it was about. Anything else added seems forced in. Maybe the biggest problem here is that they tell you to feel a certain emotion, instead of taking the artistic route of showing you events that make you feel sad or relieved. The dialogue has been used in so many other places I'd rather watch paint dry, and if I listened to many snippets out of context I couldn't pin-point which movie it's from.

Actors? What actors? I just see people in front of the screen expecting a pay check and reading a screenplay! God is the best actor here, but only because the ONLY role he plays in any movie is God. Yeah, Chaney did a really good job as The Wolf Man, but he also did Alucard, The Mummy and The Monster. Schwarzenegger did awesome as The Terminator, and maybe typecasting hurt him, but he's also played Commando, Kindergarten Cop, Hercules and Conan the Barbarian. Soundtrack is a generic mix of teen pop, nothing to say there. The second thing good here is the camera work. POV shots are done well, camera angles vary at a good rate and it just looks pretty nice. And yes, I was dragged to a 3D showing, so that did enhance it slightly. Slightly.

Sorry I didn't review a better movie, I regret it. I was guessing I wouldn't see any of the above listed movies until Netflix anyways, but same with this one, it was just that the forces at work set up a convenient situation. The Rating? 2/5.

I, Da Ca$hman singing off.

Contagion (2011)

New York Population: 8.6 Million. Seems realistic enough. Tokyo Japan Population: 36.6 Million. IN WHAT YEAR?!?!

There aren't too many films about viral outbreaks, are there? There are a handful, such as The Plague, Outbreak, Carnosaur, Cabin Fever, Zombieland; but it's kind of a rare treat, especially when only one of the above mentioned actually tries to take it seriously. Many people are saying it's a really good film, one of the best of the year, and they typically bring up the director, Steven Soderbergh, as a really good visual director. I'm not entirely sure what they're saying here. He's not bland. The visual style is that - not bland. A lot of movies look the same, or at least not very different. This movie has two looks - a lighter version of Colombiana, or Jurassic Park: The Lost World.

During the Colombiana portion, there's a yellow tint that while trying to get a sick feeling out of the atmosphere, actually disrupts the movie. It's everywhere in this movie, when in real life I've never seen that tint. Is it trying to portray the atmosphere? Is it trying to portray the idea that everyone is sick, and slowly going mad? Well, it doesn't do the latter at all, and only does the former during scenes that are either absent of the virus or in high hopes of cure. It's as if the lighting should have been switched. As for the other half, it's basically scenes where one color is so heavy that it drowns out all other colors.

This is nice in some scenes but mostly it just comes off as amateurish. It's in a middle that shouldn't be reached - either do a normally lighted scene or do lighting that has enough intensity to be noticeable. And honestly, I didn't see a point to it. If the lighting had been switched, I might understand it more. Because then it might symbolize that "a light is shining through the disaster" but unfortunately Steve here didn't understand the concept of order. The other thing that goes into the visual style of the movie other than SFX, which are just flat out not present here, is camera angles.

This is just mediocre cinematography. Camera Angles are never at an angle that represent's a characters emotional stance at the moment, and it has a "only movie if necessary" angle that comes off as far below par in today's day of ultra cinematography. Honestly, the lighting and cinematography are the worst part of this movie, they're not better, they're just "different." I've seen good cinematography, I've seen good lighting, this is not that Chris Stuckmann. But maybe we can talk about some of the more important stuff, stuff that goes farther into making the film enjoyable.

First off, let's talk about something brought about by yet another YouTube movie critic, Jeremy Jahns. He probably didn't mean it, but if this happened I really wouldn't be surprised. He said the movie felt like it was supposed to be a four hour movie - after all it takes place over the span of over 4 months (we'll get to that later) - and it was edited down to a 2 hour movie to save our souls from the Ram. He mentioned plot points that never get filed in, such as the French chick I'm too lazy to look up even though I have Wikipedia open right now. She has this crazy realization, runs through the airport to go to Hong Kong...and we never see her...AGAIN. Did she find Black Michael Jackson tied to an electric chair and really hungry or something?

That definitely made all but 4 characters throw away. Not necessary. Only there to...to...WHAT THE HELL?!?!? Okay, yes, a lot of them die but A LOT OF PEOPLE DIE IN THIS MOVIE. Many more off screen then on screen. I'm also sorry to report that the actors are no good. Matt Damon tries his absolute best but his character is probably the worst. All characters here are undeveloped and archetypical, but his character is also a flat out idiot. Laurence Fishborne never seems that interested in his character but is successful at portraying whatever emotions still reside in a government agent. Jude Law cannot find a good balance. He wants to be over the top, but his character is written to be serious - even though the type of person he is would definitely be crazy.

FAILURE.

More on how it feels disjointed, throughout the movie breathing space is filled in like crap in the sewers. Okay, bad metaphor. In the first half, there is almost no breathing space, and scenes over lap each other almost every scene, PROVING that this was supposed to be a longer movie. We got that scene done? Alright, to the next scene. No room to let facts sink in. But then in the second half, there IS breathing space, but too much. These are things that while do need to sink in, don't need much time to sink in, as the pacing should be faster building up to a climax. So we also have a negative on pacing. Some people are saying the pacing is bad because it's too wordy...guess what, you should have worked harder in language arts class.

The plot is basic, as it should be. Though a viral outbreak is basic, it's also serious...in this universe. Guys, calm down if you feel like you need to wash your face god dammit every 10 seconds. The CDC would have this kind of thing under control after 3 or 4 deaths, at maximum 10. DON'T. GET. PARANOID. So, premise, you're a negative too. The dialogue is bland, nothing you wouldn't expect, and nothing so thought provoking that this is a source you should got to for any form of philosophy, science, what have you. The funny thing is that I actually left the theater pleased...WHY?!?!

Well, overall, this is in no way a good film. It may trick you with it's twist ending, but when you break it apart, there's not any good reason to watch this. There are much more entertaining movies out right now, there are much SMARTER movies out NOW. In 2011. Directing is crap, characters are not worth a cent, plot is basic and illogical, dialogue is bland, editing makes the film feel way too rushed, and let's not get paranoid people. I give it a 2/5.

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

......................

FINE, I'LL TALK ABOUT IT! I'm not against vaccinations. I'm against forcing them. Vaccinations are a medical drug, and just like any medical drug, they have side effects. They should be an option, just like any other drug, especially when the side effects can be life changing. But they are also very helpful, keeping disease from spreading. Forcing us to take vaccinations is taking away our freedom, and it's not like we're the ones doing the damage.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I get to talk about something I WANT TO TALK ABOUT. The theater we played was obviously glitching out. Clips were playing where they weren't supposed to, but after the first trailer; that being for The Dark Knight Rises; the lights came back on right after being dimmed. I made the joke to my friend "we are sorry, this theater has been infected by Contagion and you shall be eternally quarantined." Okay, I didn't say quite that...you know this story is quite pointless. I am very sorry for wasting your valuable time, and unlike most YouTubers, I WILL give it back to you. You wanna know why?

There's more than one reason they call 'em FRUIT bats....

Apollo 18 (2011)

When you are alone, with your friend, among a threat you don’t know, cannot know…in a land only filed with eternal darkness…when your friend is that threat…the only thing entering your mind is madness.

And just for the record - Be Kind, Subtract Five. Now let’s talk about the movie.

I had really mixed feelings after this movie. Short version, the first half was rubbish and the second half was bloody brilliant whyamibritish. Now it’s time for the longer version. Let’s critique the first half. And yes, I will be drawing a lot of comparisons to Cloverfield here, so if you don’t like this movie half the arguments I make will not make sense in your head. I didn’t care that they made this movie look real; anybody with a brain knows that if their sitting in a movie theater it’s not real. Even when Blair Witch project came out that was the rule. Hell, back to the very beginnings of found footage that might potentially be the rule, back in 1980 with Cannibal Holocaust.

The point is that that didn’t nag at me. It wasn’t a positive, but I didn’t mind much. What doesn’t make sense is the conspiracy. A lot of things that you might complain about are actually solvable, but one thing nags at me. How did we not encounter these crazy crab spiders if we had sent 5 missions prior? (Apollo 13 did not make it.) That’s not a flaw in the film’s enjoyment, but it is a crappy decision in the writing. With a found footage movie, you either pass it off as real and close all loop-holes, or you leave loop-holes in and just leave it as a Found Footage film, only being real in the film’s universe.

SIDE NOTE: LunarTruth.com/org, the website that Apollo 18 provides for its proof, is currently overloaded and you cannot log into it right now. This review was typed at the 22nd hour of September 3rd.

One thing they tell us at the beginning is that the footage is edited from an 84 hour taped uploaded to a website. First of all, hell no. An indie conspiracy theory website cannot hold an 84 hour of video, and even if it was there it would be impossible to watch. Second off, to force that idea into your head they have way too many pieces of missing footage.  It was just annoying. The jump cuts, the film errors, when film would over loop itself or whatever you call it. The worst part is that it probably wouldn’t even need that. Let’s just say if the footage wasn’t recovered until recently, wouldn’t a huge chunk of that footage just be still recording while nobody is handling it?

Then wouldn’t another big chunk of that film be of the ship getting to the moon? My point is, you don’t need to have bad editing done to make us remember it was recovered footage. Sometimes it’s acceptable. In Cloverfield, you had bad cuts done only when tape was over-lapping itself, or when the camera got damaged. That’s here. And it’s also fucking everywhere! I couldn’t fucking concentrate! Just in places where the film would normally be totally steady the film has a ton of problems. You wanna know what’s really weird? Sometimes the film transitions from foolscreen to widescreen.

Knowing only touches of information on what film is (that being a ton compared to most people), I don’t think it works that way. The characters are completely forgettable - in fact, that’s a problem in the second half too. The characters and their earthly situations are ripped straight from Apollo 13, and stripped of its quality. We lacking creativity in da horse! YEAH. They were very boring. That said, the lunar situations they were placed in made me care about them. You wanna know why? Because I have a shred of human decency, and know that innocent people are innocent!

Is Da Ca$hman snobby? Sey. Not as much as the big newspaper critics, but I am a bit of an asshole. Oh, you wanna hear about the story, do ya? We’ll talk about that in a little bit. I wanna mention one last little detail before we get into the second half. The dialogue is super boring. Predictable, no imagination whatsoever, hell, I can barely remember most lines from the first half. But maybe we should start talking about the second half, shall we? Going into this movie, you have that little nagging thought in the back of your mind that says “they’re not gonna make it back home they’re not gonna make it back home they will never see home again” but you don’t really acknowledge it.

There’s a point in this movie -and it might be different for other people - when that realization sinks in. Then, the movie transforms. Then, the jump cuts are used a lot more sparingly. Then, things start to get interesting. Get creepy. In the first half of the movie, the plot was essentially Astronauts go into space in a top secret mission, find some aliens, and have to deal with that. Sounds like IT, The Terror From Beyond Space to me. But you know what else sounds like IT, The Terror From Beyond Space? Ridley Scott’s Alien. Those plagiarism accusations are for another day.

And you know what else sounds like Ridley Scott’s Alien? This movie. Let’s just say my opening statement sums it up. This movie becomes more about the two people going insane, trying to get back home to their families, and succumbing to the madness that is the empty blackness of outer space. Reason Number 1,355,895 I’m lucky to be alive right now. And reason 2,711,790 I’m happy to be alive right now. Damn I’m having a hard time writing this without spoiling it. Let’s just say it gets insanely creepy. The dialogue also highly improves. “I feel my thoughts.” At first that line seems really silly, but it sinks in as one of the creepiest things you’ve ever heard.

The acting is universally lukewarm. Nobody puts up a good job, but what the hell they didn’t have very good material to work with. There’s one moment where the main actor does a great job, and you will know it when you see it. One of the biggest emotion hooks is that these people have families. You know what, I can say that. Because instead of trying to develop the idea that they have families, they just tell you he has a family via photos and tape recordings instead of showing you he has a family - well they do, but only for a combination of 9 seconds.

The other characters seem as if they don’t even exist on Earth. Extremely underwhelming characters makes for a very flawed film. Scares are not much here. The one plus - a major one - is that the second half is extremely creepy, chilling, pretty much like a nightmare. Otherwise you have jump scares that go from not scaring you at all to getting you to jump and forget about it instantaneously. The sets were really good. This is worth mentioning. This looks just like the Apollo missions, except for the monsters, duh. That’s not going to put the conspiracy theories to rest, isn’t it?

And now I have to talk about the monsters. They’re not very creative, they don’t have a backstory (for now), and they don’t look up to standards. Fortunately, they do the job of being really creepy. Seeing one of those bastards, which is sparingly, makes the shivers go straight down your spine. Some of these moments are forced, but I’m still satisfied. One moment comes when we see a…different version of the monsters…it’s pretty damn scary. Well, I hope I didn’t repeat myself and go on too many rambles, but when you have a good, spoiler light trailer for a movie it’s hard to review it without spoiling.

What’s my final thoughts? Go see the movie, but wait for DVD, maybe even Cable. The only reason to see it in theaters is because the cold air of the theater makes it that much creepier. It’s nothing you need to see right now, and besides, most people hate this movie. First half is so fucking terrible, very few things are good about it. .8/5. Second half is great but nowhere near perfect, 4/5. Average it out to 2.4/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off.

Dracula Y2K (2000)

 

jLankOeolOpanK34eiW12-I09iTn3yg HrguIwq3nk 1 1pNo2k1  11 neko      2noi3nitr asj;lkzcx mnrg

I’ll explain my plans, after the review.

 

Rebooting franchises that have existed since 1897 are hard to do. Universal and Hammer were very successful, they were able to keep their individual stretches with approx. 15 years of their success with The Monsters. But of course, with all those movies, people get tired of them. It gets harder when you get parodies showing up like Flesh for Frankenstein, Blood for Dracula, Young Frankenstein and Love at First Bite becoming more popular than the serious movies. John Badham tried to revive Dracula, and unfortunately failed. Werner Herzog tried. Jack Smight tried.

Hell, Francis Ford Copola tried and was successful for oh 3 years. Francis Fuckin’ Copola. But then, God, The King of Kings, Triple H came down to earth to deliver a prophecy to one Wesley Earl Craven. And it was said, “if the nightmares can be brought to life in their own realm, why cannot the nightmares bring life to the otherrealm?” Wes Craven, the creator of The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, A Nightmare on Elm Street and his own vision of Phantom of the Opera decided to end the world. The Millennium countdown had expired. This…is Dracula, 2000.

OMPAACNT: #37918

So this film, as you probably guessed by the title, takes a page from Dracula A.D. 1972’s book…yeah that’s a great idea. Basically, Dracula wakes up in a way I won’t spoil in today’s world after the events of more or less the classic story. They do seem to create some of their own mythos in the past, as Bram Stoker’s novel actually exists alongside Vlad the Impaler in Vampire form. Best guess is that the book exists in this universe as a documentation rather than a fictional story. Anyways. One problem with a lot of Dracula films that are second-class is that either they show you Dracula instantly and you’re happy, or you get caught up with some characters that don’t really matter and just wanna see Dracula.

Here, there are a few differences. First off, these characters do matter. Pretty much everything they do ties into how they are going to face Dracula, there’s no unnecessary storylines of guy trying to impress girlfriend’s parents like in Dracula Has Risen from the Grave. Everything either ties in or references Dracula and how he ties in. On the other hand, while teased throughout the film a lot, Dracula does not fully appear until the last 5th of the first act. Not to soon at all, but very satisfying. Now, on the other hand, the characters themselves are a different story. First off, there’s Matthew Van Helsing…or Abraham Van Helsing…or Whatever Your Name Is Van Helsing…His background is a bit of a mouthful let’s just say that much.

He’s played by Christopher Plummer. This guy has a good resume, featuring The Sound of Music, Oedipus the King, The Return of the Pink Panther, The Cosby Show, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Malcolm X, Wolf, National Treasure, Up, 9, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. He’s written as the classic “I am so many years old and I have told you nothing that I should have and I know much more than anybody else and I have a responsibility and you know I’m going to die in the end 10 minutes in I’m writing a movie” kind of guy. So the writing of the character itself comes off as a bit stale but very easily passable.

Christopher, on the other hand…is also kind of stale. I feel like director Patrick Lussier just said to him “all I need you to do is be old.” “Really? That’s all you need me to do?” “Yes, that’s all I need you to do. Be old and read your lines.” And Christopher just did what he was told to do. Of course I don’t know this for sure but whatever. So while the character has high spots he’s the epitome of forgettable. Next on the list is the one and only boy toy pre-2007, Gerard Butler. Before playing King Leonidas in 300, and then Edward and Jacob stealing the teenage girls’ fantasies in The Twlight Saga, Gerard Butler was that kind of “isn’t he dreamy” person. No seriously.

I feel like I’m losing 1 man point for every word I type talking about this guy. If you really need evidence that Butler was the Edward/Jacob of pre-2007, The Phantom of the Opera (2004). Need I say more? And well, he doesn’t really talk much. His performance on his own is the exact type of performance that would get over with the Twihard crowd. Now, keep in mind I haven’t ever actually endulged in any Twitlight related media so I can’t say I know any of this. Besides, he’s written like a Badass Dracula. He goes around just looking for blood, not giving a damn about anybody. But Gerard plays it up like he’s all “sexy hmm you wanna fuck me would you fuck me I’d fuck me yeeeesssss.” It’s an extremely poor casting choice and vanishes most of the good in the writing of the character.

Next up is Justine Wadell playing Mary Van Helsing. Mary is the counterpart of Mina in this story. Essentially, she’s having nightmares and can’t really shake them. And no, it’s not useless at all, it plays directly into Dracula’s character arch. But I don’t wanna spoil too much of this movie of which I’m a little afraid I already have. She plays the really tired role of “I have a past but I don’t know my past tell me my pass please I’m slightly attractive we’ve known each other for a long time I will not leave this place until I know my past somber moment ahaha I’m writing a movie.”

So, no really good writing for her character. On the other hand, how is Justine? Well…it’s like Plummer. I fear Patrick just told her “All you need to do is be somber.” “Really? That’s all I need to do?” “Yes, that’s all you need to do.” “Well I guess that is kind of a challenge when half the time I’m in barely any shorts with the whole world looking…” So that’s it. She’s just soft, soft, soft. She never changes emotions, never changes facial expressions, God is she boring. Nobody else really rings as notable. The characters are bland, let’s talk about something else. Well, the soundtrack is pretty mixed.

It’s either metal, metal and more metal for the sake of metal; or it’s some cultish spiritual thingymabob…….hippies, that’s all I have to say. It takes place in Mardi Gras after all. The gore factor is definitely present, but at the year 2000 it’s pretty tame. Compared to maybe Hammer it looks super hardcore but it’s unsatisfying for a modern horror fan. Probably how the script is written aside from characters is the best part. No stupid side story, everything in this movie is important. Every moment is filled with something that advances the plot, nothing that is just in there to meet the 90 minute deadline.

The dialogue, aside from some REAAAAALLLY horrible one-liners, is really interesting as it looks at some very unexplored concepts regarding Dracula. Nothing revolutionary, but extremely intriguing. There’s a really clever and original twist revolution, but I won’t spoil it. I don’t know what else I should say about this movie. It’s a film that’s good but could have been great. The lost potential pisses me off, but I still recommend it if you don’t have any idea what to watch on a Saturday Night. 3.5/5

-----------------------

And now, time to explain my plans. Well, obviously I did not get to do nearly as much of The Drankenstein Manathon as I hoped for in time for the 80th Anniversaries of the classic UMM films. But, it’s okay. There are THREE movies tying into our marathon coming to theaters in 2012. The first is Hotel Transylvania, which will be essentially a remake of Mad Monster Party. It will feature many of the classic characters such as Count Dracula, Jonathon Harker, Dracula’s Daughter, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Bride of Frankenstein, Quasimodo, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, The She-Wolf of London, and The Invisible Man.

The second is Frankenweenie, which is a Tim Burton stop-motion flick paying tribute to the novel of Frankenstein, the UMM classic, and the original cult classic Frankenweenie from 1984. Oh, and that also happened to be directed by Burton. Always save the best for last, because the last one to mention in 2012 is Dracula 3D, and is Dario Argento’s next installment in the horror industry. If you don’t know who Argento is…well, go and find out. But to throw some names out there,  Zombi, The Cat o’ Nine Tales, Suspiria, Inferno, Trauma. So, you probably figured it out by now. In 2012, we will debut The Drankenstein Manathon 2! It will be all through 2012, with approximately 3 entries per month.

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off. Also, there’s going to be something extra during the first three months of 2012.

Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)

Mel Brooks’ final film.

Anybody notice all the marriages in Hollywood? I digress. After the double-whammy of Young Frankenstein and Blazzing Saddles made Mel Brooks a star in Hollywood, he would go onto have an illustrious career with laugh-out-loud films such as Silent Movie, History of the World Part I, Spaceballs. Life Stinks, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. In addition, he would have much, MUCH smaller roles in creating the works of The Muppets Movie, The Elephant Man, The Fly, The Fly II, The Simpsons (TV Series), The Prince of Egypt, and several…other…films. (Silence of the Hams REALLY?!?!) But his last directorial or writing credit would go to this subject today. So…is there maybe a reason this is the last? Let’s dive in and see.

OMPAACNT: 33994

Well of course very quickly we find out that this movie is underrated. Yeah, of course, I would think this movie’s good right? My taste in movies, my taste in comedy? Seriously though, this movie is pretty funny. It’s not belly laugh 80% of the time like Young Frankenstein, but it’s still a good ratio of chuckles 70% of the time. There are some really horrible jokes, there are mostly okay jokes and sometimes they are REALLY funny jokes. All of them have perfect timing, which is so fucking vital. Sometimes that can make the difference between a shitty joke and a good joke. I’ve stated before I have no taste in comedy, but honestly, I think you should trust me over the critics on this one.

Leslie Niielson plays Count Dracula. And he is basically what you expect, an over-the-top Lugosi. He’s the kind of character that can’t catch a break even though he clearly knows how to handle himself, just because of the silliness that surrounds him. He’s a very entertaining character and people say no because he’s over-the-top…WELL WHADDYA EXPECT, it’s a comedy, get it through your heads guys! Being over the top is not a bad thing. Did you SEE any movie starring Gene Wilder? Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory wasn’t even a comedy and you praised him for that! Oh yeah, when a movie I like is at 9% on RT you betchyurass I’m gonna defend it.

Oh, the one thing you critics do like I don’t, eh? Mel Brooks plays Van Helsing. And it’s a poor casting choice, for sure. Why a stereotypical Jewish dude? It’s bad enough when he’s stereotypically Italian and I think the character is actually Italian. Now you’re gonna tell me you’re doing stereotypically Jewish JUST because it’s Mel Brooks? This was just an excuse to get him in the cast role, all of the lines he delivered would have been done much better by Van Helsing and not Mel Brooks. You read that right. The character is more Mel Brooks than it is Van Helsing.

Everyone else holds their role mid-card level. They’re not stupendously hilarious, no that comes from the script co-wrote by Brooks. But they are satisfying and keep me content as I watch the film for the lines that are gonna be spoken and Leslie’s wonderfully OT2 (over-the-top) performance. If you want an idea of which cast member was the best and worst aside from Mel and Leslie, A. Peter MacNicol playing Renfield was the best of the rest and B. Steven Weber playing Jonathon Harker was the rest after the best. Well, what else is there to say about this movie?...That’s the biggest problem. This film has very little to no polish. Castle Dracula is generic, it’s not in black and white, and aside from humor there’s no sense of a special touch. Oh well. This film’s enjoyable. Despite being rather childish and very hit-and-miss with its humor; the comedic timing and well-conserved ability to play on classic clichés make this film worth your time. 3/5.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)

“Don’t bother to scream” – The Creature.

So after the actually very unexpected box office and critical success of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Columbia Pictures, the same production company, thought it only wise to  cash-in on some of the other popular UMMs. In 1994 they released Wolf, a cash-in on The Wolf Man, in addition to this film, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. This film, unlike Dracula, was much more of a Hollywood Production than an Artistic and Emotional creation. Sure, it’s still got Copola, but only as a producer. It was brought up on company interest, not on artistic and emotional interest. Or any other interest…although I’m sure Francis knew he had a secret boner…OH AND THAT’S GREAT THIS IS A ROMANCE! There’s gonna be so many secret boners! Well, sometimes, secret boners are ----SHUT UP CA$HMAN.

Let’s just dive right in.

OMPAACNT: #33175

I thought I was out of the woods for too-fast, super cliché Hollywood writing after TinTin. Well I guess I was wrong. This film is written for American idiots, once again. Nothing that happens is let to sink in, so that the emotions can take effect, OR that the writers can expand on the ideas they’re portraying. Of course, you’re not trying to sound preachy and you should show-not-tell. It’s a fine balance that this film is far from achieving and easily because of the poison of American Greed. The weird thing is how they came to this conclusion. You guys know that this isn’t a movie kids will go see right?

What is your audience. I think they’re legitimately aiming at dumb women who shared the same love for Titanic. All they care about is that there is romance, they don’t care if it’s done well or not. All they care about is if there’s a poor, sympathetic being that’s not human. Or half-human. Whether or not the surrounding environments make us care about the situations he’s going through. Yeah, I know I sound black hearted, but…Fuck no, make a movie for Frankenstein fans, not femidiots, not childish fanboys, and if you’re gonna make it for those people film fans need to be the priority.

God Damn motherfatherin’ America……………………………………………………………………….OKAY FINE. Since the film does have the author’s title before hand, it IS possible there’s another reason why the events in this movie are so quick. Because it’s attempting to transfer the 200 page novel (approx. 10 hours of script) into a 2 hour film (approx. 40 pages of novel.) Frankly, the rage still isn’t gone. First off, there are several things that distinctly did not happen in the novel and frankly are not necessary. Second off, attempting to transfer Frankie into a 2 hour movie is so fucking stupid. If you’re going to do a direct translation and your top goal is to be accurate, do it as a 3-4 hour miniseries but definitely not as a 2 hour theatrical film.

Robert De Niro plays The Monster. When he’s not talking, he’s good I guess, but he doesn’t get enough time for his Monster to get shown in the son. His makeup is pretty gruesome but it just reeks of unoriginality with the ill-pigmented skin, malformed head, and stiches. When he’s talking, it’s a whole nother motherfathering story. So let’s count the similarities and differences between him and the Karloff Monster born in the two pioneering Frankie films. Similarities other than design, are that A. He talks with a loud, intimidating, breathe and throat power voice and not a sound, proper voice.

B. His vocabulary never reaches the heights of the people surrounding him. C. He is as innocent and loving as a child, but as quick to react and become furious as a child. Now let’s count some of the differences. A. He learns how to talk on his own. B. He’s not nearly as quick to lose hope. C. He’s able to come up with strategies on his own and doesn’t rely on one Dr. Pretorious to help him out. He’s very quick to learn, which is refreshing since most of the incarnations are slow to learn. This makes sense though, a newly born creature would take a long time to learn this such as complex as reading.

While I appreciate the fact that The Monster FINALLY gets to speak on the philosophical and intellectual level he so rightfully deserved…and yes, it actually makes sense. According to this movie, the brain tissue has enough scarce memories that it can teach him knowledge of reading or even how to play the flute. He more, remembers them. It does make sense, how much time does a person read or write in their lifetime? A brain could have those thoughts left in their for who knows how long, especially if it’s just dead. As much as I hate to admit it, after all I said and done this is probably the best screen incarnation of The Monster character in our little history of the films.

Such a shame it’s made in a Hollywoodized, can’t calm the fuck down bastardization of the original story. And it’s no wonder this only elevated Di Niro’s already awesome career while nobody else gained a thing from it? Still, there’s no chance this isn’t a direct inspiration from the most famous version of The Creature, Boris Karloff. It’s just guys playin’ off what’s already been done, a practice repeated since the dawn of stories. And I’lll just quickly get out of the way the very weak performances by everybody else. Basically, their English Scientific Fancy-Pants 1st Class shipshapesophisticatedwhyamibritishhobbitydoodahday shit would have been regarded as childish in a comedy in 1935, and you wanna tell me that they’re pulling this shit off in a horror movie in 1994? MY. ASS.

The visual style is pretty much too 1-dimensional. It’s all blue, blue, blue, blue. Yes, I know blue is supposed to be cold and depressing, like this movie. But could director Kenneth Branagh either A. Add SOME variation or B. Make the blues much more intense? Because without it, it just feels like they just slapped on some blue because “it’s depressing” and didn’t put in any extra thought. Should it be more intense at this time, how about less intense here, how about maybe some reds for anger, purple for a mix of the two emotions, how about some green for peace in the very beginning of the movie. You see what I mean?

The score is actually really good. It is done by classically trained Patrick Doyle, and is the stuff of classic films, sweeping stories and epic blockbusters galore. It kind of overshadows the rest of the production. This is a guy who’s done Henry V, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Eragon, Thor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, so on and so forth. He’s also been nominated for two Academy Awards and Two Golden Globes.

Well, it could be hard to tell from the style of this review, but I kinda liked this movie. I’ll acknowledge the narrative flows too fast and without elaboration, and most of the actors are vastly underwhelming, with a directorial style that’s quick and rushed for the box office. However, Robert DeNiro’s character of The Monster is written and executed beyond any other portrayal, the score is a sweeping set of awesomeness, and I also commend the film for at least trying to stick to the original novel for better or worse. I give it a 3/5, and it’s lucky as hell to have that.

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

First Francis Ford Copola film I've reviewed...ever.

So guess what movie actually was responsible for this movie’s creation? Wanna take a guess?...Try, of all films, The Godfather Part III. Francis Ford Copola directs not only our subject today Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but also directed the major critical successes all three Godfather films, Patton, Apocalypse Now and The Outsiders. He also produced Sleepy Hallow, and his first feature film period and to direct was one of my favorites Dementia 13! While in works with GF.3, then 19 year old Wionna Ryder decided to PMS and couldn’t handle being directed, especially by a guy who’d I suspect wasn’t very tolerant of the younger generations.

Somehow, whether aggressive or subtle, Mrs. Ryder ended up thinking that Copola hated her. Then, two years later, she came across writer James V. Hart; who has done other such works as Hook, Contact, The Muppet’s Treasure Island and one other film you could probably take a guess at that’s part of this marathon. She brought his script for this film to Copola’s attention, as A. An actual idea and B. To try to clear up their personal feelings. They did B…I guess…and as for A, Copola was like “dude, I have a secret boner! Quick, get me Greta Seacoat, we’re makin’ this picture babe!” …*I have now successfully pissed off any Copola fan who reads this review.*And now, we end up with this picture. Let’s dive in.

OMPAACNT: 31381

Well, first thing to note is the acting. This could possibly be the best example of over acting I have ever seen. And you know the funny thing? It kinda works. Let’s break ‘em down individually like we always do. First off is our top star, title character, Gary Oldman playing the one and only Vlad the Impaler! And then we have the one and only Gary Oldman, playing Dracula! We all know who Gary is, he was in JFK, The Fifth Element, Hannibal, Harry Potter and the Prisoner  of Azkaban, Batman Begins, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Dark Knight, The Unborn, A Christmas Carol, Planet 51, The Book of Eli, Tinker Talor Soldier Spy, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises.

Damn good filmography. In this film, he makes kind of a give-and-take decision. For the first time in a straight up adaptation of the novel since it happened, he attempts to imitate Bela Lugosi. While parodies, crossovers and sequels of the UMMs and H2Fs have had their attempts at making a Lugosi voice, this is the first time an actor in a film of the original story has tried to do his voice. And I can understand why, he’s the signature voice which the audience would recognize, and damn if Dracula doesn’t have that voice. He doesn’t add much to the role, but that’s okay since that voice never gets stale AND THAT’S IN TODAY’S HALLOWEEN COSTUME CULTURE BROTHAH.

He does add several small splashes of Renfield type insanity, kind of like from The Monster Squad, except with crazy good enthusiasm. It also works knowing his background. Which, by the way, the opening is fucking awesome on the condition that you know that Dracula is Vlad the Impaler and the name Dracula means Dragon. And like a good actor, he’s able to change emotions perfectly and naturally whenever he needs to. So, in total, Gary Oldman does a really good job as Dracula. In addition, his make-up is also good. Though not fantastic, but neither is his performance.

The first make-up design is basically “how the fuck old can we make this poor sorry son of a bitch.” Which works since, you know, THE GUYS BEEN ALIVE FOR 5 ½ CENTURIES! He has other forms as well, not just the classic Bat, Wolf and Fog, in fact almost never that. He turns into a bat a few times and fog once, but for the most part his creature forms are somewhere in the middle. Bat and Wolf, Fog and Wolf, and sometimes he puts Demons in them as well. He also goes back and forth between looking like good ol’ young Vlad and the new, old Dracula. All of these costumes are really cheesy and more so than works for the film, but they suffice and have the sign of good effort put into them.

Jonathon Harker is a very different story. He’s played by Keanu Reeves, yes, the Robot. He’s played in such sophisticated roles as The Matrix trilogy, The Day the Earth Stood Still remake, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Speed, Constantine, Street Kings and the upcoming adaptation of Cowboy Bebop…(O RLY?) Yeah needless to say his filmography isn’t exactly that attractive especially when you consider this is a fucking top-class Francis Ford Copola picture. But he’s not that bad. Basically, he’s kind of a mirror image of Gary Oldman. He pretty much imitates most portrayals of John Harker except adding some splashes of enthusiasm.

Except here, it’s much, much needed enthusiasm. Sorry, guys, Harker is a role that tends to be rather dull, but here’s a totally different story. He has his typical personality, but he has the ability to get angry, to get scared, to feel enchanted, when he needs to and I’ll be damned if he doesn’t do it well. Would you have ever expected KEANU REEVES to have put extra emphasis in a role that didn’t need it! Only in an F2C picture I tell ya. Mina and Lucy are definitely two females that match a common film archetype for…two female friends. They’re both very similar in that A. They fascinate about boys, B….fascinate about Boys and C….fascinate about Boys.

(Have you been able to tell these chicks are kind of like late 19th Century Disney Princesses?) The big difference is as cliché as it gets, Mina is strict and doesn’t want to get in any trouble ESPECIALLY involving sexuality; while Lucy attempts to get in all sorts of trouble ESPECIALLY involving sexuality. But again, they somehow succeed at taking kind of a really overused, overdone role and making it interesting again but adding extra emphasis and, mind you, where it belongs. The four actors I just mentioned do not just add emphasis at random intervals, they add them where they need to be.

Lucy gets SO HAPPY when she finds out she’s in love, not just at every single scene. John gets angry when Dracula starts to…umm…do something I probably shouldn’t talk about and no it’s not a spoiler. Dracula starts to go Looney Toons when he sees his plan falling in place. Ya know, going for excitement. Billy Campbell plays the extremely underseen role of Quincy P. Morris. For those who still don’t know, Quincy is a Texan who came in to arrange marriage with Lucy. The only time he’s ever stuck out to me in another movie is the BBC version by the name of Count Dracula.

There, he’s a pretty lackluster and dull American stereotype. Here, like most or the characters, he’s more energetic and while having that accent a little doesn’t really qualify as an American stereotype. So, honestly, as far as I’ve seen, this is the best portrayal of QPM. And then the last person worth mentioning is Anthony Hopkins playing Dr. Abraham Van Helsing. Again, we all know who Anthony is. He’s been in The Looking Glass War, Hamlet, The Elephant Man, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Great Expectations, Silence of the Lambs, Nixon, Amistad, Mission Impossible II, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Mask of Zorro, Titus, Hannibal, Red Dragon, Alexander, All the King’s Men, Beowulf, The Rite, Thor, and another movie that may or may not come up later.

That’s a pretty successful career even if a good chunk of those aren’t exactly what you’d call top-class entertainment. Well, he probably plays one of the more underwhelming performances in this film. He plays the character in several different ways; a lunatic, a serious man, a skeptic, a believer; and the fact is when you have a character that comes in at half the movie’s duration you probably should refrain from having so many different personalities and try to have some solid ground. But, for all those different personality types, he does them well.

The directorial style of Francis Ford Copola is, well, one to praise as expected.  Everything that happens visually has a purpose, and let me tell you there’s  a lot of good stuff here. There’s a scene where John is in the train, coming to Dracula’s Castle and writing in his diary. As his monologue – which is quite good by the way – continues we get a REALLY ominious imagine of Dracula’s eyes staring at him from the sky. As if saying “Dude, I know exactly what I’m gonna do and it involves WATCHING YOU DIE.” That’ creepy. There’s also a really clever shot that I’m surprised nobody else has done, where the bite marks on a certain vampire victim fade into the eyes of Dracula’s wolf form.

Which…by the way, is one fucking weird wolf form. I’m not sure if it’s disturbing, silly, disturbingly silly or delightfully disturbing. That’s how delightfully disturbed I am. Also note that the film will often have sets with very deep colors overtaking anything else. In some scenes it’s almost all red, giving us the mood that we’re about to enter Hell. Then, certain scenes are blue, where we’ve pretty much already entered hell. And then scenes that are untouched by his Darkness remain lighted regularly. Francis Ford Copola is a fantastic director and this is one example of why. This film is great, go check it the fuck out. You could either get a great adventure out of it, you could get a good laugh out of it, you could get good drama, or hell you could get a secret boner out of it! 4.8/5, Check it out!

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

The Monster Squad (1987)

Cult Classic Trash Talk at its finest.

This film is the film that almost never was seen. Back in 1987, the film was hated by pretty much everyone fans and critics alike. If it was really because of Transylvania 6-5000 I will killamanjaro. That’s the Jamaican Clash/Classical band, not the Mountain. em2p2t2X9YyKP2mnkRakmnkdOaksdmpePmapeoHemepoakeEkmapodTmoalpLmkapsmleEamdkSS. Technical Difficulties MY ASS! Anyways. After the theatrical release it got one of the worst home video releases on VHS in 1988 that went completely unnoticed, and that was the end of it.

It went completely unnoticed by public conscience, whether or not it was in the private conscience was irrelevant. Until 2007, 20 years later. Ain’t It Cool News was the only time a group of more than one person who was openly loving the movie, and they decided to put on a 20th anniversary convention with the original director and crew. They didn’t expect much of an attendance, it was basically a “thank you and we love you” from AICN. They had two showings, expecting one to be for fans and one to be for the V.I.P.s with not many seats filled. They had two fully packed, sold out theaters with lines all the way to Hanalulu.

Lionsgate saw this and immediately put out a 2-disc 20th Anniversary addition DVD. And it’s extremely extensive, including a 90 minute retrospective. I eat that shit up. The Alamo Drafthouse also had their own double-showing and AGAIN had sold out shows with lines all the way to Hanalulu. There’s even talks of a remake in the works….but that’s for another decade probably. Let’s dive right into The Goonies meets The Ghostbusters meets UMM, The Monster Squad!

OMPAACNT: 28663

Well the first thing you’ll notice immediately and the last thing that you will have on the mind while the ending music is stuck in your head is that this is exactly what it needed to be. A treat for motherfucking fans of these movies. (As opposed to all those fatherfucking fans out there.) This film features Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, and Gillman (Black Lagoon), and goes on and on about the mythos and behind-the-scenes details. Right off the bat we get a really nice scan of Castle Dracula. It’s conservative and doesn’t spoil us as fans, as we so desperately request at times myself majorly included.

However, it shows us enough to soothe our desire. Could you believe that the director had such a love for these movies that he fucking remembered to put Armadillos in Castle Dracula? Seriously dude, he watched his fucking movies. Several times they go over how to kill The Monsters. The Wolfman can only be killed with a silver weapon – in fact that comes in during a very comedic scene in the climax. Frankenstein is the name of the scientist, not the Monster. You can kill a vampire using Garlic, Wooden Steaks, anything Religious, but sadly (though maybe intelligently) they skimp on going on about running water, holy water, knives, etc.

They don’t talk much about The Mummy and The Gillman, which kind of shows you that they don’t have the same kind of mythos. When Gillman was having his time in the spotlight, I was saying to myself, as if talking to the kid, “shoot it dude, it doesn’t need to be killed in any special way, it’s Sci-Fi, not Fantasy!” But we’ll cover that when those guys get their marathons…which is coming, believe you me. There’s a ton of mythos in this movie, and at the same time it’s sprinkled across the script and not all jammed into one, half-boring scene that feels like a science lecture.

While that works for movies that want to go that route, it’s just in too many movies, shows a lack of uncreatively (I mean C’mon you sound like you’re reading off a list oh wait you are) and doesn’t work in a movie so lighthearted and fun. The concept is also very open ended and allows for a lot of good stuff to happen. But it does feel like the script isn’t fully polished. Like it went through 2 or 3 writings instead of 6, which is standard. Occasionally you’ll find a scene that doesn’t have good timing or is flat out unnecessary, you’ll find that The Mummy and The Gillman kind of get shafted in the movie all the way through, the human form of The Wolf Man isn’t really well developed, and the kids are some REAL archetypes. 

It hurts the film moderately, it’s not nit-picking but it’s also not devastating. Now, since we were on the subject a while back, let’s talk about some of the Monsters. Well, all the Monsters have a new upgrade. They’re so very reminiscent of the old versions, except for maybe Wolfman, but they do have their own look and don’t infringe on Universal’s appearance rights as this movie was released by TriStar and is now owned by Lionsgate. They all walk in the same way, the all act in the same way, as far as movements they’re practically replicas. Even Dracula moves the same way, but his personality is something different. He’s played by Duncan Regehr, another good actor who’s been shafted in his career.

He’s had a few roles in the Star Trek and Zorro TV Series’ but that’s about it. He’s got a pretty underwhelming career. But he’s good in this movie. I feel like he’s got some untold story involving Renfield in this universe (assumingly being a sequel to the UMM universe), because he acts like RM man. Or, Renfield light I should say. He’s still focused, in charge, enchanting and dark, fancy. But he’s also insane, sadistic, despicable, hates everyone, gets whatever he wants kinda guy. It mostly comes out of how the character was written but there’s no saying that Duncan didn’t execute this role perfectly.

The kids are okay too. They’re basically the kids from Goonies but with less polish and a little more annoying, but whatever they’re little kids it’s not torture I’ll let it slip. The movie has a really nice production value with Hollywood camera angles and lighting, something not seen often in our Drankenstein Manathon as of late. All in all man, it’s an awesome movie, but far away from perfect. 4/5.

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

Transylvania 6-5000 (1985)

Alright, so this is going to be a really short review.

Jeff Goldblum – great. Other guys – meh. Comedy – good. Script – NO! Production Value – HELL NO! Concept – Really good.

2.9/5

(See, I told you it would be short.)

I, Da Ca$hman, running away from the angry mob of people yelling “COP-OUT!”

Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

REVIEW OF THE GERMAN-SPEAKING VERSION

Yeah! The only time F.W. Murnaeu’s adaptation has gotten any real attention. It’s well known of in the horror community and has it’s parodies of course, but has a proper tribute or remake been done? Not really. So let’s hope this film breaks the curse! But first, let’s get in my time machine and go back to 1922. We remember that after F.W. Murnaeu was 12 and what is copyrighted, Florence Stoker – Bram Stoker’s Widow – filled a lawsuit to have all prints of Nosferatu: A Symphony of the Night destroyed. But of course, a few prints were resurrected shortly after.

They were only remastered and released to the public between 1960 and 1970, as Florence Stoker’s copyrights died after a 45 extension past person(s) death. (Gives you an idea of why there were so many Drac and Frank films in the 1960’s.) The film got to be seen by that generation of movie goers and onward, including my own. So director Werner Herzog decided to A. Cash in on the recent Nosferatu craze and B. Show his appreciation for the work and BOOM! We got another movie! This, along with Dracula and Love at First Bite, were all released in 1979. However, this was uber popular in its own countries of Italy, Germany, and to an extension France.

Unfortunately, Dracula 79 was not huge in the US since people were still “laughing off” Love at First Bite. But these films all have their cult statuses today. There’s quite a lot more of the behind-the-scenes shit but we’ll get to that later. It’s time for Nosferatu the Vampyre! Today!...on I, Da Ca$hman’$ Movie Review$ AKA NOT The Multimedia Chronicles.

---------------------

This film has a lot of very innovative and most of the time creepy ass concepts. I won’t actually say what they are, but when you watch this I want you to spot them. A. The Opening B. The Castle and C. A Vampire’s Diet. Also remember to check out the differences in character of A. Harker & Renfield and B. Van Helsing. …As you can see, there’s definitely imagination put into this film. That’s a thing that’s missing in a lot of the Dracula films we’re reviewing right now. They rely on pleasing the fans of the old clichés, instead of toying with them and making them fresh and new. Congrats to W.H. for trying this shit out ‘cuz it works.

Next up is the score. It is mostly really good, but it has it’s faults. First off, the bad is that really light music that you would expect to come from your local cities’ TV Station. But that’s rare. In other parts we get sweeping songs of Heavenly magnitude you would expect to play while The King of Kings holds his religiously holy rapture. Classic string music that is more than directly inspired by the common sound arrangements used for the silent pictures Pre-1931 plays at Castle Dracula. It’s an awesome score that Popol Vuh (one of the best names to pronounce in the history of mankind) should be proud of.

The visual style goes hand in hand with the audio. During scenes with that really crappy PBS music, we get really crappy PBS scenes with really crappy PBS lighting and decor. But then, when we have scenes with that sweeping Jesus kills everyone music, we get extremely beautiful shots of waterfalls that would impress any and all tourists, the clouds breaking with the sun just shining, to describe the cinematography in this movie would be like describing the magnitude of Noah’s Ark. I could try and come up with something but I won’t succeed. Then when the silent=movie inspired songs start to play, the film goes straight into The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari territory.

The edges of the film print are darkened while a circular piece of the frame is lit with odd shades of blues, oranges, greens and other such. Although this film is in true color mind you. This isn’t even it, the three I just mentioned. But I consider Post-30 minutes spoilesr. Trust me, this film takes a lot of turns into Heaven, Hell, Heaven, Hell, Limbo, The Underworld, Purgatory, Mummification and back three times. On another note, the visuals and audio transfer. In most films we get jarring transitions between elements that help the stupid American identify them.

And then typically the American doesn’t even identify them. Here, Dir. Warner goes for something new. We don’t go from PBS crap to Jesus kills all music. We slowly and smoothly go through the changes to eventually get to Point B from Point A. It’s a very unique technique I’m sure is used in movies I’m too teenager to have seen yet, and makes a film that has A LOT of different styles put in one still feel like a singular, flowing piece of art. Speaking of art......I think it's time we talked about a certain something I'm sure ALL [2] of you are ready for me to talk about.

The makeup. We all know about how the 1920’s had some of the best makeup. It’s quite simple. Hunchback, Phantom, Caligari, c’mon man. If that shit came out today with a voice equally as scary, I would shit some pants. Not my pants I’m too greedy to do that. [Jewish.] So anyways  Klaus Kinski plays the role of Count….?Dracula? ?Orlock?. You may recognize him from,,,Jack the Ripper, maybe? Probably Android?  He was in a fuck of a lot of German movies is my point. The new make-up isn’t a copy of the original FW makeup but it is very similar. I’ll explain it very shortly. He took the original design and made it 5x more dead. In fact, he is the showcase of one of the film’s signature atmospheres, DEAD. You could suspect Warner was one disturbed necrophiliac just from this movie. Seriously, try NOT to have nightmares after you see some of this shit.

Making a somewhat related Segway into actors, (yeah for some reason MS Word automatically capitalizes Segway) let’s talk about my favorite character in the Dracula Universe, Renfield! He’s played by a…a…a Polish-Jewish Author, Illustrator, Painter and Filmmaker who spent his early years hiding from Nazis. With a secret what the what the what. Who made this casting decision again? Well, fret not young Frankfurters because it was a good casting decision. Despite seemingly being a behind-the-scenes artist, he’s the best actor in the movie! Thank the good Lord because my favorite character REALLY needed some justice that wasn’t really received since 1922 and 1931. I’ll describe him as if The Joker and Jack Nicholson and put them together in the body of the classic Renfield with an STD. He’s fucking perfect, definitely one of the many highlights of this film.

The pacing is really slow, but this is appropriate. It makes you feel like you’re in a really disturbing dream, but maybe not a nightmare…that would come 5 years later. However, the gimmicks of “being dead” and “being like a nightmare” in Dracula films tend to not work out on their own, and only work when amplifying the true use of the slower pacing. That appears here. The reason here is so that the creep factor and the TRULY haunting atmosphere does not go unnoticed in some flash of the pan superfast paced cheap thrill that shows up in the Horror industry so often.

It drags it out so that everything that is so fucking disturbing can be properly appreciated, and when you analyze this film in the way it was originally presented you’ll never forget some of these images. This film is fucking awesome! It has a really good cast, a great fucking script, fantastic cinematography, fantastic imagery, fantastic atmosphere, fantastic lighting, fantastic décor, fantastic soundtrack, God this movie is good. Check it the fuck out - In Deutsch nicht amerikanische. 5.49/5, and WOW I really can’t believe I’m giving it that grade.

I, Da Ca$hman singing off.

Dracula (1979)

HELLO John Williams!

Sorry about the low quality trailer.

In 1979, the Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolf Man franchises were not in their best shape. Hammer nearly went bankrupt this year and went into hibernation, the Universal series was long gone, and in its place we see films that either pay tribute to the classics, base itself around the literary origins, or show no honor for the forerunners. The Horror industry was going past these supernatural 1800’s stories and going more for a present, taboo and realistic tone as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Jaws, Halloween, Grizzly, Piranha, and also films that were of fantastic concept but far from the old Werewolf stories, as The Exorcist, The Omen, Dawn of the Dead, Zombie 2 and just that year Alien.

It seemed nearly impossible to do anything, but if anybody knows how to make epic out of the impossible when it comes to our 3 its Universal. And they decided to remake their own Dracula. The basic idea was to have everything in the movie that was too taboo to put in the 1931 version. Mainly in the sensuality department. In 1931, Universal was falling on hard times with the loss of Horror Icon Lon Chaney Sr. In 1979, Dracula was falling on hard times due to the loss of Hammer. In both versions, due to budgeting issues, they based the film on the much less expensive Broadway live performance rather than the novel. It’s Universal’s return to Dracula cinema, and they’re going up against extremely tough competition! Let’s see what goes down…

OMPAACNT: #25829

Well I can tell you right off the bat this film is surprisingly fantastic in the visual department. Again, I’m not talking about James Cameroon’s pretty lights A.K.A. CGI, I’m talking about REAL directorial visuals. Camera angles and cuts, lighting effects, makeup, etc. Although, there’s an interesting story behind all this. When it was original shot, John Badham had originally wanted to shoot the film in Black and White to match the 1931 version and the atmosphere of the play. However, Universal didn’t allow this probably for the same reason they didn’t allow Young Frankenstein to be shot – nobody used black and white film anymore.

While Mel Brooks had the courage to try out Warner Bros. and eventually succeed with 20th Century Fox, Lil’ Johnny decided to stay with Universal (after all it was more their movie then his) and take all orders from them. They told him to shoot it in golden colors of purple and deep, deep yellow…..and other springtime colors that did not match the original Dracula atmosphere whatsoever for any version including this one. When it was re-issued in 1997 on Widescreen Laserdisc, Lil’ Johnny decided to wash away the color. All releases since then, including all releases on DVD, are the altered version.

Now, I have no nostalgia on the film since this is legitimately my first time seeing it. So here’s my opinion on it. I really, really wish that I could one day see the original version as for my understanding it has it’s dreary moments but also has the golden contrast. But since original version is close to impossible to get your hands on, I’m just going to talk about what he unfortunately have now. Which is still REALLY good. The ultimate example of what makes what we have left really good is Dracula’s Castle. The Castle is made almost completely out of good, solid stone, whereas most of his castles are made with either deteriorating bricks or wood.

Usually if there’s wood there are bricks too. That form of Castle is probably a lot more appropriate, as it is dying. Like Dracula. So it feels dead. Here, the castle is a sturdy build of stone and rocks. It feels extremely intimidating, large, and endless. Even if it shows as much as the castle as most movies, this one feels like it could suffice as the Highway to Hell. Don’t get me wrong, the dead, decaying, gothic feel of other castles are definitely not placed under this one. Aside from that, what we have now is a movie that feels extremely damp all the way through. If we’re looking on the outside we’re almost always near water, while most versions are always foggy or in a forest.

With all colors washed out we end up with a film that feels exactly like a vampire, kind of. In addition to the color scheme outside the castle, the actors (all of them) both in motion and sound provide a half-dead feel to it. There’s even a conversation early on about what Nosferatu really means. Is it undead, or just not dead? Well, apparently Johnny used to believe the latter but now believes the former. “I don’t care they all frighten me,” said Lucy, Not to mention, this movie is shot very, very well. The production value is staggering. As far as the camera goes it looks like a film directed by Steven Spielberg on his best days. You could compare the angles to the stuff of Peter Jackson’s recent works such as Lord of the Rings and King Kong.

Trevor Eve plays Jonathon Harker. Trevor is pretty much known for this and Troy. In most Dracula films, we see him, know that he’s signing over Dracula’s deed and wait for him to become a vampire. He’s never that exciting. In this film, that is changed. John is written as a character who doesn’t take any prisoners, but is also somehow the nicest guy on the block. If you don’t do anything to annoy him or hold him up, he’ll treat you with more respect and kindness then most people could handle. However, if you do anything stupid that annoys him or holds him up, he’s just going to lay down the facts and get what he wants. I like this guy, he reminds me of me. Trevor performs this kind of character alright, but he’s no legend.

The dialogue is admittedly pretty bad. It ranges from okay at giving winks to some common Dracula lines (I never drink wine is said very early on in the film), to really, really stupid. While I like Vocabulary a Thesaurus does not make you smart guys. It helps but only when your dialogue is good, and not when it is saying things like “you will grow a giant wart right on the end of your nose.” Half the time it’s jokey and you can tell all the time when it’s jokey it is nowhere near trying to be humorous. This doesn’t sound like MST3K dialogue at all does it? Sometimes it just gets plain dull as there is no substance behind it.

They can’t even build any vocal drama when somebody dies. So, yeah, you can imagine the film is carried by the actors much more than a normal film, and that’s saying something. Speaking of being carried by actors, Frank Langella is our top star and plays Dracula. John Badham had enjoyed Bela Lugosi’s performance so much, that he didn’t want to overshadow or intimidated him. So instead of anything faster, he is more dirty, sexual, taboo, that’s nearly his entire focus. Even his voice is moderately quiet, but it’s something that would entice every woman in the room. In that way Frank succeeded with perfection. However, Frank was also very successful in not coming anywhere close to Lugosi or even Lee.

Renfield, my favorite character of the Dracula universe, is played by Tony Haygarth. Like most interpretations of R.M. Renfield, named Milo Renfield in this version, he doesn’t get nearly enough screen time for his character to reach full potential. But the same good stuff is there, how much he loves to eat bugs. He even talks about eating a Kitten for a good portion. Tony’s performance, honestly, makes me think of if Disney did this story. There’s been a few really insane side characters in Disney history, and the really good ones remind me of Tony’s performance take away the one-liners and add some really taboo stuff.

Laurance Oliver, from such films as Rebecca, Spartacus, Clash of the Titans, and 36 time award Winner with 26 more nominations, plays Abraham in this film. And no, Abraham isn’t Stoker now in this movie. Abraham is Van Helsing, but if I remember correctly they never refer to him as Van Helsing. He’s okay. He’s probably the only character I’d say screenwriter W.D. Ritcher actually wrote some really good dialogue for. But his performance is meh. He’s like if you took the original Edward Van Sloan Van Helsing performance and mixed him with a few splashes video game character Mario.

He’s that serious, only guy who believes Vampire Hunter, but he’s also kind of a half-silly Italian. It doesn’t really work well and he’s very underwhelming, but what do I know I’m bashing a guy who’s won and nominated for 62 film awards! Speaking of bashing people who deserve better, everyone else in the acting department is pretty underwhelming. I can understand if Dracula never gets excited since…he’s dead…but the fact that most of the characters act half-dead makes no sense and makes the movie drag on and on. Speaking of pacing, the movie is kind of jumbled in the pacing department.

At a lot of points there’s absolutely no movement at all. Then, during scenes where it goes fast, the scenes start fast but don’t go any faster gradually. I would respect it if it stayed really slow to let the atmosphere engage, or maybe if it stayed somewhat fast paced, but this is jumbled pacing. Speaking of scenes, let’s talk about the story a little bit. The classic story of Dracula DOES NOT apply here. In comparison to other Dracula adaptations, most of the scenes are out of order, it starts where most Dracula movies reach the halfway point, and the climax is of the film’s own imagination. Indeed, this is its own unique Dracula film and from a creative standpoint and not a technical standpoint does not attach itself too much to other versions. While it draws it’s inspiration like all films, it is very unique.

Another thing I wish to mention is John William’s score. I don’t really have to elaborate here, all you need to know is it’s John Williams + Dracula. That’s the score, it’s what you come to expect, and it’s awesome. Well, I guess that’s all I haft to say about this movie. A recommendation for Dracula fans curious or not. It has a very unique look, sound and script that sell the movie in that triangular respect. However, a lack of a fully rounded solid cast or good dialogue in 80% of the film with jumbled pacing make this far from the masterpiece that many have praised it for. Oh…and ugh…watch out for that makeup. 3.46/5

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

Count Dracula (1977)

“Why can’t a woman marry 2 men? Or as many as she likes?” – Susan Penhaligan as Lucy

In the 1970’s we had a very substantial lump of extremely unique interpretations of The Prince of Darkness. New or Newish ideas count of Count Dracula, Dracula A.D. 1972, The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, Blood for Dracula, and the unfortunately not reviewed here Dracula’s Dog. So of course in addition to a too faithful adaptation of the novel, a 70’s half-trip, a Kung Fu film, a comedy-porno, and a WTF moment, a British Miniseries is actually refreshing. And of course let’s not forget Frankenstein’s share of oddities as Frankenstein: The True Story, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, and Young Frankenstein. A refreshing idea compared to the latest entries, and extremely pleased reviews are an extremely good sing for this movie. Let’s begin.

Well, what’s a Dracula film without proper atmosphere, am I right? Well, I’m unfortunate to report that the current home video edition (released in 2007) is rather crap. Film Grain isn’t visible, and in addition the print is extremely void of detail. This leads me to believe the DVD is a product of DNR Hell. It’s also got a really shitty framerate. You know, that framerate that most PBS stations use that looks like it’s close to twice the speed of big budget film? I can understand if they didn’t get the normal 24 fps film because it was expensive, but would normal 25 fps TV film be that hard to get?

It’s a BBC production after all. Even if you got 30fps that would have been good. Well, that diatribe as essentially just warning you that the only way to watch this movie as of now is untrue to its source. Blu-Ray Petition anybody? But, I’ll tell you what I’ve seen and account for the DNR/Framerate hell. Any scene during the night or in Castle Dracula is fuckin’ spectacular. It is taking very direct inspiration from the visual style of the 1931 UMM Classic (the one that started the Drankenstein Manathon). Fog and spider webs are everywhere, the Castle is so under lit and is falling apart as if it were centuries old (as it is.)

The average day houses take its inspiration from the period piece look of the Hammer classics, and the shore side scenes take direct inspiration from the beautiful and unforgettable beach scene from the 1922 Nosferatu. So, as far as scenery goes, this movie has got it down! Close to the same area, the editing is actually something that needs to be discussed. The film at high-tension points plays similarly to a Creepy Pasta. Colors are inverted several times, including the iconic Dracula stare. Jarring cuts and other very drastic color changes happen on occasion, and the sound will mute and unmute at times.

There’s also an extremely annoying high-pitched sound that plays at high tension times, and occasionally “echoes of the past” (if I may) play during high-tension scenes. It gives it the sense of being in a nightmare and has good ambition, but needs a lot more polish and reason if you’re going to take something completely unrelated to the genre and put it in said genre. It feels extremely out of place, but I do give credit for experimentation and taking risks. The film was edited by Richard Bedford. The soundtrack is kind of mediocre to be honest. It has low spots, high spots, and is all around repetitive and annoying, in addition to not having much variation.

To help the reader understand a certain point of view on the subject, let me bring up the classic Disney Alice in Wonderland. That film had a character that was written as kind of a bland, blank slate, something that could either be experimented with by the actor or be a product of sexist 50’s lazy writers. Fortunately, the better prevailed. In this film, Lucy and Mina are kind of the opposite. Their characters in general fiction are known as classic film sisters that aren’t constantly bickering. They have disagreements and have personality differences, but they are still a product of the same family and end up being similar.

This is ironic since these characters are only related in this version. Anyways, Same kind of idea here.  Their characters are written for this particular film adaptation in reverse of the Disney Alice character. They have some really good writing with more personality than these classic archetypes come up with. They bring up debates on very touchy things as how to take death seriously, or whether or not polygamy should be accepted in common society. The only thing I have a problem with their writing is that they act a lot more innocent then their age supposes.

But what the hell that’s in more than half of the Dracula films anyways. But their actors attempt – unsuccessfully  - to throw away that creative decision and act in the same way that was a charming product of the times in the 30’s but by 1960 became a bland, boring, cliché way to act. They’re just a few notches above Damsel in Distress. So while Gerald Savory (nice name) did a good job at writing their characters, the actresses Susan Penhaligan (nice name) and Judi Bowker (nice name) did not do a very good job at all. Louis Jourdan plays Count Dracula. And he does it relatively well. He’s nothing special, he doesn’t jump out of the screen. But he doesn’t seem extremely dead either. He never had me bored, but he didn’t deliver his lines with as much OOMPH as he should have.

Frank Finlay is a lot like Louis Jordan in that he doesn’t deliver as much OOMPH as he should have. He’s definitely the least interesting Van Helsing out there. His Irishish/Italianish accent doesn’t really help either. The pacing is good and bad. The film was shown in 3 parts on British Television and runs at 2 hours and 30 minutes. I wasn’t bored until the last 10-20 minutes, but I wasn’t exactly excited much despite being impressively engaged. So, just a warning, this is a fucking longass movie. Watch in the three portions it was meant to be shown in.

Renfield’s actor, Jack Shepard, does a pretty good job with Renfield. He’s like a poor man’s Dwight Frye. They bring up all the same ideas and he delivers basically the same performance, but it’s not executed as much as it should have. His character could potentially be the subject of a very good movie in his own right, but of course this is an adaptation of Dracula. So, the only thing really bad about him is that he doesn’t get his time in the spotlight, which I guess is a pretty good complaint.

Quincy’s actor, Richard Barnes, is actually kind of a funny story. He looks like Chuck Norris with black hair die and is an American Texas stereotype. With the requirement of that accent holding him back – whether or not is his real accent I don’t know – he does a competent job of delivering his lines with the emotion he’s supposed to have. Even if some of them are embarrassingly redneck.

The dialogue is chalk full of good shit. It either panders to the mythology of Dracula that we’ve ALL come to know and love; or it ventures into different territories (e.g. polygamy.) You know, this movie is just a treat for all Dracula fans. Whether they’re a fan of the Universal Classics, the Hammer Horror films, anything predating this movie including the novel. This film has been called the closet thing to the original novel other than the 1970 version, and if this is true than I can safely say THIS is how you do a close adaptation of a novel and still make it entertaining.  Some really epic atmosphere, good but not great actors, splendid writing, and an experimental directorial and editing style make for a very worthwhile recommendation. My default rating for a movie that’s “Awesome but not perfect by a longshot” is 4/5. So let’s give it that 4/5.

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off. We have two more movies left in the 1970’s to review!

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)

Sorry about the late posting.

 

As Enter the Dragon introduced America to Kung Fu films in 1972, and remains one of the most “fun” films of all time, The Shaw Brothers studios wanted to introduce the genre to The United Kingdom. Only problem was that both the USA and UK were going through a film recession. Fortunately the USA was to pull through since it has a strong independent filmography (some examples include The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, The Terminator, The Godfather and The Evil Dead.) England pretty much relied on big-budget Horror films, and that lead to a few problems.

The Exorcist came out in 1973, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre came out in 1974, and Jaws would come out later in 1975. So America had a pretty strong hold on the Horror industry. Hammer was the first one into the pool, and it was attempting to stay in the pool last. They had pretty much canned their two big franchises. Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell proved that their Frankenstein saga had run its course. Even if their Dracula saga had not run its course, Christopher Lee was extremely pissed off by this point going to say he played The Satanic Rites of Dracula under protest.

Terrence Fisher, James Bernard, Jimmy Sangster and Anthony Hinds were all pretty much gone as well. So they were really relying on Peter Cushing as Van Helsing to keep the Dracula series going. Together the two studios, Hammer and Shaw, created a merge of their specialties. It’s a Kung-Fu Dracula movie that has gained cult statues unique for the Hammer series. Honestly if I was in their shoes it would be the smartest idea we could come up with. Introduce UK to the Kung-Fu genre and get the Hong Kong economy rolling, while England ca$he$ in on America’s love of Dracula and their newfound love of Kung-Fu.

That probably sounded unintentionally racist, didn’t it? This turned out to be the last straw. This is the last Hammer film we will review, and it is the last film with Peter Cushing we’re reviewing. And maybe, a little more on that another day.

OMPAACNT: 22800

John Forbes-Robertson plays Count Dracula in the only time Christopher Lee refused to Hammer. And boy am I depressed he did. Fortunately this guy only appears near the beginning and end. Basically, take Phoebus from the 1996 Hunchback of Notre Dame, mix him with Christopher Lee’s Dracula and then make him homosexual. (I’ve make fun of worse before mind you.) And yet it’s not like he misplayed the part. He acts as if he was directed to be this way, and he does this role really well. The problem is this is the least appropriate role for this movie! Directors Roy Ward Baker and Chang Cheh, if this was your choosing…why?!?! Wait…Roy Ward Baker? That couldn’t be the same dude who did A Night to Remember? A Golden Globe winner? Ah, never mind that.

Is this actually one of the rare occasions where I say good things about the soundtrack? Yes, yes it is. The soundtrack is a pleasantly well done mix of James Bernard’s HoD theme in a higher note and something out of King Kong vs. Godzilla in a higher note. I usually hark on not being original but when they mix it and tune it, the sound can become its own beast. Besides, any soundtrack from here on out and before then will obliterate the score to Dracula A.D. 1972. Peter Cushing reprises his role as Van Helsing. And now, excuse me as I get a bit more sentimental.

Born in Kenley, Surrey, England to George Edward Cushing and Nellie Marie King Cushing, Peter Wilton Cushing OBE had a relatively uneventful early life. As a teenager he took up pay-the-bills style job as a surveyor’s assistant before taking a scholarship at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. (Take a wild guess as to which helped him out more.) He graduated and took the secondary option of the title of the school to work in Western Live Theatre or “repertory theatre” in the English county of West Sussex. (OH THE IRONY.) He later went to Hollywood to star in the film The Man in the Iron Mask, made in 1939 and has been remade to death.

This was his first screen incarnation and it got him some noticeable success, but he would only do barely noticeable films until 1948’s Hamlet directed by Sir Lawrence Oliver. He continued on to star in two subsequent version of Nineteen Eighty-Four in ’54 and ’56, and a ’52 version of Pride of Prejudice. So as you can plainly tell he starred in a lot of films based on A+ Literary works. While these got him a lot of street-cred in the higher arches of film critics and makers, his ultimate goal was popularity. Not money, popularity. To quote the man himself, “Who wants to see me as Hamlet? Very few. But millions want to see me as Frankenstein so that's the one I do. If I played Hamlet, they'd call it a horror film.”

He never made himself a little pretentious douchebag like Lugosi *don’t kill me* in “attempting to higher the arts.” He never lowered himself to people like George Lucas in trying to make $$$$. All he cared about were the people who were the most responsible for it all - the people. I could see him saying at a public press conference ‘you guys wanna see me in Frankenstein Meets the Peanut Butter Sandwich over Romeo & Juliet?’ You’re gonna get me in Frankenstein Meets the Peanut Butter Sandwich God Dammit!’ It may not have lead to the best filmography but it lead to some of the best acted roles in Horror history especially when you consider some of the material.

He was always happy that the people were happy. In the process he made a best friend out of Christopher Lee, and in real life was quite the quiet man, often Bird-Watching. He later on went to play undoubtedly  the most iconic British Television character Dr. Who in the two film Daleks saga: Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks --- Invasion Earth 2150. He took this opportunity to be a nicer, more gentle, lovable character since he did “…get terribly tired with the [neighborhood] kids telling me 'My mum says she wouldn't want to meet you in a dark alley’.”

Unfortunately what is true with the Darker side of his career is also true with the Lighter side. Great performances in good to shitty films. Including all the Frankenstein sequels, some awesome some horrible, he did the first two Avengers films (the espionage movies, not the Comic Book movies) and later The Biggles. Space: 1999 featured Cushing as a Prospero-like protagonist. Another extremely notable piece is playing Sherlock Holmes several times. C’mon, you guys can’t see him as Sherlock Holmes? Really? In 1971 Hammer wished to hire him for Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, however he withdrew due to the death of his wife.

“Since Helen passed on I can't find anything; the heart, quite simply, has gone out of everything. Time is interminable, the loneliness is almost unbearable and the only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that my dear Helen and I will be united again some day. To join Helen is my only ambition. You have my permission to publish that... really, you know dear boy, it's all just killing time. Please say that.” …….Six years later…….“When Helen passed on six years ago I lost the only joy in life that I ever wanted. She was my whole life and without her there is no meaning.

I am simply killing time, so to speak, until that wonderful day when we are together again.” The night his wife died he attempted suicide by running up and down the stairs to induce a heart attack, however a poem left by his mother kept him going. Things got only worse and worse as he played DracAD72, when he was originally cast as a father but his physical age was to far so they recast him as a grandfather. George Lucas, then loving and affectionate for Cushing and his roles, cast him in Star Wars. He was originally thought of for Obi-Wan Kenobi but was seen as too physically incapable.

Not only did they recast him as one of his most famous roles Grand Moff Tarkin, he was allowed to wear his slippers during the shoot due to the boots being very ill-fitted. In 1982, Peter Cushing was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, as we’ve seen before a very drawn out disease. In 1989 Christopher Lee made him an Order of the British Empire, as in one of the greatest British rulers of all time. But Chris himself said it was “too little, too late.” R.I.P. Peter Wilton Cushing, OBE, 26 May 1913 - 11 August 1994; the purest and most human soul in filmmaking history.

Wow……well, I need to get back on track. Since we’re treading that water, why don’t we talk about how Cushing does as an actor in this film? Well, of course, he does a fantastic job. His character feels like he had a half-natural progression into this emotional state, (whether or not he actually did) and Peter Cushing embodies that in full. But I almost feel like his character bares resemblance to Hammer at this time. Yes, a British entity attempting to persuade the public of a foreign country to be interested in things like Vampires, with most residents of that country rejecting him with the idea that “this shit is old, and it ain’t our style.” Yet one unexpected entity comes to help him have on final battle…

Moving on, our next big star is John Chiang/David Chiang, who plays the leader of the 3 Brothers & 1 Sister (misleading title much?) and is the only person especially in the academic field - in this film - to believe Van Helsing’s stories. Why? Because…eh, it’s not a spoiler…Because the farmer who killed the 7 Golden Vampires many years ago was his grandfather. His dialogue isn’t actually that bad, it’s pretty generic but it’s the kind of thing that in the hands of a Cushing or Karloff could be turned into acting genius. Instead he acts completely uninterested and boring, he’s the guy you don’t want the camera to focus on. It’s like the only thing the director (R.W.B.) told him to do was use his natural accent…(yeah I am implying he’s a racist douchebag).

Hey, this is a Kung Fu movie, isn’t it? Well, how are the action scenes?...Pretty lackluster to be honest. First off, action scenes to me are always boring if there’s no interest. Physical Action does not equal good pacing. If I don’t really care about the people there, there’s no reason to care who gets their head chopped off. Especially when it jumps out at you from nowhere whatsoever! But, hey, let’s say we actually did care about what was going on, were they well choreographed? Eh, they’re okay. Let me tell you that my experience with Kung Fu is pretty much Enter the Dragon.

Even with that in mind I can still say without a doubt this is the lamest, most fake attempt to pass for Kung Fu I’ve seen. In all reality it’s not just some Asian dude going “HUWAAAAAH” and then bitch-slapping someone in the face. Not to mention, at least try to make it look like people hit each other! It’s faker than Pro Wrestling or Kingdom of the Crystal Skull!!! How is this supposed to pass off for interesting fighting?

Well, that’s all I really wanted to say about this mess anyways. Besides, there’s still the topic of Hammer themselves to cover. So first, let’s give this movie a rating and get right into some history again. While it has a very good actor in Cushing and a nice soundtrack as a reprisal…of sorts…everything else falls apart. For a movie that has vampires and Kung Fu, why the hell was I getting bored? There’s nothing to care about, it’s formulaic, the action scenes are even more stupid than a Pro Wrestling match, and every other actor but Cushing is pretty much trash and worthless. There’s a reason why people separate this from most other Hammer Dracula films, and it ain’t just because of Christopher Lee’s absence. I give it a 1.8/5

Now that that is taken care of, let’s talk a little more about Hammer, shall we? By now Hammer was reaching the bottom of this whirlpool to Company hell, as you can see they were really desperate for ideas and showed they couldn’t get with the times of modern-style horror flicks. The audience in almost it’s entirety had moved on to other entertainment. The two things they really helped out were, admittedly, England and the Horror film industry. The Horror industry was running wild, with films like The Exorcist, Black Christmas, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre already in existence and in later years while Hammer was still alive Jaws, Day of the Dead, Halloween and Alien would take the scene.

This might as well be the curtains closing in on Hammer, but they did attempt to do a couple more films. They made Man About the House, Shatter, To the Devil a Daughter, and The Lady Vanishes. All of which drove Hammer Studios closer and closer to Bankruptcy, eventually in 1980 forcing the studio to put their movie production on hiatus and eventually hibernation. Through 1994 they focused on a few Television Series’ that kept employees payed until a full shutdown of operations until 2008. But what would come in the place with the Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolf Man fields open (not counting any of the Spanish WTF just happened moments) came some of the most classy cult classics of this genre. And of course a few schlock fests as well. But that’s…next time…

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

Young Frankenstein (1974)

GLUE!!!!....wait, wat?

 

In 1974, Mel Brooks had just jumps started his career. His two finished films, The Producers and The Twelve Chairs are not “all-time” classics that everyone has seen. His first movie that would gain that reputation, Blazing Saddles, was still in the works as he started to write Young Frankenstein with Gene Wilder. Gene, on the other hand, in addition to working on B.S., he had gotten his claim to fame in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. Gene Wilder absolutely loved the first two UMM Frankenstein films, and he still had an appreciation for the sequels. Including the one that never came to fruition, Return of Frankenstein…somehow. Very much, it was Gene going to Mel and saying “hey, you wanna make a movie?” Mel goes back and says “Sure, but this is going to be OUR movie, not yours, not mine.” Or, in a nutshell at least, it’s much more complex. This, is Young FronKonShtein!

OMPAACNT: #24007

Ah, where should I begin? You know it kind of surprises me that this film has been seen by pretty much all of my 21st Century teenage friends. Not even Spaceballs is this watched in our community. Yet the majority of these kids’ comedy consumption is shows that are fun to quote but a chore to watch. Family Guy, South Park, Spongebob Squarepants, that’s the big three right there. So I’m still confuzzled that this film, aside from The Hangover, is a universal classic in our cliques. Why does it surprise me? Did you notice that all of those previously mentioned shows attempt to push the limits as far as offensive jokes go?

There’s nothing wrong with offensive humor in its own right, but when that’s the focus of a comedy narrative you’re going for the wrong route. Obviously, you need to focus on making your shit funny. This film is hysterical, and yes there are several offensive jokes. But they’re not trying to be offensive, that just comes with the territory sometimes. When I watch Family Guy all I see is *record skip* BlazeTheMovieFan: “Review Young Frankenstein, not Family Guy!!!!” Fair game, fair game. Most of the jokes are one of two. Either relatable jokes that tie in with real life, an example would be making fun of prosthetic limbs.

Or, as this is a parody, making references to the source material…as in making fun of prosthetic limbs…(anybody who’s seen Son of Frankenstein will get what I’m talking about.) It’s all laugh-out loud hilarious. I swear, half of the dialogue is extremely quotable. Who hasn’t heard somebody say “Frau Blucher” and expect horses to start shaking up the place. But there’s something to be said in the narrative. It’s a laugh out loud (or lol) comedy for sure, but it’s not like this film doesn’t make sense in any way. Think about it. A bunch of misfits who are the only ones left with the destiny to carry on the great work of Dr. Victor Frankenstein.

Doesn’t that sound like a good opportunity for a gripping story? There’s even a completely serious, thought provoking “speech” given by “someone” at “some-point.” (Yeah, watch the movie to find out.) There’s always been something to be said about Brooks films when you hear people tossing around names like Balls or Frank and saying that when they were maybe up to 5th grade they were able to take it completely seriously, and now they see the awesome humor. Speaking of very good comedic timing and varied writing…

Gene Wilder, in addition to writing this awesome script with the supervision of Mel Brooks, does a fantastic job as Dr. Freddy FrohnKahnSchtein. All you need to know it is Gene Wilder screaming at the top of his lungs most of the time. If you’ve seen Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory you know what I mean. Marty Feldman of all people plays EyeGore. (Yeah by the way I’m purposefully misspelling these names.) He delivers the best lines in the movie, and has a relatively subtle but enthralling comedic personality. He’s definitely helping Fred…(how about making some new names for descendants of Frankie huh?)…but you can tell this bastard loves to push his buttons.

Peter Boyle plays The Monster. He must have met Karloff at some point in his life, because he puts on such a similar but honoring performance. He doesn’t focus on the “GWAUGHN” sound effects (they’re there but c’mon) or holding out his arms. Rather, he focuses on the facial expressions and the childlike personality for The Monster. He’s really doing a great job as embodying Karloff, what can I say? The production value is higher than you may think. The Black and White film stock was entirely an artistic choice, it was actually intensely difficult to get any of it since film studios got so used to working with Color film prints. Not only that, but the lab they use IS actually THE lab of Dr. Frankenstein. Except they went bat-shit crazy with the cob webs. That’s okay, since Wolfey is in charge of the fog.

Well to be quite frank with  you I’m not sure what else to say. Hasn’t everyone seen this movie already? If you haven’t, it’s an instant recommendation, and this is much more than enough to say why. While some jokes fall flat and Gene Wilder may have put in too much of a good thing, an awesome collection of ripe and spicy performances along with a great comedic mind and an interesting concept make for an all-around enjoyable comedy flick. Recommended for everybody. 4.9/5

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

Blood for Dracula (1974)

UUUUGGHHH....

 

 Well, what have I gotten myself into now? A film called Blood for Dracula which was paired with Flesh for Frankenstein in the 70’s…why? Oh, and apparently it’s been described as “a fantasy for decent perverts.” Uuuughhh…am I even supposed to be doing this?

So the basic plot goes a little something or another like this. Count Dracula is living with his oldest sister and assistant. So already you’re wondering what the hell is going on in this movie. Next we find out he is extremely picky, and that he hates blood that doesn’t come from a virgin. Not to mention, there are only a few dozen people left in Romania. Now you’re getting close to as confused as I am. Next thing he decides to move to Italy because “they’re very religious and they keep their woman virgins until their marriage.” So then he goes to Italy, and by 20 minutes in we learn that Light or Crucifixes or anything like that don’t have any biological effect on him, he just dislikes them.

Then we learn that blood isn’t his only food source, but it’s like water for us. He needs to eat blood like we need to drink water. It’s not the only thing we drink, but if we don’t drink water and if Dracula doesn’t eat blood death occurs. He’s also very picky about what he eats. He can’t stand Chicken or Vegetables, but he loves Cheese and Grapes. Not wine, Grapes. He’ll also eat bread if the conditions are suitable, for instance soaked in blood. Oh, and apparently all Italians wear Cowboy hats and hate the idea of their women being married to Rich men or Foreigners. Then it turns out that Dracula has seizures before he falls asleep because “he wants to be let out of the night.” This is legitimately all within the first 20 minutes, and I don’t consider it a spoiler unless it’s past the 30 minute mark. I’m already not taking this movie very seriously.

Ubo Kier plays our title character, Dracula. Off the bat I can easily say he’s one of the few performances I can not only take seriously with a lisp but that lisp adds to his character. Another example is “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes of WWF fame. (Wrestling, not Panda Bears.) But that’s neither here nor there. Joe’s lisp adds to his character in that it’s not extremely severe, but it is quite apparent. Not only that, but his lisp kind of reminds me of Lugosi’s performance, just in the fact that it’s different and quite “loud and white” as I probably insensitively call it.

Ironic since it was Boris Karloff who had the lisp in the original Universal Monsters Cycle…hey, isn’t this marathon supposed to be about those guys anyways?!! Now, you may be asking yourself, “Ca$hman, this movie already has Blood in the title and it’s about virginity. Can you please tell us if this makes him seem extremely homosexual?” Well, he’s not extremely homosexual, but there’s no question he is leaning towards that side of the spectrum. Honestly, it doesn’t detract from anything. I mean…the movie is already sensual in the first place. I don’t think I should have to explain this straight out, but, by the end I thought I the movie I was watching was half pornography.

Joe Dallesandro plays the role of Mario Balato. He’s a worker at the Hotel that Count Dracula stays in. The reasoning behind it is that it’s owned by the most religious family he could find that has four daughters ripe for marriage. Mario is also the closest thing to a servant, and no he doesn’t look a thing like the Mario you’re thinking of. He looks like half a homosexual man and half a homosexual woman. Yeah did I mention this movie is sexual? Joe’s put up with a lot of bullshit in his life, from drug addiction to suicide of his only sibling, love affairs and numerous accounts of jail time.

It’s tragically ironic he’s playing the character that seems like a therapeutic tactic. He’s letting out all the anger and aggression in this despicable “villain,” almost as if to help himself cope with not being able to do it in real life. I won’t spoil how he develops as a villain as that goes down the road, but basically he’s a good contrast with the other “villain” Dracula. Dracula’s the type of villain that cares about himself first, and knows how to strategically get their at the expense of others. However you can still sense he has real human emotions, even sympathy. Mario, on the other hand, is a bone-headed dipshit douchebag son of a bitch who does what he wants when he wants with no goal and is a cynical asshole. That is what you call very good conflicting personalities. Their spirits are both tainted, but one is much more powerful than the other and one is much more “extreme” than the other.

The next character I wish to talk about is Anton. He’s played by Arno Juerging, and he’s literally in between Dracula and Mario. The character of Anton has put up with a lot of shit…being Dracula’s servant and all…but he also knows that this gig is the fucking shit and he needs to keep it. His logic is “when I can be a douchebag, I’m gonna be a fucking douchebag, but otherwise take Master’s orders.” The first scene where we discover Dracula’s seizures, Dracula is begging for help from Anton. Seeing how Anton couldn’t really do anything in the situation, Anton just screams “NO, NOT TODAY! NOT ME, NOT TODAY!” And continues to laugh. He doesn’t get featured nearly as much as he should and his actor is really bi-polar, but I give props for a well written character.

I’ll be frank, other than that all the other actors are instantly forgettable. There are some who play essential roles and have some…writing…to back them up, but their performances just make them flat. So let’s talk about some other things. First off, this is a 70’s horror film, is the gore factor any good? Well, it’s no Dead Alive but I’m sure it would please Gore Hounds. Sometimes in the most ironic of fashions. On the similar subject, there really isn’t much atmosphere to talk about. Only at the very beginning and very end, and these sets are reminiscent of the just gone Hammer flicks.

The soundtrack is actually mostly absent, however one piece – which I swear to God is the only reason Criterion hand picked this thing out – is a slow, classical style piece that carries the feeling of a sadder nostalgia. The pacing is suitably slow. No matter how much you pay attention it’s not going to go very fast, but it’s acceptable since the entire plot is kind of a slower, more drawn out and elaboration-required needed concept to begin with. Speaking of which, I mentioned before that a lot of the exposition was hilarious to begin with. Whether or not this was accidental I’m not entirely certain, but let’s just pretend it was purposeful and I can safely say Writer and Director Paul Morrisley did a very good job with the comedic timing.

Let’s say it was accidental, this is the unknown version of The Room. In fact, fuck it, it IS the unknown version of The Room. I feel like what happened was that the producers (one of course including Andy Warhol) wanted somebody to make a porn, or “video nasty,” but Paul was having too much fun and made it half-porn half-comedy. Watch this movie if you really want, but just know you’re going to hell for it. This is the 2nd movie of this marathon which I deem unratable, when it is only the 5th movie I’ve ever reviewed that I deem unratable.

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

Frankenstein: The True Story (1973)

“If Satan could teach me how to make William alive again, I’d gladly become his pupil.” - Leonard Whiting as Dr. Victor Frankenstein

This film was made for Television and was made after Count Dracula made hardcore fans of Bram Stoker’s Dracula orgasm. And I’m all fine for small details (impactful noteworthy lines, symbolism, physical objects and actions, symbolism) or very general plot aspects (what role The Monster’s Bride plays) being exactly translated into the film adaptation. In fact, I think it’s worse for not. It is an adaptation after all. The biggest problem I had with the 1970 version of Dracula was that it felt like they translated the dialogue scenes from the book to the movie as best they could.

Guys, a book has a lot, and I do mean A LOT, of extra dialogue or unnecessary chapters, and knowing Bram Stoker’s behavior he choose the dialogue route. Because novels are very large, anywhere between 75-“HOLY FUCK” pages, when movie scripts are anywhere between 40-200 pages. That’s a huge fucking difference. When you attempt to translate the actual dialogue as faithfully as possible, it doesn’t serve to the hardcore fans; very few of us can memorize it perfectly. Instead we wind up having a much more boring movie where we’re just wishing what starts happening.

When we read a book - WHAT THE HELL dude Bheema you are Ramboing like a champ. So what’s the story behind this movie? It’s a TV Movie yadayadayada advertised as being much more faithful to the novel. Moving on, when this film was released it was revealed that it had very little to do with the book and basically took some details from the book but took other details from a ton of other Frankie Fiction and even Dracula Fiction. So whaddya say we try to be mature and due some real critiquing, shall we?

This film runs at 3 hours and 5 minutes, and is split into two parts.. Kind of a huge chunk to take at one time, so I’m going to go to my happy place and pretend that they are two separate films in the same narrative. First, let’s critique the first part as it’s own film; then we will compare what is better between the first and second part; then at the end we’ll do our average rating.. So we open our film to…the film. Let me describe the recommended skipped first 6 minutes of this feature. It’s a man walking around a graveyard claiming to know some insane facts about Mary Shelly and relaying them to us.

One line that struck me was “when you saw your first Frankenstein film you probably thought it was a Hollywood creation.” Why does this strike me? Because this is actually produced by the one company known best for making the Creature a Hollywood icon. Universal!...Does this mean this is technically an UMM? Yes, it does. The man then continues to slightly narrate a clips from the movie before the movie even starts, that would be 10x too much spoilers for a trailer! Let alone a little pre-narration in the vein of Edward Van Sloan. I would suggest skipping to 6:04 on the spot, and then checking out the opening sequence after you’ve watched it.

41 minutes. It took me 41 minutes to gather the strength to unglue my eyes from the screen so that I could write down one note after the opening scene. That should tell you that SOMETHING is so genius the engaging factor is up to maximum. So what is it you are asking? (whoever the hell “you” are anyways.) The dialogue. The subject material; religion, life-and-death; is all within the realm of classic Frankenstein fiction but not to have some unique spices to not make it feel like we’ve heard the discussions 10 million times before. The vocabulary is quite extensive and feeds my need for an extensive and scientific dialogue that I’ve mentioned before that is especially critical to H2Fs.

You may think it’s pretentious let’s say you caught some glimpses of it but it surely isn’t. The fact that the word “yeah” or the phrase “go to hell” are used at all let alone in their leisurely suit shows that this was just written by 2 guys who wanted to tell a story (Don Bachardy and Christopher Isherwood). The plot is extremely different from the novel, despite the film’s title. For instance, Henry, Frankenstein’s teacher (Frankie is named VICTOR) is actually the one who helps Frankenstein create the Creature. This is ripped strait from The Curse of Frankenstein, where in MWS’s novel Frankenstein takes life to the next level well after him and Henry have said farewells, and they meet up later after the creation has well gone into his own life.

The relationship between Dr. Victor Frankenstein (played by Leonard Whiting) and Dr. Henry Clerval is very well executed as a teacher-student relationship. You get that feeling that they both want the same things, but Henry has to help Victor unlock that want. However Victor is fresh with the teachings of youth, and therefore surpasses Henry later in their relationship. Unfortunately Henry is not even there for even an hour into the movie, but that’s a different story. Another very, VERY huge difference between this and not only the novel but pretty much every adaptation of the novel ever done; is Victor’s treatment of The Creature.

In most works, Dr. Frankenstein abandons The Monster once he wakes. This is because the “consequences” dawn on him once The Monster awakens. Here, he accepts The Creature as his own pupil. After all, another huge difference is he’s not made of dead rotting corpses but of once newly fresh acquaintance of Dr. Frankenstein. (This plot device taken from The Revenge of Frankenstein.) He is referred to as “the second Adam.” Officially the dead body’s name was Adam, however the anti-religion themes definitely show an allusion to The Bible’s Adam. Michael Sarrazin plays The Monster and has been in pretty much no other noteworthy films.

He learns very basic English very quickly and it becomes his only way to express emotions. The relationship between him and Frankenstein is a beautifully tragic father-son relationship. When things start to go downhill, it feels truly tragic because you’ve grown to love their love. When their love is gone, your love for their love is gone, and the void is filled with fear and sadness. Mike does a perfect job, embodying The Monster in a very fresh role. He’s very, very innocent but he’s also not DUMB, which was one of the ways they improved The Monster in The Bride of Frankenstein. The Doctor helps him learn quite effectively and honestly maybe rather realistically while The Monster soaks up the information like a bus.

Leonard Whiting, as you’ve seen above, plays Dr. Victor Frankenstein. He’s the ultimate definition of my phrase “shipshapesophisticatedwhyamibritishobbitydoodah.” However that’s not to say he doesn’t show emotion both verbally and physically, he does this very well. Furthermore, it’s an appropriate role as that’s kind of how the character was written in the book. So it’s safe to say he did a pretty damn good job here. The soundtrack doesn’t overtake the movie but then again it barely compliments it. It’s not noticeable and is the most generic period piece piece....piece

One of the big draws of Frankenstein Fiction is the science. There is a lot of that, but the main draw of the main draw is the resurrection tactics. It’s…kind of off. It’s charged using Solar Power, which is NOT from the Novel. In the novel it’s very vague but it’s definitely not something big like Sun or Electricity. At least most films don’t claim to be “a true adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel” like this one falsely does. Well, at least it’s true in that it’s vague. Once you reveal what it is though, there’s no excuse to be vague. Either be very vague or be very explanative, otherwise it feels half-assed. And honestly this and the scene of The Monster’s awakening was done to pander to blind fan boys of the UMM films.(and if it isn’t obvious enough, that’s not an insult to the UMMs.)

Alright, that’s about all the details for the first part. Now let’s talk about some of the differences between that and the second part.

Despite my love for most things about The Monster, Henry and Victor, I wasn’t a particularly huge fan of anybody else. Fortunately those guys are the main focus on Part I. Part II however focuses a lot more on Elizabeth and Polidori, played by Nicola Paggett and James Mason. Her actor is basically a “tell me what to do” type of actor. She does exactly what she’s told but forces it and adds no natural emotion. “I’ll do what you tell me as long as I get my paycheck.” So basically her writing is what says whether she’ll be good or bad. At least in the first part, she had some sort of personality even if generic.

“I love you but everything you do is the work of treason.” Conflicting emotions that makes for at least a good character. Later in the film she is the one-dimensional idiot that came straight out of Bride of Frankenstein. Fortunately Elizabeth wasn’t focused on much in BoF. Here, she’s there all the time. She’s that woman from these movies that reaches conclusions way too soon, forget jumping to conclusions she freaking flies to conclusions. All she wants is to be alone with Victor and that’s literally all she wants. No plans for herself, she’ll just let that fall into other people’s hands.

Now, how is Polidori? Well, he’s pretty much the same character as Dr. Pretorius from BoF. Except he’s not as smart, and he’s got a worse actor. The Doctor in BoF knew what he was doing. He was abusing everyone in the situation so that he could create something that would make him $$$$. He never got into situations he didn’t have to in order to achieve his goal, and always got into situations he needed to get in to achieve his goal and only as much as he needed to. He was a smart character! Polidori is evil for the sake of being evil, and nothing more.

They try to pass off that he is doing this for $$$$, but he makes too many stupid decisions for that to be true. Plus, his actor is also forcing it. At some points he actually seems extremely stupid, like a halfed version of Tim Curry from the movie of IT! And the worst part is that part of his idiocy is him getting involved in everything! There’s not a single part of the movie once The Monster makes his way “back home” that doesn’t either talk about or feature Polidori. It’s annoying, I want to see the focus on The Doctor and The Monster. Oh, but we should talk about The Monster, shouldn’t we?

 

The Monster is not someone who I would call intelligent. But he has a want to be intelligent, and a want to learn, or a desire. His vocabulary at the end of Part 1 I would guess is around 20 words. His vocabulary in Part II I would guess is around 7 words. Tell me, how does someone who legitimately wants to be smart go DOWNWARDS in vocabulary? It’s all so that they can use the original UMM ideas so they can be unoriginal. What’s worse is that he does horrible things with nor reason. They try to force that he’s doing this because he has a horrible life.

Well, newsflash, you don’t. That’s how it was done in the novel, yes. But that’s because Dr. Frankenstein abandoned him when he needed help the most. You, on the other hand, Mr. Creature of 1973, you abandoned Frankenstein when you needed him the most! The plot becomes insanely confusing from here and all characters not only lose tons of emotional foundation but you just start to not care because it becomes so sloppy and unoriginal. One other character I want to touch on is Jane Seymour as Prima/Agatha.

Well, she barely has any lines or scenes, yet she plays the essential role of The Bride! It’s not like her scenes are few because they’re iconic and the director wants them to stand out, no it’s more like they just couldn’t figure out where to fit her in. But she’s a good character. I want to see a movie where a Doctor Frankenstein interacts with a female Monster. We’ve seen it in Frankenstein Created Woman, and that turned out great…we’ll just wait and see.

The plot and characters basically jump the shark after a stunningly amazing first part, and that is why the second part is not as good. If I were to do a fan-edit, I would include most of Part I but do a logical jump to the end. What’s the score? Well, the first part easily gets a 5/5. Some things are bad but for the most part it’s a damn solid flick. The second part gets a rating of 2.7/5. This leads to the average of 3.85/5. But I’ll do the same as HP7 and list both parts and the combined film on the Movie Ratings Archive.

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Next time, we get WAY WORSE material.

Dracula A.D. 1972

Yeah, I’m not going to be redundant in listing the year after the title.

 

Why do I have the feeling you guys are going to guess exactly what this movie is about by the title? Anyways. Over in ‘Merica the MPAA Ratings System had come into effect, though needed massive tweaking, and had existed for 4 years since Night of the Living Dead. Hammer was always banking on pushing the envelope of the amount of blood they could release legally, but now that we had a new ratings system the amount of gore and sex allowed in hardcore films got a very sudden lift into OBLIVION!!!! In an attempt to try to feed the gore hounds, they released a double bill re-inventing their Frankie and Drac series.

The films were called The Horror of Frankenstein and Scars of Dracula. Horror took the Frankenstein series in a more comedic route, while Scars was being more and more violent and pretty much a slasher flick. They COMPLETELY dropped the ball on Frankie and didn’t make a new one until Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, which is pretty much a swan song for the Frankenstein H2Fs. However they actually went in the proper money-wise route but not really story wise route this time. They set this film in modern times, after all ancient England could work only so many times. There was a 4 year difference between Horror and Hell, so Cushing decided to revisit the Van Helsing character in this film.

OMPAACNT: #23133...what did you expect a transition?

This film is pretty much a bunch of nothing for most of the time, like some of Hammer’s other Dracula flicks. How is it a bunch of nothing? Well, generic plot and barely 1-dimensional characters go for start. The 1800s period piece is the most often used setting for Horror films based off of novels or older films. Going back to 1910’s Frankenstein, all the way to the most modern adaptations of these stories. So Hammer attempted to spice it up to give it a modern setting. I’ll tell you right now, if I was looking for a modern setting I would not look to a Dracula film.

If it was 1972 and I was looking for a Horror film set in modern times, I would look in the way of Tales from the Crypt. But nothing really better beyond that, so I can see where the appeal is. Obviously Hammer has no touch with the real world, as anything that re sembles the 70’s is exactly how I would predict some pretentious English rich douche-bags would view the 70’s especially if they were looking at America. Every character is always wearing colorful bandanas, they’re dropping terms some I’ve never heard, Satan Worshipping, it’s almost as if they’re saying the teens of the 70’s were a loaded bag of worthlessness.

It’s stupid and it’s crap. None of the characters are interesting because their writer made them 70’s stereotypes and not anything that could be seen as real or relatable. Thus, all we do is wait for Dracula, but he doesn’t appear until 40 minutes in when he is finally resurrected after an inaccurate 100 years. So basically we have nothing for 40 minutes. Then we see Dracula do one thing, then it cuts to people who we don’t care about for 20 minutes. Although it does focus more on Peter Cushing as the grandson of Van Helsing throughout that duration. Basically, here’s my opinion on him.

Conversation:: Peter Cushing: “Alright, I need a paycheck, what should I do?” Producer Josephine Douglas: “Just do what you did in the first one, we’ll sell tickets.” Peter Cushing: “Do you need me to put effort in?” Josephine: “Eh, not really. Just force it if ya want.”…Ah well. At least Christopher Lee puts on above his usual stunning performance as Dracula, and it could pass as one of his best. Speaking of which, literally everyone is gone. Terrence Fisher, Jimmy Sangster, James Bernard and Anthony Hinds are all absent from the production credits. First off we have director Alan Gibson. Who is not related to Mel Gibson, I believe.

 

When he’s not having Josephine yell down his throat about making this movie “hip” and “for the modern kids” he’s actually pretty competent. With the shit he’s given he tries at every turn to add some layers, good camera work and atmosphere in. But of course only in the limits of this concept in the first place, which doesn’t allow for much at all. Next up we have Producer Josephine Douglas. If this movie is any sign of her production work…moving on. Don Houghton is our writer. Even in the lines are delivered like shit with the most forced emotions I’ve seen that isn’t overacting; you really gotta blame Don for writing such uninteresting overused generic stupid throwaway Dracula lines I’ve ever seen. In a nutshell, a shitty writer who doesn’t have any real ambition given this movie is evidence of that.

The one person who isn’t an actor and stayed the longest with Hammer was James Bernard. Where the hell is he now? Oh, they just threw him the fuck away for some idiot named Mike Vickers who composes a totally stereotypical 70’s Blacksploitation soundtrack…even though I don’t even think there was a single Black guy in here. It’s stupid and completely takes away from any mood there is. Which, by the way, the atmosphere is nothing special. The scenes in the Castle are great in the visuals department, but that’s only because they were leftovers from Taste the Blood of Dracula that only added to the original Dracula’s Castle from the UMM Dracula. Otherwise it’s nothing special, it was rushed out what do you expect?

This is really all the movie deserves anyways. To wrap it up, this movie is pretty much nothing. Extremely forgettable writing, extremely forgettable acting, the only really bright side is this could be one of Christopher Lee’s best performances…even if it’s only for a combined effort of 7 minutes. 2/5, don’t check it out even if you’re a Hammer fan. It’s like I can even understand why there are fans of Taste the Blood of Dracula, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed and Dracula Has Risen from the Grave…but this? Really Hammer?

I, Da Ca$hman singing off.

Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971)

Full movie time!

 

No bullshit this time. No Wolf Man. No Ghoul. No Invisible Man. No Mummy. No Cave Girls. No Abominable Snowman. This is straight up The Monster, The Mad Doctor, The Hunchback Assistant and The Prince of Darkness, The King of Killers himself, Count Dracula! There had been several Monster crossovers in the past. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Batman Dracula, Mothra vs. Godzilla, Billy the Kid vs. Dracula, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, Batman Fights Dracula, Assignment Terror, and that’s just in movies. Universal had also planned a film called Dracula vs. The Wolf Man, but that was scrapped.

The script is good, but they forgot to have Dracula fight The Wolf Man, and re-writing the script would take too much time….SURE. In the future we would have even more horror crossovers, such as Alien vs. Predator, Freddy vs. Jason, Alien vs. Predator Requiem, Batman: Dead End, Dollman vs. Demonic Toys, Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys, Vampires vs. Zombies, it’s obviously a very profitable genre of film. But isn’t this the one that everybody wants? These two are the two most iconic characters in Horror History; yet Universal never did anything with it, Hammer couldn’t because Cushing would be playing two roles at once; so basically we end up with an independent feature of the two brawling. I don’t think there’s any more introduction I could give Ap2Qplkn34m 5pokqLONCHANEYJRakpneo1in2  So let’s get ready TO RUMBLE!!!!!

Our plot basically goes something like this. The last member of the Frankenstein family is conducting experiments of murdering women and reviving them; all in disguise as a carnival attraction. They take this idea WAAAAAY too lightly, it gets almost no focus. Sure, we’ve seen the doctor killing people for parts, but have we ever seen the doctor killing people for the sake of reviving them? Not that I’m aware of. Now what’s his name you might ask?...Dr. Dre. No, I’m not kidding you. His name is Dr. Dre Frankenstein. Of all the places for a rap artist to get his name, why the hell here?

He has a mute assistant and their ultimate goal is to revive their ancestor’s creation…why we will never know. It’s always like this in unofficial Frankenstein films. Dracula comes to their aid and promises to revive The Monster if he can get a serum that grants him immortality. So…wait, Dracula is already immortal. He can be killed in certain ways but the serum wouldn’t protect him from a stabbing, it would only protect him from aging and diseases. Which is already what he’s protected from!!! This plot shows a concept created by someone who is trying to pass off as a fanboy with a budget but instead he’s really just a greedy businessman relying on names with no budget. It’s definitely a crap concept.

The first actor we’re going to talk about is Zandor Vorkov as Count Dracula. His birth name is Roger Engel, which I’m sorry is the most annoying name I’ve ever heard. I’m glad he changed it to Zandor Vorkov. His make-up is similar to that of a parody of The Count, it doesn’t look scary at all. His face is painted white and he has a frickin’ Afro! This is something you would see college students wearing to drunk Halloween parties, not something that would actually scare you. What’s really weird is that whenever he talks there’s a really loud echo, and he’s the only character where this happens to him.

It’s a nice idea and can be interpreted in several ways but it just because intrusive and annoying after a while. He actually doesn’t do a half-bad job when you take away everything that wasn’t to his choice. He sounds a lot like Christopher Lee, as he was obviously just gaining popularity in Hammer, but he doesn’t have any of the “I’m a Badass and I’m gonna kill you and there’s not a fucking thing you can do about it” presence that Lee has. He has more of a “you need my help and there’s nothing you can do about it” presence. Which he works with well but his mood never changes and he comes off as stale, plus I think we all know the Lee presence is a lot scarier than this cliché presence.

Now, The Frankenstein Monster is played by John Bloom…at least I think. They credit him as playing The Monster but they also credit Shelly Weiss as playing The Creature. What, The Creature from the Black Lagoon? Well, no, and frankly I’m just gonna leave it as I’m confused. But let’s just say that John Bloom plays The Monster. His make-up is shit, I thought he was supposed to be The Monster but instead he’s deformed mashed potatoes! Lil’ Johnny doesn’t do a good job either, he’s just the stereotypical walking around like an idiot stretching his arms out with maybe a couple of hints of actual character here and there.

J. Carol Neish, who it happened to be his last film to, plays the paralyzed Dr. Dre/Frankenstein. Or, Duraye as its officially spelled but that’s not as fun. He does a decent job. Nothing new or special but he’s competent and is always trying to both play his character right and not force it. There’s way too many freaking side characters. I could stand one or two people we didn’t pay a ticket for, such as the love interest in House of Frankenstein (even though she’s a total whore), but there’s like 8 different characters who never interact with Dre, The Monster, Dracula or Frankenstein’s Assistant. They’re just not interesting and an excuse to put this movie at over an hour and a half.

The final actor we’re going to talk about is Lon Chaney Jr., as Gorton. Yep, we haven’t seen him since 1948 and now we’re here to see him in his final role. Left in the wake of his father Lon Chaney, Creighton Tull Chaney was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1906. His father is easily one of my favorite horror actors if not favorite actors, right up there with Bela Lugosi. He was also born to a musical stage performer, his mother, Frances Cleveland Creighton Chaney. His family had a rough time getting along together, when he was only 7 his mother attempted public suicide in Los Angeles.

He was then tossed around several family homes and boarding schools for 3 years until his father re-married to Hazel Hastings and thus could provide a home that would suit a kid not even of teenage years. He was under the impression his mother had died because his father could not come to telling his son that his mom was alive but not taking care of him. When Lon Chaney Sr. died in 1930, Lon Chaney Jr. was 24 years old and then found out about his mother’s suicide attempt and that she was still alive. During his college years his father didn’t want him to be in Hollywood, so he ended up getting a business degree for Los Angeles and worked a few years as a corporate adviser.

His first film would come at 26 in 1932, Girl Crazy, an un-credited extra role. He later started to actually get billed in 1935 and was quickly pressured by movie studios to change him name to Lon Chaney Jr. After all, the memory of his father was more than fresh in the minds of the public. In 1939 Chaney was 33, and got his first critically acclaimed role as Lennie Small in a film adaptation of Of Mice and Men. He would go onto another smash hit in 1940, One Million B.C. The next year he would quickly gain another big hit as The Wolf Man, the film which most people remember him today.

With Lugosi and Karloff expressing reluctance and age towards the Horror genre, Universal pushed Chaney in the wakes WWE has pushed Cena and Orton after the loss of Lashley and Lesnar. He ended up playing The Frankenstein Monster, The Wolf Man 4 more times after the first time, Alucard the Son of Dracula, and The Mummy 3 times. He was in Man Made Monster, Calling Dr. Death, Bride of the Gorilla, The Cyclops, The Alligator People, and a lot of other notable films including the Abbott & Costello flick Here Come the Co-Eds. After an absence with Universal he stepped down from the big screen having more than enough money and went to go play character roles in indie films.

One very notable incident was when they did a live television adaptation of Frankenstein. Yes, live, as in transmitted as filmed. He showed up drunk. He ended up thinking it was a rehearsal and when he was supposed to break furniture he would gingerly put it down instead and say “break later.” In 1957 Universal began publishing a magazine called “Monsters of Film Land” in which he became extremely popular with the Baby Boomers generation. That same year Man of a Thousand Faces was released, a fictionalized retelling of his father’s life.

He would do a lot of horror and western pictures and television episodes in the 1960’s, but did very little in the 1970’s. This film was the last that he did, and afterwards settled down to finish a book about the Chaney legacy. Creighton died of a heart attack at 67 on July 12th, 1973 in San Clemente, California, and his body was donated for medical research. Ron Chaney is still attempting to finish A Century of Chaneys.

R.I.P. Creighton Tull Chaney “Lon Chaney Jr.” 10 February 1906 - 12 July 1973.

Well, gotta finish the review, don’t I? A lot of people complain about the lighting. First, we have to recognize that this film has not been very well taken care of or had any good transfers and thus the lighting is incorrect on any print we have. Second, this is an indie film so they didn’t exactly have a big budget. Third…come on. The movie is a lot darker than it needs to be, sure, but frankly I could see everything that was going on at least to some degree. The soundtrack is a generic mix of literally the exact same songs from the UMMs. You know, I wonder if I shouldn’t bash on Hammer for sometimes using the UMM songs as a foundation when this literally just steals them! I mean, a Swan Lake or so is fine but seriously?!?!

There’s only one way to describe the look and feel of this movie. You know those dreams you have when you’re sick that are just so freaking weird that you may know what is going on but you have no way to describe it whatsoever? Yeah, they made a movie like that. I don’t really need to elaborate on that further. And of course you wanna hear about how the fight is, don’t you? Well…it’s…sloppy. It’s not all terrible but it’s not even worth your sneeze. Well, that’s about all there is to say about Dracula vs. Frankenstein. Short and sweet, it’s a good time if you’re high.

If you’re high it is REALLY fun. It goes from being decent to horrible, and it also sways from being a fan-fiction film to just a cash-in. There’s too many side characters, and the ending is surprisingly depressing compared to the rest of the film. It seems like a film that could have been really, really good, but it feels like there wasn’t any real supervision and that’s what brought the film down. If there’s one movie to remake it should be this one. Hell, it's Dracula vs. Frankenstein! Why hasn't this gotten a better treatmenet!!...what's this, Dracula Contra Frankenstein?

2.85/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. TO BE CONTINUED.

Count Dracula (1970)

I have no clever intro.

Nor is there a trailer.

Nor is there background information.

Nor is there a OMPAACNT.

To start things off, this movie actually stars Christopher Lee as the title character. Yeah, Christopher Lee was Dracula as much as he could possibly stand! It’s not even a Hammer picture! Though they did try something very similar the same year. Christopher Lee was only convinced of getting on stage when they told him it would be a somewhat faithful adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel. In fact, the DVD comes with a full, hour and a half session of Christopher Lee reading out loud Bram Stoker’s novel. That’s gotta be something. In reality, the film does take more creative licensees than it really should have.

But Lee is here, and we need to discuss him. Normally in Hammer films, he has that “I’m a Badass, there’s nothing you can do about it, and if you try to stand up to me you might as well sign your own death warrant.” Which works out great for the Hammer scripts, even the ones that feel rushed and hammed. However, this script calls for a Lugosi presence, which I don’t have to explain to all of you. So Lee does his awesome Badass performance that he usually does while speaking lines of a Lugosi meant script. It’s odd to say but here two very large positives are actually coming out to equal a negative. Very sad day indeed.

R.M. Renfield is played by Klaus Kinski. In the UMM version of Dracula, Renfield was my favorite character and that version of Renfield probably still is my favorite character in the Dracula universe. Although I’m debating whether Cushing’s Van Helsing tops him. He was also played by Dwight Frye, who knows exactly how to be a psycho maniac. One of the reasons why Renfield worked so well in 1931 is because his character was very cleverly mixed with Jonathon Harker’s character. In the novel, the character of Renfield the psychotic inmate and the character of Harker the man who goes to Dracula’s Castle and gets “killed” are two totally different people.

However they meshed him into one and I thought that was a really powerful way to do it. The character who’s insane, bloodthirsty, malicious, knows it and doesn’t want to be, he has sympathy for everyone else. He is under the control of Dracula. In Nosferatu, Jonathon was under contract of Renfield so there was more of a backstabbing jackass feel to his character in 1922. In 1958 Renfield is not there, Harker is a vampire hunter and Cushing as Helsing stole the show, it’s not very true to the source material. Here, we finally get them separated. Klaus Kinski does a fucking amazing job as Renfield.

He’s silent but always has that “why the fuck just happened///are you talking to me!?!?” facial expression. In fact, props to him, he didn’t eat fake flies. He actually ate real flies for this production. Holy shit, man, props to him! The problem is he definintely is over-shadowed by the fact that Dwight Frye’s Renfield exists. He doesn’t have a lot of real character development. We basically know exactly what happened to Renfield minus Johnathon’s story, and nothing new. That’s it, there’s nothing new brought to the table, and the best of the same role has already been done why not try something new?!?!

The movie takes a REALLY, REALLY long time to get started. It takes over an hour to get any of the characters other than Renfield and Dracula to figure out that Vampires are among us. Not even that Dracula and Renfield are vampires, just that vampires freaking exist! Dude, this is a Dracula movie, the audience understands the concept of vampires, you’re not keeping us in suspense! Maybe if like one character knew it and everybody else was a skeptic than maybe that would go for some good chemistry but this is just boring very quickly. Even the people who are vampires don’t even know what vampires are!

It’s very much like they tried way too hard to transfer the book to the movie. Newsflash, it’s not an H.G. Wells novel. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is not short! It will not fit a movie time! Hell, an H.G. Wells novel such as War of the Worlds will fit about 3 hours! THIS is what happens when you try your best to stick to the novel and not make your own version very distinguishable. Bram Stoker’s novel is a novel, plain and simple. Now, you’re probably yelling at me “HYPOCRITE! HYPOCRITE! LOOK AT YOUR TKAM REVIEW!!!” Well…I’ll fix that soon enough. But let me explain.

Simple things like character names and symbolism should never be taken out of the movie adaptation of a book. But when the book is more than 100 pages, you need to have the creative guts to cut out some of the stuff that made the novel long and just cut to the chase to make your movie between 90 and 150 minutes. Frankly, there’s a lot more filler in the novel due to high page number expecatations and the fact that books tend to go faster than movies as they involve the audience more by having you put in the effort to keep the story going. Movies are a very different media form, and because they require less effort by the audience to follow they also go by a lot slower and thus need to be shorter.

It’s the exact same reason why stories in video games are much longer than stories in movies or plays!...Well that turned into a much longer rant than it was supposed to, but you get my point. I do give the film credit for being the only movie to experiment with Dracula’s appearance becoming more and more bearable as he eats, such as in the novel. The soundtrack is…offsetting. It’s of good nature and tries to assist in the atmosphere but it is really over-the-top and cheesy. Way too high in note and way too fast for a Dracula movie, but I understand what they were going for.

What’s worse is that it doesn’t really make me laugh or wonder what kind of drugs they were on like the next movie we’ll be reviewing (no I didn’t type of the review of that movie before this movie did I and I can haz grammars?), it’s just offsetting and intrusive. Given, it has some pretty nice moments, like at the very end. The atmosphere is pretty good. The Castle has that old, crumbling structure feel, and it oddly features the color white very prominently in some pieces. In the forest the place is extremely foggy and you can hear all sorts of insane animal sounds, some I’m wondering how the hell they got In Transylvania in the first place…oh well. It’s a nice looking movie is what I’m saying, but nothing beats the stuff made by Hammer and Universal.

Because they’re probably reading lines straight out of the book, most of the actors are bland. Their facial expressions are generic for the genre, and they really do sound like they’re reading out of the book and forcing some sort of emotions. Blaugh. Well, that’s it on Count Dracula. I’m sure it has a very much deserved place among hardcore fans of the novel, but frankly it just doesn’t work for me that well. I’ll be merciful and give it 3.7/5. I, Da Ca$hman singing off.

Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)

Now we’re entering serious double-bill territory.

1970: Taste the Blood of Dracula, Scars of Dracula and The Horror of Frankenstein. What. The Hell. Hammer was really putting movies out fucking fast, milking these names for every last drop and somehow convincing Cushing and Christopher Lee to continue to be in these films when they hated a lot of the action Hammer was doing. In fact, Lee was so resentful that the film was originally written without the intention of having Dracula in it. Rather, a new character, named Lord Courtly. Thank the holy Lord that Christopher came back. He is easily the most reluctant Horror Superstar.

Speaking of casting decisions, Vincent Price was originally going to have a small part that wasn’t a cameo so he would receive a paycheck. In order to make as many movies as they could they limited their budgets, so that was no longer possible. Speaking of “no longer possible” even though there is a lot of gore and sex and definitely wasn’t made before the MPAA, it was rated GP. The forerunner to today’s PG. But this was when G was the PG we had back in the 90’s, so GP was really a PG-13 of the early 2000’s. It has been re-rated R, and I’m just gonna tell you straight up that shows the MPAA is not doing their best job when all it takes is Disney to make a film go from PG to R.

But hell, look at Hammer for a second. Let me paint a picture. Without them, the icons of The Mummy, Frankenstein, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll, The Abominable Snowman, and a ton of others wouldn’t be anywhere near the cultural icons we have today. They were frickin’ awarded the Queen’s Award to Industry in 1968 for putting so many asses in seats for a British film. The British economy was thriving partially because of them. Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Jimmy Sangster, James Bernard, Terrence Fisher and Anthony Hinds were part of not only horror history but cultural, political and economic history.

They are HUGE. Now you have a tagline that goes “DRINK A PINT OF BLOOD A DAY.” The Satanic Rites of Dracula was only acted by Christopher Lee under protest, and originally had the title Dracula is Dead…and Living Well in London. Hammer became a fucking mess. You can sit back and just enjoy them for what they are, but I can’t help have this feeling of “damn you really fucked up Hammer.”

OMPAACNT: 22364!!!

The Dracula films are pretty much a well strung together, proper series as far as continuity go. Horror of Dracula, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, and Dracula Has Risen from the Grave are all pretty much direct sequels, with Brides of Dracula spinning off into its own series with Kiss of the Vampire. It was basically the Dracula universe recognized the BoD+KoV universe but never mentioned it. Until now. The film picks up exactly where Dracula Has Risen from the Grave left off, with Dracula being killed by a crucifix. None of the original characters other than Dracula are at the scene, which leads to the fictional conclusion that Dracula has been in the process of dying for 2 years. Wow.

However, remember that Christopher Lee was originally expected to not play a part, and the script was originally written for a new character, Lord Courtley. You can tell when you watch this movie there’s remnants of that, as with The Wolf Man and its original psychological take. It mainly focuses on him and it’s so close to that original idea Lee really didn’t have to show up for anything. They could have just put his name on there with only a few scenes and kept the original script. What I didn’t realize until about half an hour into this movie was that the Lord Courtley IS the vampire from Brides of Dracula. Baron Meinster.

It’s very loose and that’s why he isn’t referred to as his original name, but he looks so much like him and second he referred to Dracula as Master without actually being a vampire is when it snapped. What’s the point I’m trying to make?...Because of Hammer’s laziness and need to recycle character archetypes, people like me are creating fan theories. Thanks Hammer. Since we’re on the subject of the script written by should be producer John Elder/Anthony Hinds, let’s talk about the dialogue for a little bit. Well, it’s better than average. The film overall brings in some new ideas, like people actually wanting to be a Vampire.

Can’t recall any time so far that this has happened without Dracula persuading them to do so. But since the main character is Baron Meinster hell that might actually be the case. It has the potential to be something competent but everytime something actually emotional and/or interesting is happening, we end up with something super silly. Like when someone says “Oh My God” to someone seriously, the other person replies “blasphemy will only make it worse.” And...Oh God. It appears as if we’ve totally lost Terrence Fisher. He would do one more movie period, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell.

And to anybody expecting a sentimental bio I’m sorry to say I’m only going to do that for the big name actors who personified the films. Karloff, Lugosi, and in the future Chaney Jr. and Cushing, no Lee either since he’s still alive. It’s a weak criteria but if I were to deliver that every review it would get annoying. Instead we have director Peter Sasdy, who’s done NOTHING. AGAIN. And obviously he was able to be persuaded by the producer of the film Aida Young to pretty much take everything that’s bad about American cinema and do it wrong! They made things that were already wrong more wrong!!!

That’s not fucking possible! The fap scenes are just weird and in addition to should not be there in the first place just absolutely frickin’ WRONG. They do the whole “pimps and business men” schtick that would later be personified in The Godfather WRONG. The stupid, stupid humor that we as Americans come for is even more stupid than usual! The only American pander that they did right was the gore but that’s to be expected. Ugh, is there even a point? In the end, it appears as if the director did get one thing absolutely right. We’ve had so many frickin’ adaptations of Dracula’s Castle, but this one by far is the one that everyone thinks of. It really surprised me that it was this extravagant and this close to the idea we hold today.

A very dark, very vibrant black and gray mix (yeah try saying that to any other film) with cob webs, general dead people sometimes mummies, an organ playing and a madman laughing in the background, and even that raised platform that seems to play a part in every Dracula parody where the Organ usually is. I can’t for sure say this invented that style of Castle, I’m just saying it’s the first I’ve seen that looks like the common interpretation of it today. I seriously can’t do justice to this Castle, just look around for some clpis and you will see it. And HEY, somebody we recognize!

Lil’ Jimmy Bernard is still kickin’ with Anthony Hinds along Christopher Lee. But obviously he is doing it to express sympathy and receive money, and isn’t putting that much effort into innovation. This score is literally the score from [Horror of] Dracula put into a higher note. I’m not anywhere close to knowing anything about music so what the difference in notes as far as Letter-Measure is beyond me but I can tell it is higher. The plot is highly formulaic and uses several plot devices that we’ve seen so many times even before this. The girl who’s Dad won’t let her see her boyfriend - in fact that extends to a certain degree all the way to the original Cinderella story from 1634 - , the three business men who want to succeed at absolutely everything, and of course the common conventions of the Dracula films.

Remember when I talk about Gore in a H2F, it’s for the H2Fs. They are relatively tame to today’s standards. For an H2F, there is more than sufficient gore to pass around, but it is far between so be prepared for that. This film is good. Not great, just good. Honestly the best way to describe it is a really dismissible Summer Blockbuster action/romance/sci-fi/fantasy/horror flick. So I’m going to give it a rating reflecting that, and 3.3/5 is my final grade.

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

Assignment Terror (1969)

The final film of the 1960’s covered in our Drankenstein Manathon.

The 1960’s were easily the most prolific years for Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolf Man we’ve covered so far. And only one actually has The Wolf Man…It has 12 reviews, while the tie for 2nd place is only half that, 30’s and 40’s both have 6 reviews. While they weren’t in their prime for quality, that was the 30’s, these monsters were in their prime for popularity. Kids loved them because they were icons, nostalgic adults loved them because they were part of their childhoods, and new adults found the Hammer flicks to be really fun. That’s just the big Three, let alone The Mummy, Dr. Jekyll, The Abominable Snowman, the list goes on and on.

As far as monsters, the 60’s were The Monster Mash! But that hype would soon be killed. Three films released very closely together all called Dracula vs. Frankenstein were released, being the showdown everyone wanted. And each was a large disappointment. More onto how the 70’s half-killed these monsters (for God sakes they’re immortal) when we review some of the next films. It is interesting how the poster shows Frankenstein’s Monster, The Wolf Man, Dracula and The Mummy, all in very recognizable fashions with Wolfey and Frankie looking almost exactly the same as the old Jack Pierce make-up; and ¾ of them look asleep. Maybe dead. Maybe for good…

Just a disclaimer. This is part of a gigantic “Werewolf series” that often puts “Wolfman” in the title when it is translated into English. Now all those other movies won’t be reviewed because they’re not actually “The Wolfman.” It’s a Werewolf. Now, on the contrary, this movie actually features Frankenstein’s Monster with a different name; while on the reverse the generic vampire is mis-labeled as Dracula and the generic Werewolf is mis-labeled as The Wolf Man.

So now lets’ actually get onto the critiquing. This film is not very important to film history on its own, and is not really considered good by any standards. With that, it was made 6 years before the innovation of home video, and it would take another 6 years before it went beyond Porn and Pirating (that doesn’t sound like the Internet at all, does it?) So I’m not going to mention any actor names like I usually do. Basically, I’ll give me over-all impressions of all the human…and alien…actors and then my impression of the monster actors. My overall impression of the “normal” characters is HORRIFIC.

In the bad way. Their facial emotions are slight and barely resembling any of the actual emotions being portrayed, more so just stereotypical acting of the genre. Their vocal acting is dull and static as a statue, they’re not giving any effort into it. I can’t imagine this is going to make them a big paycheck and won’t look good on their resume so why are they here in the first place? What, did the THREE directors hold bazookas up to their heads? The guy who plays The Wolfman/Werewolf/thefucksareflyingaway is ridiculous. His make-up is modeled after the Jack Pierce Wolfman make-up but considerably darker, which under the right hands could have made for a pretty dark interpretation.

But the actor is so shitty. His eyes are always gigantic and he often makes oral movements meant for a Dracula type persona. It’s just amateurish. He can’t move like a Werewolf, hell he can barely to anything with a miles per hour above ½. The actor for Dracula - who is never referred to as Dracula but is credited as him - is crappy but under that kind of material. He’s as slow as fuck, that at least we can blame on the actor. He doesn’t have  as single piece of dialogue, and while under the control of The Aliens just doesn’t make him compelling. Same issue in House of Frankenstein, why the fuck would Dracula be under somebody else’s control?

He’s fucking Dracula, he should have control over everyone else! The actor for The Frankenstein Monster…oh sorry The Farancksalan Monster…has make-up that looks nothing like the poster, obvious false advertising. To put it simply, it looks unfinished and greasy, as well as resembling one of The Beatles dressing up in that costume for Helloween. He has no facial emotions, and movies like a Lon Chaney Jr. performance. Fortunately that means no arms being sticken out, unfortunately that means a shitty, boring performance. Although for the few seconds that he’s not under mind control, it almost seems there’s a silent intelligence hidden in his skull.

But they never went there because this is a shitty movie even more B-Movie standards. That’s a whole new low. The Mummy is barely there. His name is Peh-Ho-Tep (yeah real clever) and yes all he does is walk around in his bandages but that’s even when he’s there. Since we’re on a similar subject, let’s talk about probably the best aspects of this movie, the dialogue. It’s barely passable. For a low-budget, Spanish, presumably disrespectful re-invention of The Monsters…it’s actually kind of respectful. Yeah, it’s actually got a lot of treats for avid watchers of these guys.

If the dialogue was under the right hands you could see Universal in the mid-40’s or Hammer in the late 60’s early 70’s having these lines. There’s one scene where they find an old book, called “The Anthology of the Monsters.” It talks about not only our main four (Wolfey, Frankie, Mummy, Drac) but also talks about Nosferatu (Count Orlock), The Golem (first time we’ve mentioned him so far) and Thomas A. Edison’s Frankenstein as shown by the diagram in the book. That’s pretty damn cool that they threw some of the silent monsters in as implied cameos.

Unfortunately it’s surrounded by everything else so shitty and that’s why it feels as non-engaging as it does. Ughh…why is it we seem to have this problem with public domain films? Oh yeah, because there was no budget. The lighting is shit. I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I’m watching it on YouTube with a horrible transfer, but I’ve heard this complaint before. Creepy Dark and I can’t see a fucking thing dark are two totally different things. And this is unfortunately the latter. When it’s lighted…well, it’s lighted, most of the time that’s not a good sign in a horror movie of this type!

According to IMDb two people worked on the “original music.” …Wait, there’s music in the background? ARE YOU SURE THAT’S ORIGINAL? Dude, that is the most dull, generic, uninteresting, overused piece of shit score I have heard in a long time. The execution of the plot is really weak. At this point we know exactly why people do certain things and say certain things. It’s all for the audience appeal, not for any artistic integrity. It’s like a fucking checklist. “Okay, get the monsters in. Then have a slut. Then have aliens. Have them barely fight. Have some weird lighting with weird music. Not necessarily in that order.”

This whole movie is a fucking mess. It has a fun concept but it doesn’t even reach the statues of Billy the Kid vs. Dracula. The dialogue is passable and one scene I was surprised with, but that is not anywhere near enough to check it out. I only recommend it if you’re just that curious, because it is often called Dracula vs. Frankenstein. I give this movie a 1/5, fuck it.

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Next time, straight to the 70’s!

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)

The final Hammer Frankenstein film of the Drankenstein Manathon

“I fancy that I am the spider and you are the fly, Frankenstein.” - Professor Ritcher

OMPAACNT: 22109

This is the 5th film in the H2F Frankenstein series. It’s never stated exactly which events this follows, but it’s pretty damn clear that it is a direct sequel to The Evil of Frankenstein. It makes mention that “Dr. Frankenstein caused an uproar in the medical community 5 years ago.” As this was made in 1969, 5 years prior to this movie would have been 1964. Not only that, but the character of Rena returns, credited as “Madwoman” and played by Colette O’Neil. For those who don’t remember Rena was a mute and maybe kind of def girl living out in the forest before Dr. Frankenstein and Hans found her in The Evil of Frankenstein.

However now she does have some sort of speaking ability. The ability to scream. Really, really loud. She plays basically the same role as Una O’Connor did back in The Bride of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. Except here admittedly she is attractive, and young. And at least it’s not for no reason! She apparently will occasionally have hallucinations of spiders crawling on her arms, and that’s what makes her scream so loud. I would hate to be her. With whatever crappy material she was written, Colette does pretty much as good of a job as she could. So props.

To re-cap on the continuity issue, we have The Curse of Frankenstein, two unrelated sequels The Revenge of Frankenstein and Frankenstein Created Woman, and two films in a reboot series The Evil of Frankenstein and Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed. Later on Hammer would reboot the series again with The Horror of Frankenstein, a comedic take on Curse, as well as a sequel Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, in which the Monster is played by David Prowse. You know, Darth Vader! The monster in that film is the only one after Curse and Evil  to have a graphically looking monster, and as opposed to their own interpretation or the UMM version, that monster looks a lot like Thomas A. Edison’s interpretation.

Hm. Only 3 years before they were re-cast together in George Lucas’ Star Wars. And no, a sentimental biography of Peter Cushing isn’t coming quite yet. But I will give my take on his performance here. It’s Peter Cushing playing Frankenstein, must I say more? Anyways, time to go for some other aspects. Anthony Nelson Keys again steps us as producer of this movie, with no Anthony Hinds anywhere to be seen. But Anthony Keys obviously has no control over his production. There’s a certain scene that he didn’t want, Peter Cushing didn’t want, Veronica Carlson didn’t want, Terrence Fisher didn’t want, Bert Batt the writer didn’t want, so who the hell wanted it?

Hammer Executive, James Carreras forced the infamous rape scene into the film. It adds nothing to the plot and treats rape like “no big deal, only for our boners.” It’s not even sexy, you don’t get to see anything. But regardless, rape should NEVER just be thrown in like that with no meaning other than sexuality! But Lil’ Jimmy (seriously why are there so many Lil’ Jimmies at Hammer) apparently thought it would please the American audiences! You know, because the first thing we’re thinking when we buy a ticket to a Frankenstein movie is “Man, I wanna see some bitches get raped!” FUCK. YOU. JAMES.

Director Terrence Fisher has returned! And the movie looks great, as expected. While it carries the distinct trademark of the H2Fs, it delivers some (but not very much) tribute to the UMMs, as well as a very, very faint hint of psychedelic colors. Easily the most faint and dull essence of those colors in the sixties, it adds a subconscious flare that gives the movie more “life.” Now I prefer horror films to feel dead and depressing, but this is a full color film and is about a guy giving new life, so why not Fishy? There’s also a scene which could just be a bad transfer of the film but I say it was probably done on purpose.

In the insane asylum for once scene only (learning from Freddie Francis’ mistakes) while all music is still in full effect the dialogue is drowned out. As if to symbolize that the patients there have a skewed perception of reality. And hey, I guess that lends us right onto the music, doesn’t it? Lil’ Jimmy Bernard does the music again for this movie. God, if anybody is the most loyal to Hammer, it had to James Bernard, despite being one of the least talked about parts. The music is not as varied as it could be but this is Hammer we’re talking about something different is something different. Great score, I really don’t think I need to go anymore in-depth on that one.

Veronica Carlson and Simon Ward as Anna and Karl deliver some really forced, shoe-horned in performances. They have the right idea but have none of the real emotional talent to back it up. That’s why method actors are so great. Such as Heath Ledger. Meanwhile Freddie Jones as Professor Ritcher/The Creature does a pretty good job, besides Cushing he’s probably the best performance. But he is written the dullest, crappiest material ever, and I’ll explain why this movie’s script comes off as so dull. Nobody in this movie, aside from Dr. Frankenstein ONLY because he was played by Cushing, is memorable.

The script is written by Bert Batt, who has done NO other screenplays in his entire filmography! PERIOD. Yeah, get THAT guy to work for a company that previously put out The Curse of Frankenstein. He’s been assistant director many, so many fucking times, and the only movies you’ve ever heard of that he did were by Hammer. *whispers whispers* what did you say? *whispers whispers* wait, are you serious? *…yes.* Wow. I kinda feel bad for shitting on him now. Apparently Bert Batt only died a couple of days ago. Wow. Doesn’t change the fact he did a horrible job.

So R.I.P., make sure to order the cheery syrup when you’re at the iHOP in the sky, etc. But let’s just critique this screenplay for a second. He delivers no backbone to the characters whatsoever. Dr. Frankenstein only has backbone because of the past 4 movies he was in. Karl, yeah he’s a cocaine salesmen, but we never see him smuggling cocaine and we don’t get to know what his life is like. His girlfriend, Anna, yeah we know she has a mental illness but what mental illness? She looks perfectly fine! The girl who actually shows a mental illness, the Madwoman or Rena, is barely in the movie and only serves to have a few very ineffective jump scares.

Okay, so Professor Ritcher used to be a partner of Frankenstein’s and very intelligent, but now has a mental illness himself. Umm…when did this all happen? Seriously, if you’re going to make new characters you have to be prepared to show us their lives Bert. Instead he focuses on trying to make the movie gothic in its storytelling. See, here’s the thing Bert. If you don’t have characters you can relate to than what’s the point of horrible things happening to them? Damn you’re going into Friday the 13th territory. The slasher genre barely exists at this point! The gore factor is pretty nice. There’s probably a larger amount of blood than in the first one, but I mean that can’t be any basis for a recommendation if you want a gore fest there’s plenty of films from the early 70’s and later that will satisfy your needs.

Well, this is the final Frankenstein film for our marathon. He died, another series would start, and it gives a good sense of finality. Thought its good looking and sounding, there’s absolutely no foundation to care about anybody in this picture. 3.45/5

Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)

Yeah…like…50 times?

Just...Just look at this poster here:

This is the 4th of Hammer’s Dracula films, along with [Horror of] Dracula, Brides of Dracula and Dracula: Prince of Darkness. Some may not count the second as Dracula is only mentioned twice and never physically appears. However some may consider Kiss of the Vampire (1966) one of the cannon making this the 5th film in the series due to the theme and style being extremely similar to Brides. Basically, the same logic that says Perfect Dark and Goldeneye 007 both for the Nintendo 64 are tied together. Now I’ll give you my defense for my interpretation. The second film in the series actually has Dracula in the title, and features THE Van Helsing that fought The Count in the first movie; it is a proper sequel despite your icon not being there.

At least it’s not hated like Halloween III: Season of the Witch, just ignored. However Kiss has no returning characters and no mention of the events in any of the films, and if you asked any of the Hammer execs and 80% of the fans they would say “no, of course not, it is its own film.” Why I decided to cover that now I don’t know. Anyways, what is notable about the behind-the-scenes aspect of this film? Well, most things tie into actual criticisms, but there are notable things that may not sound as influential as it is but trust me it is. (fuck pronouns.)

First is the American rating. IT’s 1968 and George A. Romero has killed statewide censorship. The MPAA steps up to the plate and starts rating films themselves. And this film has a G Rating. The G-Rating of 1968 encompasses most G and PG rated films of today. A GP Rating is the modern example of our PG-13 Rating, and the M Rating is a very early example of the R Rating. In addition, the X Rating and NC17 rating are other examples of constant change. So how does this movie, filled with gore, drug use and sexual themes, have a G Rating? Maybe have speculated the MPAA just didn’t watch the movie and assumed it was kiddie fare because…well, it was Dracula!

I debunk this on the basis that the MPAA was created to keep kids from seeing on-screen violence, that would never have happened. What did happen was a loophole in the policies. All films that were made before the MPAA Ratings System but were released afterwards got a retroactive G-Rating. This is for re-releases, such as Creature from the Black Lagoon, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, etc. But this film was not a re-release, yet filmed in 1967 and released in 1968. How this happened I’m not sure, but the fact the “kiddie fare” theory is so widely thought to be true shows just how much the image of Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man (I haven’t forgotten about you yet) have deteriorated in the public’s eye over time.

Onto the other piece, Australia as we’ve seen over the years is the strictest about keeping their taboos out of their media. Specifically with violence and horror related taboos. Mortal Kombat, the ninth entry in it’s very popular video game franchise, is flat out banned in the country at the moment. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein had to have every scene with a monster removed for its Australian release. So to see that Hammer films had been banned in Australia A LOT is perfect evidence that they pushed the extremes in the Horror industry at the time. Of course no Horror master is more significant than George A. Romero, but that’s a subjective statement and neither here nor there.

Or the other place. What I will say next could be taken as a positive or negative. This film was released in Australia with only minor censorship in the capital city Sydney. It could easily be said that this was the public wanting to see more and more crazy bat shit coming out of Dracula’s ass…crazy pun intended…but it also shows that Hammer was not pushing the envelope. Doing a Citizen Kane, a Psycho, a Night of the Living Dead, something that made the public shiver with fear and hatred. That must say something, doesn’t it? The fact that it wasn’t being censored in Australia shows the lack of effort to push the envelope open, just to stay kind of in an upper portion of the envelope.

This of course has to do with the purely unexplained absence of master Lil’ Jimmy Sangster and the explained absence due to illness of Terrence Fisher; with the PRODUCER Anthony Hinds doing the writing. Oh well, it could always turn out good, anything is possible. Vince Russo has written good Wrestling.

Yes, YES, YES, OMPAACNT: 21909

Master Director Terrence Fisher is GONE. AGAIN. When The Evil of Frankenstein was under production, Terry was in a car accident. Now, he’s sick. Really? He’s replaced once again by CAMERA MAN Freddie Francis. Fred tries possibly a little too hard to be a good director. Which is sad because directors who put actual effort into their films are too fucking rare. Basically, the entire premise for the symbolism in this movie is that “Dracula is crazy.” Well no shit Sherlock. Many scenes involving The Count and His Castle have bordering yellow and crimson colors. Which can both be intrusive and properly placed. Also, The Count often has bloodshot eyes. But that’s really the extent of it. Fred, when you’re working with a script that isn’t very innovative in the first place please don’t try to be innovative yourself.

Speaking of writers and masters being lost, of course Lil’ Jimmy Sangster is not here. He’s replaced by, once again, the person who is supposed to be the producer Anthony Hinds. Or John Elder as he is credited. So to re-cap, we have a horror movie that should be a comedy being directed by a cameraman and written by a business man. Yeah that’s a recipe for success. The film is quite underwritten. It’s a simple premise, Dracula gets woken up and starts wrecking havoc again. Except this time with no Castle; which sucks balls because that’s one of the main attractions of Dracula films.

The scenery in the castle! It’s almost as open and uncreative as a Godzilla concept. And no I didn’t just bash Godzilla right there, I’m just saying that Hammer jumped the shark pretty much as Toho did, over fewer films. I think we’re gonna see more of that down the road. Anyway, back to the script, it’s just plain poor. The dialogue is like if someone who knew how to write this kind of stuff properly was doing it; but that person also needed opportunities to do 4-6 drafts and only got the opportunity to do 1-2. It’s true to Dracula but nothing that can satisfy the hardcore fan.

EXCEPT FOR ONE CHARACTER. Barry Andrews I believe plays the role of Paul. And fortunately he’s not the Paul who was buried. He’s not even that great of an actor, he’s average. But when he’s around, the dialogue for him and every single character just gets bolted straight up into the awesome zone. Thank goodness for Paul, lettuce not bury him. The execution of the plot is just crap. There’s plot-holes gangbanging you left and right (MS Word why do you insist that gangbanging is a real word) and it just shows a lack of polish. A serious, SERIOUS lack of polish. My God.

Well, now that I’ve already mentioned my favorite actor of the film in the movie Andrews (yeah I’ll get to Lee in a second), maybe I should talk about everyone else. As far as the other individuals are concerned, I can sum them up pretty concisely. Good, satisfactory, entertaining. They all do a good job. Nothing spectacular or even great, just good. This is possibly downplayed by some of the mediocre dialogue, so it’s clear they don’t have the best material to work with. Looking at the cast list, they don’t really have anything great under their belt, except for maybe the 1948 version of Oliver Twist and some H2Fs, so it’s safe to say these actors aren’t anything more than just good.

Now while the actors might not be top-notch, the characters they are written…are probably even more mediocre. They’re just stereotypes either associated with popular media or the genre of Monster Movies, nothing really special as far as their personalities. Still, even though they have their moments of dickishness (damn it MS Word why is that not a real world) they’re still genuinely good people and very likable. It actually works in that way. They’re not unique at all, they’re very likeable yet they have their moments of stupidity. Kind of like people in real life, eh?

It definitely works that way. Problem is this takes place in 1905 England so having realistic characters isn’t that much of a plus…However Cloverfield’s characters did work because they’re real people of the real era that it was really made in, for realz dog. Just first comparison that came to my mind, I know they’re pretty separated. Oh, and I guess now you want me to talk about The Man, Christopher Lee, eh? Lee only got so much time in the first movie, nothing in the second movie, no dialogue in the third, and by now Hammer was really declining and Lee was NOT happy about being in the sequels from here on out.

So there’s no real way in the series to properly critique his vocal acting, though his body work I have critiqued before and marveled over. But now we actually have enough of a sample of his acting that I could say I could critique his acting. This guy is probably the “coolest” Dracula out there. Bela Lugosi is the definitive and most charming, best body work also. Max Schreck easily personified the tragic aspects of the character. But Christopher Lee has a right to his own love. He is an unforgiving pimp-like character; taking whatever he wants, when he wants, never giving anything in return and using whoever he needs to so he can get what he wants.

His voice is rich and deep, perfect for this kind of character. My one complaint is he is DUMB when it comes to getting killed. He is stabbed so many times, dried out by the sun, drowned, and I believe burned and/or electrocuted at some points. JAMES BERNARD!! Quick, save our souls from the biolumsicent platypuses! He returns to do the soundtrack once again. Goodness if there’s one person who’s dedicated to these movies for the right purpose it is Lil’ Jimmy Bernard. I like the score for this film and don’t like it at the same time. It takes some sort of alien talent to make a very high-pitched, inorganic piece of music feel completely organic and natural. It’s definitely Hammer style and not only is it repetitive between the series, but it never varies! It’s either no music or this one track. It. Gets. Annoying.

With so many weaknesses to this film, you may just be asking for some cheap thrills like gore. Happy to tell you there is a very nice amount of blood. It’s over the top, it’s not today’s standards but it should satisfy you gorehounds out there. Eh, this movie is alright. I'm surprised I had so much to say about it. I recommend for Hammer Fans but not for anybody else out there. 3.68/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Next time, things get a bit Terrifying.

Mad Monster Party (1967)

…Wait, did I miss somethin’ or wat?

…He’s alive, oh he’s alive, yes he’s moving…KARLOFF, YOU’RE ALIVE!!!...Okay, I’m sorry. But believe you me, 1970 was a much better choice to give the bio over. Yes, this film actually features a Karloff, but maybe I should tell you what the fuck you’re getting into. Back in ’67 while Hammer had re-invigorated the interest in the old UMMs, a group of people over in America decided they didn’t want to rip-off Universal but also didn’t want to use their imagination. So instead, they use their sense of humor. This film is a stop-motion comedy involving Dr. Frankenstein’s retirement as he announces it to…okay, get this fucking cast:

Frankenstein’s Monster, The Bride of Frankenstein (referred to as “The Monster’s more intelligent mate”), Fritz (referred to as Yetch, and brought back to life in the same manner as The Monster), Airborne Zombie Soldiers (yeah I’m not kidding here), Singing Skeletons (The Beatles parody), Dracula, The Werewolf (The Wolfman), Tarantula (cameo) the Creature From the Black Lagoon (Gillman), The Invisible Man (Griffin), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Quasimodo, when Disney hadn’t made him kid friendly), The Blob (cameo) Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Mr. Hyde apparently got his name on accident), The Mummy (Kharis, by far), It (*SPOILER*King Kong, cameo*SPOILER OVER*), The Fly (cameo) The Giant Octopus (Oodako, cameo), Vampire Plants (from Mothra), and The Raven (Edgar Allen Poe, cameo). Yeeah…WOW.

You talk about a party, huh? And he’s no Monster but he is worth mentioning, Chef Mafia Machiavelli, or Mario before there was a Mario….wait, are you serious his name is Mafia?!? That’s not racist at all, is it? Boris decides to pass on his torch to Felix Frankin, his nephew. I’m not so sure what to think about this. It’s obviously going to be a very stupid, stupid movie, but it seems like it’s gonna be more Robot Chicken stupid or South Park stupid and not Family Guy stupid, which I’m in full support for. But really, I just have no fucking clue what I’m getting myself into. Umm…let’s dive right in?

*Hey guys, I got an idea. Let’s just pretend like we forgot to have an OMPAACNT after so many very close failures.*

The first thing that comes to mind as “different” in this movie (among many) is the fact that this film is 99% stop-motion animation with the exception of a few seconds of actual footage integrated into the sets in the very beginning. Which, I’ll just mention that was actually kind of risky. The piece of footage is of a mushroom cloud, ya know, from a nuclear bomb. It’s featured in two scenes, beginning and end. This was 1967, 5 years removed from the height of the cold war and we would still be in it through 1994/5. The fact that they used it in a film alone; let alone a mostly family-friendly flick was something extremely unheard of back then.

But I digress. As for the actual stop-motion animation; well…it’s by continents of scales no Harryhausen flick. It’s definitely done for a more cartoonish atmosphere, and if you’re looking for quality animation the way figures move is going to bother you. It’s the same kind of animation in the TV Special produced by the same studio (Rankin/Bass) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. But the fact that they are so unrealistic gives the animators the opportunity have a very goofy feel to the animation; and that’s all this movie really is, goofy; so this style of stop-motion can be said to help the film in a fashion.

A very early example is Dr. Jekyll’s first transformation into Mr. Hyde which happens rather earlier in the film is just hilarious. Aside from the character motions I would also like to mention background sets. While made as stop-motion sets, I can safely say that these are really good for the challenge they were brought up with. When I see material that is animated like this I usually see a background retaining the realism to its intended look as cardboard. It’s extremely difficult apparently to make a good clay-mation background. Fortunately this film does not succumb to that same curse.

Taken for what it is, it is really, really nice. The backgrounds are very reminiscent of the original UMMs and capture that feeling to a pitch; depth of field, height and width of figures, lighting and atmosphere, shape, nothing really looks horrible. They are clay so they’re not going to look like things out of real life in the fact that they look a little washed out as far as detail and color. But, whatever, when I look into the background sometimes I forget I’m watching an animated film. Not the same feeling with the characters though; and that creates a distinct contrast that while under normal circumstances wouldn’t work here it does work.

Boris Karloff [is ALIVE] plays Baron Boris von Frankenstein. Or just Boris Frankenstein. For all the times he’s been mislabeled as playing “Frankenstein” as The Monster, and all the times he’s played a mad scientists who isn’t Frankenstein; I find it kinda nice that he actually got the role of the doctor himself. He’s fresh off of playing both the narrator and the title character in the Dr. Suess TV Special I believe everyone and their grandmother (and that’s not a joke) has seen, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Ain’t it odd that he goes right from a kid’s TV Special that has an Exclamation Point in its title to a kid’s TV Special with a Question Mark in it’s title?

Because he’s fresh off of Grinch his acting is reminiscent of both performances at the same time. He does seem like kind of a “up-to-no-good” type of character, with some really big scheme that will mess up the order of the community he is present in. However, he at the same time plays kind of a humble, good natured fellow. How Boris is able to balance those two types of characters naturally and compellingly is beyond me but he’s just that d@m awesome. Yes I censored that because hey this is a kid’s movie…sort of anyways. One of the Non-Allen roles is Phyllis Diller as “The Monster’s more intelligent mate.”

You may know her from films such as Who Killed the Electric Car? (again with the question mark), or A Bug’s Life. No, seriously, watch this and then watch Bug’s Life. You can tell exactly who she is playing in both movies. As for TV, you could recognize her from The Muppet Show, Robot Chicken or Family Guy. Seems like her successful work has some running themes. Anyways, I can perfectly see why her list of noticeable roles is small and far-between. Her role in this movie is just the one I want to go away, she’s not entertaining in the slightest. She’s annoying and arrogant, and not arrogant in the good fashion such as Dracula; no she’s just an annoying bitch who should have no business of her own yet makes her own business out of everyone else’s business. She is an intrusion to the film’s overall comedic atmosphere.

I think we can safely say two things, A. that Allen Swift makes Eddie Murphy look lazy and B. This movie may or may not have been produced on a budget reining on the tens of dollars. Allen; misspelled as Alan in the title credits; plays Yetch (Fritz), Count Dracula, Felix Frankin (Frankenstein’s Nephew), The Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde…basically every male character that isn’t Dr. Frankenstein. Umm…WOW. To try to give you a quick rundown, each character is a pretty humorous parody/tribute to their respective stereotypes, everything from their individual monsters to Italian-Chefs and Nerds. However nobody is really laugh-out-loud humorous on his cast list.

Another one of the Non-Allen roles is Francesca, played by actress Gale Garnett. Her role is pretty much “the pretty girl” in the movie, and for that her role is very much appropriate. I find it refreshing that even though she is the “pretty girl,” she’s not a dumbass; in fact probably the smartest character in the movie. I don’t know about you guys but that cliché ran its course when it first appeared. And now, I want to tell you guys something. I. Hate. Musicals. How most people feel about Romantic Comedies; I feel about Musicals. The genre is so filled with never ending mega-tons of trash that I feel to no end that the genre should never be visited by any honorable artist.

There are exceptions, such as Disney films; but the majority is just terrible. Is it said that 90% of everything is rubbish? That saying is truest to the musical genre of film. And yes, there are musical numbers in this movie. And yes, I hate them. They are as repetitive and boring as most Christmas carols, the humor they have is vastly underwhelming to the already stupid humor in this film - which we will cover later - and nobody in this movie is set for singing in the first place. I just chose to skip most of them.

Well at this point it is a few days later from the rest of the review and school sux. I had a little more I wanted to say but I will at least give the overall impression of the comedic scripting I had with this film. Beautifully mediocre. No, it’s not laugh out loud most of the time. Yes, it’s kind of slow at time. It relies on a lot of clichés, and you could see that the scriptwriters were thinking that they were funny without thinking about how the viewer would think they were funny. But what is most important is love. There’s another very famous film made by a very important person that does emanate the same love, and chances are you’ve seen it.

That film was trying to please the fans; not show respect to the source material as far as a parody can go. When a movie has this kind of honest love, even if it’s just corny and stupid, you end up laughing anyways because you know “dude, I totally understand what you’re talking about, man this shit is hilarious.” Take the skit where Francesca is not able to figure out what goes to what. “Torches for a Monster and Wolfsbane for a Vampire…or was it torches for a monster and wolfsbane for a vampire…or was it a silver bullet for a monster and wolfsbane for a vampire?” Anyways, this film is just a treat for me. Definitely recommend it for anybody who’s a fan of these movies. It’s very childish, yes, and it has a lot of faults but that’s part of what gives it its charm. 3/5 + The Kickass Seal of Approval. Or as Jeremy Jahns instead of Angry Joe might say, “it’s a good time no alcohol required [but encouraged.”

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. “Announcement” that was meant to come on Halloween is in the updates section right now.

Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)

“Everything we don’t understand is magic; until we understand it, and master it.” - Dr. Frankenstein; played by Peter Cushing.

“Frankenstein Created Woman” Meaning: ‘A woman created by Frankenstein.’ “Frankenstein Created Women” Meaning: ‘all women were created by Frankenstein.’ So I guess you know what that means? Hammer has reprised Universal’s graveyard of The Mummy, Dracula, The Monster, Dr. Frankenstein, Karl, Fritz, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, Cave Girls/Captive Wild Woman, Phantom of the Opera and The Werewolf/Wolf Man; and now the most popular of them all The Bride of Frankenstein! If you recall, The Bride of Frankenstein has scored the highest in this marathon.

So I’m just praying Hammer does this right. I just don’t know. It seemed like Curse and Revenge was Hammer doing their own thing and now it just seems like they’re cashing in on Universal’s original Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein. She even LOOKS like The Bride! How much more blatant can you get? What’s the next one, does it have to do with his son?...Well, okay no, thank God. But then comes The Horror of Frankenstein and Frankenstein vs. The Monster from Hell; and thank God we’re literally enable to review those two in this marathon. I think we can safely say that by Evil Hammer was using Universal’s friendship too far to their advantage…wait, what’s that?

*whispers* they did what? *whispers* who said whom? *whispers whispers* REALLY?!? This is one of the most critically acclaimed Hammer films EVER?!?!...We’re talking about the same company right? *Yes.* Okay…Well then, maybe it won’t be as much of a cash-in as I might expect. This is more than likely due to the fact it was the original production to sequel Curse before Revenge went into production but it was delayed farther and farther and it just happens to be released after Evil and thus receives the comparisons to be the second film in a reboot to match the Universal films. And while I’m sure that was their intention, the fact it was in production back then shows that a lot of good is probably carried down, but I’ve just been rambling long and long let’s just fucking dive in.

OMP-ah, forget it, they don’t have this one either.

It’s pretty hard to tell where in the Hammer timeline - if such a timeline actually exists at this point - this film belongs. It’s clearly not a sequel to The Revenge of Frankenstein, for Dr. Frankenstein is dead at the beginning of this film. It’s obviously not a sequel to what it was intended to be a sequel to The Curse of Frankenstein, for Dr. Frankenstein remains headed. Also, Hans is in this film and the movie asks us to believe we’ve met Hans before. You could say the audience has even if the characters haven’t; bush the doctor asks as if he has met Hans before in his lifetime.

In fact, he is found frozen; which indicates it’s not a sequel to The Evil of Frankenstein either; at the end of that movie he was anything but frozen. The Monster was surely frozen but not him. So where this movie picks up from is never fully explained; but knowing that he’s dead, now alive, and Hans is playing his usual role is all you really need to go in. This may be due to the lack of the epic screenwriter Lil’ Jimmy Sangster; but he is replaced with someone who we’ve seen feels dedicated to these films Anthony Hinds under the stage-name John Elder. But Anthony Hinds really WAS a producer.

Producers are not artists; they are financial advisers. In any form of work you don’t get involved in anything you’re not involved in. Alfred Hitchock, whenever he was asked by his composers how he liked the score, he would simply say that he liked it; but most importantly he trusted him. Obviously, Hinds did not understand this. But wow is this a Hammer retrospective or is this a review of one of their movies? Hans is my kind of character. Rash, hot tempered, quick to judge; yet with some feeling of right to do so out of feeling superior to the majority of people he knows or knows of. Fortunately, not entirety.

He’s the kind of character you can get behind because anybody who knows of him can love him but anybody who knows him personally will more than likely think of him as mad. He’s very compelling; and I also really like his back story. It gives a lot more foundation to his emotions and makes them feel all the more real and intense. I really wish we could have gotten to see more of this character; but as THE BACK OF THE DVD spoils for us Hans does not exactly stay in the film for the entirety. He is played by Robert Morris, who’s ONLY other film work is another cult classic Quatermass in the Pit, very often misspelled as Quartermass in the Pit; and is also known as Five Million Years to Earth.

His television credits are 7 and all 7 are crap and almost never talked about. There’s a reason his career wasn’t exactly fruitful, in my opinion (because even I can’t resist saying that a few times.) His work here has the same description as his filmography, and that would be C.R.A.P. Cruddy Rubbish and Atrocious Puke. He’s way too motherfucking happy, and that could go with something else to be said later on but he’s too motherfucking happy. I would think someone in his field of research; with his personality traits, wouldn’t exactly be happy and smiles everytime that is reasonable.

He is good at changing emotions naturally; but the fact is that too many of those natural emotions is happiness (grammar anybody?), and as a whole his performance is unnatural. Not to mention, none of the time he’s on screen I find him to be anymore than average; and when he is happy again since it’s unnatural for his personality it comes off as rather…why do I keep using this word lately…Gay. Anthony Hinds, again, please stick to producing. The dialogue here is probably the biggest reason why. The dialogue isn’t horrible, it’s in the right direction, but it comes off as amateurish and underwhelming at several points and I feel if Sangster came in and tweaked the script it would have been improved vastly!

Dr. Frankenstein and the science of this film will be covered at the same time. Peter Cushing reprises his role as Baron Frankenstein; and will for EVERY SINGLE HAMMER FRANKENSTEIN FILM EVER. To say Peter Cushing does a great Frankenstein is becoming as redundant as saying Colin Clive did a good Dr. Frankenstein. He is written dialogue that stands to my previous critique; but that doesn’t stop him from making the most out of it. The one thing I find the most interesting is the choice of science. I was wondering how they were gonna pull it off. In this film, instead of the physical aspects such as the brain and heart; the Doctor is fascinated with the soul.

It would have been so easy to just do a jarring transition like a lot of the sequels tend to do; but fortunately they did it right. He just woke up from being dead, and was unsuccessful in his attempt at observing where his soul was destined. Thus, he becomes very fascinated with how it works; being a religious man I guess. The idea of souls mixing with science is so vague that they had to just take some things for granted. For instance, it’s just assumed that you can take control of the soul; and that it is on earth post-death. Regardless whether the science is like Swiss cheese; did it have another option?

The point was to get your brain thinking about it; and it works in miles to that respect even though the dialogue still doesn’t feed the need for the big words. Or maybe I’m just getting used to it; who knows. The atmosphere of this film and the soundtrack of this film go hand in hand. Fortunately, despite the loss of Lil’ Jimmy Sangster; they were able to keep Terrence Fisher and Lil’ Jimmy Bernard in for the picture as director and composer. My criticism of both is the exactly same sentence but imply very different things. It remains true to the source of Hammer Horror but yet has a refreshing though underwhelming sense of welcoming.

Background sets are mostly wooden and have deep though not vibrant brown and white colors; giving the film a sort of “cottage” feel even in the context of the laboratory. Not saying the original concepts that made the gothic feeling of COF work is gone; but is accompanied by this new stark contrast that creates for a very distinct feel of a film; which any Frankenstein film at this point DESPERATELY needed. Nothing quite as good as Curse but still it’s new material. Speaking of new material, it looks like my prayers to Triple H were answered! Lil’ Jimmy Bernard composes a piece which in addition to what I mentioned previously focuses more on the time aspect than on the franchise.

So many of the soundtracks for Frankie/Drac tie-ins try to recreate the Universal sound. This movie uses it’s soundtrack to put you in the same time period, which is early 1800’s England at the birth of the industrial age. It varies a ton, never becoming repetitive or dry and always changing perfectly and naturally depending on the mood. Playboy Playmate, Actress and Model Susan Denberg gets top billing below Cushing as Hans’ love interest Christina. She hadn’t worked much but a notable piece of television she worked was in an episode of the original series of Star Trek, episode titled “Mudd’s Women.” 

In fact, it was only the sixth episode of the first season; so you could make the argument she is significant in Star Trek history. She doesn’t do a significantly amazing job; as really only Cushing did in this movie; but her character just strikes cords with me. It’s partially my anger at society, and partially just a well written character. She’s very vague, never really blatantly said “yes, this is me.” Refreshing, to say the least. Basically, her whole life since something that caused her face to burn has been tortured with endless, nonstop bullying and yeah I don’t really think I need to go farther than that. It’s a common formula for a character that is relatable to every person out there, but if done right even clichés as repetitive as this can work.

The 1st act and 2nd Act could be interpreted as only existing so the third act can exist. The third act, yes it still has the same problems as Act I and II, but the main difference is it is a climax by more than definition. The suspense factor goes to places you could not imagine. The only good comparison I can think of is if you took your three favorite Twilight Zone episodes and put them into a climax of a movie. The ideas used for the climax are fucking genius and saying they’re ultra creative is underselling it. It brought the true meaning of Hammer Gothic Stories into this film, and left me literally saying to the TV “Oh fuck, oh fuck, OH FUCK!” I just wish Sangster got his hands on the 1st and 2nd act. For the sake of refreshment, I’m going to refrain from saying everything I said beforehand. So I’m going to give this movie three ratings, one for each act. Something I haven’t done yet in the Drankenstein Manathon. 4 for Act I, 3.8 for Act II, and 6 for Act III. This averages to a final rating of 4.6/5.

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off. Holy fuck that was really dark; maybe next time we’ll handle something A LOT lighter. Also, keep an eye out for my “announcement” coming Halloween!

Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

One of the few times I’ll be relieved to be in England-territory. This is coming from a descendant of Wales…No, the country, not the guy who made the Frankenstein films.

So this movie did exactly what it was supposed to with casting & crew. Well, except for one thing. Where the fuck is Cushing? Cushing does not reprise his role as Van Helsing in this film, and for most other Drac films of Hammer in the future due to the fact he was busy doing EVERY FRANKIE FILM THE COMPANY PRODUCED! But the good news is, it brought back director Terrence Fisher (unfortunately for the last time doing Dracula), composer Lil’ Jimmy Bernard, my favorite choice writer Lil’ Jimmy Sangster, but unfortunately for some reason Anthony Hinds is not producing?

Whatever, sacrifice a producer for a writer, composer and director, I think it’s a much better choice. Besides, he still wrote the concept...kinda. You also have Christopher Lee returning as Dracula, FUCK YES I AM SO GETTING HIM DOWN THIS TIME!...WAIT, ARE YOU SERIOUS? So apparently Christopher Lee chose not to talk in this movie. Well, fuck it, I’ll still get his visual style down. He simply put it, "I didn’t speak in that picture. The reason was very simple. I read the script and saw the dialogue! I said to Hammer, if you think I’m going to say any of these lines, you’re very much mistaken.”

On the other hand, Lil’ Jimmy Sangster, who I hate to say I don’t believe and am rather in favor of Lee, said "Vampires don't chat. So I didn't write him any dialogue. Chris Lee has claimed that he refused to speak the lines he was given ... So you can take your pick as to why Christopher Lee didn't have any dialogue in the picture. Or you can take my word for it. I didn't write any." Rasputin, The Mad Monk was also done on the same sets at the same time; and actor on both of those movies Barbara Shelley accidentally swallowed one of her fangs during shooting and had to bring it up with salt water. She said for the sake of the schedule and budget, but umm…swallowing a plastic fang would probably cause health issues? I guess? So what are we waiting for? Santa Claus? Nah, he goes to my school, you don’t have to wait for him. Let’s dive right into Dracula: Prince of Darkness.

OMPAACNT….OMPAACNT…God Dammit, I mean, it exists there’s just…GOD.

This film’s plot centers around a group of travelers who become misplaced at Castle Dracula. In the beginning of the film, we are hinted at the film revolving around a very skeptical (I think maybe) priest named Father Sandor, played by Andrew Keir. This guy is fucking awesome. He’s a guy who knows exactly what he’s doing and knows that nobody else knows what they’re doing because of mass hysteria. He’s the kind of guy who will call everyone who doesn’t think like him an idiot; and I LOVE this kind of guy. Now, unlike most characters in fiction who are crafted like this, his mind is rather unnaturally open and he never really goes over the top; you can view that as a positive or negative.

Personally, it doesn’t matter too much. Instead we are thrown with the Kent Family of Helen, Charles, Diana and Alan; played by Barbara Shelley, Francis Matthews, Suzan Farmer and Charles Tingwell; and thank the Holy Lord that there are NO CHILDREN! A family with no children in a movie? IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? Well, thank goodness yes it is. No child actors. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean their story isn’t cliché, and I’ll just go on the writing by Lil’ Jimmy Sangster for a second here. Given it’s age of exactly 45 this year, I will not count against Sangster his formulaic storytelling.

But let’s be objective for just a moment. The plot of this movie, people becoming stranded where they shouldn’t be, and the idea of some people believing in the supernatural while others are clearly and unbelievably ignorant has been used time and time again. Both parts individually and coupled. A good example of the former is The Shining and an example of the latter is A Nightmare on Elm Street. Both of which published 18 years after this picture so I guess we can excuse it but it very much shows it’s age as far as concept goes. Back onto the subject of the actors, I find these performers to be lackluster as far as the Kent family goes.

They’re stale, they’re dry, they’re generic, and with only very shoe-horned in energy. They don’t have amazing material as far as dialogue but if you got actors with any honest talent you could have made this script seem much more lively when transferred on screen. Around the middle of the film, some things happen to some people somewhere. When these things happen to some people somewhere, their acting is still pretty bad but at least it’s not nearly as annoying. As for the dialogue itself, yeah, it’s not that great. No really wordy sentences, hell the master of those Peter Cushing isn’t even fucking in this movie; real disappointment.

Not a whole lot of talk about vampires, it doesn’t feed the need for the mythos that we have become accustomed to. The only time mythos is mentioned is new mythos that would contradict with other vampire flicks; and overall the dialogue is super generic and doesn’t have any special taste, which bogs this movie downwards. Easily the best thing about this movie is the film’s atmosphere. Though it may not be the greatest soundtrack, as I said it really does help the mood of the film. Once the film gets into the castle, we are greeted by extremely gorgeous set pieces.

It becomes very dark and Dracula’s castle feels full and the lighting helps the feeling of darkness tenfold. Thunder. A scene that shows the film’s atmosphere as there was scene in Curse of Frankenstein is also the scene where Dracula comes back to life. If you remember from the ending of the first film, Dracula was pretty much disintegrated. So then how does one go about bringing him back? You expect some really cheap jibber jabber like in House of Frankenstein or hell just showing up for no apparent reason of being alive in House of Dracula, but instead we are greeted with a very clever way around that and let me tell you it’s a spectacle.

Christopher Lee, after 8 years of waiting, revises his role as The Prince of Darkness, Dracula. He has no dialogue like I said before, and the only reason I might be siding with Jimmy Sangster on the whole story is because Christopher Lee said he talked to “Hammer.” Hammer in reality is a piece of paper; he’d have to talk to one of the producers. In the first film, there wasn’t nearly enough footage to talk about his acting. I mean, I knew it was amazing and I wanted a bigger chunk to properly give justice to him. Little did I know the next TWO sequels wouldn’t feature the same acting caliber.

So I’ll critique this reprise as its own. With no dialogue, very tired and gummy make-up, and slow walking, at first you might think his acting is non-engaging. However, consider the context. He just woke up from 8 years of flat out being dead. Since hopefully none of us know how it is to be dead, lettuce just imagine being asleep for 8 years straight. Mega-Coma. Don’t you think after being forced to wake up from that (goriest alarm clock EVER) we would be at least a little bit tired? Yeah, I think this portrayal is again appropriate and hey it’s still pretty damn creepy.

With no dialogue, he is successfully able to pull off showing his emotions through the context of his facial expressions and actions, and that’s a sign of a great actor. Oddly enough, while he doesn’t talk at all he will still hiss like a panther or something to that effect; and it’s weird and not intensely creepy but I’ll give it props for uniqueness. Actor Thorley Walters plays character Ludwig (AN ACTOR PLAYING A CHARACTER NOOOO) who many mistakenly say is Renfield. Well, he never plays any sort of role similar to Renfield, he’s there for probably 5-10 minutes, and they constantly refer to him as Ludwig.

Yes, he has interest in a fly, and he is a vampire, but hell one of the travelers turns into a vampire and Dracula was 500 years old at the time of [Horror of] Dracula. So, he’s not Renfield. And he’s even staler than the fucking travelers! This film is okay. It has a lot of ups and downs, it’s moments and its bore periods. I say if you’re a fan of Dracula or Hammer in any sense, it’s worth a watch…I guess. But if you have no fandom of either of the previously mentioned then you should probably find another movie to rent this weekend. Besides, the DVD is horribly overpriced. 2.94/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Next time, we eat Dracula!

Billy the Kid vs. Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter Disclaimer

I would just like to put a disclaimer in here; that I believe I made clear when I reviewed Billy the Kid vs. Dracula but some of you might not have caught it. This double-feature presentation is a very good cheesy flick, like Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. The difference is who it is centering around. SCCTM is not meant to be taken seriously by title alone. Santa Claus has always been cheesy shit, and Martians could mean anything, they’re not central franchise characters that we have developed relationships with, they’re just a race of people. Billy the Kid, Dracula, Jesse James and Frankenstein were huge draws back then, and they were characters that everybody knew and understood. Well, the fans anyways. Lighting? Editing? Okay, these things can be saved for the budget. Take a look at Frankenstein’s Daughter, that is a drive-in cult cheese-fest that still has love for the franchises. This double-feature was done for a quick buck, and with the totally wrong characters. It’s a disappointment for the characters, the genres they encompass, but yes it is unintentionally silly and cheesy. That goes for both BtK vs. Drac and J.J. vs. F.D. Because this is a Drankenstein Manathon and not a Drive-Inathon, I’m going to review them like Dracula and Frankenstein films on low budgets and not cheese-fests.

Now because I wasn't able to finish through JJMFD and it's pretty much the same movie; we're not going to review it here.

Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966)

The great crossovers of film history! Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Freddy vs. Jason, Gandhi with the Wind, and…BILLY THE KID VS. DRACULA?!?!?

THE WORST PART IS THE TRAILER LOOKS LIKE IT COULD HAVE BEEN FUN AWESOMENESS TOO!

There’s not a whole lot to say about the background about this movie, and why should there be? Along with I Was a Teenage Frankenstein, Frankenstein 1970, Frankenstein’s Daughter Frankenstein Conquers the World, The Old Dark House, Konga, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Wrestling Woman vs. The Aztec Mummy, The Face of Fu Manchu and The She Wolf, a man named William Beaudine wanted to cash-in on Hammer re-inventing several older monsters such as Frankenstein, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, The Werewolf, The Phantom of the Opera, The Mummy, The Abominable Snowman, Captive Wild Woman/Cave Girls and Dinosaurs with a double-feature of Billy the Kid vs. Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, which in turn also cashed in on the new craze of Spaghetti Westerns such as A Fistful of Dollars, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, For a Few Dollars More, Navajo Joe, and Death Rides a Horse.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of all Ages, Friends and Neighbors, that dude smoking Marijuana in the background, THAT is easily one of the longest sentences you’ve ever read. Unless you’ve looked specifically for the longest sentence ever created, in which you would have read 469,375.2 words in one sentence. THAT’S NOT A JOKE. I guess there is a lot to say about the background of this film! Well…let’s dive in? Ughh….WORST. INTO. EVER. OMPAACNT….OMPAACNT…What’s going on back there? Yeah, apparently there is a MPAA Certificate Number, but I can’t fucking read it! I’ve tried everywhere and apparently nobody else can because there is no mention of it getting a MPAA Certificate anywhere!

John Carradine is in this movie. As Dracula. Yeah, THAT John Carridine. The one that played Count Dracula in House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula. I mean it, REALLY!!! He’s reprising his role 21 years later as Count Dracula! I’m not joking around here! And what’s crazier, he did it again in Blood of Dracula’s Castle! Well…he’s sort of Dracula. He’s a vampire, he looks like Dracula, and of course he’s played by a guy who has experience as Dracula, but he refers to himself as “James Underhill.” …IZZA CONSPIRACY!!! WIT’ LIL’ JIMMY!!! IT’S LIL’ JIMMY UNDERHILL!!!

UNDER THAT HILL, DON’T YA GO JIMMY?!?! Well, he’s posing as James Underhill anyways; but I just had to add that little insanity piece. He goes a little more crazy with the face, not really thinking people are gonna judge him that much on this performance alone, so just having fun with it. It’s actually really creepy. Unfortunately, it’s not that, get under your skin haunt you at bedtime creepy like it should be; it’s, OH MY GOD WHY IS THIS PERVERT LOOKING AT ME WHILE I SLEEP creepy. As far as his voice acting goes…yeah, he is that pedophile that is staring at you in your bedroom.

This type of creepy isn’t effective, real creepiness is subtle and Lil’ Johnny is hammimg it up. Not even that, sometimes he’s really dry and just not trying, and sometimes it feels as if he could pull off a Scar like performance but doesn’t really come close enough. I think, honestly, if he was given a script with at least decent material he would have been able to do a tour de fuck job. (I will never say tour de f**ce.) Oh, so you wanna hear about the atmosphere, huh? Do you really, REALLY wanna hear me talk about the atmosphere? Slowlyh ainsanee goiang!!2 1o4wen!!!

I CAN’T FUCKING TALK ABOUT THE FUCKING ATMOSPHERE, BECAUSE THE GOD DAMN FUCKING THING IS TOO FUCKING DARK!!! I HAD TO TURN UP THE BRIGHTNESS ON MY COMPUTER!!! YES I’M USING A FUCKING YOUTUBE VERSION, NOBODY IS GETTING ANY FUCKING SHITASSED LOAD OF BULLCRAP MONEY, NOBODY IS FUCKING MY AUNT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS MOVIE IS HORRIBLE, IT DESERVES TO BE APAOLEKWNW!!w4N31UOIB 4 21NFBAPWOENFAWD FAR!! N2Q DAMDN DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!!! SAVP:R I WILALSEND PP1! I WILL KILL!1 1I WILLMMQQP!KILLLL!!!!!!MEKRWPNAWEW22121111*PLEASE WAIT WHILE WE CHANGE REELS.*

Huh…huh…I’m okay, just backlash from AVP:R. Well, even though the night scenes are poorly lit, day scenes fucking exist! It’s not horrible lighting, but it’s too adequate. Unfortunately I haft to compare this to Nosferatu in that sense. Although apparently Dracula could live in the light in the novel; that still doesn’t excuse midnight looking like noon. When it tries to be scary it’s hindered by perfectly lighting…oh, BTW, Dracula is out during the day again even after the norm was established…and when it tries to have a Western atmosphere no music, not even public domain songs like Camptown Races is played in the background; let alone some GOOD music so what’s the motherfucking point?!?!

Huh…there are actually Native Americans in this movie. No surprise, but not expected. But of course, with a horrible Western comes the eventual curse. You get Native Americans about as offensive as the ones featured in motherfucking Peter Pan. But what should I fucking expect, huh?!?! Should I expect a decent job of a movie that pairs two of the most crazy killers that also know how to get people on their good side? Should I expect maybe a trail of a good job out of The Killer of the West vs. The Killer of Transylvania? WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU GUYS DOING?!?! IT’S NOT IMPOSSIBLE, IT COULD HAPPEN!!! ASNGPOEWNAWDG AWEFPAWEO21-213 4 T1Q3498 NZDSPLE A *PLEASE WAIT WHILE WE SWITCH REELS.*

Chuck Courtney, who was the most generic name very thought of, plays the Western Hero of many Westerns from old to very old to kind of new, Billy the Kid. Now, being we know that Billy the Kid was a rough, teeth grinding rootin’ tootin’ swash buggling are you ready for a fight tonight psychotic maniac murder kind of person, how does ol’ Chucky play him? Well, you know those movies that make fun of 50’s movies, and have the actors play laughably dry and generic, cardboard cutout characters for HUMOR?!?! Yeah, THIS IS WORSE THAN THOSE PERFORMANCES.

Oh, and he’s a really nice guy!! WHY THE FUCK IS BILLY THE MOTHERFUCKING KID A NICE---*record skip* Wait, he was? So apparently according to Wikipedia, even though he killed somewhere between 4-9 and legend has it 21 people when the world’s population was only 1.5 Billion and guns were crap; he was a relatively nice guy to people he liked. I can’t imagine this, really, but if that is true I guess this movie is kind of accurate in some way? They even give Lil’ Chucky material to have jarring personalities, as Billy the Kid may or may not have had. Okay, he never really changes his tone of voice, which is pretty bad, but his actions are pretty sudden and even the slightest insult could get ya killed by him.

I know we wanna see Clint Eastwood badasses, but honest I have to appreciate that maybe this is a bit more accurate. At the end of the day, his performance is still dry, aged and generic as ever. Is it accurate? Yes. Would I prefer a Clint Eastwood Badass? Maybe, but it would seem awkward. Is it pretty boring to watch? Yeeeah; especially considering we have no attachment to this character in development. I guess we’re just supposed to know what he’s like right off the bat, which honestly is pretty understandable. If I’ve ever seen fucking generic! The soundtrack is like what you would see in a Cartoon Network/Trick R’ Treat for Unicef cartoon.

It is the most generic, overused, stupid, non-atmospheric, anticlimactic, cheapest piece of shit, it barely changes and it hardly ever plays leaving the shitty script to fill it’s fucking ass part! When it finally plays it doesn’t fucking help, it’s just so motherfucking stupid!!!n213orgnqp21%!!! The writing, as I hinted earlier, is bloody dry. That’s the biggest reason why this movie is boring, honestly if the script was at least decent and they got good minor actors these main actors could pull off a good movie. Instead, we’re given a script that doesn’t even try. You thought Frankenstein Conquers the World was written by amateurs at imitating the select franchise?

Think again. I swear, the only time there are talking about vampires is when they use the crappy actors I can’t even remember they’re so horrible they suck my gigantic balls. When they’re not talking about vampires, and sometimes they are, there’s nothing interesting in the lines and uggh this movie is a real drag. Yeah, no fucking changing the reels. Melinda Plowman plays Billy the Kid’s love interest, Elizabeth Bently. She basically plays the same fucking shit ass horrid caliber as Mr. Chuck Courtney, but there’s absolutely nothing to praise since she’s fictional and the only thing to talk about is how interesting she is as an actor!

She’s terrible, she’s just like Chucky in that she’s WORSE than the actors that make JOKES out of aged acting! And it’s not like I forgive Mr. Motherfucking Courtney just because he’s being accurate either, he’s so fucking dry, she’s so fucking dry, this script IS SUCH A FUCKING POEAPLE4 APESOINR10HI24 Y92Q4IHNT10IOHYTB0020KERW 3Q4OT3NPIONDFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Most fight scenes in this movie are really dry. They get okay for about 10 seconds and then end like that. It could escalate to a good brawl, but then we’de haft to spend our $50 budget on FUCKING STUNT DOUBLES NOW WOULDN’T WE BOYS!?!?!

The ending fight with Billy the Kid and Dracula…ya know, the REASON we payed for the ticket back in 1966 and all…is reduced to the quality of a fight from The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. Aw, fuck it, it IS a fight from The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, but even they thought it was too bad to feature in the film so they sent it back in time with their time machine and gave it to the poor sucker that made this shitfest. Even ignoring that, the climax still fails as it has pretty much no resolution to the overtly and unnecessarily convoluted plot that we are presented with. This movie sucks monkey fuck, as AVGN might say.

It’s an atrocity to Westerns (this coming from a guy who still hasn’t seen The Good, The Bad and The Ugly), it’s an atrocity to horror film and it’s an atrocity of a movie in general. But as a cheesefest, it’s alright. All a drive-in movie is meant to be is a stupid, terrible film featuring some convoluted plot, and that’s what this is. But movies like Frankenstein’s Daughter have proven that it can be more than that, let aside F.D. doesn’t really have a moral. So if you’re in the mood for a terrible movie of cheeseness, sit down and watch this, but it’s one of the biggest disappointments in cinema history. 2/5, and it’s not 1/5 for cheese value and two alright title actors.

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off. Next time, I watch something that I’m really hoping makes up for this shit.

Frankenstein Conquers the World; or; Frankenstein vs. Baragon; or; Frankenstein vs. The Giant Devilfish; or; Pardon me, your Tentacles are in my Soup (1965)

Just for the sake of this Summer, REVIEW OF THE JAPANESE VERSION

Ah, it’s been too long since I visited Toho hasn’t it?!?!...What, only a couple months? Ironic how I ended up reviewing the sequel to this movie before this movie. Anyways, in 1960 an idea came up called King Kong vs. Prometheus. Prometheus refers to “creator of life,” and typically is in reference to a God. Mary Shelley’s novel of Frankenstein was also called The Modern Prometheus. The idea was to have King Kong square off against a monster Dr. Frankenstein stitched together with a bunch of animal parts to make 25 feet tall. Willis O’ Brien, the creator of the original King Kong was actually the guy who proposed it to Warner Bros.

Unfortunately Universal caught hold and somehow won a lawsuit, so the idea was passed onto Toho with Universal’s permission. They replaced the role of King Kong with Godzilla, and the role of Frankenstein with King Kong, to make what we now know as King Kong vs. Godzilla. However Toho really wanted to use The Monster in a film since the early 60’s, so they tried their attempts with Frankenstein vs. The Human Vapour and Frankenstein vs. Godzilla, both of his foes being owned characters. In Frankie vs. H.V., he was unfrozen…AGAIN. In vs. Godzilla, he would have been mutated to his size.

In Frankie vs. Gojy, Godzilla was oddly enough the lesser of two evils; which would be a theme seen in Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster. Eventually they decided to do an easier (as far as law is concerned) crossover with Mothra vs. Godzilla, which at the time was just as much of a draw. They then decided to have Frankenstein go up against a at that time no-name monster Baragon, in Frankenstein Conquers the World. So, now we have it, and let’s review it. OMPAACNT:…….I said, OMPAACNT:….WHAT, THERE IS NONE?!?!

The plot of this movie basically goes a little something or another like this. It’s sort of kind of historical fiction. In 1945, during World War II, a certain Dr. Frankenstein is experimenting with living beings. He has no yet succeeded, but we open to his first success of creating a living and independent heart. He looks like a very racist Italian stereotype…So, anyways, the Nazis find him, take his heart away, and in that Frankie becomes such a madman that he destroys his entire laboratory. The heart is shipped off to Japan, where it is studied for a few minutes and then…they show a dramatization of Hiroshima. …YEAH, REAL GOOD IDEA TOHO.

The heart is lost, and 15 years later (1960), they find a “vagrant” kid who looks a lot like the classic Frankenstein Monster just with regular skin. By “vagrant” I have no idea what they mean in real life, but in the context of the film they seem to mean a very, VERY primitive and very tall child that eats raw meat, and somehow survived Hiroshima. The child eats the immortal heart at the age of 3 back in 1945 and for some reason I’m not 100% aware of starts growing bigger and bigger to the point of Monstrous proportions. Baragon also shows up…for no apparent reason whatsoever other than he’s there.

Heck, do you not expect Lions, Tigers and Bears in India? No, so it’s safe to say that we can expect our native species to Japan - Baragon… - is here. As for any other forms of monsters, keep in mind this takes place in 1960. Godzilla was frozen, King Kong was still on his island, Angirus was flat out dead, Rodan...who knows, Mothra is at peace, and everyone else is doing what they were doing in 1960. There, I just explained with logic why certain monsters are in a certain Toho movie. HAPPY NINTENDO??!?! So, now that I’ve got that plot synopsis out of the way, lettuce tomato-boot the actors who play Frankenstein.

Yes, in this movie they refer to The Monster as Frankenstein. ARE YOU HAPPY UNIVERSAL??!?! THIS IS WHAT YOU’VE DONE!!!...And made some badass movies but that’s not the point. They credit the role of “Young Frankenstein” (well THIS MUST cause some continuity issues) to Sumio Nakao. If I’m reading all this insanity correctly, I think I know what role he is playing. The Younger Monster, or “Vagrant Child.” (And I looked that up and it refers to “begger”…why they refer to The Monster as a vagrant I’m not 100% sure.) He hams it up. He hams it up really good.

His performance would be like if some jackass was trying to imitate a “retard child.” I’m sure that’s actually what’s going on. His performance can be cheesy smiles sometimes but typically it just feels really, really wrong. Now let's talk about the soundtrack. The key piece of music featured in this feature is say a 4-8 second clip that is split into two halves. It is half a very similar piece to the background music from The Jungle Book, and half typical Toho music. It. Never. Stops. It never changes, it’s always there, and it gets really, REALLY annoying pretty damn fast.

The dialogue, I gotta be honest, is a load of shit. K, Toho, stick to writing for Godzilla type movies. They really have no idea how to do a Frankenstein film. They’re basically taking the Halloween Costume stereotypes that everybody knows about, and not really getting into the spirit of any of the source material. Debating whether he is human or not, calling The Monster Frankenstein. And all of this would be fine if they just tried, but unfortunately their writers just aren’t used to writing for this kind of stuff and it just falls flat and amateurish. A 10 year old REAL fan of the series and a Thesaurus could write better discussion. Let alone me, lol. Yeah, I just put lol in a fucking formal review, GO LAY IN A BED OF HAY WITH HILLARY DUFF…actually that’s not a half bad idea BUT STILL.

Around 45 minutes we get to the point where Giant Frankenstein is BORN! Izzalieeeeevee!!! Koji Furuhata plays the behemoth version of Frankie. You  know, I always wondered if Toho will ever come up with a logical reason why Monsters move so much slower than humans. I mean, I understand, those sets are fucking thick and full body, and of course speeding it up would look even more silly, but is there a logic reason behind it, ya know, within the universe? I dunno. I find the design choice for him to be lackluster. He’s basically an imitation of Jack Pierce’s make-up, but with normal colored skin and as for his facial expression refer to my critique of Younger Frankenstein. His roar isn’t exactly very good, either, it’s practically incomplete.

I’ve already critiqued Baragon’s design in my review of Destroy All Monsters, but I must say something. He has a weird expression on his face like some dumbass dog. And dog’s aren’t normally dumbasses. They sure didn’t get monster emotions correct in this film. The Monster battles are kind of a mixed bag. They don’t happen until very late in the film, only 13 minutes left. Frankenstein is a shitty fighter, doing a lot of cheap shots. Baragon is pretty cool but he doesn’t get to do much, especially walking on four legs. There’s also no city destruction, so the monster bashing gets a big thumbs down.

Overall, I have two ways to describe this Kaiju flick. Bizarre and lackluster. IN COMPARISON to other Kaiju flicks. There’s barely any monster fighting, so most of it relies of Frankenstein-style psychology, but it completely fails at that especially considering a team of writers that aren’t used to that style of discussion. Not to mention, the only refreshing soundtrack comes in during the last 13 minutes which take up all the fighting. But it is pretty fun to laugh at. I’m giving it 2.75/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Next time, the light switch is turned off.

The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)

You know what I’ve been noticing? If you watch the UMMs before the H2Fs, first all the movies you expect to have “The” in front of them (Bride, Son, Ghost, House) don’t; so you’re conditioned to expect no “The”; and then you watch all the H2Fs and they almost always have The at the beginning if they can…Intentional?

Since Hammer had been very successful in revamping both Frankie and Dracky in [Horror of] Dracula, The Curse of Frankenstein, The Revenge of Frankenstein and The Brides of Dracula, they decided to try and revamp some other classic Horror Monsters to keep the industry growing…in their wallet anyways. They had already started on The Mummy, with the sequels to their 1959 version being The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, The Mummy’s Shroud and Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb. They did a light spin-off of Captive Wild Woman with the Cave Girls series. Mainly One Million B.C. (a remake of a 1940 film with Lon Chaney Jr.), Slave Girls, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth and Creatures The World Forgot.

These are probably the only Hammer flicks that are very separate from the other ones. They also did The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Curse of the Werewolf, Phantom of the Opera, The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas and The Gorgon, to revamp their respective monsters. Too bad they never got to The Wolf Man, Creature From the Black Lagoon, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Man Who Laughs, The Bat or The Invisible Man but at SOMEPOINT they have to calm down and do some original films. By now they were just swimming in all the money they needed, and other legit Horror films had stepped up to the plate.

Psycho, The Birds, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, The Haunting, Matango and Dementia 13 are some good examples. So Hammer was like “ya know, we still got Cushing on bill. Let’s tackle Frankie one more time. I wonder if Universal would just be DYING to let us use their old plot devices!” Problem was…the “crew” wasn’t there. Which is why I’m gonna go in skeptical. Terrence Fisher: Master Director, Lil’ Jimmy Sangster: Master Writer, and Lil’ Jimmy Bernard: Master Composer were unfortunately not present.

Who do we got for Director? A guy who hasn’t directed A SINGLE movie before? Who do we got for writer? WHO THE HELL KNOWS?!?! Who do we got for music? A Jazz Musician. Who do we got to play The Monster? A Pro Wrestler from New Zealand whose name is very reminiscent of a current WWE Wrestler from Ghana, West Africa….that’s just amazing. Fans apparently consider this an oddball, not in the actual continuity, along with The Horror of Frankenstein which I just wish we could actually review. Well, skeptical or not, let’s dive into The Evil of Frankenstein.

OMPAACNT: 20649

There’s a twist ending to The Revenge of Frankenstein. Let’s just say I appreciate it, and the twist is not that Dr.[Franken]Stein movies to another town. I can’t decide if this is a true sequel or not. The basic plot is that Frankenstein is caught in the act of making a man in whatever town they are in, and that he needs to move to Karlstaad. If this movie took place many years after Revenge, it works especially with his assistant college boy (who seems to appear in each of these films) is named Hans. But apparently Hammer thinks Hans is like Joe or Bob, that it’s one of the most common names in history. There’s also a Hans in The Brides of Dracula. Also, there are several scenes that completely contradict the first two films, and so I’m gonna hop on the bandwagon and say this film isn’t a proper sequel.

Oddly enough even though I usually don’t get to this until later, I’d like to talk about the atmosphere. Specifically, the laboratory. I mentioned in my Curse review that the alien, artificial and modern-day-supernatural feel of Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory was one of the creepiest things featured in that film and possibly even in the movies so far. It was also prevalent in Revenge but not nearly to as much of an extent. In this film this sense of a quite but noisy and alien like atmosphere is actually IMPROVED beyond Curse! Did anybody expect that? Yeah, it is quite unsettling to say the last.

It’s not improved by what was already there, that stuff is probably still to the same degree as COF. But at times there will be explosions and sparks, which can make your adrenaline pumping. This is the kind of atmosphere. where that needs to be sparring, and it is for the most part. There’s also very  much noteworthy scenery organization in what I like to call “The Old Dark House on Haunted Hill.” It’s Frankenstein’s old place that he returns to, and it looks like a decaying old stone castle. Plants are growing in the windows, tons and tons of dust, broken pottery, lots of spider webs, pretty much looks like it could be Dracula’s Castle and that’s a positive. However, after that, there’s not really much to talk about. Most sets are average, it’s just those two that are notable, and thankfully appear throughout the film a lot.

With a newly acquired deal to have Universal distribute the H2Fs across North America several times, Hammer felt they wanted to go a little more towards the Universal movies to play a string with the fans of the oldies. But I didn’t expect them to go THIS far. The make-up department is lead by Roy Ashten, with Frieda Stieger doing the hair styles. Man, you ever wonder just how in-depth a review has to get for it to truly be complete? So Roy takes his imitation skills to the test and almost re-creates Jack Pierce’s classic make-up. No, I’m serious. Yeah, his forehead is way bigger (and to think the original forehead was 7 pounds), his hair is sloppy and it looks more like make-up than any other monster (these all being negatives); but that is the Jack Pierce make-up when imitated…which I think we’ll get into him a couple movies later.

New Zealand wrestler Kiwi Kingston (who’s real name is Ernie Kingston) moves and speaks exactly like Karloff!!! The resemblance is uncanny, pun intended. The only real difference is that Kiwi’s voice is naturally different and most notably but not largely louder. Why the fuck is this movie so funny? There are so many hilarious scenes in this movie, it’s completely crazy! I’m certain some of them were meant for comedy, but hell a lot weren’t and they tend to be the funniest parts! This movie is freaking hilarious! There’s a scene where Dr. Frankenstein is confronting the Burgomaster about his property, this is as freaking crazy as an Abbott and Costello routine!

Now, if this were The Horror of Frankenstein and it was in addition to horror a parody, this would be a plus. But this is meant to be an actually addition to the series, not to mention I never saw anywhere it was crafted for comedy. This is pretty damn bad, considering what we’ve had. I think the writer, who as I said nobody can find any information on, didn’t quite understand that these films are really, REALLY gothic and not run-of-the-mill Friday the 13th like films. The dialogue in this film is pretty much nothing to speak of. Lackluster, average dialogue, it’s either boring, hilarious, or in the case of Cushing half-intelligent for the standard we’ve been presented with.

Speaking of Cushing, yes, Peter Cushing reprises his role again! So now he’s tied with Boris Karloff and Glenn Strange for number of consecutive appearances in a Frankenstein film. He does his best, honestly, trying to do something similar to his awesome work in Revenge and Curse, but he’s given such lackluster dialogue that he really can’t elevate it beyond average. Sander Eles plays Frankenstein’s assistant, Hans. Whether it’s Hans Kleve or not I really don’t know. He’s pretty boring, about as boring as the material presented, but sometimes he screams “I’M SCANDIANVIAN !!!!”

Katy Wild plays “The Begger Girl.” She’s def. She’s mute. She has no purpose whatsoever except to help find The Monster frozen, which could have been done easily other ways. And she’s not really so hot that whenever she’s on the screen it matters. I have a strange feeling she didn’t fill all her hours doing a Cave Girls flick and decided to have a useless role in this film. But for what she’s given, she’s not bad. Finally, the soundtrack. This is making to a lot of my later ends of the reviews hasn’t it? Did you understand that sentence? So, anyways, the soundtrack is basically if you took the UMM soundtracks, added some very noticeable classical musical, and then maybe got it a little more intense and you have your formula. Really, it’s like Frankenstein 1970/75/60, it just reminds us of what we’re not watching.

Well that’s all I gotta say about The Evil of Frankenstein. Not much of a good one. The atmosphere is 50/50, the actors are pretty much a negative, the soundtrack is unoriginal and makes us wish we were watching THOSE movies, the dialogue is pretty boring, and there’s too much cheesy comedy that I cannot believe this rushed to be put together crew missed. It’s too bad Terry got in a car accident before he could do anything, or else director Freddie Francis would have just been the cinematographer. I’m going to give it a 2.9/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Next time is Big Time.

The Brides of Dracula (1960)

"My own personal involvement in a film like Brides was always 100 percent, not because I felt it to be my duty but because I felt very strongly that the pictures were mine. No doubt Terr[ence] [Fisher] thought they were his and Jimmy Sangster thought they belonged to him. And Peter C[ushing] knew they were his." — Producer and Writer Anthony Hinds

That showed just how much love was poured into the masterpieces that were the H2Fs. Many people don’t group this movie together with the other Christopher Lee movies because Dracula is not in this movie! It is a sequel to [Horror of] Dracula, but only in story and does not feature The Prince of Darkness. As of now, Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness - of which I think every young AVGN fan got ideas to do Halloween Marathons - is currently doing a Sequel-A-Thon, right now in Christopher Lee’s Hammer Dracula’s and previously UMM’s Frankenstein films.

He did not cover this film. What’s crazier is that working titles were Dracula 2 and Disciples of Dracula. Yeah, that would have made a TON of sense, wouldn’t it fellows? At least this title is accurate. Well, D.O.D. is accurate too but still. And hey, isn’t it interesting that the second Dracula movie in the H2Fs is called Brides and the second Frankenstein movie in the UMMs is called Bride? Well, yet ANOTHER sequel to a movie adapted by a book to be novelized, it’s time for The Brides of Dracula! OMPAACNT: 19563

Remember in [Horror of] Dracula, I said one of the biggest flaws was actually one that most people consider one of the greatest positives? Or, whatever I said about it. Peter Cushing reprises his role as Dr. Van Helsing, and why not he was enjoying success in the H2Fs. In the original of the H2F Dracula, I said Peter Cushing’s presentation was a bit of a let-down due to the fact I feel like I’m watching the exact same performance. Yet, in one of the later films I would review, The Revenge of Frankenstein, I found his performance to have altered, developed, changed, maybe even matured, and of course both performances in both of the Frankie films so far were very good.

Of course I do love Curse more. The point I’m getting at is that I find it quite hilarious that he pulls off a more unique performance in a sequel to his own movie than in an entirely new start to a string of sequels. So Peter took the experience of giving the wrong GODDAMNMOTHERFUCKINGIWILLKILLYOUMCDONALDS Hamburger to the wrong GODDAMNMOTHERFUCKINGIWILLKILLYOUMCDONALDS customer. He actually changes his performance around this time, and for the better. Dr. Van Helsing in this movie is of course for the good of mankind, but he really doesn’t care about anybody.

He’s a vampire hunter, that is his job. He’s not a love driven boy-boat (yay I invent new terms) who’s out to kill the vampire who bits his lover. He’s just out to kill some vamps. And in the process, if he grows an emotional attachment to ANYBODY, and they become a vampire, well then he’s fucked. He’s bitter and rough around the edges, hell rough around everywhere. He’s out to do good, he’s a good person, but he can’t act like a good person. He’s an extremely interesting character who’s inner conflict is just painful, however in a way that helps the movie. Peter Cushing does this perfectly, while reminding us that he is Peter Cushing. He’s like Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies in that sense, but not as exaggerated.

The pacing must be great. Throughout nearly an hour of the hour and a half film, I kept thinking I wanted to write something down but was too enticed to do so. I only paused before then to write about Cushing and then to clean my teeth. Probably the biggest reason for that is the story slowly unfolds itself. More often than not plots are extremely predictable to a point where that actually bogs them down. I mean, seriously, it happens all the time. Either the main character reveals his entire plan which you can tell how it will go down immediately after it is revealed; or it is a remake/adaptation and sticks close to the plot.

This film, the plot doesn’t become 100% clear until the climax, so you are kept wondering what’s gonna happen next. It’s not really a mystery, no clues, no plot twist, but it’s just not blatantly obvious like all bad films and most good films. For that I will again praise Lil’ Jimmy Sangster and his posse. Yeah, that’s what I’m calling them, GET USED TO IT!!!!!!!!! The actual premise goes like this. From the title, you might expect this film to center around The Three Brides appearing in both Bram Stoker’s Novel and the UMM. But remember that the first of the H2F Dracula films had The Count paired with only one Bride?

I guess that means Hammer is against polygamy I dunno. Now, we do have Three Vampires. From there, I think we can safely say the trailer might be more than I would prefer going in. With slight mention of Dracula and with the character Van Helsing being present this is a sequel, but they’re not directly connected to The Count. In fact, only two of our Vampires are women, Greta and Baroness Meinster. They are played by Martita Hunt and Freda Jackson. The third vampire, and lead vampire, is the Baronesses’ son, Baron Meinster (yeah real shocking) played by David Peel.

So the first movie was against polygamy, but this movie is for polygamy, incest and bisexuality? WELL AREN’T WE MR. HYPOCRITE MR. TERRENCE FISHER!??! To be fair, this movie has a lot more creepy and shocking elements to it. They steer farther and farther away from the cheese factory as censors become more and more loose. A little more on that later. Anyways. I honestly don’t know about these vampires. The two ladies are old and saggy, not appropriate for the vampire image. You can tell they are trying but sadly their overacting becomes quite underwhelming amongst Peter Cushing’s awesomeness.

The Baron is pretty good but kind of feels like a teenage version of Dracula. I guess after I Was a Teenage Frankenstein Hammer decided to beat ‘em to the punch. He does a relatively good job but you just can’t beat Da Man Chri$topher Lee! Now, I believe I was talking about the creep factor a little earlier? Yeah, this film is one of the prime examples of gothic atmosphere. Yes, I’m going to say that. Normally, when a hand pops out of a grave in a horror movie, it’s cheesy and stupid. Here, you really don’t see it coming, and when it happens it’s pretty damn great.

You had always wondered what happens when a vampire actually comes out of its coffin from the underground. There’s a lot of this littered everywhere, very much like other Dracula movies but just making improvements here and there to make it even more effective. The film’s dialogue is created with a mix of making sure newcomers and naïve viewers get a sense of what a vampire flick is like, and of course pleasing the hardcore viewers with enough of the mythology. They seem to aim towards a more emotional, sexual and sometimes (though not often) heartbreaking angle than a wordy or intelligent one. I’m totally cool with this, in fact I think for what formula they handed themselves they did it really good.

Frau Lang. Anybody remember Frau Lang? Anybody? PLEASE?!?! Hammer has pleased us again with [Jesus and] another returning obscure but for some reason well remembered character from the UMMs. Let’s just say, she reminds us of Minnie from The Bride of Frankenstein. In this film she is a caretaker of which I’m not going to get into details since I’m sure I’m culturally jaded enough not to understand. She’s pretty much as stupid and annoying as Una O’ Conner but thankfully not as loud or prominent. Aside from Dr. Van Helsing, the person who this film mostly centers around is Yvonne Monlaur as Marianne.

She’s the girl who’s caught up in this mess and is eventually tempted in a certain way to not be revealed by Baron Meinster. Her acting is nothing extremely special but it is satisfactory, as this kind of performance is very common in these films. The real reason why they got her was because of how ohmygodwhatthefuckbarbaquesauce she is one hot chick. In the trailer they call her “the newest sex bunny” or something to that affect. Yeeeaah we’ll just leave it at *fap fap fap fap*

Well, that’s about all I have to say about The Brides of Dracula. Dracula’s a pimp, no question about it. This film isn’t as good as [Horror of] Dracula, but I would say it does make improvements. The pacing is the best in any H2F so far, the chill factor is up on allotted max, and Peter Cushing very much outdoes his original performance. The writing is great, with a not surprisingly but also very much not predictable story arc and some really good dialogue. But the supporting cast feels lackluster to Cushing and the actors of the first H2F Drac flick, and the soundtrack isn’t done by Lil’ Jimmy Bernard. So overall, I’m going to give this movie a 4.3/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Next time, we get blatantly close.

Frankenstein 1970 (1958)

Originally titled “Frankenstein 1960,” however that was changed for not being “futuristic enough.” YEAH, YA THINK?!?! 2 YEARS?!?!?

To be fair, 12 years actually does sound futuristic. Think about the year 2023. Doesn’t that sound at least a little futuristic? Hell, China might OWN the USA by then. Imagine the movie Saw 2023. Wouldn’t that be cool as shit, if they did it right? But a movie called Saw 2013 would be ridiculous. It also has the alternate title Frankenstein 1975. That’s even cooler. Imagine 2028! Saw 2028. Anyways, enough of that jibber jabber. This film was made on a very low budget, and I’ll say right off the bat for money so little they did a damn good job with it. Getting the Man, Boris Karloff…who we will mention later…And some really nice looking sets that are easily reminiscent of the UMM films…which we will mention later…Shows that the production value was easily good. Well, I guess we’ll just dive right in and everything else I would need to cover will be covered. OMPAACNT: 18966

Boris Karloff, in this film, plays the role of Baron Victor von Frankenstein. No, he is not the actual man himself, he is simply a descendent. We’ll get into the plot a little later. You know it’s sentimental time, this is the last film of our marathon which will feature Karloff the Uncanny. He was born William Henry Pratt in 1887, in London. As a child, he lived a rather struggling life, with a lisp and stutter, being a college drop-out and having a dead mother early on in life to be raised by his 8 elder siblings. He eventually conquered his stutter, and as we can see he ended up living a rather successful life, but his lisp was never conquered and this can be seen in his speaking roles.

In 1909 he flew to Canada where he made a very successful stage play career, in 1912 changing his name to Boris Karloff. He chose Boris because it sounded foreign and exotic [Russian] and Karloff because he was under the impression it was a family name. Unfortunately according to his daughter Sara Karloff, this is untrue. He even inspired author Edgar Rice Burrows to include a similarly named character in his novel, which then inspired the novel The Drums of Jeopardy. Karloff has later stated his biggest fear was that he didn’t want to harm his family name, as he saw acting as a rather comical and dishonorable path of work.

During this time while still trying to propel his career to success, he worked as a railroad baggage handler (okay now A&C Meet Frankenstein makes a little more sense) and other hard labor jobs. Due to this he ended up having back problems throughout his career and could not fight in World War I. Having to continue his hard labor due to the sporadic nature of cinema especially then, he continued to do about 80 movies during the silent era. The Masked Rider, The Hope Diamond Mystery and King of the Wild are some very notable choices off of his list. It was The Criminal Code that easily got him the most recognition and probably convinced Lil’ Jimmy Fish he was the perfect person to star in the film Frankenstein.

Ya know, after Lugosi. Immediately he would go on to have great success in the Horror genre, with The Old Dark House, The Mask of Fu Manchu and most notably Imhotep in The Mummy, all just in 1932 along with non-horror film Scarface. He returned to England for the first time since 1909 in 1933, when playing in The Ghoul. He decided to revisit his family, but was still nervous that they would not accept him where he was. Instead he was met with some of the most wide open arms in the history of wide open motherfucking arms. He went on to have tons of success, including teaming with some of the greats as Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Basil Rathbone and directors such as Val Lewton and Lil’ Jimmy Fish.

His later horror films included The Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, House of Frankenstein, The Black Cat, The Raven, The Invisible Ray, The Walking Dead, Tower of London, The Fatal Hour, Doomed to Die, The Invisible Menace, Devil’s Island, The Ape, The Climax, The Boogie Man will Get You, The Body Snatcher, Isle of the Dead, Bedlam, Abbott and Costello Meet The Killer, Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Black Castle…I think it’s safe to say Karloff’s filmography is filled with the word “The.”  Somehow, in this film, Frankenstein 1970, they were able to get him to play the role of Dr. Frankenstein’s grandson.

His last great film was Roger Corman’s The Rave n. He slowly but surely declined to comedic roles and mere voice acting, such as The Grinch. He ended his career with low-budget Mexican Horror films, The Snake People, The Incredible Invasion, The Fear Chamber, and House of Evil. Boris Karloff spent his last days in a cottage in Hampshire, right outside of Bramshott. He was having trouble with arthritis and emphysema, and later went on to contract pneumonia which was the final curtain. R.I.P. William Henry Pratt ‘Boris Karloff’ 23 November 1887 - 2 February 1969.

If you REALLLY want me to talk about his acting after I just gave that sentimental biography, here goes. He’s pretty damn good. Due to budget difficulties, shots were done all at once with no cuts and only one take per. Because of this Karloff really had to pull out all the stops, trying his absolutely frickin’ best to make some really underwritten dialogue some light. I mean, seriously, some of the most flat dialogue is made extremely interesting by his performance. He plays well in tribute to classic doctors, and it just shows how resilient Karloff was to give a good performance even when under these conditions.

The plot of this film basically goes something like this, as BlazeTheMovieFan would say. And apparently BlazeTheMovieFan is a real word, according to Microsoft Word. A film crew, in honor of the 230th anniversary of Frankenstein (no) is making a Frankenstein movie. To assist, they get the great grandson of the original Frankenstein to play a role and lend his castle as a set piece. With that, he uses the money to buy material to make his own monster. A movie within a movie…FILMCEPTION!!! (You know I swear to God the line that everyone keeps making a joke out of wasn’t even spoken in Inception.)

This plot allows for a lot of real and scripted subtitles that relate to how Karloff was as an actor. Honestly, it’s rather a hollywoodized dramatization of how movies are made but what the fuck else would you expect? It’s also really interesting to note, which I can’t decide is a positive or negative, that the scenes that the crew is shooting are far superior then the scenes in this movie. The dialogue is much more interesting, the set pieces are fantastic and rarely but surely surpassing the UMM films. It just makes you wish you were watching whatever movie they were shooting, rather than this film.

The atmosphere is surprisingly fucking awesome. There’s a lot of darkness in the film, of course being tribute to the UMMs, but there are lighter scenes that help set the mood of a swan song for Karloff. The background sets are really something special, I hate to say it but it surpasses a lot of the UMM films. The only one I think I like better as far as scenery is the original Dracula. Well, “original” in a sense. When it’s actually being showcased, it’s usually for in-universe prop. It’s being done for the movie within the movie or in tribute to the original Frankenstein “person.”

(There’s a city in Germany named Frankenstein.)

But what the hell, these count. Some aren’t even in that sense, such as his laboratory. These are magnificent, it’s filled with decaying stone walls, skeletons and angel statues, coffins, cobwebs, and no fucking armadillos or bees. There’s fog outside, thunder clapping in the air, absolutely everything needed for a proper chiller is perfected. The only things that aren’t satisfactory is of course normal rooms, as appropriate, and his laboratory is actually kind of simple and squeezed. Too small, needs more room. And of course I must mention it looks nothing like the future. Looks like the 50’s, maybe even beforehand.

The soundtrack is actually really good. It’s another tribute to the UMM films, and I’m getting kind of tired of that. The only really original soundtrack in the 50’s we’ve seen are in the H2F films, but what are you going to do when this is an obvious tribute? Except here, it’s re-written for very increased intensity, and it is just a ball to listen to. Now, Karloff is a fucking excellent actor. Do we not expect such? However, I must speak of the other actors. This cast included Tom Duggan, Jana Lund, Don Barry, Charlotte Austin, Irwin Berke, and others. There’s just nothing good to say about them.

They’re either stale, boring and effortless performances or they become so cheesy that they are hilarious to watch. Norbert Schiller, who plays Sutter, an actually essential character, is one of the most hilarious actors I’ve ever seen. That’s saying a lot considering I’ve seen “NO!! NOT THE BEES!!! NOT THE BEES AAA!” What the hell, seems like these movies have The Monster coming in later and later. It’s like a cock measuring contest. “Hey, Hammer, I can make my script rely on The Monster even less than you and your English ass!” The Monster in this film doesn’t even appear until 50 minutes into this hour and a half film.

His design is not anything of interest, he spends all the time in his protective cast. There is one thing of interest that could be considered a spoiler. Very close to the end of the film, when The Monster is unbandaged…it’s Karloff…looking over 20 years younger. Well, that was Frankenstein 1970/75/60. It was the swan song to Boris Karloff. It’s really mixed. The fact is that they’re making a great movie inside the movie while the movie we’re watching is a really crappy movie. Now, if that didn’t confuse you, let me try to explain. Boris Karloff is easily the biggest draw, anything he talks around turns to gold.

The sets made for the movie or as decoration are pretty spectacular, but ones that aren’t are pretty lackluster. The best thing about this movie is easily the atmosphere, while the worst part about this movie is easily the actors. It’s an unbalanced film but it’s definitely worth a watch, and for that I’m going to give it 3/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off.

R.I.P. William Henry Pratt ‘Boris Karloff’ 23 November 1887 - 2 February 1969

The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)

I have no clever intro...The sequel to the awesome "The Curse of Frankenstein." (?)

As I stated before, The Curse of Frankenstein, while being incredibly bashed by the critics, was very popular with the people and made more than enough money to validate a sequel. With the very appropriate title, The Revenge of Frankenstein. It was shot back-to-back with Hammer’s Dracula, and used the exact same sets. Kind of like Roger Corman’s two films The Raven and The Terror, except Terrence Fisher, the director of all three previously mentioned Hammer productions, didn’t to The Revenge of Frankenstein in TWO DAYS. There’s not too much more background information, aside from another epic fail novelization…actually TWO….so let’s just get in our OMPAACNT and start up this bad boy. #19022

As a side note, It turns out that the 1931 Frankenstein film had been re-approved by the MPAA for its re-release in 1938. #3809

As I think more and more about The Curse of Frankenstein, as I already suspected but now I realize that it is one of my new favorite films. Even if it isn’t in the highest part of the Movie Ratings Archive. Which, BTW, as a big portion of my yearly clean-up, I’m probably gonna do something about that. While I always appreciate a cliffhanger, as it leaves us talking, a solid ending can be just as awesome. Curse was a full, beginning to end extremely gothic take on the classic story, and I appreciate it all. So therefore, automatically Revenge will take some way to start off the movie that upsets me.

In this film Dr. Frankenstein is assisted by a hunchback to replace his body with a priest during his execution. This man is the one who only made a brief appearance but has become a cult icon from The Bride of Frankenstein, Karl. He has an interesting story which we will get to a little later on. He then moves to Carlsbruck and renames himself “Dr. Stein” to become a wealthy medical doctor. Yeah, it’s a cheap name. But think about it. The last movie we reviewed, Frankenstein’s Daughter, had Frankenstein use the fake name of “Frank.” And in this movie, we get the other 2/3 pieces “Dr. Stein.”

While I still see Curse as a standalone masterpiece, I do commend writer Lil’ Jimmy Sangster for not just flat-out ignoring entries like several Godzilla or UMM Frankenstein sequels did. And if I can insert how I would have done the movie, with respect that I don’t have nearly enough training to make a big budget feature film without a formal film education; I would like to put in my two cents. The idea is that Dr. Frankenstein is killed, retaining the ending of The Curse of Frankenstein. But there’s still a sequel, as Dr. Hans Kleve - who I shall explain later - revives the Doctor using Frankenstein’s own research decades later.

He then goes to threaten Frankenstein to abide by his order, but the Doctor refuses. The Doctor then creates another monster for himself as Hans Kleve creates his own Monster, and the Frankenstein vs. Frankenstein BRAWL IS ON!!!! Who would I cast for The Monsters? Christopher Lee (Dracula) vs. David Prowse (Darth Vader)…Excuse me while I go suggest this to Universal. Director Terrence Fisher has become quite famous in the cult land for his work of the Hammer films. There are other films he did, such as The Gorgon but nothing more acclaimed than his work on the Hammer Frankenstein, Dracula, Mummy, Werewolf, Phantom and Dr. Jekyll films(‘).

While of course he made a masterpiece back with Curse I must give a hand for some excellent directorial choices in this motion picture. The scene that struck me to talk about it was a scene where Dr. [Franken]Stein is being interrogated by an intruder in his house about a killed criminal who was murdered a little time being Victor came to Carlsbruck. In this scene the intruder, named Dr. Hans Kleve, (what the hell is with K beginnings of words anyways?) observes him while the doctor is doing his usual, behind-the-scenes business; silently in the shadows. 

He then continues to interrogate him, knowing Dr. Stein is guilty just by the actions he takes. Franklin, on the other hand, speaks with the interrogation trying to avoid any accusation while going along his normal business as if HK doesn’t even exist. The actors do an immensely good job here and the camera work is on par but this wouldn’t have been nearly as powerful if Terrence wasn’t such a good director, putting the great acting, writing and camera work all together like pieces of a puzzle so flawlessly. This scene is a prime example but Terrence’s prime directing is littered throughout the entire film.

BTW, I would just like to say props for taking a couple shots at Universal during this scene. Stein talks about how the Frankenstein family is large, scattered, known for productivity. He even says there’s a town called Frankenstein in Germany. I looked this up, and that is overtly correct. There are TWO towns in Germany called Frankenstein, as well as a city in Missouri and a city in Poland. But what I really find awesome is the productivity statement. I’m pretty sure it’s a stab at all the crazy ass titles. As of now, we have a Bride, a Son, a Daughter, a Ghost, a House, and a Curse. Even in the context of story according to Universal he has a fiancé, two illegitimate sons, an illegitimate daughter, two grandsons, a daughter in-law, WHAT THE FUCK.

As stated in my previous two Hammer film reviews, I appreciate the dialogue’s tending to become very wordy with scientific discussion. This film is no exception, in fact with the ability to have Dr. Stein to mentor Dr. HK, there is even much more opportunity for Lil’ Jimmy Sangster’s wordy script to take full effect. It’s both a plus for me and a warning to all you “normal” people out there who don’t appreciate its wordy dialogue. Now I would like to talk about the man named Karl. In the film The Bride of Frankenstein, he played Dr. Pretorious’ version of Fritz. However he was only there for a little bit of the film, as the film originally had a scene where Karl was killed by his nephew but that has long since been censored and lost.

With the confusion he has become an icon of the series being an oddity. I hate to bring THIS series up in this marathon but the fan-named …*shudders*”Derpy Hooves” is a good modern example of a similar phenomenon. Now, onto Karl in this film. I think the fact Curse made so much money on its own or something to that effect gave Universal less need to choke Hammer by the throat. So they decide to toy around with popular ideas and characters from Universal’s line of films, however still retaining the focus on the Doctor rather than The Monster. Karl in this movie is played by Oscar Quitak, for half of the film anyhow.

He plays an extremely unique performance that I’m not 100% sure I can fully describe.  He’s written very vague material, all for the actor to interpret into his own vision of the character that will finally arrive on screen. And he does an amazing job with it. The best way I can describe him is an intelligent, brilliant, sophisticated man cursed to a deformed body, severe caution and nervousness, and a light but apparent stammer. It’s definitely one of the more distinct performances in this film. Peter Cushing reprises his role as Dr. Victor [Franken]Stein. If you recall, I adored his performance in the previous film.

Now with that in mind, his character has obviously gone through some changes so naturally his acting and what Lil’ Jimmy Sangster has given him would also change. Peter finds a perfect balance for the role. He’s still the same Victor Frankenstein from the original film, but yes his emotions have changed as now he is much more sympathetic of the human life and less blatant, more under-the-radar, undercover. Appropriate for the role, of course. He’s obviously the best actor in the film and the most fun to watch. Fritz is actually in this movie! He’s not the main hunchback, after all that’s Karl’s role, but the original Frtiz from the first UMM Frankenstein film is here!

He is always going around in a Willy Wonka outfit. In fact, I gotta say, several people in these H2Fs make me think “Willy Wonka’s evil step-cousin.” He is a conspiring non-gentleman, yes he’s on Dr. [Franken]Stein’s side but he really doesn’t care; he’s in it for his side of the bargain and nobody else’s. He’s a nasty person, he’s as if you took Bela Lugosi’s Ygor, an Englishman and an American Schmuck and put them together in a blender. The man who plays him, Lionell Jeffries, plays the role with appropriateness but an eloquent subtleness. I appreciate the effort, very much so, but I think this character would have just been so much cooler without the subtleties.

Certain people are for subtleties in horror films. A character like Fritz, Karl, Ygor or Renfield that is not. But Jeff is still doing a pretty good job. Now, what I’m about to mention is technically a spoiler, as it happens a little over 40 minutes into the film. However, it is mentioned only a little after 20 minutes into the film, and there’s never suspicion that it won’t happen. So read the capital letters encased text at your own risk. *SPOILER ALERT.* Instead of making a dead, decaying body that will be “perceived smart despite appearance” or whatever Victor thought in the first of the Hammer Horror film (which I’m going to call H2Fs), he makes a body that looks good, functions well, and already he will put into it the brain that needs that body the most, Karl.

While of course my idea would blow the roof off the house (any other circle jerkers want to get in this party), this is unexpected and pretty damn good. I realize I made the idiotic mistake of saying Hammer was gothic in scenery. Well, yeah, but also in storytelling, which was one of the things that made Curse one of my favorite films - despite maybe not that rating. This is just one of their examples of why they are called the best in this category, it’s just simple innovative genius. See, Victor, THAT is what you should have been aiming for all this time. It gives new light to The Monster, Victor and Karl, in ways and to degrees you wouldn’t perceive to come out of this film. Well done. As for his acting, he is played by Michael Gwynn, and he is surprisingly eloquent and you feel happy for his new found life, but sad for the mistakes made. *SPOILERS OVER.*

Dr. Hans Kleve is the person I mentioned before, who blackmailed Dr. [Franken]Stein. He then becomes his assistant in return for not reporting him to the police. I’m not sure what to think about him. Francis Matthews, his actor, with the most generic name for an Englishmen I’ve ever hear and that’s saying a lot, seems to be trying to follow in Peter Cushing’s footsteps, and he has all the intelligent and scientific knowledge-esq personality for it but none of the pizzas and uniqueness that only Peter Cushing can recreate. As for his character, he’s basically just filler to keep the plot going but doesn’t fail from being quite interesting.

The background sets are a lot like many other things in this film. They’re very much in the vein of Curse of Frankenstein, dark and mysterious or artificial and supernatural, but not as apparent or effective as in Curse. Maybe one of the reasons this was done was to symbolize that Dr. [Franken]Stein was trying to be more collective and under-the-radar than stressed and obsessive. The soundtrack is very good. It’s unique in that it was able to balance comic book like excitement with classic H2F sounds pretty much perfectly, nothing obtrusive but still enhancing. When it’s not playing, the film does get a little slower, but it definitely pays off when played.

Well, that was The Revenge of Frankenstein. Trying to figure how to wrap this review up is pretty hard. All I could think of “Hot Damn that was awesome, but it wasn’t as good as The Curse of Frankenstein.” The more I think about these two films, the first in the H2F Frankie series, the more I realize I love them as some of my favorite films. This has some fucking awesome directing, okay mix of the actors, a very good but could use easy improvement story, great but not as good background sets, and some extremely good writing. So, with Curse in mind, I’m going to give this movie 4.6/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Next time, another one of the greatest Horror actors presents his swan song…

Frankenstein's Daughter (1958)

Public Domain time! Full movie included.

Essentially, this film is an unofficial sequel to Son of Frankenstein, but still recognizes the rest of the UMM franchise. This film’s plot goes as follows: the Grandson of Victor Frankenstein, named Oliver Frankenstein, decides to have another go at his grandfather’s “grizzly” experiments. Son of Frankenstein is the only predating film to recognize that Dr. Frankenstein had a grandson. Some may say that this is inaccurate since the grandson in that movie was named Peter. I still think it’s an unofficial sequel. In Nosferatu, the unofficial adaptation of Dracula, featured a character named Count Orlok in response to copyright claims by Bram Stoker’s estate.

In the UMM version of Frankenstein, the main character is named Henry and he has a friend named Victor, as opposed to the other way around in the novel. The book was obviously Public Domain by 1958, being it was written in 1818 and anonymously. Although now we know it was Mary Shelly, which was a big deal at the time considering a lack of women’s rights. If I remember correctly she was actually put in jail, but that’s aWHOLEnother story. So if there were more similarities to the book, they could get away with an unofficial sequel.

Even changing names around, such as Oliver and not Peter, would help their case. Not to mention, he’s often referred to as “Frank” for Frankenstein. Whereas in another movie featuring a grandson, his name is Frederick Frankenstein. Now that you’ve heard my interpretation on one small little detail, let’s change the topic shall we? Marc Frederick only did 6 films in his lifespan, 1 of which being this movie. They were all produced by him, and his first four were a deal with Astor Pictures to produce 4 Drive-In films. This was the 3rd of them, and also included Missile to the Moon, She Demons and Giant from the Unknown.

This deal was also signed with Richard E. Chuna, who has 20 titles to his name as Cinematographer, Director, Writer and Interviewed. He is still most famous for the 4 cult drive-in films. Anyways, now it’s time for my little piece of the history. I first started getting into Monster Movies when I was 8. Before then cinema wasn’t really my thing, video games were my passion for 2 years. Before then I have no idea what I wanted in life, probably because I was I dunno Born-5. Seems very early. Anyways, I didn’t start off with my horizon big. The movies I remember getting readily into at the time were pretty much limited to a movie featuring Godzilla, Frankenstein and Yonggary.

Let’s just say I’ve expanded my horizon since then. I’ve had the DVD of Frankenstein’s Daughter since I was at that early movie loving age. Now let me tell you something else about me. I have procrastination problems. Really, really bad procrastination problems. It’s gotten way better over time. My missing assignments list is tiny compared to what it used to be. But my crazy procrastination is probably what led to the 8.1 Monster Movie Marathon to last way longer than it should have. And you know what else? 7 years. Close to half of my lifespan. Once it comes to November, I’ll have been 8 eight years ago.

That means it will soon be half my lifespan. And I still have not sat down to watch this movie until Saturday, October 8th, 2011. Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages, whether it’s good or a piece of crap, it’s time to see what I’ve missed all this time in Frankenstein’s Daughter! And before we forget, Happy Yom Kippur and OMPAACNT: 19097. I know this is more appropriate for a DVD Review, but since this problem is available in every form in existence, you will be exposed to it in some way everytime watching this movie. The best available DVD is the Goodtimes release of 2005, as seen above this is the one I posses.

Most others are either Archive streams or the Layton Films release in the year 2000. The problem I have is the audio. It. Is. ATROCIOUS. It sounds like your ears are half stuffed with water, or wind was blowing against the camera even IN DOORS. You turn your TV up to the most bearable volume, have the internal volume control in your DVD Player on max, whatever. The audio is a chore to listen to. Now this is understandable, a film of this low caliber will not have effort into preservation, and these are rather older releases, done by cheap ass studios. But I’m just warning yal, you watch this movie it WILL be transferred with a crappy, beat up print.

The picture quality isn’t even that bad, considering its 1958 print by cheap ass companies it’s really nice. But the audio is unbearable. Donald Murphey plays the role of Oliver Frankenstein, or Frank. I am not 100% sure I know what to say about him. His character changes a lot during the movie, all naturally and not jarring like other characters in this movie. He starts out as trying to be an undercover Frankenstein, trying to hide his experiments as much as possible. He then becomes a blatant, unsympathetic murder who cares less about the human life than any other incarnations of Dr. Frankenstein before.

He doesn’t even care about giving his victims the gift of bliss in their last moments. One of the most disturbing exchanges happens between Oliver and Morton, who we’ll discuss a little later. Morton comes to say that he’s fed up with Oliver and alludes to the idea he might report him to the feds. Oliver replies with “So have I. So I’ll tell you what I’m going to do.” A little silence passes, then Morton asks “What?” Calmly, Oliver says “I’m going to kill you.” The best part is that they were able to pull off this fucking son of a bitch while making him still smart, and that makes a fucking awesome antagonist.

He’s also a lot like Basil Rathbone playing Wolf Frankenstein, he still thinks that the Frankensteins (plural, referring to Ludwig, Wolf and Henry, proving a connection to the UMMs) were amazing scientists, and can never accept the idea that they were murderers whether intentional or not. But unlike most other characters like this, he’s still willing to be a terrible human being to do so. The only problem is Donald Murphey does a really crappy execution as an actor, but it’s easily looked past. The soundtrack is a mixed bag. The soundtrack itself is generic and overdone, too much of same old same old.

But it doesn’t play that often, and when it’s not playing it’s reminiscent of Dracula and Frankenstein in that they had no soundtrack, and that led to a creepier atmosphere of subtle insanity. Unfortunately that last part isn’t available here. Yeah, there’s a good amount of movie that’s darkly lit, but only for the purpose of it being nighttime. There effort into the atmosphere was amateurish. One of Doctah Olivah Monstah Makah’s experiments is with “his girl.” Trudy Morton. Quickly, let’s critique her performance by Sandra Knight. There’s really not much to talk about.

She jarringly goes back and forth between someone to take affirmative action for her well being or the classic helpless damsel, and it’s not as if she develops or anything she just doesn’t know who to play. Anyways. He transformers her by giving her a chemical of some sort they never fucking explain or even hint to and tries to pass it off as poorly made fruit punch. And somehow this has her transformed into his Monster. Is there a Poison Kool-Aid Joke in here somewhere? Anyways, her design is surprisingly grotesque. There’s no real REASON why she would look like this, or hell even why Oliver okay you know what fuck it.

If Oliver is in this for fucking science, to harness the power of life and death, why the FUCK would he do THIS!?! This is just harnessing the power of transformation and it is barely explained so what good it does to science I have no fucking clue. Is he just a mad Monster maker?  That makes no fucking psychological sense, WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO REPEAT MISTAKES FOR THE SAKE OF MAKING A MISTAKE?!?!? WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO SEND A MONSTER OUT THERE?!?! Is it to be his slave? Well then fucking get a different body! Ya know, one that could more easily kill people!!!!! BLALASHDGPOAHDGIAPE!!!!....

Anyways, in her first scene the monster goes through transformations that already start off WAY more horrifying than I expected, as if Hammer did Thomas Edison’s Monster or something to that effect. Then she goes through more and more and let me just tell you some of this shit is REALLY fucking creepy. I mean, keep the kids AWAY. This whole plot element, and the cheesy babble about a disgusting monster in a bathing suit, doesn’t even matter anyways because Oliver just decides to be blunt and *SPOILERS* hit her with a car. He then proceeds to implant her brain in a male Monster…which makes very little sense but I’m down.

This new Monster, which is the real Monster, played by Harry Wilson, is also pretty grotesque. This time it makes sense what he looks like, and it’s really cool. It’s as if you took the monster from The Curse of Frankenstein and Two-Face from Batman comics, then put them together. Fascinating design choice truly. Felix Locher plays Professor Carl Morton. He is the Paul from The Curse of Frankenstein for this movie, however unknowingly. It’s a very interesting idea to have Oliver trick a man to help him, but his actor is rather unpleasant. I don’t know what he’s trying to do, it’s like taking the stereotypes of several European countries, Jews and Old Men into one. It’s definitely the weakest performance of the film.

There is a role playing the classic Hunchback Assistant, but unfortunately I never was able to catch his name. He’s not a Hunchback…which makes very little sense. He even says he was a former worker of Oliver’s father, which means he is most definitely Ygor. Henry had two sons, and Oliver is the grandson. Which means that even if he’s to Ludwig and not Wolf, which I expect Wolf, then his father was helped by Ygor. So basically, we get the role of Ygor. And it’s actually fitting to the character. Ygor was a dirty scoundrel who always disobeyed the law, but acted in such a way that he wasn’t seen as blatantly evil.

Kind of a clever little bastard that you know is guilty but he’s smart so you can’t prove it. The exact same character  here, only not nearly as fascinating. He’s much more jarring between faking niceness and being an evil piece of shit. What you’re probably wondering is how did the broken neck and hunchback go away, and why is he never named? Simple. Even though they were following the chronology, Astor Pictures didn’t want to get in a lawsuit with Universal. This film is horribly paced. It feels extremely long and stretched out, mostly because a lot of it is filler.

As of the finished product the film runs at an hour and 24 minutes, but the first 44 minutes could have been condensed into 10-15 with minimal loss of entertainment gained from that first 44 minutes. It could potentially run at 52 minutes and 30 seconds, and then it would have really flown fast. There are a few characters in this movie that just make me disgusted at how generic and crappy they are. Usual 50’s “boys.” Overtly kind but both socially adept and awkward at the exact same time. There’s nothing interesting about them and when they start talking I just get agitated.

Well, that was Frankenstein’s Daughter. It’s been such a long time of expecting a shitty movie,  maybe that’s why it actually came out…not half bad? As for negatives, there ARE NO good actors, it has crappy pacing, no attention to atmosphere, and an amateurish soundtrack assortment. Most characters are cardboard cutout 50’s beach movie shits, and that really becomes apparent during a song and dance scene that could easily be skipped over. But as for The Monsters’ make-up, and Oliver Frankenstein’s character, that reigns superb. The man we assume to be Ygor is alright, nothing too amazing.

I can’t decide what to say about this movie. And I’ll tell you why. In “nostalgia fiction,” (The Outsiders, IT) Crime Fighters, Cowboys, Wrestlers, they were all seen as “heroes” and not just entertainers to those who are still innocent. I think I can safely admit to myself that The Universal Monsters are my “heroes.” I never got into Cowboys or Crime Fighters, now everyone sees Wrestlers for the real life travesties they can be, and even the Godzilla monsters don’t feel very human to me. The Wolf Man, Dr. Frankenstein, The Monster, Dracula, The Mummy, THESE are my heroes. But aside from tributes, there’s nothing of the same type coming out.

No “next Universal Monster Movie.” No next chapter in the Frankenstein saga. Tributes, rip-offs, remakes, nothing special. But I feel as if the writer of this movie, yeah he was hired to make a drive-in crap, but I feel as if he wanted to make that next chapter. That next piece of the story. Keep it going. And for that I now have an emotional attachment to this film and commend the writer for trying so damn hard. I’ll give it a legitimate rating, but keep in mind that I have a stronger personal attachment. 3.5/5.

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Next time, we take a boat ride back to England in search of a film with a similar title to the next WWE PPV.

[Horror of] Dracula (1958)

"Sleep well, Mr. Harker..." - Dracula

Okay, yes, they WERE using Technicolor. There’s not much useful information. But there is one thing that concerns me. When originally release, this film got an X-Rating in England even with certain scenes removed. While in 2007, the film was re-released uncut and got a 12A Rating. I know I’m watching the real version, being the DVD I’m watching it on was released in 2009. However, the odd thing is that people are actually pissed off that this change was made. Honestly, it’s not that big of an issue. Yeah, maybe 15 would have been a better rating, but alls well that ends well is that not so good gentlemen? Let’s dive right in after our OMPAACNT: 18981

Some aspects of the original novel are retained that weren’t in Nosferatu or the UMM Dracula. But there are way too many changes. I bet you would assume these tid-bits to be common knowledge, but let’s just get some SPOILERS I have to mention right off the bat. First off, Jonathon Harker is a librarian and vampire killer. Van Helsing wasn’t actually too much of a stretch, being he DOES actually kill vampires in the UMM films which the movie Van Helsing was a tribute to. Harker?!?!? Are we trolling here? The count only has one Bride, decimating his pimp statues, and she hates it there as opposed to the 3 Brides of the past who found the lure of the darkness and death irresistible.

Apparently the Count now lives in Germany, and is so close to a residential area that he is in no need to move to Carfax Abbey, or go on the iconic flooded boat. In fact, RENFIELD, MY FAVORITE CHARACTER FROM THE UMM VERSION, IS OMITTED! Not to mention, Quincy Morris is also omitted. *SPOILERS OVER.* Christopher Lee, as many of you know, plays Dracula in this film. Ladies. And Gentlemen. Children. Of All Ages. Friends. And Neighbors. Dude smoking Marijuana. In Background. Christopher Lee. Has performed. In TWO-HUNDRED SEVENTY-FOUR ROLES. He holds the RECORD for most performances in all of history!

He played in a 1948 adaptation of Hamlet, Hammer Dracula Movies, Hammer Frankenstein Movies, Hammer Mummy Movies, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, Sherlock Holmes films, Fu Machu films, The Gorgon, The Wicker Man, Three Musketeers films, Return from Witch Mountain, The Last Unicorn, Germlins 2,  Lord of the Rings, Star Wars Episode II, Star Wars Episode III, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a disappointing role in Alice in Wonderland, Season of the Witch, the upcoming Martin Scorsese film Hugo and The Hobbit films. What the fuck.

Those are just highlights of his film career, let alone all the Mini-Series, TV Series, Books, Musical Albums and Video Games he has done. What the fuck. Do I…do I even need to critique him after all this? I mean, THAT is what you call a dedicated actor. Well, because this is a review here’s what I think of his performance. The first thing I guess I should say is that his facial expressions are fucking awesome. When he’s calm, he looks calm. I mean, HE REALLY LOOKS CALM. When he’s not calm, typically with the rush of blood on his face, yeeeeaaah he goes bat shit insane. Pun intended.

He looks like he’s going to explode and set the entire country of Germany on fire in 3 seconds. And when it lasts for more than 3 seconds, it’s almost as if your brain is going insane. That stare makes your brain mad with the chaos of insanity, it turns the horrible aspects of life loose upon your conscience. All by just acting like a rabid dog. And whenever he’s calm or insane,  you can always tell he’s plotting something evil and complex behind his face and in his mind. Unfortunately, Lee’s role in the film is extremely limited. We don’t get to see him except for the scenes with Jonathon Harker and the Climax. Since he does star in other Hammer films, I find it best justice suited to critique his other acting skills in other Hammer films.

So yes, that means that the story again strays from the UMM version. Instead of focusing on Dracula, this film focuses on Van Helsing and his interactions with Jonathon Harker’s former friends and family. Okay, yes it’s distinctive, but honestly it’s trying too hard to be different. Having Dr. Frankenstein be the focus of Curse was a good idea because The Creature doesn’t talk. Yeah, his actions and facial expressions do a lot but when you have a man with a full and advanced vocabulary be the main focus that can be an improvement. Dracula is easily the most fascinating character of the franchise, aside from Renfield who isn’t even present. So to steer the focus away from Dracula is kind of a letdown and makes the film go slower. It’s not boring to any degree, but yeah I do wish I was watching Lee as Dracula and not Cushing as Helsing. Whatever, it’s still cool.

Peter Cushing returns. So that means….HE’S ALIVE!!!! ALIIIIVEE!!!!!! Peter Cushing returns to a Hammer Horror film to play as Van Helsing. I know they’re both doctors, but I don’t think Dr. Victor Frankenstein = Dr. Van Helsing much. Unfortunately Cushing and the good folks at Hammer Studios didn’t see it that way and had Peter Cushing play THE EXACT same role he did in The Curse of Frankenstein! Yeah, needless to say that’s a bit of a letdown. There is one difference, and that Peter is calmer due to the fact that A. The situation requests him to be calmer B. He’s playing a much more sane character and C. Most people have a mental state in his favor. But that doesn’t change much. You’re not seeing “Peter Cushing play Van Helsing”, you’re seeing “Peter Cushing, that dude who played Frankenstein, play Van Helsing.”

The soundtrack is pretty cool. Distinctive, - how many times I will use that word in reviews of the Hammer films I do not know -, pretty cool to listen to on its own, but yet not enhancing the mood of any scenes very well. The only emotion it enhances, which is a big one, is the feeling of insanity. Like Christopher Lee’s stare, when exposure lasts for only a few seconds, then it can be quite comedic. But when it lasts longer, when it invaders your mind, it drives the insanity and chaos meter up in a very subtle but effective way. Or is it affective way? Either way, it’s the way, NO WAAAY. Some people complain that it's way too repetative, and some pieces are straight stolen, but I can excuse this as it is still effective. Or is it affe-*gets slapped in ze face.*

Like Curse of Frankenstein before the dialogue satisfies my need for wordy, intelligent, precise speaking of the plot elements presented in our cinematic creation. Of course the average Joe-Blow might not appreciate that as much, but I surely do. In addition to the similarities between this and Curse of Frankenstein before, this movie knows how to be hardcore. I’m telling you, MORE deaths doesn’t mean the movie is scary. I appreciate every era of horror for what it is but when it comes to murdering films from the late 70’s and upward have really been lacking.

Hammer knew what to do, keep the deaths few and to characters that have already fulfilled enough of their role and matter. Thus, with your emotional attachment due to the character development is lost, it actually gets you emotional to varying degrees anywhosen about their demise. I’m telling ya man, I may have seen it coming but that ending to Curse of Frankenstein just hit me hard. Speaking of “hardcore,” I mentioned earlier that Curse of Frankenstein assisted in making Blood a staple of horror films. However when you watch it today, with either late 50’s or 2011 standards, the blood is overtly tame.

It was like a gateway drug.This film, you know, being DRACULA and all, has a lot more blood. It’s not a gore fest by any stretch of the imagination, and if you’re going in for a bloody time you’ll probably be disappointed. However for those expecting atmosphere and plot the blood is a nice surprise. Society is eternally and officially psychotic. The gothic scenery is right on. We lack the epic epic of epicness that was Frankenstein’s Laboratory, however we still keep the scenery briefly featured in the Family Tomb. Aside from scenes in any normal house, I have two comments.

A. Why is Dracula’s Castle so fucking fancy? That’s not really how it’s supposed to be done. Hell, he keeps a Globe in his library. NO. My main comment is a positive one, and that is the gothic scenes presented. Rotting leaves, fog, spiders webs, all reminiscent of the UMMs yet very distinctive. It gives you quite the ominous feeling, and provides a visual representation of the emotions associated of being a living dead. ...dead...you know, the ending to Curse of Frankenstein was shocking enough. But now I’m not entirely sure I’m gonna sleep tonight.  The way Dracula is finally defeated…well, I’m just going to say it’s pretty hardcore. None of Jason’s faces can compete with this shit.

That's Hammer's version of Bram Stoker's Dracula for ya. In terms of plot, Gothic scenery, soundtrack, pacing,  acting, basically everything; Horror of Dracula is very satisfactory but cannot compete against the awesomeness that was The Curse of Frankenstein. I'd obviously recommend it, but not as much as Curse of Frankenstein. I give it a 4.6/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off.

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

The first Hammer Horror film of all time.

DISCALIMER: Though I have it down on my homepage now, I should talk about it in an actual review so I don’t get in any sort of trouble. I am a huge fan of Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness, and to lesser degrees his AVGN and other movie review work. So I have repeated many things he has said in those videos, especially in the Drankenstein Manathon. However they always represent actual events or honest statements so there’s no need to insult me based on that.

Well, after Horror of Dracula World War II was officially over. 10,000,000 people were killed in the holocaust alone (those pertaining to Jews, Homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Gypsies). Many, many people had died trying to defend or conquer that empire, the Hydrogen and Atomic bombs were revealed upon the planet; damn I’m not even counting the people who died for countries outside of  the USA and Germany. This is the prime example of why we watch Horror films, because we’re entertained by being scared. Being depressed, true sorrow, empathy for those dead, that’s the real horror film.

Real life is the real horror film. But because of such large exposure to one of the greatest travesties in human existence if not the greatest, the UMM and UMM-style features were no longer as effective as they used to be. Not necessarily since they weren’t scary, hell they’re still scary today to a certain degree. They reek of death, darkness and cold, unforgiving air, with some of the greatest actors in the history of cinema. No, the problem is that they weren’t targeting what people were afraid of.  The supernatural fears of vampires and werewolves, they were things of the past.

Yeah, Frankenstein was a modern concept you could say, but that had been exhausted to death. So new films of madmen created creatures, giant animals mutated by nuclear explosions, space exploration and alien invasions were created; which all struck a chord in WWII. Hitler was very insane “mad,” nuclear monsters due to the A&H-Bombs, and of course the fear of foreign terrorists that still hasn’t really gone away. But a lot of these were relying on just that, being very tongue in cheek, not really trying to make genuinely good or even scary films. We had our exceptions, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Foreign Planet, Gojira, and of course the William Castle flicks.

The majority of it was cheesy blockbusters, maybe reigning familiar of our horror industry. So Hammer, a British studio (don’t the Europeans always do good with movies) decided to re-associated the term “horrifying” with “horror films.” Hammer obviously wanted to distribute their films to America, so they tried to get on Universal’s good side and re-vamp and re-interest the Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy and Phantom of the Opera franchises; as well as doing a spin-off of Captive Wild Women with Cave Girls. Oddly enough Universal, being short sighted, actually didn’t appreciate this and considered them plagiarisms, and did everything they could to make sure they were their own unique franchises based off the original source material.

They ended up getting more love from Warner Bros. Meanwhile, in Britain, since they actually had ratings back then ,this film actually received an X-Rating. Yeah, you don’t see any NC-17 Horror films today, maybe showing how the industry has weakened over the years at least in ‘Merica. Wonder if this has anything to do with the ban of Horror they had in 1935. Hammer’s first experiment was doing a re-imagining of the classic Frankenstein story, and that’s what we’re here to discuss today. OMPAACNT: 18481

One way that the Hammer films revert back to the novels and not Universal’s classic films is that Dr. Frankenstein’s first name is now Victor again. He also appears to be a Baron, which I can’t remember being from the novel but my memory has never been perfect. The Baron appears in two forms, as a very young and effeminate looking college student and as the old man fascinated with how life works and how God was able to make the world flourish. Melvyn Hayes plays the role of Younger Victor. He was born in 1935 and has a sizable but frankly non-noteworthy filmography.

He also played in a TV Mini-Series Adaptation of Oliver Twist, a short film adaptation of A Christmas Carol, in the Santa Claus movie and a TV Series called Little Dracula. He is still active today, and by my guess he didn’t star in enough successful material to retire even at an age of 76. Oddly enough he actually pulls a decent job as Younger Frankenstein in this film. Yes, as Young Frankenstein, but only in the most technical of senses. We’ll get to that movie eventually, don’t worry. Many characters in fiction, such as Harry Potter and Jesus Christ, play the role of the perfect person with no faults whatsoever and are intended to save the world.

I never liked these types of characters. I agree with Doug Walker, I don’t care if it’s Dumbledore, Snape, Drako, Hermoine, Ron or whoever, if it was about any of the other characters HP would have been a better series. Young Victor is definitely an overtly good person, but for a couple reasons he works in a way those character’s don’t. First off, being that this is a Horror film centering around him, you know he’s going to grow up to be an accidental murder, and not a savior such as HP or JC. This makes his character more varied and the fact his personality changes over time really helps the film.

There’s also never any instance of telling us that he is nice. Scars on his forehead meant to symbolize, Kings walking through the deserts to see him. It’s not like everybody already knows, we find this out through him doing good deeds and being a genuinely good person out of sheer respect for other souls. That’s a sign of good writing. Who wrote this anyways…LIL’ JIMMY!!! LIL’ JIMMY, THA PART OF THA CONSPIRACY!??! It’s not even our favorite, Lil’ Jimmy Fish. It’s Lil’ Jimmy Sangster. James Whale had a very unfortunate death 27 days after this film had been released. R.I.P. James Whale 22 July 1889-29 May 1957. Everyone’s gonna die eventually, I guess.

However, the actor that everybody remembers from these movies for playing as Dr. Frankenstein is Peter Cushing himself. He is most well noted for playing Grand Moff Tarkin in the original Star Wars Trilogy. Colin Clive, the man who played Dr. Henry Frankenstein, had a very unfortunate lifespan of 37 years due to chronic alcoholism. 20 years after Colin’s death Peter Cushing puts on a stunning performance. The resemblance between him and Clive is shocking, however unlike Clive he never gets crazy, lunatic like or exaggerating, which gives Cushing his own distinctive but very respectful image as Dr. Victor Frankenstein.

No, really, I swear to God, this guy has Colin Clive in his veins! Now it’s time to talk about how the Doctor is written. This is one of the things that defined the Hammer Horror franchise. While the UMM films pay more attention to The Monster’s sympathetic tragedy, the Hammer films pay more of the plot to Dr. Frankenstein’s experiments. Reviving the dead to life, toying with God, not seeing them as horrors like everyone else but rather as purely scientific advances. Not toying with nature rather enhancing mankind. He’s also kind of a cruel gent. In the UMMs or even in the 1910 version or the novel, Dr. Frankenstein was a genuinely good person yet raged with scientific insanity.

Here, he’s pretty much a douchebag. “I’m going to do whatever the fuck I want and nobody is going to stop me” kind of person. He has a slight resemblance to Dr. House in that he only sees few people as good, that he cares about, but proving himself right is his first priority. He even goes so far as to kill a man simply to use his brain for The Creature, and that is actually a very famous scene as the floor of which the man falls shakes. I’d personally say he’s an awesome character, much more edgy and heel-like than Colin Clive’s character, but that’s nothing against CC.

I do positively love language. I see it as the key to knowledge, and knowledge is something that I cannot get over. There are more important things in life, blah blah blah I love knowing. And for those guys who made an unintentional pun out of that, yes I did like Knowing a lot when I saw it  in the theaters but I haven’t seen it since. So naturally older novels and scientific discussions in film are right up my alley. Since the film was supposed to feel more like the novel, they slammed the Thesaurus down on the desk when Lil’ Jimmy Sangster started writing his script. Naturally, it is an extremely wordy film.

The dialogue in here fascinates me, but it might not be everybody’s cup of tea and for those who don’t have crazy ass vocabularies like I do especially considering my age the talk might be a little dry at times. Something else Hammer Studios is known for is the gothic, iconic atmosphere. Along with War of the Worlds and Rodan, these films were some of the most important horror films in pioneering color in the 50’s. I don’t know if it’s Technicolor or not, but it doesn’t look like fake color. I am watching on the Warner Bros. DVD release from 2002, so I expect the transfer to not be as good as other DVD transfers.

They allowed for scenery and blood to be fully exposed to the audience. Since the explanation of the Monster’s resurrection in the novel is extremely vague, Hammer found it within their rights to portray their labs in a similar fashion to Universal. It’s very scientific, as many have interpreted the novel to show a mysterious, black magic sort of occurrence. While Universal’s version had electricity take care of the work, this set-up has more of a potion, chemicals and test tube feel to it. It’s less chaotic and while I won’t be telling off the original set pieces, this actually works in its favor.

The cold atmosphere while the juices of life bubbling let in the air of death and horror to fill the ears which hear very little. It’s a very transcendent experience and it has a very unique flavor while paying homage to the UMMs. The scene where The Monster is coming to life is so fucking creepy it’s unbelievable. The rain is going on in the background, chemicals are mixing together, electricity is subtley flowing through the atmosphere, very natural and very artificial sounds, it is actually pretty frightening. I mean, I was kind of left paranoid just due to the atmosphere alone! God, I see why people love these movies so much.

Not to mention, there is so much to look at in the background. I’m sorry, I just love his labs. These and regular rooms with nothing much to talk about are most of what makes up the scenery in this specific film. When there is stuff that is enhanced for the creep factor, it’s quite effective and distinctive. A scene inside a family grave, which was key in The Bride of Frankenstein, is as creepy as an UMM scene but in its own right. The UMMs made their creepiness out of fog and cobwebs, just for an example, along with very good dark lighting that reeked of death. This film takes it’s creep factor out of extremely old scenery, eroding stones, rotting life forms and dark yet relatively lively lighting enhance the gothic atmosphere of this film.

Did I mention blood earlier? Yes, yes I did. Well, the blood is conservative. Often times it is medical, and the few times it is used to be gross, it is very affective to me at least considering none of the previous films we’ve watched had a single drop of it. Hazel Court, who has unfortunately died 3 years in the past, plays Elizabeth. You know, Elizabeth, the one Dr. Frankenstein is engaged to? Hazel’s only other very noticeable film was Roger Corman’s The Raven, The Premature Burial and The Masque of Red Death, which Roger Corman’s Poe films also helped turn the Horror industry serious again.

She also had a cameo in the third Omen film. She is the most flat, lazily written cardboard cutout female role in a film thus far in our journey through Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man. That really is saying something. There is absolutely nothing special about her, she’s an energetic as a robot trying to impersonate a stereotypical 30’s actress, and her dialogue has absolutely no interest whatsoever. But there’s one thing that sparked my interest as far as her role. In this film, in addition to being Frankenstein’s fiancé, she is also his…cousin. Ummm….I umm…well, ya know the umm….the….the…

I know that this was a bit common in very royal families around the 1500’s, but the Frankenstein family isn’t exactly made of Kings and it is told in the early 1800’s. Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of all Ages, Friends and Neighbors, and that guy smoking Marijuana in the background, Dr. Frankenstein is OFFICIALLY marrying his cousin. Incest. Relationship. Not only that, but he is CHEATING on her with another girl who I believe is named Justine. End Transmission. Roger Urquhart plays the role of Dr. Paul Krempe. His role was important but not very often in the novel and forgettable in the UMM film if it weren’t for Edward Van Sloan playing the role.

Also keeping Edison’s version in mind which literally didn’t feature him at all, this is easily the most predominant his character has been in any version of Frankenstein told. His character is really interesting. He was the one man who from Dr. Frankenstein’s teenage years helped him in his experiments at creating a living, breathing human. Yet in the main bulk of the film he turns out to be the most perceptive towards the evil that Frankenstein is mustering, and thus his emotions vary and swerve at drastic rates but not jarring, just the right amount to be very interesting.

Roger plays his role in an Edward Van Sloan fashion however like Peter Cushing keeping his role distinctive, making sure he stood out on his own. The basic way to describe him is that he is EVS with small splashes of Rubeus Hagrid mixed in, with emotions very varying and turned up a good amount of degrees. The cinematography is great. They never shoot from normal angles at normal sets. There’s always something that makes the camera a character. For instance, when Victor goes to purchase some eyes for the monster, the camera is not positioned between the merchant and Frankenstein’s faces; rather it is positioned at the coffin only recording the two gents to where their chests end.

This in itself makes the film a very artistic piece and helps define what Hammer Horror is. As I said, The Monster is not the focus at all. He does not even show up until 50 minutes into the film, with the movie being an hour and 23 minutes. Since the only illustrations of The Monster were from 1910 and 1931, and Universal didn’t want Hammer to rip them off, they made an entirely new make-up design for The Creature. He is played by Christopher Lee whatthefuckwhydidn’tanybodytellme? Christopher Lee is one of the most important pieces in our marathon, but we’ll get to that a little later.

The basic way to describe the make-up is if the original Boris Karloff was more gruesome and mixed with a dude from a Godzilla movie. I don’t want to say “Asian Person” just out of knowing they probably don’t all look like that. Does every white person look like George W. Bush? It’s distinctive but if you ask me ineffective, the make-up that is. It’s gruesome but it just comes off rather cheesy and a bit plastic like. As for Lee’s performance, it’s pretty damn good but the problem is he tries too much to be like Karloff, and that is just way too fucking high of a standard to live up to.

Speaking of which, how is our old buddy Boris since A&CMF? Well, it turns out he actually did meet the comedians, in Abbott & Costello Meet The Killer, Boris Karloff. Not only then, but also played Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde in Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Man, he got a roster. He was also in The Strange Door, The Black Castle, and a film called ugh…The Hindu? In this film, the Blind Hermit featured in Bride of Frankenstein and the original novel Frankenstein makes an appearance. However instead of looking for acceptance, The Monster just kills him. That really isn’t a spoiler, it’s as shallow as it sounds. I’m sorry guys, that’s just weak and stupid.

Lil’ Jimmy Bernard did the score for this film and many afterwards for Hammer Horror Studios. The film is mostly quite, much like the UMM Frankenstein, however it doesn’t work as much in its favor due to color giving it a much more lifelike appearance. The scenes where there IS music however show quite an impressive score. Like 2/3rds of everything in this movie, it is much in tribute to the UMMs however carries its own distinct taste. It’s really good. It helps with the emotions meant to be taken with the scenes to extraordinary degrees, and when it needs to it will get really frightening. To be fair, it’s the best soundtrack we’ve heard in our marathon.

The last thing I wish to mention is death. Yes, death. In many horror films today, we see murders or deaths or assumed fatal endings for a character happen every 10-20 minutes! There are only a few deaths in this movie, but it works especially because the emotional attachment you have to that character leading up to his/her death is extremely effective. Let me just say that the ending really left me stunned. Well, that’s the first Hammer Horror film “The Curse of Frankenstein.” Boy, a lot of these movies have possessive titles, don’t they? That’s another day. I fully see why people love these movies.

The great cinematography, iconic soundtrack and intensely frightening atmosphere amongst risky plot choices make this a great foundation for Hammer Horror. The UMMs were highly famous, but similar films in the same era such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or The Cat People are not referred to as “Universal Horror Films.” These films were so innovative in the horror genre that an entire brand of gothic horror was named “Hammer Horror.” The film oddly enough receive some of the worst reviews for a movie I’ve ever heard of, such as “depressing to watch for anybody who loves cinema.”

That sickens me, it really does. Some critics have no idea how to tolerate a different genre, and it’s often the same case with the normal person. Fortunately it was extremely popular with the public, earning enough to give Hammer incentive to create a franchise out of Frankenstein, Dracula, etc. We’ll see where that goes another day. 4.9/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (and Dracula) (and The Wolf Man) (and The Mummy) (and The Invisible Man) (and two really hot chicks) (1948)

The Swan Song for these three? Aw, C’mon. That would be the day. Did you not see what happened at the end of House of Dracula?

And just so you know, this IS gonna be a positive review. Originally entitled “The Brain of Frankenstein,” but changed for monetary value, this film is the final movie by Universal Studios to feature the Monsters; however it is kept  very well outside of the loop due to being a helluva lot less series even in comparison to films like Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man and House of Dracula. It also happened to be one of the first movies I reviewed, and to this day I see it as probably the best review I did in my Spring 2010 section. Can you guys tell me of a better one?

Please. Besides the Brain of Frankenstein story, there’s not a ton in the way of fascinating movie buff background, but there are some pretty funny stories. Another innovation in this marathon we will observe is something that could have lead to the use of laugh tracks later on in film. Because filming is obviously tiring, Universal hired two other comedians to make the actors feel a little more energized for comedy. It probably didn’t help that Costello hated the script, saying that his 5 year old daughter could whip up something better. Apparently Strange didn’t find this script as bad, because Glenn would just completely crack up at Lou and have to do several retakes. It was insane.

This is especially prominent when Lou sits on the Monster’s lap. I guess his insane laughter and bumbling motions worked against him, because he accidentally tripped one of the cameras and broke his foot. He had to have Chaney take his role for a few days. As if this isn’t enough for good stories, there were also plenty of pie fights between takes. However no pies were thrown at 65 year old Bela Lugosi, 42 year old Lon Chaney Jr. and 49 year old Glenn Strange. Originally Karloff was approached for the Monster, at least some sort of role, but Karloff considered it an insult to Horror.

I can understand, and I bet Lugosi would have felt the same way if it weren’t for his now warped mind. Boris did do a lot of advertising, but never even saw the movie. The last thing I guess I should mention is that Australia has always been really insane as far as censorship goes, not just with Mortal Kombat 9. When this film came out, they requested every scene involving a monster be taken out….YEAH. Well, that cheered me up. Let’s review Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein! OMPAACNT: 13109

The intro is done entirely as an Oswald the Rabbit or Steamboat Willie-esq cartoon, aside from the credits sequence. I’ve said it before, and with many other examples, but I’ll say it again. THIS is how we have gotten the disgrace that is these monsters’ respective Halloween Shop incarnations. Speaking of which, I thought I said I wouldn’t be uploading any more of this until October? Hmm…oh yeah. Happy Roasted Hot Dogs everybody! Let’s see just how redundant I can get, how about it? Abbott and Costello’s roles in this film work for reasons. First off, Lou Costello is an uncoordinated, empty headed spacey clown while Bud Abbott is an uptight, strict, intolerant and bossy stickler.

Yet they are constantly putting up with each other with some really good opportunities for comedic value due to the constant back-and-forth between each other while trying to work together. The film also has a lot of subtle humor underneath it’s somewhat juvenile exterior, and in the middle there is a good amount of screwball slapstick. These two formulas show up in at least 60% of all future comedies if not more, oh my God it is impossible not to compare their monster films to the Scooby-Doo franchise. But the only saying reigns, often imitated, never duplicated.

The reason is because future media outlets to use this formula were not trying to be genuinely funny, they were trying to copy them. Here, it’s all done for the laughs and laughs only, or lolz as Teh Interwebs likes to refer to. It’s not LMAO hilarious, after all it has been imitated A LOT, but it still works and you will laugh. Eh, but what do I know, I have not taste in comedy as we have discussed before. Let’s talk about some of the non-comedy aspects of this film, maybe. You know, at least Universal didn’t ruin one thing. They didn’t refer to The Monster as Frankenstein.

They lightly emphasize that the monster is not named and Frankenstein belongs to the doctor. If you’re going to say the confusion had not started, hell no. The titles not having Dr. in there once even made it worse. In Son of Frankenstein, I believe I have said this, they even take a jab at how “9/10 people refer to that fiendish beast as Frankenstein.” Glenn Strange returns for a 3rd time to play The Monster, tying with the master Boris Karloff for instances of screen appearances as The Monster. Lon Chaney Jr. and Bela Lugosi also had 1 appearance to their individual films.

Glenn Strange of course does as he’s told for the $$$$$ and tells of the stereotypes of The Monster instead of acting like the monster would act. Though he has the capacity to speak, he rarely ever does, and he sounds NOTHING like The Killer Boris Karloff. He walks around like you would expect him to, arms held out and stumbling around like he’s blind…which is how that whole thing started out in the first place. I mean, if he has a criminal mind why the hell would he walk around like that? Bela Lugosi plays the role of Dracula. Yeah, that’s right. If I was around when this film came out, I would been all like “Woah-woah, WHAT?!!? He’s BACK?!?! The Prince of Darkness himself has returned!!!”

Unfortunately, knowing his back story makes his role so painful to watch. I’ve told you before, but let me wrap this up one more time as this will be the final film as to which we see Lugosi in. I’m not going to be able to critique his role in the film, because his story is very sad and we should pay respects. Lugosi enjoyed moderate success in small areas of the USA and in his homeland Hungary, among other countries. He was for most of his life more dedicated to the art than the $$$$. He auditioned for the role of Dracula after Lon Chaney Sr. died, got the part and thus became the most famous image of the character ever.

His accent, his perfect movements, and at the time sexual draw made him the icon. Due to his success, Universal immediately approached him to play The Monster in Frankenstein and it’s never to come to fruition sequel, The Return of Frankenstein. However he declined due to the enormous pounds of make-up, letting Karloff have an even bigger yet extremely similar success story. He was then cast in Murders in the Rue Morgue, in a very similar role, and thus suffered from typecasting for most of his career. Out of now lusting for the $$$$ he lost in Frankenstein, and trying to avoid anymore typecasting, he went to play as Ygor and even Frankenstein’s Monster in 3rd, 4th and 5th Frankenstein films.

He then served a small time in World War II but enough to get very serious injuries, and this is where things get really sad. Doctors at first prescribed him asparagus juice to soothe the pain, but later his pain became so severe that he was prescribed the highly addictive pain killer morphine. He then became addicted right before he played his role in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, and he was at the very old age of 60 when that was filmed. 5 years before a normal man retires. He stepped up to the plate as Dracula one last time, maybe thinking that he had very little time left and he wanted to revisit his child.

God Dammit people I really don’t want to talk about this, but I guess it must be necessary. When the casting director went scavenging, he wasn’t even certain that Lugosi was alive. Bela Lugosi died on August 16th, 1959, at an age of 73. He had a heart attack on his couch in Los Angeles; and was left unable to finish his role in the film “The Final Curtain.” Ed Wood, who saw Bela as his idle, respectively changed the name of one of his posthumously role from “Grave Robbers from Outer Space” to “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” *Very long sigh.* Lon Chaney Jr. was the only man to play “The Wolf Man” for 31 years.

While the films from 1915 and 1924 each called The Wolf Man do exist, neither show a werewolf and are actually melodramas. It wasn’t until Paul Nashcy’s role in Fury of the Wolf Man that the torch was passed. I’ll go into his history when we go into his final film, many weeks down the line. Lon Chaney Jr. probably does the best job here. He knows this is a stupid screwball comedy, more than likely made for the masses, and not to be taken seriously especially when compared to his baby The Wolf Man. However he also understands that he is in fact playing Larry Talbot, and not some transformation made for the masses.

He balances this not pitch perfectly but very well, and he’s the most enjoyable to watch surprisingly. His Make-Yp though is another story. He looks like a big, stupid dog, but not enough to be comedic. Pacing is great in this film, yet not perfect. Film never gets slow, sometimes gets really fast. However not enough to make you wish for more. Something I mentioned in my previous review of this film was the cameo appearance of The Mummy. During a costume party, one of the guests is dressed as Imhotep. And yes, Imhotep, not the ever so popular yet inferior version that is Kharis.

This is most prevalent at 1:03 Shows that despite the waning interest Universal had, they still loved their babies and wanted to keep them alive in the public’s eyes. We also get an appearance at the end of the film *SPOILERS* of The Invisible Man as Vincent Price, saying one of the most hilarious subtle comedy lines I’ve ever heard. This lead to A&C meet The Invisible Man, however it has no connection and the man in that film has no connection to Griffin. *SPOILERS OVER.* The soundtrack is not bad. By now, it’s obvious they’ve learned to balance the noise out to compliment the film and not the other way around. It does pay tribute to the monsters however doesn’t help the comedy at all.

Atmosphere’s pretty good too. There’s actually a lot of nicely lit scenes with the darkness to a degree that would be associated with the best of the UMMs. There’s not really any hidden message like most of them, just really pretty scenery that is reminiscent of the predecessors. The fight scene - only one of - is actually pretty good. It’s exactly what it’s supposed to be, the three monsters brawling while A&C just try to get the fuck out. I love seeing Bela Lugosi being able to actually duel it out with Lon Chaney Jr.’s Wolf Man as Dracula, and overall I’m just pleased with how much love is in this movie.

This is exactly what a parody should be, respectful, a tribute, yet also knows where the subject material has faults and overall is just really funny. Well, that’s Abbott & Costello meet Frankenstein. The film is easily entertaining, with maybe a little stale but still quite lolz inducing comedy; a very good cast; proper tribute to the UMMs, with my only complaints Wolf Man’s make-up and Glenn Strange’s performance as The Monster.  I recommend this for any fan of the UMMs, and any fan of A&C. Just be warned that this does reflect the declining seriousness of the monsters leading up to present day Halloween stores. I’m not going to give it the same rating I gave back then, but it’s still a pretty nice number. 4/5

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off. Next time, let's get serious again; 11 years later.

House of Dracula (and Frankenstein) (and The Wolf Man) (1945)

Hitler’s Dead! Let’s celebrate by watching a movie featuring a giant monster from Germany!....???

This film gives a returning Rumble cast of Frankenstein’s Monster, The Wolf Man, Dracula, The Mad Scientist and The Hunchback…except this time a Lady hunchback? We’ll have to talk about that later, and hopefully this can actually live up to its cast. It has also been noted that they only accepted John Carradine as Dracula again provided he has a thin mustache…wat? Nothing else big to talk about behind the scenes; that might be because there was a real reason why this was each other’s respective finale. We’ll have our OMPAACNT and then dive right in: 11300

Dracula didn’t have much of a role in House of Frankenstein. Dying within half an hour, and playing the role of a newly acquired and then escaped pawn. That doesn’t make sense, Dracula is a very intellectual and game-playing, not game-played person. He has a much more active role here, seeking to lose his vampirism. While Lil’ Johnny gets more opportunity to talk in a very intellectual, Draculish or even Frankensteinish way, Dracula loved his vampirism even if at risk to his being; and that also doesn’t make sense. Overall, a better character but not by much. Our Monster Draw has been reduced to 4.5.

One of the presented monsters on the poster is a Hunchback. This movie delivers, but unexpectedly so. We are presented with a attractive, female hunchback who’s hunch is probably 1/4th extreme as classic hunchbacks such as Quasimodo. Instead of telling us to be sympathetic like the previous hunchback, it shows us something that has us thinking about her. “Damn, she’s pretty badly disabled…yet she is so tolerant, obedient, so very nice, despite her disability. Not complaining or sobbing like the last one.” That’s what makes us feel for her. You just know something really bad has happened in her past, possibly more than once. She’s a great, very subtle character. The only bad thing is that her actress is pretty dry, forced, not into the role at all; but she passes. Thus the Monster Draw is dropped to 4.25.

The atmosphere is changing, but only for logical reasons. When it can, it’s best comes out, very dark, moist and damp, only a little showing. Possibly symbolizing that it’s time for the end, the lights are dimming on the series, but it’s also just very pretty scenery. The soundtrack is actually pretty good. It does ring of classic sounds, but has new ones and for the old ones alters them just enough to seem fresh. It’s never obtrusive or loud but it is extremely energetic, and I can’t believe that they’ve gotten the soundtrack right in the last 2 or 3 movies. Next thing is Glenn Strange as The Monster. Well, if I can. The Creation only turns to life AGAIN when there is only 4 minutes left in the film. He does the stereotypical dumbass Monster schtick and he gets no credit. The Monster Count is 3.25

The Mad Doctor character is a mixed bag. He is played by Onslow Stevens, who during the main role is even more boring than Karloff’s last performance. Yeah, that’s shit. But his character is written not so much great but his material gives the ability to be awesome. SPOILER ALERT: However, in the last 30 minutes of the film or so, he turns into a Vampire right after Dracula’s Death. His performance than goes mad, a little forced by unique and stylistic, very much in the veign of Lugosi. His character is also given very interesting dialogue, though his emotions change between each scene and in a very jarring, unreasoned, sudden fashion. The Monster Draw is reduced to 2.9.

Skelton Knaggs plays the role of Steinmuhl, who at first I didn’t want to mention but I just can’t help myself. He is this weird character, who is basically the film’s form of a conspiracy theorist. He’s written accurately and appropriately for a conspiracy theorist in this setting, but the actor just has this slow, drawn out pace coupled with an absolutely insane face and tone of voice; along with a nearly “hobo” appearance, makes for just this really surreal character that I wish I knew more about! But for the finale, it is time to talk about the King of 40's Horror.

One of the biggest reasons why Dracula is the biggest focus of the big three is because there was no way it could be The Wolf Man/Larry Talbot/Lon Chaney  Jr. During and a short time after World War II, there was a major shortage of Yak Hair, due to all of the countries that aren’t America being destroyed financially. This includes Nepal. So The Wolf Man’s scenes are kept at a conservative number that you could count on one finger, but Talbot gets a good amount of screen time as a human. Talbot’s character has come full circle, after gaining the curse, dying through it, and wanting to stay dead, now he finally has a way out of the nightmare. A cure.

He goes about this a little whiney, not very cooperative, but honestly it works here. I even didn’t find this well in King’s Speech, but here I can understand. Talbot’s been through a ton of shit, being alive for decades, no age and half-mindless murders to his name. Not to mention, unlike King George in The King’s Speech, Talbot warms up to the idea of help gradually. He starts off extremely uncooperative, then starts to go with the idea but still resentful, and finally wanting the cure, all very gradually. King George just all the sudden turned good in the 3rd act of that movie, whereas the first two he was a total ass.

I can’t say it’s his best writing, in fact it’s only better compared to House of Frankenstein, but it’s pretty good. Lon Chaney Jr. pulls off a very subtle role, with good intentions but unfortunately I wish Chaney would get a little more in your face; just a bit; we already have enough subtlety with Nina (the Hunchback.) As for The Wolf Man himself, he doesn’t get enough screen time to really be critiqued, but he is entertaining when seen. I’ll give this guy a pass despite his flaws and the count will stay at 2.9.

The final scene just goes really crazy really fast, and while it’s kind of uncalled for it IS the final scene in the UMMs, so let’s just go out with a bang. The way it has ended is fine with me, it’s in the spirit of the UMMs anyways. Well, it’s over. Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages, Friends and Neighbors, that dude smoking Marijuana in the background, it’s over. The Universal Monster Movies have officially come to a close, at least in all seriousness. Dracula is Dead, this time for real, The Monster is burned alive, The Wolf Man is cured, the Mad Doctors will never repeat Frankenstein’s mistakes, and the Hunchback…well, they can turn to other medical people.

Man, I loved these movies as a kid, and I’m glad I did because they helped open a gateway towards much more intelligent film viewing; whereas many are given less intelligent films at their childhood. How does this movie favor as the final part? It’s actually not bad. The soundtrack and atmosphere promise, and for a story told through the characters, it’s actually pretty good. None of the characters were really horrible, although not even Nina struck me as amazing. It’s mostly for fun, just a “well, guys, we did it, let’s get drunk” kind of film. I give a 3/5, the rating it deserves.

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Next time, let’s get a little more light hearted, shall we?

House of Frankenstein (and Dracula) (and The Wolf Man) (1944)

First spoken line of the film: "Now, will you give me my chalk?"

Oh yeah, now we’re getting into the Royal Rumble of Universal Monsters! Frankenstein’s Monster, The Wolf Man, Dracula, The Hunchbacked Assistant and The Mad Doctor! But of course, like Godzilla, The Ultimate Royal Rumble cannot be as great as it wants to be with the budgets cuts. The cast was originally not 5 but 9! The Invisible Man, The Mummy, The Captive Wild Woman, and The Mad Ghoul were also speculations. There’s a little nod to this in a later film that God when that is reviewed a lot will be explained. This film debuts two knew actors into the UMM cycle, John Carradine as Dracula and Glenn Strange as The Monster.

Lil’ Johnny is well known for non-credited roles…everywhere, and being a star Cowboy in so many fucking Westerns; and also in Shakespearian plays. However, Glenny was THE Cowboy at the time this film came out, so how the hell they choose him to be a bumbling monster is beyond me. Even weirder is that he was coached by Boris Karloff, who plays The Mad Doctor in this film, and yet he is nothing like Karloff. It just seems as if the casting was done at random, and this is only one sign that Universal had decreasing interest in the franchise and only wanted to make a buck. Jesu Kristi …anyways. Let’s dive into the film that many claim made these monsters into the jokes you see at Halloween shops, tonight.

OMPAACNT: 10,190

You can milk a cow, but a Lobster is very ticklish. One thing to be noted is that this movie came with a short film, in the form of what one would see before EVERY Pixar movie. It’s called Boo, and it pokes fun at the films Frankenstein (Universal) and Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (Public Domain.) I can tell no harm is meant but I just can’t help thinking that this is the same thing if Paramount/New Line made this out of Freddy and Jason. It’s quite corny, as would that be, but it shows that the films had evolved to clichés being common humor even only a decade and a half later or so, no longer appreciated as they once were by the mainstream.

At certain points I can still tell Universal holds some weird ass grudge against F.W. Murnaeu. The whole thing is in a nightmare, where one dude in a very cold room reads Dracula (the novel), eats Lobster and drinks a glass of milk. I can imagine that’s a bad combo, but not as much as Shrimp & Cookies…OKAY, I’M SORRY I MADE THAT JOKE BUT I JUST HAD TO! Now let’s fully dive into House of Frankenstein. By now, the UMMs had become very comic book like, which is part of the reason why Boo was created. Ghost of Frankenstein and Son of Dracula tried too hard to recapture the awesomeness of the “first cycle,” so when they made Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, they went all out crazy with it.

The only reason I didn’t give it a rating under 4/5 is because Larry Talbot and Maleva were crafted in that film as my favorite characters in the UMM series since Renfield, Talbot’s Wolf form included. That’s major considering we have people like Dracula, The Monster, Dr. Pretorious and Dr. Frankenstein in our line-up. This film goes even further with the comic likeness, with an entire prison exploding within the first 5 minutes. It introduces us to Dr. Gustav Niemann, played by The Legend himself Boris Karloff; and Daniel the Hunchback played by J. Carol Naish. They’re absolutely nothing special.

Boris Karloff turns in an emotionless performance that is about as satisfying as watching Paint dry. Did you just read that? Boris Karloff in this film is as watching paint dry! No emotion, he acts more dead than Dracula with absolutely none of the pizzas, (yes I meant to speal it that way) and the role is definitely not asking for that. JCN tries to play a role similar to Frtiz or Renfield, and does a decent job I would say. However his character is written as that guy who is just there so he can get his share of the benefits, and thus he falls flat again. Whenever he is written as something else, it’s the WORST writing for an UMM character that we’ve reviewed so far. JCN just didn’t have the material to work with. Great, so 40% of the main draw characters are already unsuccessful.

Lil’ Johnny Paper Carradine plays Dracula in this film. He turns in a pretty good performance, beating Chaney’s Alucard but not Lugosi’s Dracula. I don’t know where to put him in comparison to Gloria’s Zaleska, AKA Dracula’s Daughter, she’s probably better than him. He is slow, precise, very drawn out, and that actually is appropriate being he is a dead being who has just woken up from what we are to assume is centuries of resting in the eternal waiting Limbo. Also unlike The Killer, Boris Karloff, Carradine actually has some pizzas to go along with his performance, though it is nothing compared to Lugosi.

He is also accompanied with a pretty neat re-incarnation scene that details and overlaps his bones, muscle and eventually his shipshapesophisticatedwhyamibritishobbitydoodah self. There’s just one problem. Dracula invites people for a drink of wine…*flips both middle fingers.* He ends up not making it past 27 minutes into the film, where neither The Monster or The Wolf Man have even appeared yet. Our 5 monster draw has been reduced to 2.25 Monsters. The dialogue is just plainly stated not good! You get bits and pieces of interesting dialogue here and there, but most of it is either stating the obvious - which isn’t that bad but can get stupid when done over and over -, saying shit that doesn’t mix with past events in the films, or just clichéd, stupid and unoriginal.

Elena Verdugo plays Llonka, a dancer who is picked up by Daniel and Gustav. She’s really cute, I’ll give her that, and honestly it’s kind of refreshing to see an entirely innocent face in one of these movies; but she’s a stupid little ditz and I could live without her. Now here’s my thoughts on the soundtrack: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! God, I know homage to the earlier ones is good but damn the same seconds long piece that everyone remembers looped over and over varying by different scenes, it gets overdone! DaDaDaDuuuuuuDaDaDaaaaDaDaDaaaa! Yeah, that’s ENOUGH. Make something original guys, I’m sorry, but you must. There sometimes is too much of a good thing.

Though Larry Talbot and The Monster both appear a good time after Dracula’s Death, it is until about 55 minutes into the film that The Monster awakens and The Wolf Man emerges. Lon Chaney tones down the feeling of needing to be Larry Talbot, but unfortunately doesn’t add that energy to being a good actor, he just seems very, very tired. That accidentally adds to the character because he has gone through a lot, but still, it’s laziness on Chaney’s part. He is also greeted with the same shtick from last time, and part of the reason why the last one worked so well was because it was something at least partially new. His character and performance together aren’t bad, they’re just inferior.

Our Monster Draw has been reduced to 2. As for Glenn Strange, he plays the monster completely silently and creates all the bumbling idiot stereotypes that come with the Halloween Costume. His performance is poor but not completely crap, taking our final Monster Draw to 1.2. Overall, this is easily the worst UMM so far. It goes below Ghost of Frankenstein, and that just felt really out of place man. Characters are crap to meh, actors are seen at their weakest, dialogue is filled with plot holes and is so overtly redundant it’s disgusting, has an uninspired soundtrack and is met with almost no effort. It’s fun if you turn your brain off, and don’t compare it to other UMMs, but really you’re wasting your time. I give it a 2.7/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Next time, we finish things off, in a sense…(don't worry, there's plenty more where this came from.)

[Baroness Elsa] Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)

The first ever film crossover.

Believe it or not, Lugosi was at the age of 48 during the original filming of the famous Dracula. Yet he, though limited by state censorships, helped pioneer the sexual implications of a Vampire in modern culture. Of course we had his wives, and the novel…but C’mon, you wouldn’t know who Dracula was if it weren’t for the Prince of Darkness Lugosi. This is why he had a lot of roles requiring minimal activity; vampires of course, Ygor, and many others that I have listed. (There’s another very important reason to be covered later in this review.) Considering this, Universal observed who was being most successful in their company and obviously Lon Chaney Jr. was on top of the world.

He played The Wolf Man, The Monster and The Mummy! Believe it or not, their first intention was to have Lon Chaney Jr. vs. Lon Chaney Jr. (I swear to God this premise sounds familiar…like as if we’ve seen it 17 times before.) But since that would have not worked to do just basic-of-basic logic, (how the fuck would that have been filmed?) they cut this idea. Boris Karloff’s lack of interest of playing The Monster was still fresh, however Lugosi had suffered from typecasting from Dracula like a madman. It’s just insane. Look, guys, it’s like if every movie you had Schwarzenegger play was a robot.

Okay, he’s done tons of action movies, but not the same role every time. A vigilante, a robot, a barbarian, Hercules, the list goes on. Only on few occasions (Ygor, Chandu) has Bela Lugosi played a non-Dracula modeled role. (NOTE: The original typing of that sentence went as follows: Only on a few occasions (Ygor, Chandu) has Dracula played a non-Dracula modeled role.) Ygor helped, but this year he had no opportunity of Ygor and Universal was trying to get Dracula back into the common knowledge by way of Son of Dracula. What does Dracula do?

“Fuck specificity, I’m doing what I should have done 12 years ago! I am….ALIVE!” Okay, that was over-dramatic and BAJEEZUZ this review is all over the place. However, at an age of sixty, Bela had to have a few stand-ins due to physical limitations. Gil Perkins was the main stand-in, as Eddie Parker did the main work for The Wolf Man. Speaking of the good fellow, what has he been up to since Ghost of Frankenstein? The Mummy’s Tomb…and umm…The Mummy’s Tomb. I’m being dead serious here. Chaney knows how to be financially secure, and it’s with slow but successful filmography. Well…without further a due, let’s see how film crossovers started out. This is Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.

Obligatory MPAA Certificate Number Time (OMPAACNT): No. 9024

Lon Chaney Jr. returns to play as The Wolf Man and Larry Tabby. To keep the character fresh and not rely on what would soon become clichés, if not already, the writers took a different approach with him. This was also necessary as “The Wolf Man” sounds a lot better than “A Wolf Man” despite Larry dying at the end of the first film, or at least presumably so. The different angle they took with this character is a simple to come up with difficult to execute type. He’s already experienced death and two lives, he’s not scared of the afterwards anymore.

I just wish there was some dialogue between him and a character, most likely Maleva, about how it was to experience death and life. Since he’s not afraid of it he continuously attempts to have him jailed or possibly even hanged to protect his fellow humans, which shows a compassion apparent in only few people in the history of ever. I absolutely love the character, he is so fascinating and his dialogue is very unexpected yet meaningful “Well, now I want to die too.” He is probably my favorite character since Renfield in the Universal cycle, and that’s saying something big.

Not his previous incarnation either. Unfortunately the actor isn’t as great. Lon Chaney Jr., while not really failing me, seems to be trying too hard to replicate Larry Talbot and not enough on just being a good actor. He seems a little less natural, very artificial; maybe shocked by the money he was turning in from Dracula, Wolf Man, Frankenstein and Mummy films. On the other hand, his performance as The Wolf Man is top-notch. While his previous performance did well at portraying the wild nature of…nature…this performance seems a little more logical and more fun to watch.

He acts exactly, to the thousandth degree, on the middle scale between human and dog, with some wild man thrown in there for good measure. One occasion is when he first steps into the ice cavern, he goes around sniffing and exploring and just spontaneously starts rolling around on his back. That sounds like a dog to me, doesn’t it? Maybe wolves don’t act quite as much like this, and of course it comes off as more fun than creepy; which is why his first Wolf Man performance is better but this one still deserves a positive note. Plus, I think we’ve all seen more dogs than wolves in our lives, outside of the electronic world.

Maleva is also an interesting character. This time around, she improves on her previous performance, seeming less like a forced Gypsy character and more of something real. To describe it in phrase, she’s basically “I want too, I have the ability too, I should, but I just can’t! I can do what I can but I can’t do what I can’t!” I feel like we’ve all had this person somewhere in our lives, and that’s why she works so well even if her screen time is limited. One quote from her that has become famous which personifies the interaction between her and Larry is this: “He is not insane. He simply wants to die.” That right there shows that this is some of Curt Siodmak’s best screenwriting work.

One of the few new characters, and certainly the most important of the new, is Dr. Henry Frankenstein’s Granddaughter Baroness Elsa Frankenstein. Her character is alright, she’s pretty damn flat. Her personality rings of cardboard cutout, and her actor doesn’t really try save that half-sexy accent. I can’t say I didn’t like watching her but she added very little, only there to continue the story, and is instantaneously forgettable. The only reason for her besides keeping the plot going is so that the title makes sense. Frankenstein IS NOT the monster, however The Wolf Man does “meet Frankenstein” in the form of the Baroness.

That’s probably the only reason I’ll remember she existed after seeing this film. And of course continuously Dwight Frye gets his little cameos for his work in the past, this time as one of the dancing townsmen. Which reminds me…THE TROLOLO SINGER IS IN FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN. OMGWTFBBQ…sorry, I had to get that in, but if you watch the festival scene the singer IS the Trololo dude, save the fact he speaks a human language. Last person I’ll mention as far as characters go (because there can be people in movies who aren’t characters) is The Monster, played by Bela Lugosi.

I mentioned before he had to have a few stunt doubles due to his age, but another thing that Wikipedia - The Ultimate Source of Information, background and forward - forgot to mention was his addiction to morphine. He had served a little bit of time in the U.S.A. Military, after all it was World War II time. He had to have surgery done on him, and at first his pain was reduced with asparagus juice, but eventually they had to put him on morphine and thus he became addicted. When I first heard about this I was shocked and really, really sad for such a great actor to have come down to this.

It started right before the filming of this feature and by 1948 Universal Studios wasn’t even sure the man was alive or not…we’ll cover that later on down the road, possibly very soon. As for The Monster himself, this is where continuity errors start to pop up. The original script for this film was to fully carry from Ghost of Frankenstein, where The Monster would still have Ygor’s brain but very damaged from the freezing. He would portray his emotions through dialogue spoken by Lugosi; after all he is being played by Lugosi! It was also told that he would wake up blind and recover from it, but this was all scrapped resulting in two things.

The minor but important being that the stereotype of The Monster walking with his arms out was born. The major thing being that the character is now completely wrecked. The director Roy William Neill obviously was too dense to give Bela any directions for facial expressions, and thus he is about as in-depth of a character as The Mona Lisa. He just walks around aimlessly, with scenes that you could count on both hands only, barely helping other characters. But you know, maybe even without all that Bela could pull off a good brawl? Well...the fight doesn’t even start until 1:10:21 into the movie!

This leaves a grand total of 0:02:57 for the final fight. This is especially hindering the title and poster suggests a fight between the monsters of epic proportions. I don’t know about you guys but 3 minutes is not epic proportions at all. I know it’s only two guys and Bela could only do so much, but I guess in the end that doesn’t excuse a lack of a lengthy climax during the first cinematic crossover. Insert poster here. But now let’s talk about the quality of the fight. It is a WHOLE different beast. This fight is fucking awesome. Lon Chaney Jr. turns in some oddly cat-like agility complimented with lion like strength.

Even though he is supposed to be a Wolfman…anyways. He goes against the big, strong figure of The Frankenstein Monster. To pull a Pro-Wrestling comparison out of my ass, it would be as if Diesel and Bret Hart were going against each other in their primes. Not only that, but you have a setting of a laboratory where a ton of things could happen, and it eventually culminates in THE REASON why we have explosions in action movies these days. This fight is fucking, fucking awesome. Now then, onto maybe a little calmer subject, something happened I didn’t expect. I really like the soundtrack.

It’s not loud or obnoxious but apparent still; and blends in with the film. It complements the film perfectly, helps portray certain emotions but in a subtle almost subliminal fashion. It’s very stylistic and if ever plays off of what we call clichés it does it at the right time with the right one, and it also does the important job of knowing when to turn on and off. Well done on that portion.

The pacing in here is some of the best of the UMM films, it blows through as quickly as a video gamer would blow through a round of Yoshi’s Story. There’s reasons for that, first a very well done soundtrack, and second the dense writing. No, not dense as in 3 minute long YouTube videos dense, I mean that there is a ton of story packed into the hour and 13 minutes that we have presented. Think about it. We have Larry Talbot back from the grave, Maleva and her connection to him; and of course everything that has happened in Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein and Ghost of Frankenstein. The writer was fully aware of this, Curt Siodmak, and packed the film with as much material on it without seeming redundant; unfortunately being limited by Universal's insistence to cut Frankenstein's speaking roles.

I feel like a redundant idiot for talking about this, but then I would be a lazy idiot if I didn’t. I’m much finer (according to Microsoft Word that is a word) with being redundant than lazy *Audience*:”And yet you’re spending most of your time outside of school and homework watching movies?” The lighting, of course, is trademark Universal goodness. While it is dark, being appropriate for a Horror movie, it is lighter than most UMMs. Though all had lighting that was dark but light enough to be visible, this one is oddly lighter. And I think I understand why that is. It is meant to represent the pain of life, from the perspective of Larry. The brightness in contrast represents life, but the fact that it is still very dark of a film represents that Larry’s life is not one to be lived.

And of course it’s very pretty scenery.

(Yes that will be a running joke from now on.)

Well there’s Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man. Time for some final thoughts. It is definitely the best UMM of the “second” cycle for the big three, only second to the original Wolf Man and closely overshadowing Son of Frankenstein. It has an awesome, awesome and innovative action scene however it only comes in for 3 minutes long. The lighting is very good but not as cool as the other films. This is Curt Siodmak’s best work, again aside from the original Wolf Man. He crafts the best characters for an UMM since Renfield for the Wolf Man universe, however the Frankenstein universe characters are see-through cardboard cut-outs and sometimes don’t even make a single difference.  The soundtrack is surprisingly very good. I’ll give it a 4.5/5

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off. Next time, things just get a little more Bloody…

Son of Dracula (1943)

Alucard?...D…R…A…C *Audience*Ca$hman, what are you rambling about?* Nothing good fellows, just had a crazy idea.

Surprisingly enough, there is not any really good background information on this film, so we’ll just dive right into the critique. Before we do, I’d like to offer the obligatory MPAA Certificate No. 9194

In previous Dracula films, it was assumed that Vampires could turn into bats and occasionally wolves on their own whim. On a few occasions we see the bat in action, and once a wolf is hinted at. However, due to the unfortunate budgets of the first two/three Dracula films, there was never any good transformation sequence. The same person who used trick photography for The Invisible Man, completely surpassing most special effects at the time, was hired to do some of the transformation scenes. Once it is a bit cheap by having him back into the camera, but most times you literally see him transform into a bat.

Today, a viewer would understand that they overlapped a cartoon with the Count on some frames to make the scene, but audiences back then were probably shocked at the technical genius behind this film for it’s time. And if I don’t say it was innovative, I will be sacked. *WARNING: LAND OF RAMBOING, NIT-PICKING AND RAGE YOU WILL ENTER*Okay, this next critique is a spoiler but I think anybody who is familiar with Dracula, Blade, Castlevania, Van Helsing, Vampires or other related materials should know what I’m about to talk about. Plus, it’s given away twice in a span of 14 minutes, the first being within the first 5 minutes.

Alucard, played by Lon Chaney Jr., is Dracula spelled backwards. Now, this is probably one of the instances that doesn’t give me the right to brag about my childhood. As a kid, I grew up with these types of movies. But for a long time as a kid, the Universal Monsters was limited to the Frankenstein films, and the other films in the main 6 would not come until my teenage years. Although if I’m not mistaken, I actually did see the original Dracula as a kid, or at least bits and pieces. Now, with all that set in stone, as a kid I was for some reason fascinated by the name going backwards.

However, I didn’t see Son of Dracula until my teenage years, so what happened? Well, I saw The Batman vs. Dracula on Cartoon Network on multiple occasions and that film used the tactic. Now here’s food for thought: Isn’t the Count SMART?!? He organized the whole “let’s buy some land in Transylvania and feed on people” scheme like an evil genius, not a clumsy beast. But yet he uses the fake name “Alucard” what? If The Count was so smart, he would use a more fitting name, say Chuck. Now, would that be as scary? No, but here’s an idea: Vladimir. Count Vladimir.

For those who don’t know, a background for Bram Stoker’s novel was Vlad the Impaler. Now wouldn’t that be a wink to the audiences if he was named Vladimir, although I guess they don’t wanna do that since they don’t even credit Stoker in the credits sequence! Now let’s go back to what I said before, that is revealed early. Well, in addition, it is given away too easily. First, hinting at it in the first 30 minutes at all is bad, maybe hinting to “he’s not who he says he is” is good, but not the backwards name. Then you start hinting at it, and only right before the 3rd act do you fully reveal it.

This is just too easy and doesn’t assist any dumbasses in the place, after all we know he is SOME sort of vampire by the name. It just seems perfectly lazy. What also seems lazy is the title. Since he actually IS Dracula, there’s no sense in the title being Son of Dracula. How about “Return of Dracula” or “The Reincarnation of Dracula” or “Dracula Rises from the Grave” even “Dracula Has Risen from the Grave” which would be used in the Hammer films later down the road. Or maybe we could do “Dracula Draws Money.” Now that we’re hopefully done nit-picking the land of the world, maybe we can talk about one of the most important aspects of these films, the atmosphere.

Scenes that would normally be lighted in a standard way are toned down just a few dots, so to remain subtle but apparent. Other scenes, such as an outdoor scene at night, portray a darkness that you can only see partially through; as if to symbolize the idea of “not everything is what it appears to be.” And of course it’s very pretty scenery. Some scenes in the Jungle - an oddity in Dracula films - would set a basis for films like Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and Creature from the Black Lagoon, where these jungle scenes would be used more often. It’s swampy, murky, slimy, disgusting, as if to symbolize that the truth underneath is ugly and murderous. And of course it’s very pretty scenery.

Now it is time to critique the films soundtrack. As a piece with the film, it doesn’t add much. It doesn’t help increase the emotions that are trying to be portrayed, in fact sometimes lowering them. However it is not obtrusive or loud, unlike Ghost of Frankenstein’s soundtrack. On its own, it’s an iconic piece set a bit away from the Universal series but still has a similarity to them; and is a good but not great piece to listen to. Lon Chaney Jr. replaces Bela Lugosi and Gloria Holden as the title vampire, this time Count Alucard as “opposed” to Dracula or Mary Zaleska.

He voices the role perfectly (you see, Lon Chaney, I told you to stick with voiced roles) as a dignified yet mysterious, dark, foreboding vampire. His moves rather slowly, such as a corpse would, but without the energy in Lugosi’s voice the character becomes rather slow due to this overall good performance. The characters I can’t say are that interesting. Despite good performances by their actors they are easily forgettable, unoriginal, bland, flat, 1 maybe 2 dimensional if we’re lucky. The story and dialogue would be fascinating for vampire freaks, from the trainees to me to the hardcore, however the fact that we pretty much know exactly how it’s going to play out from somewhere between 5-20 minutes in makes us care a helluva lot less, and if any film deserves to be remade in the Universal series it’s not Dracula’s Daughter, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, anything like that, we deserve a remake of Son of Dracula, called “Alucard.”

Fucking run on sentences.

Well, overall, this is good. Just, good. It’s better than Ghost of Frankenstein, but that’s not saying much. The SFX are innovative and the atmosphere is really good. Lon Chaney tries his best but around lukewarm performances and 1-dimesionally written characters, and a story that doesn’t involve nearly enough thought. It has a soundtrack good on its own but unnecessary to the film, and the most innovative feature to this film, Count Alucard, is a nitpicky mess. I give it a 3.6/5

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

I'M ALIVE!!! ALIVE!!

Ghost of Frankenstein is the final film to feature a purely Frankenstein universe. Some confuse this with a solo capacity. Guys, in the first film there was Fritz, in the second The Bride, and in the 3rd and 4th there were Ygor, and in this film there is “The Ghost of Frankenstein.” Yeah, more on that a little later. So you know that stereotype that The Monster holds his arms out when he walks? You’re not going to believe this, it is superb irony. In this film…okay, it’s a spoiler, but it’s worth it…The Monster becomes a blinded man. Yeah. Unfortunately, in the soon to come crossovers, scenes where they would explain his blind state were cut and even reference to his sight returning is cut, so everyone thought that was his natural way of walking.

It’s not like Boris Karloff didn’t use his arms before, in Bride of Frankenstein shooing away living beings is a staple; but this is cruelly hilarious. This was also the first film to receive a B-Movie Statues in the Universal Monster Series. Long story short, B-Movies are not Cheesefests necessarily, they are when a big budget studio is not producing arthouse nor pornography with an indie level budget. Strange considering they had just released The Wolf Man, Lon Chaney’s Baby, just a year later. Well, Boris, Bela may be more, but you’re  a brave man. After three successful films, he stepped down this one to at least TRY to avoid typecasting.

After the Son, he had played in more Mr. Wong films; some crime movies including is notable such as Tower of London, The Fatal Hour, Black Friday; but of course many horror films such as Doomed to Die, Before I Hang and The Ape. Seems fairly balanced, with that momentum I can understand his choice. Seemed realistic to break the typecasting. Unfortunately it would only become worse due to that, he would go on to the typecast realm again (you know for the most important actors in Horror they sure suffered throughout their career) in The Climax, an evil Dr. role in another film to be reviewed, The Body Snatcher, Isle of the Dead, Bedlam, Abbot & Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff, The Strange Door, Abbott & Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, the list goes on for decades.

Straight off the success of The Wolf Man, Lon Chaney Jr. replaces Karloff for the role of The Monster. Between the last film and this one, he had no reputable film appearances, showing his gratefulness for Universal’s masterpiece. However, he was in other notable films before, such as One Million B.C. and especially Of Mice and Men (academically, not personally.) I also love how his hand played a role in 1922’s The Trap. There isn’t too much more to say on the subject, this film seemed to have a rather standard means of production. No Censorship angriness or anything. Well, is this where Universal went down the drain? Let’s dive in and see.

Watching the credits, I notice one of the credits is “Original Story: Eric Taylor.” Seems as if someone at Universal proposed the idea for this sequel, and he received credit over “Suggested by Mary Shelley’s Novel 'Frankenstein.'” Even the person responsible for the wardrobe, Vera West, got a credit yet Mary Shelley is nowhere in sight. As if to say the sequels had become their own complete entity, and I guess that kind of depresses me that Frankenstein is almost no longer Shelley’s creation. Read the novel, I know most of you don’t read books, but for those of you who do find an unabridged copy; for those who don’t find an abridged copy, it’s totally worth your time. Also, MPAA Certificate No. 8129.

Pulling a Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. on our pitiful souls, Universal has this film follow the continuity of Son of Frankenstein, which follows the continuity of the original film. They then have Ygor, who is reprised by Lugosi, search for Henry/Victor Frankenstein’s OTHER son. Son of Frankenstein already had plot holes; Dr. Frankenstein was only a fiancé before he died as far as the first film goes, so if he ever had a child it was with another woman - which doesn’t seem likely - or illegitimately - after all, in some other films we’ll review he is a blatant rapist. He also grew up in Germany, where as Wolf grew up in Da Land o’ Cap’N ‘Merica, which goes even farther to suggest he was a rapist.

The only problem with that theory is how would these sons come across that knowledge? Or was the good doctor a bigger pimp than the Prince of Darkness? It just seems a little too good to be true, but crazier conveniences have been pulled off in the history of cinema, good or bad. And of course, Elizabeth had to be one horny chick to want to marry a rapist who gave pregnancies to two women in two countries; and believe me when I say that’s a lot crazier than it sounds. Continuing our journey, at only 8 minutes in I started thinking to myself “CALM THE FUCK DOWN MOVIE!!!”

We start off with a scene that could be the climax of the film, the villagers literally blowing up Castle Frankenstein. We are also greeted with an insanely loud soundtrack, which I’d bet money was re-used for The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, and it continues during other scenes. I am just thinking to myself “…something beautiful about these types of movie is that they never go really insane, the atmosphere is there to sink into your soul.” A soundtrack alone can feel obtrusive in this type of film, yet one this loud and the film starting off with exploding a castle is just fucking unheard of and may be seen as crazy by the modern Avatard.

The soundtrack continues to be loud, obnoxious, stereotypical and stupid throughout the film, and sometimes I can’t concentrate perfectly because of it. Part where the soundtrack is not present are the best, calmest, most concentrated parts of the film, but you know me I’m the kind of guy who appreciates a quiet movie. I’ll say it briefly again for disclaimer reasons; I didn’t like Lugosi’s performance in Son as much as everybody else. He was written a fascinating character and iconic dialogue, but didn’t step up to part with it. Everybody else seemed to love him, to this day. So I imagine Lugosi going like this over 3 years condensed into a few thoughts: “Oh my God they love me, even when I was just trying to get a buck! Hey Universal, let’s have me put up a real Ygor performance eh? Ah, yes a script…WHAT KIND OF MATERIAL ARE YOU GIVING ME?!?!”

So, Lugosi turns in the performance I expected the first time around, but is handed THE cheesiest dialogue for a single character in our marathon yet. Really, nobody is handed any good dialogue. The best actor of the film, Sir Cedric Hardwicke plays a role straight out of a good UMM (Universal Monster Movie). His dialogue also comes straight out of a good UMM, and that’s a very good thing considering he is The Son of Frankenstein after all! You see, Toho, this is how you do a son of a Horror movie icon. Lon Chaney Jr. replaces Karloff as the monster, and has no dialogue, no eyesight, and no verbal communication.

After publishing the review, I noticed I didn't take notes on my biggest complaint of the film. Unlike all Universal movies of the prior parts of the marathon, there is absolutely no atmosphere WHATSOEVER. This is major. It's a Frankenstein movie, where is my fog and low lighting? It's not as bright as Nosferatu, but it's about standard.

Now, you don’t need verbal communication to pass off emotion, hell even Godzilla movies pull this off right sometimes. But if you have no emotions on their faces, just a stupid kind of sad look there, sometimes if not always the character does actions that feel non-justified when in fact they are. Chaney, stick to talking roles, PLEASE. If you don’t believe me, check out the “sequels” to Boris Karloff’s The Mummy. He puts on the exact same performance, and in a role that again replaces The King of Killers, Boris Karloff. But now, it's time to talk about the story.

Okay guys, get ready to fucking laugh. Think about the title, and think about the line I gave before the trailer. Take a good guess at what happens in this movie. …….well, you’re close. Dr. Henry Frankenstein, not played by Colin Clive but rather the same dude who is playing the son Ludwig, shows up in a ghostly manner for ONE SCENE to advice his son not to throw away his creation. Now, this was my stand-point on this issue from the movie up until that point: from a scientific and emotional standpoint, I’m in full support, but from a legal standpoint this is stupid.

The Monster, without the knowledge of his character provided by Bride, would only due the evil Ygor’s bidding. That would involve murders. Take that into effect that you have a 4 year old serial killer inside the body of The Great Khali and you must do something to destroy it. However The Ghost provides an interesting idea. What if The Monster had another brain?  Well, here’s the problem: First off, it’s still immature, and it would be a little child in a Great Khali. Second off, who the hell is gonna volunteer? They’re basically saying “yeah, you can throw my life’s work away for a stupid science experiment.”

What’s crazier is that they bring up that they are going to kidnap one of the neightborhood children for the experiment. ARE YOU FUCKING MAD?!?! Only Ygor accepts the proposal, and what good does that do? He’s as psychotic! Admittedly, this does allow for some interesting character conflict with Ygor, wanting to be one with his friend. I just wish the writer for Son of Frankenstein wrote this movie too. And I guess all throughout the movie, it’s trying to repeat the magic of an UMM, which was done successfully for 10 years with its ups and downs, but now it’s just trying too hard.

Overall, it’s not a horrible film. It’s extremely disappointing when you compare it to the film’s we’ve reviewed previously, but it’s a fun time as a film on it’s own. Everything from the dialogue, to Lon Chaney’s performance, the storyline, the soundtrack and the story structure all are okay, fun on their own; but in retrospective they are complete crap. It also boasts good performances from Ygor and Frankenstein, though not the best writing to back it up. I think I’m going to give this movie a 3.4/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Next time...Dracula finally delivers a Y chromosome.

The Wolf Man (1941)

“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfs bane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” - Sir John Talbot. 70 years later, it’s still just as classy and chilling.

Or should maybe it be quoted to Curt Siodmak? Yes, against popular thought, it is not a work of ancient legend but in fact created by the screenwriter for this film. Also against popular thought, it does not imply that a current werewolf must be under the full moon to transform. Rather, it implies that it happens when the wolfs bane blooms in the autumn, and during the night. So potentially a Wolf Man film released every single year would actually make sense. Many films have copied this, such as the sequels and Van Helsing, however many change it to “and the moon is full and bright.”

Something famous about the Wolf Man films are that the special effects were laborious. It was actually never intended that there would be a Werewolf, it would be psychological, maybe there’s not even one. Remnants of this idea are still present in this film and are extremely present in She-Wolf of London. We might talk about this a little later. Scenes where the make-up had to be gradually applied became more common in the soon to come crossovers, but not in this film in particular. It was originally designed for Henry Hull, star of Werewolf of London, but Henry didn’t have the balls that were passed from Lon’s father.

Lon Chaney Jr., who plays The Wolf Man, and was born Creighton Tull Chaney (and change it to many other things) is well known for exaggeration, and his accounts of the make-up on the first film are both hilarious and miserable at the same time. He had to sit for HOURS, motionless, not even allowed to go to the bathroom or to get lunch when everybody else was. It sometimes went as far as having tiny fishing nails dug into the sides of the skin of his hands so they would remain motionless during close-ups. Fortunately for him, unfortunately for our sick twisted humor, very little of this is true.

When half the make-up was done he was granted a two-hour break, and during a certain Parody Crossover he was allowed to finish the process the next day. And I thought I overblew things. How the process was actually done was to have Lon wear a plaster mold that kept him absolutely still while his image was drawn onto the frames of film. Then he would go to Jacky Pierce’s office and get some yak hair glued on, repeat the process with new hair. This was done about 6 times per transformation scene, and I can’t imagine it was that bad, but I still give props for it because make-up is a hard thing to put up with, at least the way I see it.

Though the first to create the popular image of the Werewolf, Werewolf films existed before this. Obviously, Werewolf of London in 1935, and also The Wolf Man in 1924, Wolf Blood in 1925, and even in 1913 The Werwolf. Lon Chaney Jr., before his unfortunate death, has called The Wolf Man his baby. Well, the baby’s now a full 70 years old, can it still take our souls and transform them to beasts? Let’s dive in and see. Certificate Number Alert: #7,973

My biggest problem with the movie is the monster design, and I know you’ll kill me for this so I’ll go through as fast as possible. While I appreciate the legacy of The Wolf Man’s signature look, and it’s certainly not distractingly corny, it’s not scary in the slightest. The film that won the Academy Award for Best Make-Up in 2010 was the remake of this film, and even then that looked like just a movie monster. This guy, while not distracting, is a tad bit silly. He’s nowhere near a wolf even, he’s basically a Sasquatch/Tarzan/Lion/Ship-Shape Why am I British Sophisticated Hobbity Doo-Dah Fine Fellow mesh. I guess this might have scared audiences back then, but take a look at Werewolf of London from 1935, which shows in my opinion better and scarier make-up, 6 years prior.

Bela Lugosi, fresh off the success of Ygor in Son of Frankenstein, stepped up for another horror role in this film. Since Son of Frankenstein, he had been typecast in more horror films such as The Gorilla, The Dark Eyes of London, Black Friday, The Devil Bat, Invisible Ghost, and a different version of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Black Cat. In this film, he plays a much smaller role in the form of “Bela” (really, Universal, really) one of two gypsies that is responsible for fortunes being told. He plays the role basically like this: If Count Dracula has been on crack all this time, and finally got off the stuff. Bela Lugosi plays Bela Lugosi, and that’s it.

Lon Chaney Jr., on the other hand, is a totally different story. His character is 3-dimensional, and is just a regular human being, one of our own. He’s no hollywoodized superstar nor is he a crazy beast, as Larry Talbot he is simply simple. Lon Chaney Jr. became the character, like Schwarzenegger became The Terminator. Whenever he gets emotional, I end up getting emotional to, but I really relate to this character probably more than the average person. This shows some truly talented acting. As The Wolfman, he plays a pretty good performance too.

I’d say his Larry performance is better, but this is still noteworthy. His motions are not that of a Wolf, per say, but maybe look a little bit deeper than that. He moves as if in the middle of a spectrum between a normal man and a hungry beast, rabid and fierce, and that’s pretty damn awesome when you can nail that down. If there was only one movie that would define Universal Chillers, it would be this film. The lighting is dark and unforgiving, and very concealing, having the forest represent the place where the beast inside roams free. They also make the forest feel more authentic by often times using the shadows of the leaves in the branches that are in the forest.

Fog is fucking everywhere…no, I mean fucking everywhere. I MEAN FUCKING EVERYWHERE. Ever set is iconic and memorable, and feels foreign yet superior for a Universal film; but also feels right in place. It’s just great creepiness overall, but would you expect any less? In the last few sequels I have reviewed, I have stated that the soundtrack has weakened the film. While the quiet moments in this film still reign powerful, this is the first one so far where the soundtrack is actually a good one. It never changes to a jarred feeling, however does vary a lot. It assists in the emotions meant to be portrayed through scenes very much, and overall is just a really cool soundtrack. The only bad thing about it is that it can get very repetitive, especially during the climax of the film.

I love the story of this film, and I mean love it. Simple yet effective and refreshing, it tells the story of a man dealing with the beast inside, just trying to be normal, but everything surrounding him and the curse inside are the very last things to help with him. It’s a story that I personally relate with majorly (again, huh) but I think anybody can find fascinating. I also love the chemistry and conflict between Larry and his lover. I don’t know about you, but I was just picturing me in that situation, and by the end it just got down to me.

Overall, his film is just awesome. I feel repetitive saying this for a Universal Monster Movie, especially for the first in a series. An excellent story, great main characters but maybe work could be done on the minor characters. The atmosphere is stupendous and the soundtrack is satisfactory. Maybe the make-up isn’t exactly scary, but it’s still iconic. 5.3/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off.

Son of Frankenstein (1939)

“If the house is filled with dread, place the beds head to head.” - Old Superstition.

As stated before, the English ban on Horror ended what was officially called the “first Universal horror cycle” (though I debate on what that horror cycle actually is.) When Universal’s first Dracula and Frankenstein films were re-released as a drive-in double feature, it felt like the greatest thing since sliced bread and people were rushing to the theaters. Universal took notice of this and decided to make a new Monster Movie dealing with one of these two monsters while interest was still so freaking high. Thus, Son of Frankenstein was born! This movie gained a lot of success and inspired Universal to enjoy another two decades of popular horror movies through 1960.

Though Universal has made many monster/horror movies afterwards, such as Jurassic Park, Jaws, The Incredible Hulk, King Kong, Child’s Play, 3 remakes of their classics (Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolf Man), two sequels to The Mummy, and the tribute Van Helsing; one can at least compromise that 1960 was the very end of Universal’s prime as the masters of horror. It’s like this: you smell the bar of chocolate (1913-1923), you then eat the bar of chocolate (1925-1936), you then lick as much of the chocolate you can off of your hands (1939-1946), and then you can keep trying other bars but not ones you want to eat all the way through (1951-1960).

Do you understand what I’m saying? No? Good. After Lil’ Jimmy Fish departed from Universal Pictures, Universal selected Rowland V. Lee [Robert E. Lee] to direct this film. RVL[REL]’s filmography explores dramatic themes, isolation, father-son relationships, security and responsibility, and it more than shows in this film. Universal’s Phantom of the Opera (1925) is one of the films many will note as pioneering color techniques, along with Wizard of Oz (1939), and Gone with the Wind (1939). Phantom had a short pastel-looking scene which was in full but unfortunately lacking vividness artificial after-effects color, as opposed to Wizard and Gone’s work of Technicolor.

It was a huge surprise in 1925, and Universal would honor that tradition with Phantom of the Opera (1943) in full Technicolor, which was probably a good cash in after Wizard and Gone became so popular. Unfortunately, aside from that, the only similarity to Lon Chaney Sr.’s classic is Stage 28, which still has not been taken down because anytime they try t o take it down someone has lost their life; speculation occurs that Lon Chaney Sr. doesn’t want that set to go down, and it is his ghost. Spooky but untrue may I say. *record skip* OKAY THAT’S GOING TO FAR LOONEY - I MEAN LON.

Apparently Soundstage 28 was destroyed in a fire, and it this was confirmed in Brittany Murphy’s LAST Red Carpet interview before she died of cancer. Really, Lon? REALLY? You’re going THAT FAR?!?! The point I’m trying to get to here is that Universal and Color went hand-in-hand, and this film is actually no exception. Originally mean to but dropped for budget, this film was indeed planned to be in full Technicolor. And honestly, I appreciate it not being, because a classic chiller is more of a chiller in cold, dark, unwelcoming black and white. As Boris Karloff’s last role as Frankenstein, and Bela Lugosi’s first role as Ygor, let’s see just how much Son of Frankenstein holds up in today’s day and age.

Okay, I’m adding a new section to our marathon. Throughout seeing these Universal Monsters Movies, I’ve noticed on occasional there’s a little sticker in the opening credits that says “Approved by the MPAA, Certificate #12456788839092048549506850302” or something to that effect. Although I was able to successfully assume this, I decided to Google what an MPAA Certificate number is and apparently I was right - it is the order in which films are approved by the MPAA. According to this website I found, it’s url being http://members.chello.nl/~a.degreef/Filmnummers.html, the first to ever be approved was 1934’s The World Moves On.

I assume this means that the MPAA started with the Hays office. I’ve decided to keep this website as a source and see how far in history we can get. The list will be posted somewhere in the upper portion of the Halloween 2011 page, and see just how much film has progressed in history. Bride of Frankenstein was the 768th approval, and Dracula’s Daughter was the 2,109th approval, with Son of Frankenstein being approved for No. 4987. Those are some really big leaps in film history in only a condensed 4 years, and these numbers will be presented as side notes for later reviews.

Now onto the meat of the review, hopefully at least. This film takes up where Bride of Frankenstein left off *whisper whisper whisper* I’m playing the wrong game? *whisper whisper whisper* That’s not her name? *whisper whisper* This is a formal essay?!?! *you’re going insane* WHAT DO YOU MEAN TAKES PLACE AFTER THE FIRST MOVIE??! Yes, we’re going a little Millennium Eiga DaiKaiju Toho on our poor, unfortunate souls, and ignoring all but the first movie. Which is a shame, since Bride IS actually better than the first, unlike Godzilla Raids Again and other films of the series.

It’s been an untold amount of years, but I would guess somewhere in the vicinity of a decade and a half since the events of the first film. Baron Wolf von Frankenstein, portrayed by the excellent Basil Rathbone (which we’ll get to a little later), is the title character, “Son of Frankenstein.”  He has come with his wife and daughter from America to Germany to pick up some inheritance and eventually settle down in the town. Unfortunately he is met with pure hatred from the memories of The Monster, and is approached by Ygor, played by Bela Lugosi. That’s all I’m going to say for now.

This is another really good premise, having insane amounts of conflict to be allowed in the situation between each character, and eventually sets up for the Baron to go completely bonkers and wind up in a $5 Looney Bin. It also goes into how to let go of any bias to see the truth in each other. This goes for both Wolf and the Villagers. Okay, I would just like to put out there that this movie runs FAST. I mean FAST. At many points in the film I wanted to type some notes down, however I ended up getting too enthralled in how the story was progressing. The pacing is ridiculously good, but it never becomes overwhelming, the story still takes its time to explain itself.

The soundtrack is another mixed bag, as a soundtrack probably will never beat no soundtrack in a Universal chiller. While it does portray the moods of each scene - chilling, surprise, disturbing, gay, what have you  - am I the only one who wonders if it is maybe too LOUD?!?! Too over-the-top? Too forced, almost sometimes the film is reliant on the soundtrack? It is meant to compliment the film, the film is not meant to compliment the soundtrack, and it’s close to bordering if not bordering that very fine line in between. The atmosphere is fantastic, but would you not expect out of a Universal Monster film? Scenes are dark, cold, frightening, and unforgiving in light, while being awesome in and of itself also reflects Wolf’s situation in the Land of Frankenstein.

As I mentioned earlier, Bela Lugosi played Ygor in this film. Since the original Dracula, he had been typecast in the Edgar Allen Poe films, White Zombie, Island of Lost Souls, Mark of the Vampire and The Invisible Ray. His career had also mirrored Boris’ not just in typecast but also an oddity right after his first success, The Black Camel, along with a trippy adventure/mystery film, his being the Chandu films and Mr. Wong. He had also declined being Frankenstein in 1931, as stated before, but also that same year The Hunch­­­­back of Notre Dame, and The Invisible Man in 1932, that to be taken by Claude Rains a year later.

He also turned down a proposed sequel to Frankenstein, The Return of Frankenstein. After Dracula’s Daughter, he was successful in not being typecast until 1939’s The Phantom Creeps, in which lead him to this film. I guess his idea was “if I’m gonna be typecast for Horror films, I might as well try to change up my role in horror films.” Dwight Frye is somewhere in this movie, though I cannot say where exactly, but he makes a small cameo as a villager. Contrary to many popular beliefs, Ygor is NOT Fritz. Fritz died, and that’s that. Ygor is a completely different character, who relates to the monster by being…they are both dead, yet alive at the same time.

I’ll let you figure out how that works yourselves, when you watch these movies. Honestly, Ygor is a mixed bag. His character is fucking fantastic, he brings out the strange fascination living humans have with death in all of us, and his dialogue is short but compelling. Take this line for an example: “They die dead. I die live!” Unfortunately and unbelievably Bela Lugosi does not do the best job with him, making Ygor a cheesy, over-the-top Circus Attraction. I know, I’m stunned too. There’s no true insanity in Lugosi’s acting, but it is there in his dialogue. Hmm, Bela, I do in fact wonder why you were typecast all this time?

Karloff plays the monster for the last time in a full-length motion picture, although he would continue to play the monster in TV episodes. He is given so precious little active screen time, and during that screen time he was stripped of the ability to talk. After all, according to this film, Bride did not happen, so Dr. Pretentious Douchebag over there couldn’t teach The Monster to actually talk. For what shallow opportunity he is handed, he does pretty well with that role, after all he did amazing with it in the previous two films. The monster is written just like the original role Karloff played, which isn’t bad per say but it’s nothing new.

Even in none-Frankenstein films he had better treatment after The Bride as far as role-casting, with The Black Room, The Invisible Ray, The Walking Dead (wait wat), The Invisible Menace and The Devil’s Island. Unfortunately this doesn’t change the fact that being typecast for horror films must have been absolutely painful for him.

Sir Raisin Bath-Bone, who hails from South Africa believe it or not, has the first mention of this marathon in this film. He’s probably most famous for his roles in many Sherlock Holmes films, but I know him from here as Wolf von Frankenstein; and his roles vary beyond, such as Shakespearian plays and Swashbucklers. He performs his character appropriately, as he is written a character who is always trying to be intelligent and out of that in this crazy ass situation is slowly going insane. I wouldn’t go so far as to compare his work to the main stars of the Universal horror films, but I would say he does a fine shipshapewhamibritishsophisitcatedhobbitydoodah job. All other actors besides the main three are bland and underwhelming.

The dialogue is nothing to speak of, it is basically trying to re-do the magic of the original and coming off as a little redundant and cheap; this is of course other than Ygor. Now I must mention something I found hilarious as a kid, and I find hilarious now. Ygor has some sort of Flute/Trumpet hybrid, probably from Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory; that he plays all around the village. It is meant to combine a soundtrack element and a plot element all into one, but it just ends up parodying the common soundtrack of a universal film and it is HILARIOUS. It’s something that you might see in Young Frankenstein!

Something you could say makes this film a tad bit weaker is the unusually happy ending that rings of adventure movies rather than horror films. Well, what are my overall thoughts on the film? While it has a great premise, sometimes it is sloppy in its execution not knowing when to execute what emotions when. It has a great atmosphere, dark, cold and chilling. The actors are a mixed bag but mostly negative, in fact nobody gives a great performance. It parodies itself, has an overwhelming soundtrack, and whatever moral stance it was trying to pull over is over shadowed greatly, with a serious lack of interaction between the villagers and Wolf. Overall, it’s not as good as the original but, still worth your time if you’re a fan of these things. I give it a 4/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Next time, things get a little bit…hairy.

Dracula's Daughter (1936)

“Perhaps there are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamed of in your psychiatry, Mr. Garth.” - Countess Mary Zaleska, Dracula’s Daughter. 75 years later, it's still just as true.

I am deeply disappointed in you people. Why has this movie gotten no attention? Of all the Universal movies, it is probably the best to call a Cult Classic. The original movies, like Frankenstein, Dracula, Bride of Frankenstein, and even Son of Frankenstein, all from the 1930’s have gotten loads of attention as the definitive chillers, and masterpieces in general. The 40’s movies have been seen as good, cheesy fun, pioneering the Monster Mash. Yet nobody gives a hand at this one, and I don’t know why. Something different about this movie from the 30’s version is that they all had names.

People like Colin Clive, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, James Whale, Tod Browning and Carl Laemelle had all been attached to these movies beforehand. James Whale was originally to direct this one, but he was waiting to see if he could get his hands on Show Boat. Carl wanted to get these movies out faster, and piss off the censors even more, and had no patience with Lil’ Jimmy Fish. So Carl replaced Lil’ Jimmy Fish with A. Edward Sutherland, whose fimography consisted of absolutely no horror films before hand, and no horror films afterwards. Couldn’t get Tod Browning, now could you Carl?

And no, I don’t count The Invisible Woman as a horror film.

Lugosi, Colin Clive and Karloff had been set to be in the movie (okay, that would have been fucking amazing) but that never went through. I can’t say anything about Karloff and Colin Clive, but I suspect them being filler characters, and Lugosi wouldn’t work since the original Dracula is dead in this movie. But let’s not be like Bram Stoker and tell the first chapter first. Dracula’s Guest was a short story originally intended as the first chapter of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, however the publisher deemed it unnecessary. It is almost completely meant for atmosphere, as an unnamed character who seems to be Jonathon Harker encounters a female vamp[ire], goes in one big circle and makes friends with a really big white wolf.

As stupid as that sounds, that’s just my idiotic interpretation. I haven’t even read the God Damn thing. Metro Goldwyn Meyer, now defunct and owned by Walt Disney Pictures (won’t everything by 2020? That or Microsoft) originally purchased the story to make a movie out of, but fearing that having “Dracula” in the title would have Universal taking action (AND LOSING YOU IDIOTS. THIS IS WHY YOU ARE DEFUNCT AND SOLD TO WALT DISNEY PICTURES) and so they sold the rights to Universal with the intent to adapt it. The film holds absolutely no bearing to the original source Material, but that’s how Universal roles, from 1931 to 2010.

Gloria Holden, the main star of the movie, had her first acting role here, and was apparently displeased by it. Why you ask? Well, since Bela had been so typecast over the years; with such films as Murders in the Rouge Morgue, White Zombie, Island of Lost Souls, The Black Cat, The Raven, Mark of the Vampire, and The Invisible Ray; she feared she would be typecast herself. Seems as if that didn’t happen because I haven’t even heard of any movies she later starred in. Yes, that means she wasn’t in any horror films. After this film, officially the first cycle of Universal Horror films would be complete, due to an English ban on horror films cutting too deeply into the revenue.

I beg to differ that the cycles ran this way: 1913, 1923-1929, 1931-1939, 1940-1945, 1946, 1948-1955, 1954-1960. Somehow my first three groups are clumped together, but who knows. It was made a little too carefully as far as sexual themes go, as opposed to the rumors of Bride of Frankenstein, Universal and Fans agree there were very strong implications of Dracula’s Daughter being a lesbian. This has always been around in the literature of Vamps, and had to be toned down to a confusing middle range of intensity that would just get passed the censorboards yet will still make you say “umm….yeah….wow, okay then…yeeaaah…ummm.”

But anyways, 75 years later, does it still deserve that cult following it has today? Let’s dive in and see.

The film picks up exactly where the original left off, however only with two returning cast members. Bela Lugosi, as a cameo of the Dead Dracula, and Edward Van Sloan playing Van Helsing. Renfield is also is this film but is obviously portrayed by an imposter, and making even less of a dead cameo than Lugosi himself. It is speculated that Lugosi was paid $4,000 for that appearance only, however Lugosi and his estate have said no on several occasions. Edward Van Sloan, surprisingly, is doing better than his original job. Part of that is how his character is written.

In the original, he was a curious scientist who is just figuring out the dead, and to save his company. However, in this film he is a man who knows the truth, yet would be ostracized for speaking the truth which is necessary for humanity. He decides to speak the truth, and stand by his words, no matter what trouble it gets him in, and it allows him to be more of a madman, which is what I think Eddy wanted to do all this time. Gloria Holden plays Countess Mary Zeleska, as I have said before, AKA Dracula’s Daughter. I hate to say it, even while she didn’t even want the role, her work is comparable to that of Lugosi’s.

She portrays the emotions that her character is written perfectly; that being a fully-rounded 3 dimensional character, who has multiple emotions; such as longing to human, vampirism like hunger, the thrill of life and death, confusion, longing for her father, and a sexual drive; however at the same time being able to speak and move slowly to portray a corpse like mood, almost as if she was really dead; along with eyes that look tired and old yet on a body that looks young and naïve. Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages, Friends and Neighbors, THAT is a run-on sentence.

Most other actors are stupid, cliché, annoying, unoriginal and so utterly forgettable I probably don’t even remember who I’m talking about. WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?!!??! WHAT IS THIS SPIDAH STEW INFRONT OF ME!! STOP WHATTING ME!!! The soundtrack is a mixed bag. While sometimes it feels of stupidity and cliché, other times it helps the atmosphere grow absolutely, sometimes chaotic or creepy, and overall I would say it’s a good soundtrack. The atmosphere is near perfect. With the greatness that was Dracula’s Castle to aid them for only 15-20 minutes, they bring up the humidifier and darkness to the most possible maximum without disturbing the cast, crew or audience.

The lighting is a very dark gray, almost becoming a chocolate like brown; possibly meaning to say that despite the illusion of sweetness the truth inside her body is dangerous and satanic. It does look a lot more colorful than the original, which I think is suiting for the plot. Scenes in the forest, which would later translate to The Wolf Man, look extremely misty, dark, and have a sense of being lost in a strange land with a strange person; which heightens the creep factor to maximum. While we’re treading on the subject, I’ll quickly mention that the cinematography is a mixed bag. It has varying camera angles and is anything but still and static, however is not used to portray anything other than how the camera moves; as opposed to the former year’s Bride of Frankenstein which helped make the emotional stance of the characters concrete.

I gave it a half fleeting mention earlier, but the story here is extremely compelling. Dracula’s Daughter is the story of, duh, Dracula’s Daughter. She knows what she must do to survive, and she embraces it, however when presented with an escape she must choose between the human world and the world of her father; and in this many conflicting emotions and events that cause such come up. I’m sorry, but I really love this story. The thought of release from an endless prison, yet the endless prison being one that cannot let go of you, is one that easily creates a fully rounded character of the Countess. It’s almost like someone who is trying to escape from a verbally or worse physically abusive relationship.

The dialogue is standard. It portrays what is meant for the film well, and gives the actors/actresses the abilities to show what they have; however it is cliché and feels less innovative. Because you see, sometimes you can’t say it’s cliché because it’s old; the truly classic films cannot be reproduced, only imitated, and when you view the classics it is more successful at what it portrays than any of its following imitations. This critique is of course not applying to Edward Van Sloan, who’s Van Helsing character has dialogue that is extremely fascinating, factual yet supernatural and emotional and very much mystic.

Overall, I love this film. I stated before that it deserves much more attention, and I believe that now again. It actually successfully improves the atmosphere, cinematography and dialogue from its predecessor, and has an extremely fascinating story that even goes beyond the original’s tale. The original is probably only superior in academic quality; those being innovation, popular opinion and cultural influence; and also the acting in Dracula’s Daughter is far below the first. You guys are going to hate me for this, but I’m actually going to give this movie a slightly higher rating than Bela Lugosi’s version, a 5/5.

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Next time, Frankenstein has children of his own...

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) (RE-POST DUE TO GLITCH)

WARNING: Monster May Demand Mate.

WARNING: Review is spoiler moderate, but I assume a lot of this information is common knowledge due to the film's fame.

Just wanna make one thing clear. Though it is academically and technically better, I do prefer viewing the English Dracula, personally. Now that I’ve got that madness ($parta) out of the way, let’s talk about a movie that MAY actually be better than its predecessor. At least, most people seem to think so. While the famous movie had themes and a basic outline from the original novel; and even bettered the biggest two characters, there really wasn’t much from the novel included. This movie makes ties a little bit tighter. But before we get onto that, what tides did it have to swim through to get to this point?

Though this film was released in 1935, it actually started production right as soon as the first movie received its immense success. James Whale knew he was directing a horror movie that was immensely shocking back then, as we covered last time. So he decided to try to go as far as possible, to the point where the death count resembles that of a Slasher film! One deleted scene involves Dwight Frye’s Karl’s (he’s not Fritz here Bheema, do your damn editing) Nephew killing his uncle and blaming the monster. Sounds pretty damn grim and I wish that scene existed today.

It almost seems that the rivalry between Universal and The Censor Boards was intentional, maybe to honor someone or just to piss people off? To send a message? Who knows. So in addition to that, they added many Christian themed scenes, one famous is when The Monster tries to rescue a stone Jesus Christ from the Cross…speaking of which, if Jesus ever comes back (:p) do you think he’ll want to see a single cross?!?! Of course also the comparisons of Henry’s work to God. They even had to tone down Mary’s dress…and we’ll get into that in a bit.

Even after that, the censor history would continue. IT’S A GODDAMN HORROR MOVIE PEOPLE. It was challenged by the state of Ohio, but eventually approved. England and China refused a scene where the Monster gazed longingly at The Bride because they thought it reflected Necrophilia…VERY MUCH I THANK YOU AND NICE DAY YOU HAVE. Universal voluntarily removed the film from Sweden due to extensive cuts that make Kansas look like Horror Movie Central. It was also rejected outright by what was Palestine (Israel today) and Hungary. The weirdest occurrence was when Japan refused to have Dr. Pretorius chase his King Henry VIII with tweezers because it “made a fool out of a king.”

wat?

Well, it’s gone through a lot, and some people have even said it is the greatest Horror picture in history. But can it hold up a full 76 years later? Let’s dive in and see.

The film starts out not in the Universe of Frankenstein but in the universe of it’s creators. No, not Carl Laemmle and James Whale, but Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, her fiancé and the Byron. The conversation has always be interesting for me since I saw it in Elementary School, but it is especially fascinating as a fan of storytelling and the ways it is constructed and made. The only downfall is it essentially serves as a memory refresher, which is understandable but it seems unnecessary today as opposed to yesterday’s day of no home video. It also honors the novel with the phrase “that wasn’t the end at all” hinting at the idea of “that wasn’t the story at all.”

This leads into the plot of the film, which adds a lot more from the original story. It is technically based off of a subplot where in the novel the Monster interrupts Victor on his wedding day by way of murdering his loved one. The monster then demands a mate, however in the novel the Doctor destroys it by sudden irrational though, not wanting to unleash another beast when I would think they would just get the fuck out and live on the deer. Thus, monster gets really mad and shit really hits the fan. It also brings in the idea of the Monster talking, which happened in the novel and he became a sophisticated, misunderstood character that way.

Again, I prefer if it had a little more to do with his sudden emotions than just his appearance, but maybe that’s because I’m in a 2011 environment and the novel was written in an 1816 environment, when slavery in the USA was not to be abolished for close to half a century. Or it may be because my emotions are sudden and unpredictable, and I misunderstand myself, yet I tend to be a smarter personality among my group. This film takes that route differently. It goes more Ceaser Salad. And yes, not Ceaser Style, Ceaser Salad. He cannot say many things and when it comes out it is mushed and lacks any advanced grammar or sentence structure but the things he says with being rare are also powerful, provocative and mostly profound; which aids the story a ton.

It also introduces the Blind Hermit from the original novel, although how the monster comes across him and his current living statues is changed and under-explained. I think they also made a good decision out of how the monster learned to talk from him. Because it wasn’t out of revenge, which is such a shallow and human emotion. It was more out of finding acceptance and taking full advantage of it, which lead to the monster using what he learned in that acceptance against the man who caused this all in the first place. That, friends and neighbors, ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, is good storytelling right there.

A famous scene is also hinted at from the novel, where the Monster looks at himself in the water and sees his ugly self. He does this in here, but doesn’t draw any conclusion, possibly accepting himself and only wishing to be accepted. It also hints at the observation of other humans, which was a fucking big deal in the novel; but here it only extends to intruding on a marshmallow roast. Seriously. This might also be a good time to talk about some of the Gay suspected symbolism. Many people who worked on the film, including Colin Clive himself, are suspected to be bisexual or gay, and James Whale is well known as homosexual.

While many of his associates and himself disprove it, and I’m sure it is not his intention, it could have been some gay symbolism slipped in via the subconscious. The hermit brought me to this, as many have seen their relationship as romantic. I really don’t know about this. Sometimes friendships are that close without sexual attraction, and if you wanna get all philosophical on our asses friendship is just another word for love. Sex all you want but that isn’t love. But romance is love. Do you have romantic relationships with your family? No, but you love them.

Blah, blah, I say friendship is another word for love. Point is that this comes in when the villagers burn down the house, not being accepting of the others in our society. Again guys, it’s a physically different and mentally disabled 8 foot dude and a blind, old man. IT DOESN’T HAFT TO BE HOMOSEXUAL! It has also been said that Dr. Pretorius chasing Dr. Frankenstein away from his girl is seen as bisexual/gay. It’s not made clear in the movie and I can’t really say which way, but since Lil’ Jimmy Fish didn’t intend it (oh God somebody is gonna make a sex joke outta that one) I would lean towards no.

When the movie was novelized (YOU ALL FAIL) it was made clear that Frankenstein was bi and Pretorius was homosexual, with a line essentially going “Be Fruitful and Multiply, said God, you have the choice to do it the natural, intended way but I can only find myself engaging in the scientific manner.” Maybe it is not these major plot elements so easily picked apart but some small, subtle and virtually unmentionable lines of dialogue that truly get around the subconscious messages of homosexual life that most haft to go through. Many people cite the film mocking Christianity.

Such examples being The Monster trying to rescue Jesus from the cross (again with that scene) being a symbol for the idiocy of the Christian symbols. Seriously, Jesus was killed there, do you think he wants to see crosses when he comes back? If he does? This is again shown as something violent being crucified when the villagers tie The Monster do a cross, which seems out of place and I’m going to side with yes as far as symbolism goes. But really guys, don’t be such idiots. From the first film, hell, from the original novel anti-Christian messages have been spread and by Universal’s first SteinFranken film it was quite obvious without becoming spoonfed. If you’re going to associate it with only this film I feel very sorry for you, and I’m 15.

With that, maybe we can cover some other things, even plot devices if there are any left to pick apart. So the film kicks off the main story exactly where we left off, and with identical actors, almost as if they had not changed. It already starts off with good script writing, filled with irony and constantly changing and varying moral stances, possibly saying “sometimes nobody is right.” Reminds me of a quote from a book I reviewed recently “For whom is it good; for nobody is it good.”  Constantly the literary techniques used extremely wells how up throughout the film and it becomes overwhelming just how good the scripting is. That’s a good thing, duh.

Returning actors such as Colin Clive and Dwight Frye do their jobs just as well if not better than the original at parts. Elizabeth has a bigger role, and though her character is cliché  - even for a 30’s movie - and sometimes stupid, her actor does her job extremely well especially given the role she is given. Some new actors who’s roles most people don’t remember are cheesy to the point of unbearability, (the new word invention stick strikes again), most notably Una O’Conner as Minnie. She’s not even funny, she’s just annoying. It is a monster movie but it’s a 30’s Universal monster movie, I can expect good acting!

This is what made the careers of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Claude Rains GOD DAMMIT! Speaking of whom, Boris Karloff himself does a pretty damn good job. In the original he was fantastic, you can refer yourselves to that review right below this one for my take on that. However he was given kind of an easy role last time. While it’s still a provocative character he was mostly written for the anger to show on the outside. That’s an easy fix for an actor. In this film, his anger feels more on the inside, but not to the point where he feels NORMAL like he once did in the book.

In this way the character is improved, as I mentioned early with some good ol’ Ceaser Salad. But also Boris Karloff pulls this off extremely well, in fact better than the original performance he gave, and that also deserves some major props. He had been in countless successful films after Frankenstein, though a lot of his career lies before then. He had been typecast a lot in The Old Dark House, The Mummy, The Ghoul, The Black Cat and The Raven. He also starred in some more different roles, such as The Mask of Fu Manchu and Scarface. However, even with SEY ALLOH 2 MAH LIL’ FREH he was marketed as Boris “Frankenstein” Karloff.

(Yes, I know the version with SEY ALLOH 2 MAH LIL' FREH is from the 90's)

I absolutely love the actor for the Blind Hermit, played by O.P. Heggie. I love this guy, the dialogue he is written is very wise, and his actor is slow and calm like a blind hermit would be. Even when he is excited he never gets anywhere near chaotic, all but the sort. He seems almost out of a religious movie as the wise sage sent from God yet humble at the same time. He was probably the most emotional character for me personally, I think the monster and the hermit weren’t the only ones crying. It’s too much a shame that he had to go so early in the film, but a good plot is a good plot. Dr. Pretorious’ actor, Ernest Thesiger, is quite well known in the horror film community, and maybe just the film community in general.

He also starred in 1951’s A Christmas Carol, Henry V, Ceaser and Cleopartra and The Ghoul, among close to 45 others. His character is the representation of cunning as far as this film goes, and he’s such a joy to watch sometimes. Especially when he gets drunk. He isn’t the main event of actors here but he is a treat. Lastly, Elsa Lanchester is both Mary Wollstencraft Shelley and The Bride of Frankenstein. While playing extremely small roles she plays both of them appropriately but nothing that strikes me as spectacular. The pacing in this movie is incredible.

While I can’t say I ever get really bored of a Universal Monster movie, sometimes they can lose their pace and start to feel unnaturally slow. This is the 1930’s so really that’s kind of a problem if it is unusually slow. I typically start to wonder what our count is around 30 minutes, but at the time I suddenly realized that it was 30 minutes in I only felt about 10-15 minutes of one of these films go by. So, needless to say, the story and script was picked up and improved on extremely, major props for that. The lighting in this movie, while never being inaccurate to the scene, is creepy when can be. Perfect for a chiller, and I’m writing this during the grave robbing scene.

I think these films are so much better in Black and White, and I don’t know if I really need to explain that. The Camera work is also pretty good. I can’t say it’s anywhere near perfect; the amount of movement is almost none and is mostly done with cuts. However the amount of angles and how it is used to build the atmosphere and character is pretty great. Lower and higher angles are used appropriately for the character situations, many of them and they are always very interesting. I would say it is the best pioneering camera work pre-1950, and 6 years before Citizen Kane.

One thing I can’t say I like about this movie is the soundtrack. Though a minor complaint, it doesn’t seem very serious. It has a whimsy feeling and I don’t know if that’s right for an emotional chilling creature feature. I’d say it’s one of the problems with this movie and maybe just having no soundtrack like the original ould have been a better idea. Overall…this movie is…amazing. Definitely the best movie we’ve reviewed so far, and possibly one of my favorites.

It increases the awesomeness of the acting, characters and atmosphere that was already present in the first installment, brings a whole new cast that is mixed, an incredible pacing, and does a good job of honoring the original novel; though I can’t be that good about the soundtrack; but most of all the script and camera work are some of the best in film history and definitely at that time era. With all things considered, 5.6/5 would be a fair grade to give.

I, Da Ca$hman singing off.

Frankenstein (1931)

“It’s moving…oh, it’s alive! It’s alive…It’s alive, it’s moving…It’s alive! Oh it’s alive! IT’S ALIVE!! IT’S ALIVE!! IT’S ALIVE!!! Oh, oh, oh, in the name of God, now I know how it feels to be God!” - Dr. Henry Frankenstein, Mr. Colin Clive. 80 years later, it’s still just as insane.

After the monumental success of Dracula, Universal decided to re-create another one of the most famous horror stories, that being the one of The Modern Prometheus; or Frankenstein. Because of that success, they wanted Bela Lugosi to play the part of the Monster. Being the man of the art he was, he refused because he didn’t want to wear freaking 7 pounds of make-up alone on his forehead, let alone everything else. So the man originally born as William Henry Pratt  would take to the silver screen. Boris Karloff, not many people know this, had been in about 80 films before then.

He was one of the most successful silent era actors that is not known today for his silent films. Unfortunately, only about two films he was in was maybe have been heard of by…anybody. First there was the 1920 film The Last of the Mohicans, based off the novel of the same name. There was also Tarzan and the Golden Lion, from 1927. Unfortunately, no really important role would happen until Frankenstein, despite Boris’ success. Frankenstein would be immensely successful, becoming the highest grossing film of the year. Both him and Bela would go on to star in many classic films, horror or not, but they would always be typecast as their respective monsters.

Even in a film which is not so much a horror, Scarface, he is credited as Boris “Frankenstein” Karloff. Which of course reminds us that the confusion between DR. FRANKENSTEIN and FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER has persisted to this day. When first released, it angered censor boards even more than Dracula. I can presume statewide censor boards didn’t take too kindly to the folks at Universal. It went as far as cutting out half the film, 32 scenes, in the state of Kansas. Famous examples are the line “Now I know how it feels to be God!” A close of up of the poison injection, and of course the famous scene with The Monster, The Girl, and the Lilly pads.

But that didn't stop it from becoming immensely famous. This might be due to Universal's hyping. As you will see in this review a little later, an opening warns audiences that the weak of heart  should not watch this film. They even had ambulances parked outside of the theater and nurses in the lobby in case people had heart attacks! Well, that's what we're supposed to think. Many people see this as a "Black and White classic" when it was nothing of the sort. When audiences first saw this film the daylight scenes were in amber, the night in pale blue, the eerie scenes in green and the climax in fiery red.

This film over 8 decades is still probably one of the most famous, if not the most famous. At least it is the most famous Movie Monster and Monster Movie. It holds a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and is one of only three monster films on AFI’s Top 100. The others being King Kong and Jaws. I’m not gonna go so far as to count E.T. and Close Encounters as monster films. But it has been 8 decades. I do wonder if it still holds up today. So let’s see if James Whale’s Frankenstein Screams of the Living, or burns down to the ground just like a windmill in a horror film climax. Let’s dive right in.

Much like that of Dracula, this film has an exterior notice by Edward Van Sloan of the film’s then shocking content. I love it. Again, certainly cheesy and tongue in cheek - the likes of which Edward I believe was knowledgeable of this trait - however again pulls off the chilling atmosphere that is necessary for this film. It’s surreal, I must say, and if only just a person talking to the audience. You want to know the creepiest part? It seems as if even after buying the ticket and getting pumped, people actually did leave after considering the strength of their heart. THAT is truly something.

The opening credit scene that follows is another surreal experience. It’s more acidic than a Disney film, even the Pink Elephants scene from Dumbo, though quiet and not chaotic. This mixture of quietness and insanity does exactly what films like Dracula and Alien do. They give the viewer the experience that they are going insane, and it also lets us know that we’re in for a real treat and at least a somewhat profound if not very profound story. But we’ve got all this and not even into the meat, let’s just go in for God’s sakes! Because I know how it feels to be God, God Dammit!

I guess maybe my need to mention the opening scenes were just out of the iconography of this film. Every single scene is memorable, and worth at least a paragraph of mention. Unfortunately talking about every scene would be over doing it, so I’ll try my best to critique what makes the scenes memorable in a generalized fashion throughout the continuation of this critique. Frankenstein’s Monster, or just The Monster, is an extremely interesting specimen of a character. Throughout generations the idea of a misunderstood big man has been copied, repackaged and reproduced everywhere from the great films such as The Goonies, to the crappy and virtually nonexistent stories found through Blanka’s role in the Street Fighter games.

But yet something stands out about him in this movie. First off, let’s analyze what made him so mad. He has the body of The Great Khali, the brain of a Murderer, and the maturity of a 4 year old. While my situation is a helluva lot less drastic, I do have Asperger’s Syndrome and this speaks to me on a person level. It reminds me of when I am trying to get an idea through, or just trying to communicate and cooperate yet something in my brain brings a portion of that at a standstill; which results in me overreacting and not being able to cope with the situation. I’ve also heard so many freaking stories about this, and even know a few people in my life who have to deal with this same sort of situation, so I completely understand what is going on with this man…monster…thing.

Like me, he did not ask for these symptoms to be brought upon him. He just wishes to live in peace, a rested mind, maybe even with one that can understand him. This was much more heavily emphasized in the book, and that brings us to one of the movies very few downfalls, and certainly a minor one. While I appreciate the attempt at subtleness for this character - the Monster in Shelley’s novel WAS NOT SUBTLE IN THE LEAST - it also leaves out the opportunity for the monster to speak his own mind. It left out that Ceaser moment where you realize that the Monster finally has control of his life, and wants to exact revenge.

It was a powerful moment in the novel, because The Monster got a voice, not just thoughts. I think that speaks volumes of how the Monster character might have been written worse in the film than in the novel. He’s still great, but only by that originating from the novel. However, this movie does have a lot of deviations from the novel aside from that, and of course I will mention them. Because I did in fact read an admittedly abridged version of the novel a few years back. A popular character from this film is often associated as Igor. Like the monster being called Frankenstein, this is a poor and unfortunate misconception.

He as not called Igor until the 3rd movie, and reappared as Igor in the 4th, however was spelled Ygor. In the first and second film, he was called Fritz. The performance put on by Dwight Frye has become a staple of horror parodies and pop culture, however Igor did not even appear until Universal’s incarnation. Both in Thomas Edison’s version and Mary Shelley’s novel, there was no Igor. Frankenstein was able to do the entire operation himself. In fact, it wasn’t even crazy ass lighting machines. You know what is in the 1910 film, but in the novel it is very vague.

Never really explained what happened. You could say Black Magic, Potions, but nothing as contrived as a giant lightning machine. Dwight Frye, who played another insane role of Renfield in Dracula, plays Fritz. Who is this film’s Renfield, in the sense that he is mentally insane and the assistant of the title character. However, I would like to vouch for the Monster being this film’s Renfield. A poor unfortunate soul (NO, THERE IS NO LITTLE MERMAID REFERRENCE HERE) who was forced into the condition he is, and has sympathy for the pure of soul yet is unable to protect them due to his own actions.

Again, a very good character idea that touches me on a personal level,  and is a lot more heartfelt than the usual formula. Fritz on the other hand is not that well written of a character and is more archetypical, and this would not be helped in alter installments. Having little to no role in Bride of Frankenstein, and having a completely villainous role in the 3rd and 4th films, I can’t give him much credit. Even Dwight Frye doesn’t put on as good of a performance, probably in knowledge that he did not have much good material to work with. Sets are gathered with subtle touches.

In the graveyard, you have an ominous still figure of Death himself on looking to Frankenstein and Fritz, digging up some old bodies. These subtle touches keep you finding new stuff each time you indulge yourself in the film, and that shows a sign of polish and good filmmaking. Again in similarity to Dracula, this film has no soundtrack for the same reasons. It also had a Spanish version created in the same fashion. Unfortunately unlike Dracula, a Philip Glass or somewhat level score has not been created, nor has there been any uncovering of the Spanish Version of Frankenstein.

THAT would be an interesting watch. Imagine “IT’S ALIVE” except 2-3x more eccentric! Having no soundtrack adds to the surreal atmosphere. It allows our suspension of disbelief to have a better time adjusting to the film, almost as if we were hearing a real story unfold. This is of course helped by the opening. And of course it isn’t a true story, but my point stands…I think. Okay, woah, woah, woah. I don’t know if you would call this nitpick time or not, but here goes anyways. Instead of a vague, who knows what the fuck scene like in the novel, we have a scientific explanation.

So combined with Frankenstein’s ramblings and what happens in the film, he uses lighting[electricity] to animate the physical body, and then uses “life’s ray” to animate the soul. The film explains that the film that the life’s ray is the one color ray that is above Ultra-Violet. However, there’s not really room. First off, Ultra-Violet is not a color, it is a different type of ray itself. All types of “color” are visible to us. After Ultra-Violet there are X-Rays, and after that there are Gamma Rays. If this ray of light truly existed, it would be more dangerous than Gamma rays! It would kill you! So the thing that makes life is the most prone of it’s type to take it away…? WHAT?

In the novel, the character of Frankenstein was good but maybe a little too convenient. He was a college student that was out to innovate science, but didn’t know what he was getting himself into. That, the Monster being himself and the innocent people in the story make that novel SO FULL OF SYMPATHY. Sympathy, Sympathy and MORE SYMPATHY! It’s almost like Citizen Kane that way. In that movie, we had too much fucking pity. Ah, we pity, pity the poor soul, yes, pity the fucking Newspaper executive?!?! Sorry Ladies and Gentlemen, almost everything in the world has flaws.

In this movie, they fix up the Frankenstein character. First off, they change his name from Victor to Henry…unnecessarily as far as I can tell. Instead of an innocent man of science, he is a guilty man of science. He is out to prove to the world that he is beyond God, and does not recognize the consequences, and through that he develops and becomes a little more of a rounded character. But he is more than to prove it to the world - he is to prove it to himself. Because he has set a standard for himself that is unreachable without consequences. He only thinks of himself, and thinks of himself highly, he does not care who he stomps through as long as he can get there. But later in the film, he realizes his mistakes and he’s just really fucking fascinating.

Really? Really? Do you REALLY want me to try to do justice to Karloff’s make-up work?...Sure, I’ll go ahead. Because I actually think this is one of the film’s weaker spots. I will give it as much as it is creative, and innovative surely. However I have some problems. Take Thomas Edison’s monster. He looked…well, like a monster. He had tattered clothes, wired hair and a wicked face. This guy has very slick hair, has a completely square head and even a freaking suit. The only redeeming quality of this design choice besides it’s innovation is  that coupled with the crazed yet lazy look on his face, it does ring to mind myself and others with mental disabilities; almost symbolizing how we are completely different people trying to fit into our modern society.

So, while it is poetic it is not by any means as intimidating as Thomas Edison’s design 21 years earlier. I love the dialogue in this film. Yes, as opposed to my opinion on Dracula. Always interesting, mostly poetic and on quite a few occasions profound, just like Dracula I could quote the entire screen play but probably for more of the right reasons. The film is also very short. It only runs at an hour and ten minutes exactly. Thus, it tells the story quite fast and concise for what the context of the film is, maybe even too fast and concise. Remember how I talked about how this felt a little more real, a little less of a strain on our suspension of disbelief?

Well, you could also say it feels a lot like a memory in that surreal sense. During the second half of the film, you always hear something in the background. Dogs barking, bells ringing, and that’s the kind of thing I find you would get in a memory or dream. The backgrounds are smudged in the climax, but that only adds to this effect. Oh, and speaking of the climax, I’ll just go right out and say that there are numerous similarities between this and Beauty and the Beast.

What are my overall thoughts? I can’t say it’s frickin’ flawless, unlike Rotten Tomatoes. The Monster’s character is inferior to the novel, his make-up is inferior to the previous film version; and its scientific inaccuracies are annoying; Fritz is an inferior character to Renfield and kind of basic. However, there are very many positives to this film. The Frankenstein character is extremely fascinating, the dialogue is delightfully and intelligently poetic, the themes in this movie touch me on a personal level and it has a weird surreal atmosphere that enhances with each viewing. I’m going to give it a 5.1/5. One of the most innovative films ever made, and a really great watch.

I, Da Ca$hman, signing off.

Dracula (Spanish Version) (1931)

Something worse than death…lies in wait for the living.” - Senior Count Dracula, Mr. Carlos Villaries. 80 Years later, it’s still pretty damn creepy.

As Linkara says in his comedic comic book reviews - wow I just got my own joke as if I had not before - TIME4BACKSTORY. Back in the days of early talkie films, while dubbing was easily an option, it was not very efficient. You would haft to gather an entire cast to re-record the lines for dubbing, and this was before digital media so you had to have the people on set recording. With all that hassle they figured that the lip-synching was not worth it, so since Hollywood actually cared about the art back then they decided to go a different route. As with Frankenstein, though that be lost, when Tod Browning was finished shooting his scenes they would leave the script, cameras and sets for a Spanish speaking crew to do their work.

“That’s Badass” - The Midnite Slammer. Legitimately, you would have two simultaneous productions. But because Spanish speaking cast & crew are more ballsy, they looked at the shots Tod had done during the day and thought to themselves how they could make it better given the same script and sets. And they were also more ballsy in more revealing of cleavage. So with better camera angles, raunchier costumes and more eccentric actors, they were able to create their own version for the Spanish speaking audience who wanted to hear Talkies for the first time.

Which, as a side note, there were also silent versions released to theaters that were not wired for talkie films. There’s not much difference there, it’s just muted with interstitials and thus is NOT a collector’s piece, unlike the Philip Glass score and this little gem of filmmaking, right here. The Spanish version of Dracula, 80 years later, so let’s see how it lives up today. Well, less than 10 minutes into the film and I already see a difference. Say I remember correctly (and the reviews of each version have been back to back, I should remember) Bela Lugosi didn’t come out of his coffin during his introduction.

It was just assumed. That’s cool, but Mr. Carlos Villaries not only emerges from the coffin but does so via levitation and mist. I honestly think even if a small portion of the film, very much deserves a mention. The sounds in this film are more apparent. Typically, when something happens in a movie, you expect it to make a certain sound. However, in this film, a lot of things make different sounds then they are supposed to. They are also very apparent and sometimes loud. This catches the audience off guard and shows a skill at filmmaking. And seriously, it’s everywhere; due to the fact that the director, Mr. George Melford  (and yes I’m going to refer to everybody here as Mr. and Ms.) was able to observe the original shots and see how it could be made better.

That last statement I’ll probably end up repeating to the depths of hell. Speaking of the audio, in the scene where Dr. Seward, Mina, Count Dracula and crew are viewing a symphony, instead of the music ending to let conversation begin, they have the symphony continuing while the conversation goes. Not my favorite choice but I’m sure it was an overall good one for most people. I don’t know, I guess I’m just one of those few bastards that likes quiet films sometimes. The camera work is at its very best. While yes, the original was innovative for how it moved, this was 3x more innovative.

Take for example, the iconic scene where Dracula greets Renfield for the first time. In the original, it was a static shot that had one cut. Here, when Renfield looks at Dracula, the camera moves all the way up the staircases finally panning on the star himself, Mr. Carlos Villaries. The camera in this movie moves a helluva lot more, and camera angles are at something that is noticeably not 180/0/360. While it doesn’t ever reach a full 90/270, it does have a lot more variants in the camera angles. Speaking of Carlos Villaries, I like him and don’t like him at the same time. He ALWAYS has his eyes to the size of Jupiter, such a crazed face.

While I think that speaks for itself as pretty awesome, it doesn’t fit this character that they have written. After all, they did use the same script. So he’s a good actor but not a good Dracula? I think that statement works. It just makes me wish Bela Lugosi was in this version. I don’t know about you, but from my subtitles it appears as if the Spanish Crew re-wrote the dialogue a little bit. Honestly, I don’t think they were very good transitions. Sometimes they are more interesting, but for the most part this is more proper…but it’s more….proper. The original was cheesy and dated but it was…cheesy…and dated.

GAWDAMNITWHYAMIREDNECK people! Do you want me to be an academic critic, a fun critic, or both? ‘Cuz right now I’m trying to be both but it’s pretty damn hard!

It appears as if a lot more stuff happens in the film. Doors close more slowly as people pay attention to them, animals have more camera time - to the point where the Rats are almost main characters -- as they rightfully should be --- and even stuff happens on the boat! Literally! It’s not just your ordinary boat in a windstorm. Stuff actually happens. And that stuff…is pretty damn creepy, I’ll tell you right now. And on the subject, people seem to move a lot more. The only person who did any body language in the English version was Bela Lugosi - He is the master of Body Language aside from Lon Chaney Sr. in my book, proven by such films as White Zombie and this.

But nobody else really had much body language, maybe Renfield a little. Now people are actually moving their arms and changing the expressions on their face from time to time. That’s another thing. I’m sorry, but all the actors in the English version constantly had the same expression on their face, save for a forced scared look once in a while. You actually get a variation of emotions of their faces in each actor, along with more limb body language. Okay, I would like to go out right now and say Holy Fuck. Mr. Pablo Alvarez Rubio is fucking insane. Again, I prefer Dwight Frye because his performance was more realistic and it fit his character, but you gotta give credit where credit is due.

This guy is fucking hysterical. I mean he makes Pennywise look like a fucking mental therapist. He makes Leprechaun look like Gandhi. He makes both of them together look like Buddha! Holy Shit man, this guy goes insane, and even if I prefer the English performance this one is still entertaining as hell and still scary to a degree. Overall, unlike most people who have seen it, I do not prefer this version. I think the actors have a bit too much am on their plate; which makes them entertaining; but also takes away from the characters. I also think many dialogue differences were unnecessary. But I will definitely praise it for a 4x better cameraman, much more active sets and better sounds. So overall, I’ll give it a 4/5. I mean, if you're gonna watch Dracula out of casualness watch the English one.

I, Da Ca$hman signing off.

Dracula (1931) (Philip Glass Score Critiquing Included)

 “There are far worse things awaiting man than death.” - Bela Lugosi, Count Dracula. 80 years later, it’s still just as creepy.

By the sound era, Universal had already solidified themselves as the top dog in Horror Cinema at the time; with releases such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1913), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), The Cat and the Canary (1927), The Man Who Laughs (1928), The Last Warning (1929) and The Last Performance (1929). But now that movies like The Great Train Robbery (1903) and The Jazz Singer (1927) had inspired all studios to make talkie [sound] films, it was Univeral’s turn to make history once again. This time, to make history by creating the first ever sound Horror film.

Et of course, to make the earliest official surviving incarnation of the Prince of Darkness himself, Count Dracula! While many people remember Swan Lake as the Dracula theme, and what a theme it is, no score was conducted for the film exclusively until 1998. This was due to the incarnation of sound films. With the ability to hear all dialogue, nobody ever had suspected that music would also be needed to fill in the empty spaces. Only exerts of external symphonies were included in the film. In 1998, that man…was Phillip Glass. Probably the man most famous for making film soundtracks.

But let’s not go 67 years into the future quite yet. First released in 1931, the film had already angered statewide censorships. In some states as much as 17 scenes were cut. This, let’s just say, was not common. In 1934, censorship rulings were even more strictly enforced via the Production Code. So fucking much of the film was censored and the film as a whole [hole] was re-issued. While most censored scenes survive today, one thing has never been dug up. After the credits, Edward Van Sloan comes out to greet the audience. He says “don’t worry; this film won’t give nightmares for the faint of heart…Vampires, are real.”

If I were to interpret, this is like saying “that man next to your bed is not a hallucination” but a little more subtle. This was cut due to the possibility of offending some religious groups for belief in the supernatural, and it has an eerie similarity to another iconic scene…in another film. Now, we are left with a masterpiece, and let’s see how it holds up today. While Max Shrek moved perfectly for the film he was in, but a certain actor goes one step further. That actor was almost silent movie genius Lon Chaney Sr., but he died of throat cancer in 1930, with the silent era. I’m actually a little appreciative.

While he was great at body language, he had almost no experience in voice acting. So Bela Lugosi becomes exactly what a vampire should be. And who Dracula is. He moves so slow, as if a living corpse. Like how many zombies or mummies are portrayed today. Vampires are dead too, why can’t they be slow?!?! His voice acting is probably the one everyone wants to talk about, but nobody can do justice to. That includes me. He has one of the fucking best, most iconic, yet subtle voices in a film. The weird part is in any other part this voice would not be subtle in the least, but somehow this insanely cool voice comes off as even more chilling.

This is probably done in part by how he speaks. Adding endless “…” between words, such as the famous “I don’t drink…wine,” not only makes it more creepy yet cool; but also helps the slowness of his being. Again, as if he was a sentient yet deceased creature of the night. Which reminds me…”Listen to them…Creatures of the night….What music they make!” Bela Lugosi was a Hungarian actor who is probably one of my favorites, due to his love for the art over the money. He had moderate success before this film, and it was enough to keep his love of film going while encouraging him to stay in the business.

I can bring up many examples. For this film, he refused to wear the very famous fangs that go along with most Dracula parodies or Halloween Costumes, because he thought that they would make him look stupid. I also suspect he wanted his voice to be very clear. When he died in 1956, he demanded to be buried in Dracula’s Cape. I also wonder if he thought this would keep his body from being grave robbed, as people digging it up might see it as a real vampire. There’s one more example I can think of off the top of my head, but that’s not here nor there but somewhere.

Unfortunately, the greed involved in Hollywood would eventually grab him, as for eternity he would be typecast based on his role in this film. Both Renfield performances are done very well too. They both represent what would be cheesiness but ends up being chilling, thought not to the degree of Bela Lugosi on either side of the spectrum. He is done by Dwight Frye. I feel as if Dr. Van Helsing…who LOOKS like some idea of Dr. Van Helsing…is also like this. Old, yet his tongue rolls more than a person who follows Limp Biskit’s instructions. In fact, if it weren’t for the hard work of the actor’s, the dialogue written would be extremely laughable to the point of B-Movie statues.

Yes, I’m sorry, but the dialogue is pretty poorly written. The only reason it comes off as cool or chilling is because the great actors went above and beyond with it. Not only that, but they completely embody how their characters are written, like how Arnold Schwarzenegger is The Terminator or Harrison Ford is Indiana Solo. Well, maybe there is one thing I should mention about Dracula that isn’t due to Bela Lugosi. There’s a scene, where the opening quote comes from, where him, Jonathon Harker, Mina and a couple other characters are talking about land arrangements.

Now just stop right there. Dracula is talking about land arrangements…with people. People who are main characters in this story. YA GET IT? Dracula feels a hell of a lot more human in this version. At points earlier he already did, as he greeted Renfield as his guest, but of course this was just to lure him in. In this conversation, when he says that quote, there is no exterior motive but to pass the idea along. Does that not seem more human to you? And in that way, he is a MUCH better written character. I mean, hell, Max Shrek looks like Bilbo Baggins from Lord of the Rings but 7 feet tall and dead.

You might even be able to say that Renfield is written much more as an undead human than a vampire. Which of course, with Frye and Lugosi able to play as Vampires written as undead humans, makes them well written fully rounded characters and their personalities do not clash. I would like to bring up an example of Renfield’s humanity when Dracula, through his eyes, asks of him to turn Lucy into a vampire. It’s a spoiler, yes, but it’s worth it for this critique. He then goes to say “No master, please, don’t…don’t make me do it…please!” He cries as well.

Showing that under that insane mask of vampirism, there is a person in there. A person who has sympathy for people pure of heart, who truly deserve to live. He understands his curse is this painful, and he doesn’t want it to be inflicted upon others. But this clashes with having to live himself, and having to serve his master. YES!!! OH MY GOD!!! They actually created a character who is insane for a reason, not an actor! YEEEEAAH!!! ‘MERICA!!!...Err, Ireland/England, whichever you prefer. There’s a certain scene I wish to mention in the beginning. Remember that whole history lesson I gave on Nosferatu, how it was supposed to be destroyed but one got away? At the very beginning someone says “Nosferatu,” but his wife quickly covers his mouth.

I know that this is part of the story…but I wonder if Tod Browning, or Universal trying to please Bram Stoker’s Estate and Widow, was trying to rub salt into the wound of F.W. Murnau. Ah, speaking of Count Orlok, Nosferatu’s most identifiable flaw is fixed. This movie is as dark as shit, as it rightfully should be. It’s light is just enough to be plainly visible, but that leaves a lot of room for the mad, empty darkness. You know, I appreciate the fact that there is no soundtrack. Without any music, it leaves a lot more room open for the madness of the dark to enter your soul.

Okay, fuck it, I’m sorry, but the last half of Apollo 18 was too good, so if I use that analogy too much I apologize. Maybe I should make it up to you…hum. Maybe I should critique the Philip Glass Score? Well, it’s a Philip Glass Score for sure. It sounds like something he would make, and that’s obviously a good sign, because his scores are often great. I’ll be honest, they’re not my favorite but I still think they’re good. It also does not clash with the film, the volume is well balanced. However, there are negatives. While it doesn’t clash, endless music can sometimes be a distraction from the dialogue.

It also takes away from the maddening, atmospheric silence that accompanied the original no score version. And often times, say around 20 minutes is a good example, it forces the atmosphere whereas Tod Browning successfully was able to show it rather than tell us to feel it. He created it, he did not enforce the idea it was there. Philip Glass’ score is very tacked on, too aware of what’s going on. Not to mention, it sounds like a score that would accompany a silent film, and to have it go on forever is not well. Most movies have soundtrack in certain parts, not the whole thing. So, I would suggest maybe an extracted listening of the score but watch the ORIGINAL Tod Browning’s Dracula.

[SIDE NOTES]Ever heard of Animal House? Here, let’s do Animal Count. 1.) Bat. 2.) Horse. 3.) Wolf. 4.) Armadillo. 5.) Gigantic Fucking Wasps. Does that seem like the ordinary animal collection that goes into a horror film? Which reminds me. Many popular depictions of Dracula see him as only being able to transform between Bat and Vampire, but this film also respects his ability to transform into Wolf. Though it is not shown on camera, as his Bat form is shown a grand total of two times. As another side note, I would like to mention a correction to the Nosferatu review. This movie does in fact portray vampires drinking blood. I have no freaking clue where I got that it didn’t. I’d also like to mention Nina is changed to Mina from Nosferatu to this film.

Taking a quick look at the novel (which, by the way, I have one of the original editions, from 1897, Grosset and Dunlap) this is a correct change as she originally was Mina. [SIDE NOTES END.] Most sets in this movie are nothing to talk about. They’re pretty neutral. Just there to serve the purpose of being a set, nothing fancy to look at. But of course I would be thrown in moviegoer jail (which I’m serving a life sentence anyways until I see at least Highlander, Rocky and Saving Private Ryan) if I had not mentioned Dracula’s castle. This place is fucking chilling. All animals except for 2 and 3 are in here, oddly enough. There’s a lot of fog.

No, really. Like, this is probably the second biggest reason (the first probably being The Wolfman) why there is so much freaking fog in these old horror films! I love it though. Spider Webs hang around everywhere, walls aren’t completely filled in, and all the clothes people wear who are vampires seem very droopy and down, pointing towards the earth and Hell, as opposed to our shipshapewhyamibritishsophisicatedhobbitydoodah clothes. The…cement(?)…they used to build the castle just adds to the atmosphere, so thick, black and heavy. D-don’t make a joke out of that, I already have named this marathon the “Drankenstein Manathon.”

I’m not a big fan of the camera work. It moves a lot, and for the time that was quite innovative. But it’s always from a still, 180/0/360 degree. If it ever changes it’s only by a few degrees, and never anything close to 90/270. Well, what's my overall consensus? Though it does show some flaws with age, such as stale camera angles and cheesy dialogue, almost everything in this movie is compelling. The characters are some of the best written in film history way I see it, the atmosphere is undeniably creepy, Bela Lugosi is probably my favorite actor all things considered, it's just an overall great film. But hell, Nosferatu is also an overall great film. With all things considered, I can only give it a slightly higher rating than Nosferatu, that being of 4.95/5.

I, Da Ca$hman singing off. Tomorrow, maybe Tonight...we take a trip through the Atlantic Ocean and into...Spain?

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922)

Count Dracula or Count Orlok? YOU DECIDE.

Very few stories of Vampirism had reached the Americas before Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Though other stories existed a couple decades prior, Bram Stoker’s novel made the idea of vampirism extremely popular. Of course, film adaptations were made of this novel. Many credit this film as the first adaptation, but that is WRONG. In 1921, a film that was a “sequel to the novel” was made called Dracula’s Death. Ironic how the first Dracula movie was about his death…sometimes the only way to get to the future, is to go BACK IN TIME!! Or, sometimes the other way works. (If you get that reference I will worship you as a God.)

So, most people know of Bela Lugosi’s version, most horror fans know about Nosferatu, a good handful of horror fans know of Dracula’s Death…but what about that one Dracula movie that probably less than 10 people know about? One Vampire Anthology Novel has a listing of all vampire films, and credits a 1920 adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Novel made in Russia. No other source recognizes its existence, and it makes me wonder if it’s possible Dracula’s Death is a sequel to the 1920 Dracula? We may never know. But we’re not here to talk about those lost films…okay we’re here to talk about whatever but we’re here to talk about F.W. Murnaeu’s Nosferatu!

At the time, Stoker’s story was still copyrighted by his estate, as he had died in 1912. *Nerd Salute.* Unable to get the copyright to his story, the film and interstitials had to be written with the main character being named Orlok. Yet, it is clearly the story of Dracula, and most other language speaking interstitials still say Dracula. Which actually might have been a mistranslation from English to American; it might have been Dracule and not Dracula. He still couldn’t avoid copyrights. Bram Stoker’s estate sued for copyright and had all the film prints destroyed. Fortunately, one survived, and many failed and successful attempts have been made to restore the film to viewership. With that, let’s get off the historical significance and see how it holds up today!

Something I adore about silent films is that directors always go the extra mile to make their film perfect, and yet do it RIGHT! *cough cough* My movie sucks. *cough cough*. An example is when you heard a sound affect that wasn’t music. It meant that F.W. Murnaeu pre-recorded sound effects to fill in some missing effect that was lost from lack of sound recording film machines. Now, some people might be asking “well why didn’t he just pre-record the dialogue?” Good question. Because if they did it off set it would definitely not match with the actor’s lips. If they did it on scene, they run the risk of having a technical problem and thus again might not be up with the actor’s lips.

It needs to be attached to the camera. However sudden sounds - such as bangs - or sounds that are not reliant on sudden motions such as lip movement - such as narration - are much easier to translate to film if pre-recorded and dubbed. Hence, The Room as a prime example why with camera audio recording is better than dubbing. I don’t know what interstitials you will see. [Yes you do idiot.] I’m seeing the ones that come with the Tree Line release. But the ones I’m seeing are pretty damn impressive. They get you sucked into the movie immediately, something many films have a hard time achieving. I mean freaking great.

Take this line for example “We will go no further. Here begins the land of the phantoms.” Woah. Imagine if you were riding up to make some business deals and your escort told you THAT. Again, you see all this extra effort put into the films pre-1930. Agh, to think I only have two movies from then scheduled for this marathon!!! Jonathon Harker’s actor is mixed. Before he meets the Count, he forces his performances of skepticism and his performances of intimidation are uncalled for by script. When he finally comes to the abode of the Nosferatu, he does a pretty alright job.

Other actors are either delightfully over the top, or in other cases do their job extremely well. Take Max Schreck, who moves perfectly to a foreseeable degree, and had to do it with that creepy ass make-up on. Van Helsing’s actor just seems like a weird choice to me. I’ve seen a lot of visions of Van Helsing, from 1931’s version to the 2004 Action Movie version. But I would never have seen him as a Jewish Senior Citizen. Umm...I also liked Reinfield's actor, but only to the degree of good, not great. He does his job right, but with such a high standard of voice acting for Reinfield's character that both 1931 versions have provided he does feel a little underwhelming.

Many modern critics will say that the lighting is in-proper for this genre of film. At first I wanted to disagree, but I can’t help thinking that it is a major problem. At first, you see scenes that are supposed to be in the day. Okay?...And more scenes in the day. Then Dracula shows up. Dracula is not supposed to survive in sunlight. Then you are told that it is actually midnight. It looks like Noon. I’m sorry but that is just unacceptable. This movie is way too freaking light. The atmosphere could have been enhanced so much, and every time I’m trying to get creeped out by Max Schreck’s menacing movements or face, I end up distracted by a bunch of glaring lights that aren’t supposed to be there! Forget atmosphere, if it’s fucking midnight MAKE IT FUCKING MIDNIGHT!!

I bet you’re wondering if I like the story. While listening to a popular podcast that is probably the only one that I tune into, even though others feature some of my favorite YouTubers, called Nerd to the Third Power, one Dracula nut mentioned that only two adaptations even tried to stick to the original novel story. That may be a difficult task considering that the novel was written by way of collection of letters, newspaper articles and journal diaries. I could already guess what one he was referring to, Bram Stoker’s Dracula from 1992. Only reading a few chapter equivalents of the novel, I could already tell the other version was 70 years apart.

So what are my overall thoughts? I adore this film. With actors, interstitials and a story that immediately draw you in and almost always keep you in that state of engagement, it’s a great watch. The time and effort it took to make a film like this with the technical limitations are truly worth a mention, yet the lighting is an obvious and oh so harmful flaw. I’m going to give this movie a 4.9/5

So the Silent Era is over…but this marathon…has only just begun. I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

Frankenstein (1910)

Am I allowed to review short films here?

Thomas A. Edison was one of the pioneers of film…sort of. He was the first person to popularize it. But like Nicola Tesla, there’s controversy surrounding the subject. Prototypes before his innovation were originally invented in France, before his popular “Kinetescope.” Even with that in mind, an employee of his, named “Matt something something too lazy to look up his name” actually invented the Kinetescope. This followed in Thomas A. Edison taking it as his own, having Matthew go into a rage, create a rivaling and quickly demolished company. Though most people attribute Thomas Edison as the creator of today’s subject, it is more than likely he was not.

Records were not kept well for film back then, because they were seen as mere entertainment and not really a phenomenon. What we have is incredible. For 50 years, from 1910-1960, it was originally thought that this film was a lost film. Yes, a movie that has no living prints in existence. This is the case for Lon Chaney Sr.’s Vampire flick London After Midnight, and that film is seen as the holy grail of horror films with only stills and a remake in existence. It was then discovered in an Australian Museum, and finally got a real release…sort of…in the U.S. Though other horror films exist from the past, it’s the only living start to the horror genre.

The original, original horror films from the 1890’s were unintentional. The Execution of Mary Stuart was originally meant for technology testing purposes,  but ended up scaring the living shit out of everyone. At the time it looked so realistic that many people speculated the actress gave her own life for the film. At only 18 seconds *Roger Ebert* “Bheema , that’s Bullshit.” Holy crap you’re Roger Ebert!!...yes…yess…I see…I’m going insane? Anyways, I actually checked out the film on the You of Tube and it looks pretty damn amazing. Check that shit out. Okay, it’s obvious to tell it’s fake, but when you compare it to the synthetic flying heads of modern slashers and take into account it was done with 1895 film technology, that’s fucking incredible.

The Devil’s Castle came a year later, and was originally intended as an over-the-top comedy film, but that ALSO scared people. The Horror Business was officially cashed, and is seen with many adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. However, this is the earliest surviving intended horror film. It was banned everywhere for being too shocking at the time (YOU ARE 15 FREAKING YEARS REMOVED FROM THE EXECUTION OF MARY WHATHERFACETOOLAZY) and also helped pioneer the fantasy/Sci-Fi plot elements of films.

After all, this movie doesn’t do the traditional create a zombie in an electrified laboratory way. Since Universal’s film did not come out yet, they had to rely on the novel. The description of the Monster’s creation is very discreet, and even when translated to way to freaking easy language it’s still not clear how it goes on. Here, we have Dr. Frankenstein putting a bunch of animal parts in a pot and having stop motion magic take the rest into account. It’s fucking weird but I absolutely love it. Speaking of that, the creation scene is…fucking incredible! The animation presented here rivals more contemporary stop motion, and shows patience and effort that will not be found in today’s cinema.

To think this was also shot in 3 days and yet has a transformation scene that has one of the greatest amounts of love and care, patience and skill. Charles Ogle played the Monster, and he does a fucking fantastic job. From the first scene where he invaded the doctor in bed we see an actor who knows his role and knows how to play it perfectly. One interstitial alludes to the idea Frankenstein was trying to create a miracle human. While I don’t think he ever intended to create a beast, in both the book and popular movie versions I don’t recall him trying to create Superman. I just remember him trying to create a living being himself. God Damn, playing God isn’t enough for you now you wish to better him! No wonder the villagers got so flipping mad at him.

Oh, so you want to talk about the story, do you? Well, the film literally runs at 12:42, minutes and seconds. To do this they just skip fucking everything from the original story except just enough so that you can still follow what the hell is going on. In fact, I’m not entirely certain you would get what was going on here if you had not read Mary Shelley’s novel. Characters are this close to nonexistent, and the plot jumps from Point A to Point J, stays at Point J for a third of the film and then jumps to Point T, rinse and repeat until a finished film is made. Am I the only one who, besides the editing used for SFX, thinks that the editing job looks like something out of Windows Movie Maker? ANYBODY!??!

Speaking of editing done for SFX, there is always the ever famous scene involving Frankenstein, The Monster & The Mirror. This is like the Elephant in the Room…only this Elephant is not a bad thing. The monster looks in the mirror while the doctor is chasing him, and then hides. His reflection stays there, and Dr. Frankenstein looks at himself as the monster in the mirror. Most people would say that this represents the Doctor becoming the monster. Yes, I would believe this works in the novel, and since this had to be chopped up we’ll just say that works.

I would like to argue at a different side of things, which again only works in the novel - or some of the other movie adaptations. The fact that when the Doctor points at the mirror to me brings a whole new side of things. Let’s spill it out like this. When the monster looks at himself in the mirror, he seems happy with himself. That’s simple enough to understand. When the doctor then looks into the mirror as himself, and then points at the reflection to turn normal, it could be saying something else. I think it says (YOU REPEAT YOURSELF TOO MUCH GODDAMIT) that the monster wants to live in a world that is secluded for himself, and one that accepts him.

 

But the doctor forces him to live in this world, where he was taken too and taken away from his other world. Then when he points it symbolizes society telling him that he can’t be himself. Then the doctor shows up in the mirror image and that symbolizes what society wants him to be. I don’t know, what about you guys? Then the film ends, and we are to decide what the fuck we just watched. Overall, when you look at it from a past perspective it was extremely important for innovating the Horror, Fantasy and Sci-Fi genres to their own respective degrees. When you look at it today, it’s a pretty good watch.

It’s lacking in the story and character department, but that’s probably due to a limitation in time. Symbolism, effects and acting are done extremely well, and at only a certain amount of time it runs I must recommend it for at least 1 watch if not repeated. Check it out, it’ll be more than worth your time. 4/5.

I, Da Ca$hman singing off.