Friday Filler – When the Old Way Really Is the Better Way

Thank Grog It’s Firday!!

Yes. I am going to go there.

I am going get on my high grandpa horse (which isn’t so high since he had a hoof replacement a few years back) and tell you why the modern day version of horror films can’t stand up to the greats of yesteryear!

I’ll wait for you to stop rolling your eyes…still waiting…still waiting… OK. Just CLOSE your eyes and listen.

Back in the days of black and white TV, and three channels, and a broken channel changer that meant you had to change the channel with needle nose pliers (I didn’t say that everything was better back then), I was introduced to one of the funniest, and creepiest movies I had ever seen (I was seven at the time…so creepy and funny were still pretty new to me).

This movie was the best of its kind (as I was to find out later), and ironically was a “Greatest Hits” homage to tons of movies that I had yet to discover.  And, even more ironic, is in many ways the basis of THIS VERY UPDATE!!!

The name of that movie???
Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein

And yes…it isn’t really so much ironic as it is coincidental…but Alanis Morissete pretty much muddied up the true definition of “ironic” with her stupid song about things she said were ironic, but weren’t even remotely ironic. Like getting caught in the rain on your wedding day?  That isn’t ironic…it’s just crappy luck!  But, I digress…

Yes… Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein! I’ll wait for you to stop rolling your eyes. I can see them rolling…even with your eyes closed (and how the heck you are reading this with your eyes closed is a mystery to me).

But, this is a GREAT movie! Maybe one of the best of its kind…and that INCLUDES my “Next Best Movie” of this genre…”Young Frankenstein”…which is actually an homage to this homage. (there is a lot of homaging going on in the horror movie business).

To understand this genre…you have to go back to the origins of the Big Budget Horror Movie…and the “Masters Of Horror,” Universal Studios!

Way before Harry Potter, or any number of Universal Super Hero franchises…Universal was THE place for “Monster Movies.”

Looking at the history of Universal Monster Movies, (the link goes to the IMDB list)  they started with a short called “Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde” in 1913…which must have scared the beejeebus out of people, enough to come back 10 years later with the original “Hunchback of Notre Dame” with Lon Chaney. The success of this movie was the catalyst for 75 MORE Monster Movies, finishing ironically, with “The Thing that Couldn’t Die” in 1958. Yes…there is a lot of irony in Hollywood. And THAT is actually the correct way to use irony in a sentence, Alanis!

However, by the time I saw “Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein” in 1961 (yes…I was seven…and I am that old), the movie was already being shown on the “Friday Night Fright Night” movies on Channel 12 (actually the 4th channel on the dial) in Portland, where I grew up (same town as Matt Groening).

I was too young to be staying up. No doubt about that.  But, for whatever reason, I was up, and watching what was supposed to be a comedy.  And it is funny…really funny!

But, Lon Cheney Jr. as the Wolfman, and the ever creepy Bela Lugosi, and the SUPER CREEPY  Vincent Price (doing the voice of the Invisible Man) also scared the crap out of me.  This is a “roller coaster” kind of comedy, where you laugh through your fear, trying to be brave, while poor Lou Costello (Wilbur in the movie) is haunted, taunted, and chased by almost every monster Universal had ever invented!

Follow Along as Wilbur meets Dracula for the first time!

Or This Scene Near the End of the Movie…where EVERYONE is in the action!

Look. I know there are lots of movies that waaaaaaaay scarier than this. But, I was seven. OK?

The simple fact is, for decades, Universal ruled the “Monster Movie Business” and was the studio responsible for scaring a couple of generations of film goers (as well as perhaps birthing a generation or two, as a lot of these were played in drive-in movie locations where the back few row of cars had more action than the film being shown…if you catch my drift…wink, wink. Now I KNOW you have your eyes open, because I can see you winking!).

Anyway…This Event is a throwback to the good times, when Dracuala was an old guy, the Wolfman could be the guy next door, and the Mummy was roaming the countryside (much like poor King Tut did on his museum tour after he was discovered, sprung, and exploited).

Who needs vampires that can copulate at super-human speed? There is value in slow and caring.  Who needs to see actual body parts explode in fountains of gore? In the good old days, the blood was gray…like everything else. And who needs to have a whole host of creepy, pale, sullen teenagers waundering around looking for love after being “smitten and bitten?”  I’ve raised five teenage girls. Trust me…reality is waaaaay scarier!

The best movies are ones that allow you to enjoy the fun, without being grossed out to the point of losing your JuJubes, Coke and popcorn all over your date. (remember JuJubes?  What the hell were they made of anyway? You could put out an eye with those things! But, they were only a nickle. Like I said…I’m old!).

Enjoy this event. I really do think that I will…even with all of the grinding.

Nothing says fun like knowing that “Old School” still works…

Oh….and as a bonus… YES. I BOUGHT Nosferatu and the ship.  Not only did I get the 4.5% bonus…but this guy was the original “Scary-As-All-Get-Out-Original-Movie-Nightmare!”  Silent film…grainy black and white… it is CREEPY as hell…which is where Nosferatu comes from.

Here is the FULL movie. Just be sure to keep the lights on, and your Jujubes locked up!



34 responses to “Friday Filler – When the Old Way Really Is the Better Way

  1. Wow, I remember this movie! I was probably about the same age as you when I watched it. It was daylight though, all my cousins and I laughed hysterically through the whole thing. Good times!

  2. Not only do I have all the Horror based Abbott and Costello Films in a mini box set? I proudly collect a lot of Classic Horror from the pre-code years (Universal, Fox, Warner Bros, MGM):

    The Man Who Laughed (1928)
    The Phantom of the Opera (1927)
    Dracula (1931)
    Frankenstein (1931)
    Doctor X (1932)
    White Zombie (1932)
    Freaks (1932)
    Island of Lost Souls (1932)
    The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)
    The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
    The Mummy (1933)
    The Invisible Man (1933)

    This year’s Halloween Event (and even a bit of the Springfield Zoo Event) made me smile when I saw glimpses / an homage to this era in Cinema, so now that I’m done Tapping? It’s time to watch some Classics!📽️📺💿

  3. You convinced me…going to watch this today, it’s $3.99 to rent the HD movie from Amazon. They also have a collection of 4 of their “Meet the Monster” movies on DVD for only $9.00…may have to invest.👍🎃.

  4. Add Boris Karloff to the list and another movie you can add is The Birds. I love horror films and haunted houses. The only movie that I think is a real classic of todays movies is The Shining with Jack Nicholson. I have never seen what I could call a give you nightmare movie because I love them, but the Shining was in my mind is the best for todays stuff. Others are so far from being scary that they become a comedy. SO how do they fit into that genre?
    The best part of going to the movies to watch what they call a horror / suspense movie is the joy I get out of other movie goers that get scared, scream and such.
    I took a friend to see the Shining when it was in the movies in 1980 and when the grab you type situations came up I reached over and touched their arm to make them jump / scream. LOL

  5. As always – a fun friday filler to read
    I would always take some of these old horror films over most of what is produced these days
    However in homage to my black spiky haired gothic days….I give you

  6. Yay you mentioned Lon Chaney! The man of a 1000 faces! I love Lon Chaney. I cry everytime I watch Laugh Clown Laugh.

    I love Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein. I raised my son on it. Every year we’d watch it and I’d die laughing from when Costello was watching Dracula open the coffin and making the candles move. It’s a funny thing having a teenager today. I raised him on Night of the Living Dead, House on Haunted Hill, and Psycho. He knows the classics. He’s also one of the few teenagers I know that has watched black and white movies. He tells me he goes to school and talks to others about the original movies and kids tell him they don’t know what he’s talking about. How sad is that?! He’s watched the original 13 Ghosts and loved the classic The Haunting. He loves Vincent Price and raves about his movie The Bat. I’m blessed and happy that I have a kid that understands and loves the classics because they are slowing dying off and being replaced by gore. People now a days need everything happening right now and every few minutes something has be scare them. They don’t let a build up happen and then get a payoff of waiting for the story to unwind.

    See now I sound like a grandma haha!

  7. My grandpa told me a story about him and his brother seeing (I think) the Creature from the Black Lagoon and how when the two of them got to the swampy area in Gresham. They booked it across, back home, due to how scared they both were.

  8. Takes me back to to 70s lol, abbott and Costello great post,

  9. 🎃Great stuff… plenty appreciation for the classics here in Hollyweird; it seems the next level of parallel quality creepiness went to Exorcist, Alien & Halloween, closing out the next decade with perfectly twisted humor in Beetlejuice🎃

  10. Can't move, XP still floating there.

    Bart Simpson: “Yeah, and I think it’s ironic that for once, Dad’s butt actually prevented the release of toxic gas…”

  11. I always felt that “Ironic” was ironic in the absolute best way possible. The song is so meta, like “Scream” or “Deadpool” (which are not perfect for all people but they do tell a story inside of a broader narrative). True, Alanis didn’t list verse after verse of textbook examples of irony. But giving short, sweet, non-ironic descriptions in a song called “Ironic” is both harmonious and ironic. When I think about the possible lyric, “it’s like rain on your wedding day, when you’re a weather man or some ancient sun god” I cringe because it succeeds at illustrating irony but fails at being a beautiful verse of music. If you’ve ever listened to someone give a description of irony for irony’s sake (like Winona Ryder attempts in “Reality Bites) then you probably wanted to punch yourself in the ear before they’ve even reached the ironic part of the tale. Irony is more musical as a feeling than as an accurate summary, even though it can be told both ways.

    • Nice! And again…Alanis was mostly speaking of bad luck and coincidence. Which does in fact make me want to punch myself in the ear…which is actually more of a causal reaction than irony.

  12. One: I am not of grandparent age. Two: I loved that Abbot and Costello movie. It is fantastic like all of their movies. Three: Who doesn’t like Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price. They are legends.
    Young Frankenstein is a fantastic movie that everyone should watch. It’s filled with quotes you can add to regular conversations to get a laugh from people who are in the know. Walk this way. I love it. Thanks for reminding me.

  13. It’s like rain on your wedding day .. and you’re marrying a meteorologist. 😉

  14. Lol thanks Patric, Im actually old enough to know the movie and some of other equally bad lovable horror movies.

  15. Fun essay! Young Frankenstein is our favorite comedy ever! We’ve watched it enough times to have it memorized. The first time we saw it was when it came out in 1974. We saw it after after my hubby had his dissertation defense! We needed the comic relief after the tension of that event. (Yes, I’m older than you!). My hubby even made a secret closet behind a bookcase in one of our homes. You can’t beat those great oldies!

  16. Saw Nosferatu at age 8 or 9. A good friend of mine discovered Blackhawk Films that specialized in silent movies. We watched it on his 8mm projector at my family’s cabin on a very windy night. No matter at what age a persons imagination can really mess you up.

  17. Wow, Patric, thanks for posting this – do I ever remember this Abbott and Costello movie! One of my faves as well! We must be the same age…..

    • albear140

      This year the wife is enjoying the ghost shaped Reese’s peanut butter cups (while I continue to enjoy the fine cereals Boo-Berry and Frankenberry like it was the 70’s). 🎃🦇

      I can’t stress enough how cool it was for Universal to release a mini boxset of each Abbott and Costello Film with a Horror theme (ie Meets the Invisible Man, Meet the Terror (it’s Boris Karloff)! 😀👍

  18. I like your second choice better, but I’m just getting to old, haven’t reached really old….yet.
    As far as candys, give me a box of Mike and Ike’s!

  19. Just 4, we had 5! CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS and the independent which showed the horror movies! I am a little younger, by I remembering coming home to watch Dark Shadows, obliviously to the matter it was a soap. I also remember using pliers.

  20. Great post as usual Patric! Thank a bunch!

  21. Great post Patric!
    This has brought back memories from 40 years ago when I used to watch the old black and white films on my portable black and white TV in my bedroom when I was about 14 years old.
    I agree that the old ones are the best and they used to scare the …. out of me at the time and still do sometimes when I watch them in the dark.
    I have a pretty decent old Halloween area with spooky trees and ruins which I was quite happy with, but with all the new stuff in the game now I think I am going to have to design a new larger area to encorporate it all in one place.
    The last time I was so excited about designing part of my town was when I made my London area and that is still one of my favourite parts of my Springfield.
    I am nowhere near having the design talents of ebron, but I am going to give it my best and see what I can come up with!

    • I am pretty much just taking things as they come. Not much to be excited about…and they are going to shift the theme three times. Not a fan… But, there are some funny bits!

  22. An evening in 1982, I was 18, staying with an old auntie and my grandma. Abbot and Costello were on TV, and like all teenagers, I was a fan of the Horror Genre! My granny insisted that this duo were really funny, no real gore! I did not believe her, as I thought she was trying hard to dissuade me to watch horror movies! I guess I laughed at the time, but I did end up disappointed that I missed an outing with the 2 ladies.
    Nosferatu I saw much , much later, in 2001 as I was studying film and televison. It’s truly amazing.

  23. Excellent movie, Patric! I agree wholeheartedly. I grew up on Abbott & Costello movies. They were shown on the local TV station every Sunday at 11:30 – 1:00 while growing up. We’d drag our parents out of church to make it home on time. And Lou is a source of local pride as he grew up in the town next to my hometown. That is one of my favorite movies. And as a kid, I could always hold it together until Frankenstein started moving.

    • Pretty cool! A&C were an amazingly consistent team. To have “Who’s on First” quoted regularly, and still getting laughs, is quite a tribute to their writing.

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