or … “I love Universal Monster Movies”
Frankenstein. Dracula. The Wolf Man.
Legends, one and all, in the Universal Studios heyday of monster movies from the 1920s through the end of the 1950s… and I’ll admit it. I love each and every cheesy movie in the list (some more than others, of course).
I first saw them, late on Friday nights, on one of our local TV station’s after-the-news movie broadcasts. This was back in the early 1970s when there weren’t a dozen talk shows parroting the success of Johnny Carson, so the non-NBC local stations needed something to draw an audience.
What better formula than the Universal Monster Movies???
Monster movies from Universal studios were always a treat, because they were so VERY recognizable. From their “Monster Stars” (every pun intended) to a fairly common feel.
If you saw the names Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr., or Vincent Price as the lead … it was going to be a good night. I soon learned the names of the other stars and secondary players – Claude Rains, Colin Clive, Edward Van Sloan, John Agar, and Richard Carlson. And who could forget the beautiful heroines, chased through various foggy and far-away villages, forest, spooky graveyards, or castles – Elsa Lanchester, Evelyn Ankers, and Julia Adams
You could always count on a dark and foggy night, but you knew that the good guys would win in the end.
You could always count on cheesy effects that were just that … “cheesy”.
But, I loved them anyway. I still do!
Especially this time of year, when the hacker/slasher “horror” movies get replayed – I like to go back to my old friends – “The Count”, “Frank”, and “Wolfie”.
If “Creature from the Black Lagoon” is on, I’m stuck watching until the end. I can’t help myself. I admit it.
Me: “Hello, my name is Roger, and I am a Universal Monster Movie addict.”
Crowd (in unison): “HI ROGER!”
So what’s up with that title?
“Faro-la, Faro-li” or “Song of the New Wine” is a REALLY REAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLY bad musical number inserted awkwardly into the otherwise classic 1943 “Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man”, splitting what had been a pretty good Monster Movie into two different parts.
See for yourself. It’s pretty bad.
But, it’s so bad, it’s awesome.
And now … it’s in your head.
You’re welcome. 🙂
There’s an attempted rebirth of sorts going on that would make Dr. Frankenstein proud… in 2017, Universal announced “Dark Universe”, an effort to create a cinematic universe like the MCU or DCU comic book movie franchises. Tom Cruise’s remake of “The Mummy” was the first in this list, with Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolf Man on the horizon.
They have a pretty kick-ass trailer, complete with Danny Elfman soundtrack, that honors and really energizes some of the classic scenes of the old movies.
“The Mummy” (2017), though, had some pretty disappointing box office numbers and critical reviews, and Universal shelved the next installment/remake of “The Bride of Frankenstein“, which had been rumored to star Javier Bardem as “The Monster” and Angelina Jolie in the title role. It’s too bad, as they had also announced castings of Russell Crowe as the title character in “Jekyll and Hyde” and Johnny Depp as “The Invisible Man“. A reboot version of “Creature from the Black Lagoon” would be awesome, but it looks like I’ll be waiting for awhile.
Whatever happens, happens – but it will never tarnish the glory that was the original Universal Monster Movies.
So, while I wait for any of my childhood friends to really return to the theaters, I’ll continue to love my old black-and-white comfort monster movies.
Bring on the overly-dramatic theme music, the rubber suits and over-the-top makeup, the bad acting, the cheesy story lines, the screaming / fainting heroines, and most importantly … THE MONSTERS!
If you need me, I’ll be watching some awesome old movies.
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Space Cadet, techno-geek…