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!