Unleash the Savage Instincts that Lie Hidden Within: I Was A Teenage Werewolf (1957)

 

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I’m going to TRANSFORM him, and unleash the savage instincts that lie hidden within… 

So this is another werewolf film, and a B horror film, that doesn’t end well. And to be perfectly honest that’s how I like them.

Say What

As depressing as that sounds, I like it when the werewolf story ends like that that because it’s closer to the original story. Here we have a good man, who has been turned into something he doesn’t want to be and can’t control. It’s sad and poetic at the same time.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

So the big reason I watched this film was because it first of all was about a werewolf, which you all know I love. And it stars Michael Landon.

Michael Landon

So the story is about Tony Rivers (Michael Landon) a boy who is known for losing his temper. His dad is constantly telling him he should get help for his anger problems, but Tony won’t listen. He doesn’t believe he has any issues at all. After a really bad fight on campus with a classmate, the police get involved. The Detective urges Tony to meet up with a psychologist. The thing that really pushes him to reform is his girlfriend Arlene (Yvonne Lime). She tells him he has too many issues and she can’t date a guy like that. At a party that night he attacks his friend when he surprises him, and that pushes him into seeking help from the acclaimed Dr. Alfred Brandon.

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Now this is what makes the whole story so sad. He is earnestly trying to get help and fix his problems, but everything goes bad as he turns to the evil Doctor. I tell ya, I don’t trust doctors (unless they are Michael Rennie), as they always turn out evil. Dr. Hartz from The Lady Vanishes (1938), Dr. Hollingshead from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), Dr. Einstein from Arsenic and Old Lace (1944),  Dr. Arthur Carrington from The Thing From Another World (1951), and that’s just to name a few.

No thank you

Anyways, so the Dr. Brandon has no intention of helping Tony out. Instead he wants to experiment on him, testing out this serum he created to bring out people’s primitive instincts. His assistant tries to convince him not to, but Dr. Brandon won’t listen.

“Dr Hugo Wagner: But you’re sacrificing a human life!

Dr Alfred Brandon: Do you cry over a guinea pig? This boy is a free police case. We’re probably saving him from the gas chamber.

Dr Hugo Wagner: But the boy is so young, the transformation horrible –

Dr Alfred Brandon: And you call yourself a scientist! That’s why you’ve never been more than an assistant.”

you're evil

That night the teens all go hangout at a party. One of the guys, Frank, is killed while he is walking home from the party.

Victim #1

Victim #1

The next day the police are studying the scene and trying to figure out what could have done this. The police station’s janitor, an emigrant from the Carpathian Mountains, looks at the photos and determines that it was a werewolf that did it. In his hometown “human beings possessed by wolves” are common, so he declares that nothing else could have killed the boy.

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The next day, Tony goes back for a second session in which he tells the doctor that he feels like something is wrong with him. The doctor brushes it off and Tony continues on his way. That day his principal calls him into her office and tells him how happy she is with the improvement. She is going to recommend him entry to the State University.

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I know this won’t end well

It really gets me because he is so hopeful and sweet, yet you know, you know nothing will end well.

ouch Hermione

So Tony is happy, now that he has a future and a ticket to be something. As he walks to class the bell rings, triggering his transformation.

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And he attacks Theresa, his classmate, who is practicing nearby.

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Victim #2

Victim #2

Tony flees for his life, and even though he looks wolfish, people recognize him and put out an APB. A reporter goes to his father and girlfriend to find out more about him and get a scoop. Meanwhile, the police follow Tony, siccing dogs after him, but Tony takes them down.

I was a teenage werewolf

In the morning, Tony wakes up in his true form. He tries to talk to Arlene but can’t get anywhere with her as she is too freaked. He then runs down to Dr. Brandon’s office to get his help.  Dr. Brandon lies to Tony, telling him he will help him but in reality injects him with the serum. Tony starts to transform when the phone rings and it causes Tony to go berserk, attacking the Dr. and assistant. Right then the police charge in and take Tony out (even though they don’t use silver bullets. Although they don’t need to as he isn’t a true werewolf but a manmade one). When they do so, Tony returns. But dead.

Doesn’t it just get you in the feels?

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It’s just so sad. He wanted the help, he wanted to be better; but just went to the wrong person and everything in his life went downhill.

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This was one of the films created by studios to branch into the teenage crowd. They would do “Creature Double Features” at movie theaters (as shown in The Blob) and drive ins. They were usually short films and teenagers were the focal characters as that was who they were trying to appeal to. Other films were The Blob (1958), Invasion of the Saucer MenI Was a Teenage FrankensteinBlood of DraculaHow to Make a MonsterVillage of the Giantsetc. 

Here is a facebook cover I made one year, as part of my countdown to Halloween

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to Let Them Fight

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For more on werewolves, go to A Monster Race

For more mad scientists, go to In Their Proper Place

For more remakes given a teenage twist, go to You’re Just Too Good To Be True

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Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

the wolf man

“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” 

This is such an amazing film as the story is excellent, the acting superb (Lon Chaney Jr. + Claude Rains). It is also a member of Universal’s Classic Monster Movie Collection, its buddies being The Phantom of the OperaFrankenstein,  The Bride of FrankensteinThe MummyDracula, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc. And this post means that I have finally, finally finished the list I set out to complete two years ago.

But what really makes this a spectacular film is that many of the modern myths of werewolves were originated in this film: such as a person becoming a werewolf through a bite; the only way to kill a werewolf is with a silver bullet; and changing into one during a full moon. These are all original concepts created by writer Curt Siodmak. Isn’t that amazing! Like The Mummy and The Creature from the Black Lagoon this film isn’t based on a book or any specific resource, which allowed the writers a lot of leeway in their work and creations.

So this isn’t the first werewolf film, as that was The Werewolf of London, which actually did rather poorly in theaters. This was the second werewolf horror film to be made and become the most famous. All the later depictions such as: The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Van Helsing, The Wolfman (2010), etc.looked to it in creating their stories.

So the film was originally written for Boris Karloff, but he turned it down. And although I love that man [read my The Mummy (1932), Frankensteinor The Bride of Frankenstein post] I can’t imagine this film being as amazing with him as the title role. Lon Chaney Jr. was just superb. Lon Chaney Jr, was the son of the famous Lon Chaney (who I talk about in my Phantom of the Opera post) and interestingly the set that was used to film this movie was the same used for The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) which starred Lon Chaney Jr.’s  father, Lon Chaney.

Unlike other films, The Wolf Man is the only Universal monster to be played by the same actor in all his 1940s film appearances; Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), House of Dracula (1945), and  Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

Now I love this movie and story but it is soooo sad as well. Here is a wonderful man pure of heart, who has the unfortunate luck of being bitten by a werewolf and can’t do anything to stop it. Unlike modern movies where the person can control it, change at will, etc; in the original when the man transformed into a wolf he literally transformed into becoming a beast and losing all his humanistic thought, reasoning, etc.

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So the film starts out with Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot returning home.

Look at this sweetheart

Look at this sweetheart

His older brother has died, and as he is the second son he will now inherit everything–money, title, family home, etc. More importantly, after the realization that his brother is no longer, Lawrence AKA Larry, is eager to rebuild his relationship with his father. They had previously parted on not the best terms (he wanted to be an engineer his father wanted him to be something else. He decided to run away to California, against his father’s wishes).

Larry reacquaints himself with the village, taking a deep interest in a particular shopkeeper, Gwen Conliffe, who is unfortunately engaged. However, she is equally interested and as Larry buys a silver-wolf handled cane the two make a date to meet up later that night and visit the gypsies that are camping nearby.

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  That night Larry meets up with Gwen and her friend Jenny. The three make off to the gypsies passing some wolfsbane along the way. Both girls repeat the old gypsy folklore about wolfsbane:

Even a man who is pure in heart

and says his prayers by night

may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms

and the autumn moon is bright

Now what is really interesting about this old piece of folklore is that it isn’t that old. This quote has been thought to be an Eastern European folk saying, but Siodmak admits that he was the one who made it up. Even though that might be true, it went  down in film history becoming a part of almost every future Werewolf film and recited in every future Universal film appearance of the Wolf Man. [It is quoted by Van Helsing, but one of the lines was changed to “The moon is shining bright” instead of “The autumn moon is bright“]

Meanwhile, in the gypsy camp one of them has a terrible secret. Bela, played by Bela Lugosi, is actually a werewolf and hiding it from everyone.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

When the group gets to the gypsy camp and have their fortunes read, Bela sees the pentagram on Jenny’s hand and knows that she’s next for death.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

 

Bela runs off and the trio start walking home. Soon Jenny is attacked by a wolf and Larry tries to save her. He wrestles with the wolf and kills it by braining it with his cane. (It being silver can kill it) Unfortunately, he couldn’t save Jenny and during the battle, he ended up getting bit…

dun-dun-duuuun

Making him the next werewolf.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The next day the constable comes to visit, causing Larry to second guess himself as they found a dead Bela instead of a wolf!

Say What

They found Bela beat in the head, and Larry’s silver cane matches perfectly as the weapon.

Col. Paul Montford, chief constable: [showing Larry’s stick to him] Is this your walking stick?

Larry Talbot: Why, yes. That’s the stick I killed the wolf with.

[Sir John Talbot and Col. Montford look at Larry with great concern]

Sir John Talbot: Larry, Bela the gypsy was killed last night. Your walking stick was found next to the body.

Larry Talbot: You mean, Bela the fortune teller? But… I only saw a wolf.

Larry is completely confused as he knows that it was a wolf. And how does that explain the murder of Jenny? Which was done by a wolf? The constable tells him he is still investigating as he really doesn’t want to arrest the Lord’s son, especially since there are so many questions. He ultimately deems the incident an accident.

Larry on the other hand is extremely puzzled. Could he have killed Bela? But he saw a wolf he was bit by one. Except the mark can not be found!

confused

Larry needs answers and decides he will go see the Gypsy woman and not only apologize for her son’s death but ask her what is going on! Gwen and her fiancé Frank go with him.

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The gypsy woman, Maleva reveals that he did kill a wolf–a werewolf. Her son Bela was a werewolf and the only thing that could kill him was silver, silver like the silver on his cane.

Maleva: You killed the wolf.

Larry Talbot: Well, there’s no crime in that is there?

Maleva: The wolf was Bela.

Larry Talbot: You think I don’t know the difference between a wolf and a man?

Maleva: Bela turned into a wolf and you killed him. A werewolf can only be killed by a silver bullet, or a silver knife…[looks down at Larry’s walking stick]…or a stick with a silver handle.

Larry Talbot: You’re insane! I tell you, I killed a wolf! A PLAIN, ORDINARY WOLF!!!

Maleva: Whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives becomes a werewolf himself.

Larry Talbot: Ah, don’t hand me that. You’re just wasting your time.

Maleva: The wolf bit you, didn’t he?

Larry Talbot: Yeah. Yeah he did!

Maleva: [Larry shows Maleva his chest wound concealed under his shirt] Go now – and heaven help you!”

 

Larry of course doesn’t believe her and leaves. That night he transforms into the WEREWOLF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now the transformation was laborious. The makeup took six hours and was the design by  Jack Pierce  for Henry Hull in Werewolf of London Hull had rejected it as he didn’t like how long the process would be to apply it. Chaney Jr. claimed he had to sit motionless for hours as the scenes were shot frame by frame. Pierce used grease paint, a rubber snout, wigs, and glued layers of yak hair to Chaney Jr.’s face. Larry’s dissolve transformation on screen only took seconds, while in actuality it took almost ten hours as they had to keep reapplying layers for the changing fur.

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That night the Wolf Man attacks a grave-digger, Richardson.

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The constable and the Doctor finds his ravaged body and wolf tracks.

Meanwhile, Larry finds himself in bed with wolf tracks all around and has finally decided that the gypsy women must be telling him the truth. He talks to his father who just thinks that he is in shock and doesn’t take any of the “werewolf nonsense” seriously. He even calls the doctor who deems it just a mild form of hysteria.

The Constable and doctor prepare the woods to catch the wolf so that it doesn’t kill another person. The nigh as Larry as the Wolf Man  steps in one of the traps and gets caught. Luckily the Gypsy woman frees him, as she had  felt sorry for his predicament.

Larry transforms back into a human and asks the Gypsy woman and for help. She gives him a charm that will protect him from turning into a werewolf and warns him not to give the charm to ANYONE ELSE AS IT WON’T WORK FOR ANYONE ELSE!

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He then runs off to see Gwen to tell her that he is leaving. He knows he has killed the others and doesn’t want to hurt anyone else.

“Larry Talbot: You wouldn’t wanna run away with a murderer wouldja?

Gwen Conliffe: Oh Larry, you’re not. You know you’re not.

Larry Talbot: I killed Bela. I killed Richardson. If I stay here any longer, you can’t tell who’ll be next.”

Gwen tries to get him to take her with him as she loves him, but Larry sees the mark of the pentagram on her hand and tells her he can’t. Instead he gives her the charm. YES THE CHARM  THAT IS ONLY SUPPOSED TO PROTECT HIM! Really Larry? REALLY??????!!!!!!

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YOU ARE MAKING THE  SAME FREAKIN’ MISTAKE THAT EVERY OTHER MONSTER FILM HERO DOES!

princess Bride Victim to classic blunder Vizzini

DID YOU NOT HEAR THE WOMAN EARLIER? SHE SAID IT WILL WORK ONLY FOR YOU! ONLY FOR YOU!! ONLY YOU!!! YOU KEEP IT! What’s the point of going to a gypsy for help if you ARE NOT GOING TO LISTEN????!!!!!!! I mean this is such a classic mistake made by these men in these horror films. In Dracula, he gives the girl the cross charm that is supposed to protect only him, and then gets knocked out and is unable to keep her from being kidnapped. In The Mummy, he gives the girl the charm that is only supposed to protect him, and it doesn’t work for her. Instead Imohtep knocks him out and takes the girl anyway. MORAL OF THESE STORIES, KEEP THE DANG CHARM!!! DON’T GIVE IT AWAY!!! Alright! So if any of you are given a protective charm you freakin’ keep it!!! YOU HEAR ME????!!!!

And now that I got that little rant out of my system, let’s get back to the story.

So Larry goes to see his father and asks him to lock him up; tie him up in a chair, lock the door, etc and to go far, far, away as he doesn’t want him to be hurt. He also gives his father his silver cane as he knows that it will protect him.

Now this is why I hate modern interpretations of werewolves, except for The Wolfman (2010), as they never capture this aspect of the story. Here is a good man who has become evil, but he doesn’t want to be evil. It wasn’t like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in which Dr. Jekyll made a choice, or even The Phantom of the Opera where he suffered such horrible things and had a complete snap and broke down. This was a good man who wanted to fix bad things in his life but the timing was off and he too is caught up in the evil. Modern interpretations also never cover the heartbreaking scene as this with his dad. He knows he can’t control the evil and the last thing he does is try to protect the ones he loves, first Gwen and then his father. The most emotional is the scene with his father, as here is a man he has been fighting with, had a horrible relationship, but you see in this moment how much love he has for his father. He gives him the cane as he wants his father to be safe, no matter what. And you see how much his father loves him by taking the cane, even though he thinks Larry is delusional.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying

Gwen is worried about Larry and goes looking for him, running into the woods even though the Gypsy warns her not to. I mean seriously, why don’t we listen to the Gypsies? They are gypsies, they know stuff.

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So Gwen runs out and into Larry, who has escaped from his room. But instead of the sweet, adorable, loving Larry we are confronted by the horrible beast.

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But before the werewolf can do anything, Sir John comes and hits him with the cane, killing him.

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The constable and doctor presume that Larry was killed trying to save Gwen, but Sir John knows the truth and now is left alone and has to bury his other son.

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Maleva: The way you walked was thorny though no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Now you will have peace for eternity.”

right in the feels broken heart

Yep. I have to say that this is one of my all-time favorite horror films. Although it makes me want to cry every time. 

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So that was our kick-off piece. Stay tuned for many more wonderful pieces to come!

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For more on The Wolf Man (1941), go to Pink Elephants

For more on werewolves, go to A Halloween Hello from the Austen Men

For more monster movies, go to They’re Coming to Get You Barbara

For more on Claude Rains, go to Universal’s Classic Monster Movies

For more on Bela Lugosi, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more films that spanned countless sequels and remakes, go to Everyones Entitled to One Good Scare

The Right Path is Not the Easiest One

Pocahontas

Day 9) A Film you like but everyone hates

Now lots of people hate this movie and I don’t really understand why. Now I know there are all kinds of things about the age and differences in the historical content, but this is just an interpretation of an event. I mean Mulan does similar things but you don’t see people crapping all over that movie. (And they shouldn’t because it is awesome)

So this Disney film is an interpretation of the life of Pocahontas based on legend and stories surrounding her from letters and writings of John Smith and John Rolfe (her husband). The controversy comes over the fact that other people’s account of the time do not confirm that Smith’s story of being saved by Pocahontas, as they say that the tribe was very friendly, something Smith had written himself many times.  There is also the fact that Smith had some mistrust surrounding him, as better depicted in the film A New World.  Plus when Smith and Pocahontas meet in England she refused to talk to him, no one knowing why, which lead people to wonder what went down between them to make her dislike him. Also when the alleged incident happened Pocahontas was much younger, like 12, so there was no romance between her and John Smith.

But the point of the fact that this is a Disney animated film that contains musical numbers means that it isn’t going to be a biopic. Watch New World if you want that, although I do NOT recommend it, it was one of the MOST BORING films I have ever seen.

EW!

 I mean you think a film with Colin Farrell and Christian Bale in it would be good, but it wasn’t. [Side Note: Christian Bale is also in Disney’s Pocahontas, he’s the character of Thomas.]

Anyways to get back to the business of the film and today’s post.

So the film starts off with a ship heading off from England to America as the English are eager to get in with the gold that Spain has found mountains of. On the ship is Thomas (played by Christian Bale [I know isn’t it funny that he was in two depictions of the story of Pocahontas?]), a newbie and John Smith (Mel Gibson [pre-crazy]). The other crew members are looking to kill Natives, etc; while John Smith on the other hand wants adventure. He helps Thomas learn the ins and out in sailing.

Meanwhile in what would become Virginia, Pocahontas is the chieftain’s daughter and is reaching of marriageable age. Her father has her whole life planned out for her, but Pocahontas isn’t sure whether or not that is what she really wants. She seeks guidance from a tree spirit, Grandmother Willow, and discovers the settler’s ship.

The crew have picked out a spot to erect their fort and have also decimated the area in digging for gold. Smith, being one for adventure, has been scouting out the area and comes upon Pocahontas. Intrigued by her, he pursues her and the two begin talking, creating a friendship that develops into something else. 😉

All is not going smoothly between the Natives and the Conquerers. They had a battle and both fear the other is determined to kill them. This causes trouble between Smith and Pocahontas, as Pocahontas’ possible fiancé, Kocoum, is killed by Thomas. Smith takes the fall for him, and is taken to be punished. The leader of the settlers, Governor Ratcliffe, uses the fear and unrest as a way to completely decimte the Natives, convincing everyone that they must kill them for Smith.

Smith is taken out to be killed, but before he can be injured, Pocahontas arrives just in time and throws herself on his body, blocking her father’s weapon and laying down her life for him. Her father admires her courage and sees that maybe peace can be achieved between the two, that killing won’t bring the people he lost back, and steps down. Ratcliffe doesn’t like the idea of allowing the Native Americans to roam freely (its their land!) tries to kill the Chief, but is thwarted by Smith who takes the bullet. The settlers leave for England, taking the injured Smith with them.

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Why Pocahontas (1995) is Awesome

1) Pocahontas

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Pocahontas is awesome. She is the chieftan’s daugter but doesn’t see herself as higher than anyone else in the tribe, working alongside and helping prepare the harvest. When her father tries to get her to conform to his vision of the future, she respectfully declines as she needs to live her own life; rejecting the marriage to Kokoum. She also is bold, strong, smart, wise, and awesome. When she comes upon John Smith she bravely faces him down, causing him to put away his gun as he is so intrigued by her. When Smith calls her people ignorant and savage, she challenges his thinking showing him that what he sees may be different from what he is used to but is not less, stupid, or barbaric; teaching him the importance of learning more about things we find “strange” and viewing them from the eye of the person, as otherwise we  may miss something. This is truly important message to teach children, just because someone isn’t like you or does things differently; it doesn’t make them stupid or strange; it just means that everyone does things differently and there are other ways to view the same thing. She also is incredibly brave as she stands down her father and whole tribe, trying to show them that violence is wrong. Many say this:

Frozen

But I think they are sorely wrong. Pocahontas does that way sooner as she is the one to save her whole tribe from being massacred and her love, John Smith. Also unlike Frozen, Pocahontas doesn’t even end up with the guy, she ends standing on her own two feet; taking on the world and continuing on her uncharted path.

pocahontas_on_the_cliff_by_reginaac57-d6l5111blue-swirl-banner-background-82684222) John Smith

John_Smith_17 Pocahontas

Now John Smith is one of the sexiest of Disney’s cartoon heros. First of all he is a strong, tough, manly, brave, smart, kind guy. I mean he is the greatest on the ship, the other guys can mess up, but never him. He is a crackshot and never misses his mark. I mean the crew tell all kind of stories about him and his adventures, he’s pretty cool. And so brave and tough, handling the terrain on his own, climbing mountains, crossing streams, etc.; all the while there being all kinds of dangers out there, but he doesn’t care, he’s a man’s man. He also is so kind! He helps Thomas every chance he gets by mentoring him and even taking the blame for him, laying his life down for his friends. He also is so sweet with Pocahontas, as when she blames herself for his upcoming execution, he tells her it isn’t her fault and tries to make her feel better; telling her everything was worth it as he meet her.

So romantic!

So romantic!

But the really awesome thing about John Smith is his willingness to see other’s point of view and to admit he is wrong about things. Similar to Phoebus in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, at the beginning of the film he has a clear view of us and them. We are the smart, improved, evolved people with our cities, technology, ideas; and they are stupid, barbaric, and doing nothing with the land given to them. However, when Pocahontas starts showing him that there are many different views on things, he let’s go of his stereotypes and objectively listens to her arguments, seeing that she is right. What he thought was backwards was actual a very forward and advanced society. Therefore changing his view and trying to help build a relationshipIn between the two groups.

Pocahontas

blue-swirl-banner-background-82684223) Interracial Romance

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I don’t care what anyone says, this is HUGE! Even in 2014, very rarely will you have a film that will show an interracial romance as most audiences don’t like it. They prefer like with like, which usually is white with white or black with black. The only other Disney films I can think of that do this are The Hunchback of Notre Dame which came out a year later and has French Phoebus with the racially unknown, but not white, Esmeralda; High School Musical which has white Troy and Latino Gabriella pair up, along with African-American Zeke and white Sharpay; and The Wizards of Waverly Place Movie which has a white and Latino family. Yep, only four films (comment below if you can think of another one) of which Pocahontas was the first. Now for me I grew up in a biracial family and hated how I never could find any books or films that dealt with that issue, and when I was a kid I don’t think I realized it, but as I’m older that is one thing I really appreciate about this film. You don’t have to get with the ethnically same, but can fall in love with whoever.

blue-swirl-banner-background-82684224) Positive Minority Character

Pocahontas-Beginning-disney-native-americans-21819387-1280-696

This film comes out during a period called “revisionist history”, that is historians were looking back and checking voices not previously heard, such as minorities and women, challenging previous depictions and notions about these groups. As this film comes after Dances With Wolves and The Last of the Mohicans, films had already begun to depict Native Americans as being more than villians or mistreated people. Instead it tried to break previous stereotypes and just show them as people. In Pocahontas, while they do follow some stereotypes, such as talking to trees, animals, etc.; they also show them as being real people who care about each other. In one of the earlier scenes we see a group of warriors returning, saying good-bye to their allies and being  greeted by their families; showing that they have positive home lives. The Cheiftan, while wanting to get rid of the settlers, isn’t doing it because he is evil or cruel, but because he is worried for his people. Pocahontas is a wise soul, but instead of having the “Native American wisdom as she is just sooo connected to the planet”, like other films do she is just an observant and smart person, and her personality is not tied to her ethnicity but just who she is; something radically different from earlier depictions of any minority. Even the killing scene is better here than in other films. As with earlier depictions of Native Amerians killing people, you have something like Duel at Diablo,  where the guy is on a wheel and roasted/tortured in many different ways. Then you have Lonesome Dove, where Blue Duck, rapes and tortures his victims. At least in this film it was a slightly more humane way than roasting them or having a prolonged death.

blue-swirl-banner-background-82684225) The songs

So Pocahontas has some of the best songs out of all the disney films.

A) The Virginia Company

Short but a great intro as we not only get a history lesson (you’re children will never forget colonial involvement because of this film) but an understanding into our settler characters.

We get the three reasons why any would sail and take on a hard life (1. Gold, 2. Glory, 3. God [and not really about him at all]

For glory, God, and gold

And how they fanty believed America was going to be like this fairyland or treasure trove or something.


For the New World is like heaven
And we’ll all be rich and free

Yeah. Well most of you will die or be indentured servants. Yeah, not much fun. Click her to listen/watch

B) Steady as the Beating Drum

This song I am particularly fond of as in sixth grade my music class had to learn it on the recorder, and participate in a recital with the older kids. I love this as an intro for the Native Americans, as with Virgina Company it helps give us a view into their life and what they are feeling/doing before the settler’s arrive. Very different from any other film that deicts Native American and white relations as almost all center on when/after the whites arrive not before.

O great spirit, hear our song
Help us keep the ancient ways
Keep the sacred fire strong
Walk in balance all our days

It focuses on the connection with the land and their dependence on it for survival, but it also has a little sad foreshadowing. As these traditional ways, will no longer be kept in the same manner as with the colonists arrival, they bring change.

C) Just Around the River Bend

I love this song as it can connect to everyone. At some point in every one’s life you have a time when you have to make a decision. Often you will have conflicting views of what others want you to do (marry Kokoum) and what you want [something different, i.e. John Smith ;)] Sometimes the thing you want isn’t the most stable thing, sometimes you can’t be cautious but have to take a risk.


Should I choose the smoothest curve
Steady as the beating drum?
Should I marry Kocoum?
Is all my dreaming at an end?
Or do you still wait for me, Dream Giver
Just around the riverbend?

It always made me think of Something’s Coming from West Side Story, there are more things out there than one can see, more choices, paths, rivers. It’s an amazing song!

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D) Mine, Mine, Mine

One of the best evil villian songs as it shows how selfish and unscrupulous Ratcliffe is and how he would do just about anything to get what he wants.


And the gold
Is …
Mine!
Mine!
Mine!
Mine!

The duality of using the word mine for mine as in mining, and mine as in it belongs to me. Plus sneaky Disney also gives us another mini history lesson as it talks about European conquest. But really what you see here is how Ratcliffe just uses and ravages things; working his men crazily, destroying the forest, tearing up the land, etc. It makes you just hate him more.

We also get a view into John Smith and how he differs from Ratcliffe, clearly distinguishing Smith’s “heroic role”.

All of my life, I have searched for a land
Like this one
A wilder, more challenging country
I couldn’t design
Hundreds of dangers await
And I don’t plan to miss one
In a land I can claim
A land I can tame
The greatest adventure is mine!

He wants the land not to own or dig or find riches, but finds riches in the land itself; exploration, creating a home, farming, etc. We also see here how he wants to claim and tame the land, not having a connection like the Native Americans who love the land and see it as its own entity. This helps with John Smith’s chracter development, as after being with Poahontas and listening to her point of view, he changes his mind and rids himself of his previous stereotypes.

Click here to listen/watch

E) Colors of the Wind

This song is so freakin’ awesome. It’s all about how we can assume so much about a person, but you never really know someone until you get a glimpse of what their world is like.

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew

And Disney always subtlety throwing things in and trying to brainwash our children (but in a good way)

For whether we are white or copper skinned
We need to sing with all the voices of the mountains
We need to paint with all the colors of the wind

Color doesn’t matter, we all need to work together, all are important. This is why this is such a great movie to show your children, as it tells them that prejudice and racism is bad. Very bad!

And look how beautiful this scene is!

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F) Savages

Now this is my favorite song in Pocahontas. I just love the lyrics and the imagery used in this. It actually pulls a lot from West Side Story. West Side Story does this great number Tonight in which the two rival gangs, Sharks and Jets, are going to fight (one group is white and the other is Puerto Rican). While they sing about the upcoming battle, you have Maria and Tony sing about how tonight the fight will be over and they can be together (which doesn’t quite work out). In this you have the two groups, Native Americans and Whites, preparing to fight and it is just an awesome song. I mean this whole song is about how racism is stupid, as these two groups who are going to kill each other are not quite different at all, in what they are (human) and what they think (things different bad, we must fight those diffrent from us, etc) I mean look at the lyrics.

Ratcliffe:                       Powhatan: 

What can you expect                   This is what we feared
From filthy little heathens?          The paleface is a demon 
Their whole disgusting race is like a curse        The only thing they feel at all is greed
Their skin’s a hellish red                 Beneath that milky hide 
They’re only good when dead           There’s emptiness inside 
They’re vermin, as I said                         I wonder if they even bleed 

[English Settlers]                            [Native Americans] 
They’re savages! Savages!                       They’re savages! Savages! 
Barely even human                        Barely even human 

See not much difference between the two, which is the whole reason they are fighting.

pocahontas savages

I also love how they made both groups look evil in this song, making it clear that both sides are bing violent and are both at fault, there is no one villian. As historically both groups did horrible, horrible things to their own people and each other; showing that all people have faults.

Then we have Pocahontas who has finally discoverd her destiny and is trying to run and save everyone from war. And the tension mounts as you are unsure if she will make it in time and then what will happen next.

[Pocahontas] 
Is the death of all I love 
Carried in the drumming of war?

It’s a horrible situation as if the Native Americans win, John Smith dies and they are villianified and going to kill/die when future settler’s comeIf the settlers win, than all the Native Americans will be wiped out, the only thing that can solve this dilemma is if Pocahontas can bring peace between them.

 

G) If I Never Knew You

I love this song so much, it is my favorite Disney love song so I will actually be saving that for a later post. Sorry!

For more on Pocahontas, go to a Disney Lesson

For more on Disney Princesses, go to A Hidden Wonder

For more on Frozen, go to Frozen Solid

For more on Mulan, go to A Horse’s Tale

For more of my favorite songs, go to The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind

For more on Disney Heroines, go to Belle of the Ball

For more on Disney Heroes, go to  Prince of a Man

For more on Disney, go to That Would Make Me Happy

Eternal Punishment for Anyone Who Opens This Casket: The Mummy (1932)

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“Eternal punishment… for… anyone… who… opens… this… casket. In the name… of Amon-Ra… the king of the gods.”

I LOVE this film!!!! It is a classic horror/B film that stars the amazing, wonderful, absolutely fabulous Boris Karloff! That man was a genius and can do creepy so well. Just check out FrankensteinAnyway The Mummy is a member of Universal’s Classic Horror collection; a collection that also houses The Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein,  The Bride of FrankensteinDracula, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Wolf Man, etc.

I love this movie so much that last year I made my own poster for my cover page on facebook. Here it is, hope you like it.

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So The Mummy has become such a huge part of our culture. It has been in so many other films and TV series; such as Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul SchoolScooby-Doo and the Reluctant WerewolfGet Smart: The MummyLaverne & Shirley: The Mummy’s BrideTransylvania 6-5000DuckTales: Ducky Horror Picture ShowSupernatural: Monster Movie, Frankenweenie, etc

It also has had countless remakes such as The Mummy’s Hand (1940), The Mummy’s Tomb (1942), The Mummy’s Ghost(1944),  The Mummy’s Curse (1944),  Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy, The Mummy (1959), The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964), The Mummy’s Shroud (1966),  Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (1971), The Mummy’s Revenge (1973), The Mummy Lives (1993),  The Mummy (1999), The Mummy Returns (2001)The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), and the animated series The Mummy

What’s funny is that The Mummy started out as something completely different. It was originally going to be called “Cagliostro“, based on a “prophet”/charlatan who claimed that he had lived for several centuries. It was changed with the discovery of King Tut‘s tomb and the controversy over “his curse”.  It is the only one of the Universal Classic Horror Collection that is not based off of legend, myth, or classical fiction; but was created all on its own. Interestingly enough, this film is very similar to Dracula, as the writers and directors who worked on that worked on this as well.

Previous to Frankenstein Karloff was unknown, but by this time Karloff was such a huge name that all they had to do was advertise “KARLOFF is THE MUMMY!”

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So the film begins with Sir Joseph Wemple leading an archeological expedition in Egypt. He and his crew strike it rich finding a mummy and all his belongings.

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However, this mummy, has a curse placed upon him.

“Sir Joseph Whemple: [translating inscription on box] “Death… eternal punishment… for… anyone… who… opens… this… casket. In the name… of Amon-Ra… the king of the gods.” Good heavens, what a terrible curse!”

Not only that but

“Doctor Muller: Look – the sacred spells which protect the soul in its journey to the underworld have been chipped off the coffin. So Imhotep was sentenced to death not only in this world, but in the next.”

Sir Joseph’s best friend, Doctor Muller, warns him to stay away from the mummy, that only bad things will come of it, but Sir Joseph can’t, he just has to continue to examine the body all in the name of science. Doctor Muller is very much a Van Helsing type character, expressed more so as the film continues.

Sir Joseph manages to find the scroll of Thoth that brings the dead back to life, and his assistant, Ralph Norton, can’t help but read it.

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He reads it in front of the Mummy and brings him to life!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Isn’t Karloff gruesome? What a great costume!

I can’t really blame Norton, as I would do the same thing if I could see Boris Karloff. 😀

This is so me.

This is so me.

We are then fast-forwarded ten years to the present, 1932. Sir Joseph’s son is also an archeologist, but unfortunately his digging crew has come up with nothing so far. Frank Whemple, Sir Joseph’s son, is the only Whemple left in Egypt, as after his father discovered his crazed assistant, Sir Joseph packed up and returned to England, determined to never come to Egypt again. Frank is about to follow his father when he is approached by a modern Egyptian Aderth Bay [they used this name for the leader of the Maji in The Mummy (1999)]. 

Look familiar?

Look familiar?

Yep Ardeth Bay is really the Mummy. He gives Frank a map to finding a site “greater than Tutankhamun’s”, his reasons for sharing being that Egyptians are not allowed to dig up their own land but can only do it through foriegners.

Karloff’s makeup was based on the appearance of Ramses III; and had to go through eight hours of makeup application. Karloff speaks in a stilted voice that only adds to his mummy persona, but this was due to the fact that so many layers of cotton were glued to his face to create the wrinkled skin that Karloff was unable to move his facial muscles enough even to speak.

Even though I am referring him to as the Mummy, his real name is Imhotep. Imhotep is the high priest and they named him after the orginal high priest who designed the stepped pryamid of Djoser in 2630–2611 BCE, the first pryamid ever created in ancient times. That Imhotep wasn’t sentenced cruely but actually so honored he was declared a god.

Anyways, back to the film. They dig and find the remains of Ankh-es-en-Amon, the princess.

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Later Frank attends a ball in which he spots the beautiful Helen Grosvenor, played by Zita Johann.

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Helen is biracial, her mother was Egyptian while her father was British (the Evie character in the 1999 version). Her father is in charge of the Sudan, but Helen didn’t want to go and is staying with Dr. Muller. She is very nostalgic and easily lost in  the mystery and mysticism of ancient Egypt.

NostalgiaforWorldNeverKnown

Imhotep prepare a ceremony t0 help him discover who his beloved Ankh-es-en-Amon’s reincarnated body is. You see back in the day, Imhotep was mummified after trying to resurrect his forbidden lover, the princess Ankh-es-en-Amon. Ever since he was revived he has been trying to find ways to bring her back. But first he needs her reincarnated form as they are “linked” to put Ankh-es-en-Amon’s full spirit in.

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This reincarnated body is Helen Grosvenor who looks just like Ankh-es-en-Amon.

mummy_027ZitaJohann

Imhotep calls to her, and she answers. In a zombie like trance she gets a cab and goes to the museum. She tries to get in, but it is locked for the night. Frank finds her and tries to figure out how to help her when she faints. Frank picks her up and takes her to Dr. Muller’s.

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Helen wakes up and her and Frank form an Insta-connection. While they are busy oogling each other, Sir Joseph and Dr. Muller are trying to figure out how Ardeth Bay, Imhotep, and Helen are all connected. They also hear of a murder at the museum (Ardeth Bay killed a guard who discovered him) and find the remains of his ceremony.

Hmm...

Hmm…

Sir Joseph and Dr. Muller return and have connected all the dots. They try to bring Frank up to speed but he just thinks they are talking crazy.  Imhotep shows up as he knows that they hold his scroll needed for the ritual. When he arrives he finds Helen. He tries to remind her “who she is”, but she doesn’t remember. She does however have a bond with him, one she cannot explain. Dr. Muller tries to get her out of there, but she doesn’t want to go. However, Frank is able to convince her.

They too hold a bond

They too hold a bond

Dr. Muller, Sir Joseph, and Imhotep all have a confrontation, everyone letting each other know that they know who each is. They tell Imhotep that they are going to burn the scroll of Thoth that brings people back from the dead. Imhotep warns them to return the scroll to him or die.

Gilmore girls creep

That night Imhotep uses his magical pool to see Sir Joseph trying to burn the scroll.

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He doesn’t like that one bit and sends Sir Joe a heart attack. He then commands the servant, as he has the power to command all those with Egyptian blood, to burn some other paper and bring him the scroll.

The next day Dr. Miller gives Frank an Isis charm that will protect him. But he warns him not to give the charm to ANYONE ELSE IT WON’T WORK FOR ANYONE ELSE!

Screen shot 2013-09-22 at 1.12.50 AM

That day Imhotep calls to Helen and she goes to him. He shows her the past in his wishing pool.

Screen shot 2013-09-22 at 1.22.13 AM

He was punished for messing with fate that wasn’t his to mess with.

When Helen goes home, Frank is there waiting having been extremely worried about her. Helen goes through a range of emotions as her two sides are fighting with each other. Dr. Muller puts her under house arrest/house care. She acts very much like Mina after Dracula has bit her.

They keep looking for Imhotep but can’t find him. They ask Helen to answer the next time he calls so they can find him and kill him.

Frank waits outside Helen’s door and decides to help her by placing his Isis charm around the doorknob to keep Imhotep out.

hold-up-wait-a-minute-let-me-put-some-pimpin-in-it

DID YOU NOT HEAR THE MAN EARLIER?

princess Bride Victim to classic blunder Vizzini

HE SAID IT WILL WORK ONLY FOR YOU! YOU KEEP IT! I mean this is such a classic mistake made by these men in these horror films. In Dracula, he just has to give the girl the cross charm that is supposed to protect only him, and then gets knocked out and is unable to keep her from being kidnapped. In The Wolf Man, he gives the girl the charm to protect him, and it doesn’t work for her. Instead he manifests into being a werewolf and almost kills her. MORAL OF THESE STORIES, KEEP THE DANG CHARM!!! DON’T GIVE IT AWAY!!!

Imhotep knocks out Frank and kidnaps Helen, taking her away to the museum to complete the ritual.

Boris Karloff and Zita Johann in 'The Mummy'

However, Ankh-es-en-Amon doesn’t want to die and be transformed, she likes being alive. She also knows that she is someone else and wants to live that life as well.

Just as Frank and Dr. Miller storm in, Ankh-es-en-Amon calls upon Isis for help and protection.

Screen shot 2013-09-22 at 1.46.53 AM

Isis comes to life and turns Imhotep into a pile of dust. Frank calls Helen back from the spirit world and the two live happily ever after.

I guess that's all

Click here to watch the full movie.

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So I took this quiz to see what classic monster I am. I totally thought I would get The Phantom of the Opera, but instead I got the Mummy.

Go here to see who you are.

Go here to see who you are.

I have to say that some of that I agree with. The classic things are spot on as I’m sure any of you who have read my posts have realized that.

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To start Horrorfest II from the beginning, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

For the previous post, go to Say Something Human: Warm Bodies (2013)

 halloween bannerFor more Boris Karloff, go to It’s Alive, it’s ALIVE!: Frankenstein (1931)

For more Classic Horror Films, go to Feast Your Eyes On My Accursed Ugliness: The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

For more mummies, go to Grimwood Ghouls’ Gym Teacher: Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School (1988)