Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

There is no sin in killing a beast, only in killing a man. But where does one begin and the other end?

So this year I decided to do something very, very different. Now the in the past, all Horrorfests have ended on a film that takes place on Halloween. This wasn’t a credence that I set out to make, it just kind of happened along the way. With Horrorfest I had always planned on ending on Halloween (1978)I knew it was the best way to end the first year with a big bang. Besides, that year I had done the other slasher films that spanned numerous sequels and remakes (Friday the 13th Nightmare on Elm Street). Horrorfest II I was trying to also end on a really great film that would produce the same kind of bang, and decided on Children of the Corn as that film was creepy. It also happened to take place on Halloween.

This year I was trying to decide what would be the best opener and closer. I was originally going to open with Metropolis as I had done a post in July referencing it. But after I wrote that post, it just didn’t speak to me as an opener. I started going through my drafts and that’s when I spotted The Wolf Man (1941)The Wolf Man has to be my favorite of the classic horror film monsters (along with The Phantom of the Opera). I hadn’t had a chance to review it yet, and since it was the last of the classics I decided it should be the opener.

the wolf man

Once I wrote that post, I was so excited. You see, I felt I really couldn’t to a post on any werewolf films until I had covered the first one. I thought it was only right to start with the original. With that done, I could move onto any other werewolf film I desired. The possibilities were endless.

excited

With the beginning finished, I then set my sights on the end. What could I do that would really pop? As I started thinking and looking, I saw my draft for The Wolfman (2010). And that’s when it hit me.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

I could end Horrorfest III with The Wolfman (2010). It could be like bookends!!!! In the beginning the original that started it all  and the end the newest rendition. !!! Yes!! It could work and it will. So here we are The Wolfman (2010).

Double double yay

So a little backstory before we begin the review. As you would have read in an older post, I love The Wolf Man (1941). It is one of my all-time favorite horror films. One day in my photography class, we were watching trailers of different films as we were looking at the cinematography and technique. My teacher was on a Mac which has Front Row, and shows you trailers of the past, present, and future films. One trailer I remember looking at was Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). I wasn’t planning on seeing it, as I hadn’t seen the original. But as we reached the end, I saw The Wolfman.

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I screamed ay my teacher, stop!! I want to see that. So we watched the trailer.

AWESOME!!! RIGHT!!! So I knew there were going to be changes, I knew it was going to be nowhere near as good as the original, but I was soooo pumped!! So I watched the trailer in February 2009, and saw the film was slated for that October. I couldn’t wait!!!

excited

I ticked off the months, but then in October I discovered it wasn’t out in theaters.

Mr-DarcyexcuseMe

Yep, there had been some production problems, so they pushed it back to February. FEBRUARY!!! V-Day weekend. I was upset, but what could I do? I just had to wait it out.

Laura Angry Mad Upset

But then February came and I decided that it would be my V-day present to myself. You see I have never had a boyfriend or date for V-day, so I always just buy myself whatever I want. It’s actually pretty nice as you don’t have to fight with anyone over where to go or what to see; and you are never, ever, ever, disappointed.

perfect plan

I asked a couple of friends who were also single and we bought tickets for opening night. I knew that I wouldn’t be 100% pleased, but I was looking forward to those improved transformation scenes.

So moving on to the review.

DeanSupernaturalLetsGetStarted

So let’s go back in time. The year is 1891 and we are in England. Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) is the second son of Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins). He and his dad had a lot of issues and problems so he left as soon as he could. Since then he has been a renowned Shakespearean actor, famous throughout all England for his Hamlet and Macbeth.

the wolfman play acting stage

He recieves a letter from a Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt). She was engaged to his older brother Ben, but he has been murdered. Not only was he murdered, but horribly mangled by something. When Lawrence gets the news, he immediately returns home for the funeral.

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When he gets there he sees his father and the two have a harsh welcome. Unlike The Wolf Man (1941), where father and son were trying to work on repairing their relationship, Sir John doesn’t care. He still has huge issues with his son not being what he wants him to be. The way that Sir John treats him, causes Lawrence to want to leave, and go far away…but he can’t. He has to properly say good-bye to his brother.

the wolfman funeral 2010

Lawerence does try to get away from his father as he knows staying near him will just cause more fights. He also really wants to see his brother. So he heads down to the local slaughterhouse where the body is kept before burial.

ew! Gross Yuck

I know but you have to remember this is a small village in 19th century England. They didn’t have a mortuary to hold the body until burial. They also didn’t understand how diseases spread and that it is not a good idea to have a dead body near your food.

There at the slaughterhouse, the butcher gives Laurence his brother’s items, that is everything found on him at the time of his death.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Later that night he heads over to the local pub for a drink and overhears the gossip on the murder. Most of the villagers blame a band of gypsies. Not long after they moved into the area, Ben was murdered. In fact, someone remembers a case occuring years earlier of gypsies moving into the area and dead bodies surfacing. As they discuss this, Laurence remembers that Ben had had a gypsy medallion on him.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

This is the first time that Laurence has ever met his brother’s fiance Gwen. Now for you Wolf Man fans, you should recognize that it is the same name given to Laurence’s love interest in the original film. Except in that film she was to marry the hunter/groundsman of the Talbot estates. Anyways, Laurence meets her and can instantly see why his brother fell for her, as he himself is attracted to her.

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Of course Lawrence is the most amazing, gentleman/good guy that he would never ever think of putting the moves on her. He does thank her for trying to be there for his father and for everything. He also let’s her know that if she ever needs him, he’ll be there for him.

Gwen is also attracted to him, and you really can’t blame her. If Benecio is in his early 40s, that means her husband to-be was hecka old. Also Benecio/Lawrence has this adorable hurt puppy dog look that makes you just want to show him he is special, and that you care for him. He looks so sad that it makes you just want to take him, and take care of him. Making sure is life is bright and never unhappy again. That look is killer on any girl as it flies through their best defenses. Major chink in the armor.

swoon dreamy

Sorry, digressing….So with Lawrence back, and the funeral over, Gwen decides to return to London. Laurence would like to leave too, but wth his brother’s death, he now is sole heir to the estate and the first son. When his father dies he will become Sir Lawrence and be expected to uphold all those duties (House of Lords most likely). This isn’t the life that Laurence wants, but at this moment he is too loaded with grief and confusion over his brother’s death that he doesn’t question or try to rebel.

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So with Gwen gone, and his father an emotionless robot who only cares about himself; Lawrence takes it upon himself to try and figure out what happened to his loving brother. Now Lawrence is putting on the black cowl and trying to become a vigilante or anything, he just wants some closure about his brother’s death. He heads down to the gypsy camp to try to get some answers.

Being questioned police Annex - Tierney, Gene (Laura)_03

Where were you the night in question?

That night is a full moon

attack Wolf Boy Meets World

Which as you’ve guessed it means trouble is going to be roaming about. Lawrence meets up with the gypsy woman Maleva, who tells him that something truly evil has attacked his brother.

Wolf Man 1941 5

But before he can get anything more, the townspeople attack the village. They try to drive the gypsies from the area, and kill a dancing bear they believe to be the beast that killed Ben Talbot.

mob

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

As they are attacking, a superhuman, wolfish creature descends upon the area and starts slaughtering people.

wolfman-strangle

And I’m not talking about just a few people, this is like a Scream sequel. The body count by the end of this film is in the double digits.

wolfman dead bodies lots cart

Hey, my generation is the Millennials. They aren’t as classy, they need lots more blood and guts.

Anyways, the werewolf is attacking everyone, and Lawrence spots a young boy running into the woods. At the same time the werewolf spots the boy, causing Lawrence to put himself in the way in order to protect the child. As he does so, the wolf attacks him.

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And he gets bitten.

dun-dun-duuuun

Malvea find him and cares for him, despite the community telling her that it is better for all if they let him die. But Malvea can’t, she says he still is a man and deserves to be treated as such. She also states that only a loved one can kill him.

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Malvea honey, I don’t think so. Anyone can kill a werewolf as long as they have some kind of silver object. Nowhere is that in the original film, as if you read my post you would know that film revolutionized werewolf mythology. Click here to check it out now.

And besides that, is there nothing you can do for him? You are a cinematic gypsy in a horror film! You’re supposed to have a potion or herb or special thing that can protect you from turning. Now if you have read my DraculaThe Mummy, The Wolf Man, or Scream 2 posts, you know I make fun of the films when the guy is given a special charm to protect him but then stupidly turns it over to the girl he loves, EVEN THOUGH IT WILL NOT WORK FOR HER.

Every time!

Every time!

But I really enjoy that part of the film, as it humanizes the character and makes you adore them. I mean its sweet how much they love the girl in their life that if there is anything that can do to ward of the monster, they prefer them to have it. Even though by doing so they make things worse, hey it’s the thought that counts.

Frozen Sacrifice self love you sisters

I also hate how gypsies have been giving “B” standing in modern horror films. I mean without their supreme wisdom and knowledge in the supernatural, they are just nomadic people. In real life they are still awesome, in a  horror film? That’s just boring.

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

But I guess that’s just they way it is these days.

Sadface Batman

So where was I? Oh yeah, Lawrence has been bitten by the werewolf. He is moved back to Talbot Manor, and Gwen returns from London to nurse him back to health. While recovering he has really strange dreams. Lots of blood, murder, and even his mother appears. You see his mother died when he was very, very young and her death severely traumatized her as he discovered her dead body. But why would that death be haunting him now? Is it because of Ben? The slaughtered people seen in the gypsy camp? Or is it something else?

suspicious  Hmm

Lawrence actually heals pretty quickly, which he finds kind of odd. And that’s not the only thing that’s odd in the Talbot homestead. One day his father’s manservant, Singh (Art Malik), shows him a case of silver bullets and hints that something monstrous is walking through the woods.

Weird

Weird

He’s not the only one concerned. Inspector Abberline (Hugo Weaving) comes to town. Yes, yes I’m going to admit it. Any film with Hugo Weaving gets an 10x increase in awesome. I mean this guy is truly one of the most talented actors alive. When he ecomes a role you totally forget that he is Hugo Weaving and just think of him as that character. For me I’m always going, Hugo Weaving was in that film? Oh that’s who was that amazing character. I totally forgot that character was being played by an actor. I mean he is that  good. You have Agent Smith in The Matrix, Elrond in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, V in V for Vendetta, the Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger, and that’s just to name a few.

wolfman 2010 inspector abberline hmm i've almost got it hugo weaving

Anyways, Inspector Abberline comes to town to investigate. He already believes he knows who the killer is…Lawrence.

Yeah I don't understand it either

Seriously? Lawrence? A Murderer? Come on, this guy wouldn’t hurt a fly. I mean look at him, really look at him. There isn’t a murderous bone in his body! Besides, he just arrived in town so there is no way he could have murdered his brother. Dude, you’re dumb.

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But it isn’t completely ungrounded. You see, Lawrence has a history of “mental problems.” You see, I didn’t want to give you the full story so early, but Lawrence’s mother’s death really did a number on him. Now today, we would really try to help the child as we understand such events as those are highly traumatic and can cause serious issues. Then not so much. Lawrence discovered the body and was very upset. He was afraid and kept mentioning a monster had hurt her. Instead of trying to help his kid, Sir John sent him to an insane asylum, where he was tortured. And I mean torture. Many methods to improve these patients were electrotherapy, iron cuffs/collars, bloodletting, dipping the patient in hot or ice-cold water, and a gyrating chair “to shake up the blood and tissues of the body to restore equilibrium”. By the 1900s, many hospitals had added lobotomies to their lists of “cures”.

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

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

Yeah not fun. So Aberline thinks he is the perfect suspect. Laurence though, is having none of that.

Lawrence Talbot: I get your implication, and resent it. You’re clearly aware of my personal history, as I believe I’m aware of yours. Weren’t you in charge of the ripper case a couple of years back?

Det. Aberline: You’re a direct man. So I’ll be equally direct with you. I am not your enemy, Mr. Talbot. You’ve been seen as Hamlet, Macbeth, Richard III, all with that same face. A prudent man would ask who else might be living inside that head of yours?

Laurence doesn’t quite know what is going on and asks Gwen to leave as he’s worried something might happen to her. That night he follows his father, and watches him go down to the family crypt, to the area where his dead mother resides. There he finds a chair with restranints. His father locks the door and stays in the crypt, leaving a confused Laurence.

Weird

Weird

As Laurence turns to go inside, he becomes…The Wolfman!

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Now this was worth the price of admission. These transformation scenes are awesome!!!

Freakin’ sweet!

So now that he is a wolfman, he does what they all do. Ravage the countryside.

Film Title: The Wolfman Claw

The next day the Inspector comes for him and has him arrested to be sent back to the “mental hospital”

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

How horrible is that. I mean this has to be Laurence’s biggest fear, to be sent back to that horrible place. Poor guy. And I was doing some research last night, not only were insane asylums awful, but the one he has to go to, Bedlam, was one of the worst.

you're evil

Dr. Hoennegar, the leading physician, takes Laurence under his wing and subjects him to ice treatments, that is to be consistently dunked into ice water and left there for long periods of time.

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Can you imagine?

And oh joy, he also gets electroshock therapy.

Stupid, stupid

While he is incarcerated, Sir John comes to visit and tells him a story. You see Sir John is the cause of all this.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Back in the day when he was younger and hunting in India, he heard this rumor about an unusual predator. He travels to the remote cave that the predator calls his home and while there was bit by a feral boy and became a victim of lycanthropy.

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Except, it was more than “imagining” he actually became a werewolf and began attacking things.

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That’s when Laurence realizes everything about his mother’s death makes total sense. He did see a beast kill her, but it was his father! His father killed his mother and then sent him to a mental institution!!! What a truly, truly evil man to allow his son to be tortured. And now for a second time!!!

you're evil

Now this was my biggest issue with the film. Every other part of the movie was actually pretty great. It was an amazing homage to the orginal film. Benecio del Toro was actually a huge fan of the original and tried to bring a lot of Lon Chaney Jr. into his acting. But the thing I absolutely hate was the changed relationship with his father.

HateEverythingthewomen

It just didn’t work in my opinion. I mean that is what truly made the original fantastic, was that everything in his life was going great, he was a great man; and this tragedy strikes that ruins everything. He and his father were finally, finally becoming close and working out all their issues. He had met a nice girl, even though she was engaged, and had hope for that relationship. He loved England and was getting back into the groove of it. But then this horrible thing happens and he has to say good-bye to it all. He knows he is going to die, but what does he do? He goes to his dad and makes sure that he has something to protect him. Because even though he has spent years hating and being angry at his father, he truly loves him. It’s just so wonderful and sad all at the same time

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

But having the dad the evil guy, I don’t know…it just makes the film feel as if it is missing a huge part of it. It doesn’t hit in the heart like the orginal.

But moving on, so his father murdered his mother and then sent the only witness to a torture chamber (mental hospital) to ensure that those memoris would never come to light as they are only crazy “child fantasies”.

you're evil

Since then, Sir John has had his manservant Singh has been locking him up so he doesn’t wreck havoc anymore. However, Ben was planning to leave with Gwen once they were married and this enraged Sir John. He wasn’t locked up that night and killed him to keep him from going away. He became so incensed with the power that he ran wild later, killing all in the gypsies camp and biting Laurence purposely.

Omg what a–

wordICan't say Toy Story

He did it on purpose because he wanted a fall guy. He wants to roam free as a werewolf and he allows his son to be caught and tortured. Argh!!! Urhg! this man! I;m so angry I can’t spell right. He needs a good sock in the face.

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After he finishes his story he leaves, intent on never returning.

Jerk

He deserves another punch.

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That night Laurence is taken to the observation room, where the good doctor presents him as a curio to his collegues. Unbeknowest to him, moonlight is coming through the window and landing on Laurence. This causes him to turn into….the Wolfman!

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This is one of the coolest scenes, but unfortunately I could only find it in Italian. Sorry! But you don’t really need to understand what they are saying to enjoy the effects/makeup.

Dr. Hoenneger: Ah, Mr. Talbot. We are here tonight to illustrate conclusively that Mr. Talbot’s fears are quite irrational. So, we will remain in this room together, and once Mr. Talbot has witnessed that the full moon holds no sway over him, that he remains a perfectly ordinary human being, he will have taken his first small step down the long road to mental recovery. We are all aware that Mr. Talbot has suffered quite traumatic personal experiences. He witnessed his mother’s self mutilations. His young mind, unable to accept it, created a fantastical truth, that his father is to blame. That is father is literally a monster. But, your father is not a werewolf. You were not bitten by a werewolf. You will not become a werewolf, any more than I will sprout wings and fly out of that window.

Freakin’ AWESOME

Totally fangirl over that.

Laurence runs away, being chased by the Inspector, and also wreaking havoc. There are some truly amazing shots of him by the bridge, on statues. Just plain awesome!

wolfman statue on tiop of werewolf

The next day he visits Gwen in her antique shop. They realize they have fallen in love, but Laurence knows nothing can come of it. He has to kill his father and himself in order to protect others.

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Inspector Abberline comes to see if Lawrence is there, but he is too late. Lawrence has already left for Talbot estate.

Gwen refuses to believe that they can’t be together. She starts studying lycanthropy and tracks down Maleva the gypsy for more advice. Maleva cannot help her, as there is no cure for werewolf.

Noo!

Noo!

Meanwhile, the Inspector has also headed back to the village and this time armed with silver bullets. That show in the Observation room must have finally convinced him that werewolves are real. Gwen also heads toward Talbot Hall.

Lawrence is the first to arrive and discovers a murdered Singh. He takes his gun loaded with the silver bullets and starts hunting his father.

Sir John Talbot: You have me at a disadvantage. It makes me happy.

Lawrence Talbot: What does?

Sir John Talbot: Well, seeing you here like this. My son returned. It is glorious, isn’t it?

Lawrence Talbot: No, it’s hell.

Sir John is a freak. He needs help. Serious help.

Anyways, it turns out there are no bullets in Singh’s gun, but blanks. Sir John did that on purpose as he will not be destroyed. Sir John attacks his son and the two begin fighting. The full moon comes up and transfroms them into werewolves. And yes, yes we have a werewolf fight. I personally thought it was a little cheesy (and dumb) but this is the millenal generation. And it is something the people want.

So after Laurence burns and decapiitates his father, Gwen walks into the house.

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

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

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GWEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The wolfman, Lawrence, attacks her. Luckily, the inspector had also just arrived on the scene. He tries to use his gun, but misses allowing him to be bit by the werewolf. Gwen steals the gun and takes off, being pursued by the wolfman.

wolfman 2010 hiding from wolfman

He chases her to a waterfall. With nowhere left to go, Gwen starts begging and pleading with the wolfman, hoping to get to Lawrence. Lawrence reason faintly returns to the beast, who hesitates. He then hears the sound of a posse coming to attack him.

mob

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

While he is concentrated on them, Gwen shoots him through the heart.

Noo!

Noo!

Laurence changes back to his human form, and before he dies thanks Gwen for saving him.

Lawrence Talbot: [his eyes open after being shot by a silver bullet and transforming back into a human] Gwen?

Gwen Conliffe: [crying] I’m sorry…

Lawrence Talbot: It had to be this way.

Gwen Conliffe: I’m sorry.

Lawrence Talbot: [he holds her hand] Thank you. [Dies]

aw cry

The posse and an injured inspector arrive just as Laurence dies.

So that is The Wolfman. Now do I think it is as good as the original? HECK NO! But that does not mean it isn’t an awesome film. Besides that one thing that majorly irks me, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a pretty awesome film. The cinematography is beautiful, the acting incredible, and those transformation scenes? Freakin’ awesome! And I did like how they moved the story to show how harshly “mental disabled” people were treated. And you know what? Most of the people who were in those didn’tr even have serious problems. They would throw in the homeless, those with learning disabilities, women of large fortune who had husands that wanted the money but not the girl, etc. It was horrible. Horrible.

But back to the film, I think it is a worthwile view. It may not be exactly how I imagined it, but you do have some great werewolves in this, and no Jacob ones. Real werewolves.

2010The Wolfman

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And so ends another Horrorfest. I am so pleased with this years as I was able to redeem myself from last year’s only half the month’s posts. 31 days of terror and woe once again. I hope you all enjoyed it. I wish you all a very happy, and safe, Halloween. May it be everything you wish it to be.

Happy Halloween jack-o-lantern

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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 The Perfect Murder

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For more on werewolves, go to Werewolves Roam Among Us

For more monster movies, go to There’s Nothing Out There. Nothing in the Mist

For more on 19th century England, go to The Past of a Man

For more on insane asylum, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more remakes, go to Don’t F*** With the Original

You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat: Jaws (1975)

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You’re gonna need a bigger boat…

Jaws really is revolutionary movie. It is an amazing piece of cinema that breaks a lot of previous horror film rules. It focuses on both the people and the creature they are trying to kill. The camera uses are unparalleled. Instead of constantly being shown the shark (as it malfunctioned a lot) it is filmed from the shark’s point of  [something down later in Friday the 13th (1980)] which adds to the terror of the film.

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

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!

This also was the first “summer blockbuster” film. It opened on 409 screens nationwide (unusual for the time) and quickly became the highest grossing film of all time. Previous to Jaws, they would show the film on a few screens and then move the picture around. This mass-screening, all-over at the same time became so popular that it set the standard for what film companies do today. Jaws lost its place as the highest grossing film of all time in 1977 when Star Wars IV: A New Hope came out.

This film also brought a huge interest in sharks and marine biology. Now previous to this film you had monster movies and horror films that were about sea creatures attacking. Films such as The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms were you have some radioactive created creature that is ginormous and attacks the world. Or the mythological fishman from The Creature from the Black LagoonGodzilla, being another radioactively changed creature that is trying to destroy or protect the city. It Came From Beneath the Sea a giant octopus that causes havoc and destruction. The Monster that Challenged the World where giant mollusks come out of a crevice in the ground and try to kill everyone. But have you noticed something? All of these are large creatures, most of the time accidentally or purposely genetically altered. Or fake, such as the fishman. None of these were an actual creature that you could come into contact with…like a great white shark. Not only is Bruce (the shark in the film, named after Steven Spielberg’s lawyer) something real and normal-sized; but he’s just freaky! The book and the film both present actual data (although more studies proved some of the behavior previously associated with great whites are false) and an actual creature you could come upon. I mean great white sharks have over 300 teeth, they can get to be over 21 feet long, they are pretty fast swimmers, can jump out of the water, and are constant eating machines. How could you not be afraid?

Shark Jaws

But just like Spielberg’s other film Jurassic Park made dinosaurs the “it” thing (and they have been ever since, although never as on top as in the ’90s) Jaws made sharks really cool. And they remain so. I remember back in grade school sharks were just so awesome! We had a guy come to our class that did a whole presentation on sharks, and everyone was riveted. And people still remain so. Sharks will never stop being cool. I mean after all, ever summer we have a week devoted to them, Shark Week, on the Discovery channel. Buzzfeed even did a quiz on “What Type of Shark are You”. And did I take this quiz  you may ask? You bet I did!

To see what type you are, go here.

To see what type you are, go here.

Yep, Jaws is pretty amazing. So I’m sure you are now ready for the review, but I’m not about to go there just yet. So Jaws is based on the book by the same name, authored by Peter Benchley. The book was okay, but I preferred the movie. Unlike the book Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton; Jaws the book doesn’t hold a candle to the film version. This mostly has to do with the way they create the characters in the book. Hooper in the film is a an arrogant-rich kid, but you like him because he really gets involved in his work, and loses some of that stigma as the film progresses. In the book he is always annoying and he has an affair with Brody’s wife. The whole affair took away from the storyline and seemed tossed in, rather than attempting to flow.

Now the film on the other hand, follow the story pretty closely, but takes out the extra action not really needed. Plus the people they chose where just perfect. Roy Scheider was an amazing Chief Brody, balancing being a tough police chief, with a scared i-don’t-know-what-to-do everyday person. Richard Dreyfuss, as I mentioned earlier, smoked it as Hooper the marine biologist/rich kid. And Robert Shaw. No one will ever hold a candle to your Quint, no matter how the world may try.

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So now let’s get back to film review-wait, wait wait. Let me say one last thing. So it feels really weird to be talking about this film without mentioning a few more memories. So let me say I have seen every Jaws film created, even the incredibly horrible ones (as pretty much each sequel was). I actually watched them all at a really young age with my older sister Paige. They were doing a movie marathon and we sat down and saw them all (which took a long time as these are not short films). When I was older, I actually couldn’t remember the finer points of the film, the biggest thing that stuck in my mind was the SeaWorld underwater tunnels and shark attack in Jaws 3-D.

Now every 4th of July I used to do the same thing. I would watch the Twilight Zone marathons that they would show on the SciFi, now SyFy, channel. (I know, I know. I’m a huge fan, but have yet to review any episode for a Horrorfest. I promise I will do at least one next year.) SyFy stopped doing this for a while (they have since brought it back but every year is iffy). Now AMC does some movie marathons on the 4th of July that usually had some patriotic feeling (like Rocky). One year they did a Jaws marathon, as the 4th of July plays a huge role in the film. I watched it that year and loved it all over again. Now my tradition trades off between Twilight Zone and Jaws every 4th of July.

love it

So now we are seriously back on to the film review.

Shark Jaws

First let’s set the mood. It is the summer of 1975. Many families, young adults, teens, etc. are vacationing at beaches. Amity Island (where our story takes place) is one such beach. It is located on the east coast (a sort of Martha’s Vineyard that poor and rich can afford). On this particular night there are quite a few college age kids having bonfires on the beach. They are drinking beer, toking up (it is the ’70s), etc. One guy, Tom Cassidy, spots a blonde, Chrissie. The two run off away from the crowd to “be alone”.

Mhm great gatsby

As they get far from the crowds, Chrissie begins stripping and invites Tom in for some moonlight skinny dipping. She dives in right away and Tom tries to follow. However, he is far too bombed and collapses on the beach.

Chrissie is unaware and continues to swim. This is the last swim she will ever take.

The next day we are introduced to Martin Brody, the new Chief of Police. Brody is a native of New York City, but he and his family moved out to take over the Amity Island police force as they thought it would be easier, simpler and less deadly.

the irony iron

Anyways, we’ll get into that later. So Chief Brody (Scheider) has been called to go looking for Chrissie. He and his deputy Hendricks, go down to the beach to search for clues. It doesn’t take them long until they discover her corpse.

victim

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

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

Back at the police station he gets asked to deal with the usual cases of the day; kids karate chopping down fences and other stuff. It seems to be business as usual until the report comes back. It states Shark Attack.

What!

Immediately, Brodie runs to the hardware store to pick up materials to make sign to close the beaches.

jawsrideclosed

However, the Mayor doesn’t like that. He knows that if word gets around that there are sharks in the water he can say good-bye to all those summer dollars.

Good-bye

Good-bye

Without that money, the winter will be hard on everyone. These people depend on the summer dollars to keep the island going year round. The Mayor convinces the coroner to “take a second look” of which causes the coroner to determine he had made “a mistake”. There was no shark attack, just a boating accident as she swam into a propeller.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

Since that is the decision, Brody can’t do anything but allow the beaches to remain open. But this is all against his better judgement.

BadFeelings

But hey, he is a newcomer that lives in a small town. He has to play the politics. Even if they have dire consequences.

dun-dun-duuuun

So as time goes on more tourists come to the island. The beaches are stock full of visitors. Brody is worried and nervously scans the water. Everything is fine…until it isn’t.

I just love that scene when they zoom into Brodie’s face. It is fantastic. So Bruce sure did a number.

Shark Jaws

After her son’s death, Mrs. Kitner issues a $3000 reward for the capture of the shark. The town holds a meeting in which Brody lets them know he contacted someone from the Oceanographic Institute for advice. Brody wants to close down the beaches, but no one will listen. The fighting is interrupted by Quint, in one of the best scenes.

So great it was spoofed:

Brody goes home and orders his children to go nowhere near the water, even though his son Michael just got a new boat. Brody’s wife Ellen thinks he is overreacting, that is until she looks at the pictures in his shark book. She then firmly decides that staying out of the water is a great idea.

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

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

With such a high bounty, everyone wants to kill the shark. Expert fishermen from all over. Average joes. Everybody.

Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) comes to town, as he is the person from the Oceanographic Institute. He has an interesting background. Hooper was a rich boy that was into science and became a marine biologist. This can often be something that is hard to fund, so his parents + trust fund really come in handy.

Anyways, once Brody finds out who he is, has has him take a look at the remains.

“[Hooper is examining the remains of the first victim – describes the post-mortem into his tape recorder]

Hooper: The height and weight of the victim can only be estimated from the partial remains. The torso has been severed in mid-thorax; there are no major organs remaining…Right arm has been severed above the elbow with massive tissue loss in the upper musculature… partially denuded bone remaining…[to the m.e. and Brody] This was no boat accident! [to Brody] Did you notify the Coast Guard about this?

Brody: No. It was only local jurisdiction.

Hooper: [continues post-mortem] The left arm, head, shoulders, sternum and portions of the rib cage are intact…[to Brody] Do not smoke in here, thank you very much. [lifts up the severed arm] This is what happens. It indicates the non-frenzied feeding of a large squalus – possibly Longimanus or Isurus glauca. Now… the enormous amount of tissue loss prevents any detailed analysis; however the attacking squalus must be considerably larger than any normal squalus found in these waters. Didn’t you get on a boat and check out these waters?

Brody: No.

Hooper: Well, this is not a boat accident! And it wasn’t any propeller; and it wasn’t any coral reef; and it wasn’t Jack the Ripper! It was a shark.

Conclusion: Shark

Shark Jaws

Meanwhile, out on the ocean, some fishermen have caught a large shark. Everyone is happy to see it and that the reign of terror is over. The monster has been slain.

Double double yay

Hooper steps up to investigate the shark:

Jaws-wrong-shark-dreyfuss-scheider

And tells everyone that it is the wrong shark. It is a tiger shark, not a great white. The bite radius is all wrong. They decide to keep the beaches closed until they can cut him open and see if the remains are inside it. Before they leave, Mrs. Kinter arrives and  slaps Brody across the face. She heard about the deaths and how they suspected sharks were in the area and blames Brody for everything.

Now Brody just takes this as he blames himself, but I always hated that. It wasn’t his fault! He wanted to stop them from keeping the beaches open. It was the greedy, evil mayor who wouldn’t listen.

Mayor from Buffy the vampire slayer

Mayor from Buffy the vampire slayer

Well, I guess he could be much worse.

So Hooper joins the Brody clan for dinner. Now in the book, Ellen knew Hooper’s older brother and the two just spent the time reminiscing. They later had an affair. Luckily Speilberg was smart enough to cut that out, and they instead discuss the situation. Hooper explains that a rogue shark will often claim territory to an area where the feeding is good and will remain there until the food source is gone. In order to protect the town, they decide they need to get down there and cut that shark open.

No human remains means that the real shark is out there. Bruce? Where are you hiding?

da dum Jaws

Here I am!

Here I am!

Hooper decides they have to go out that night as the Great White Shark is a night feeder. Now Brody hates the water, as we mentioned earlier, but goes out with Hooper. Using Hooper’s fancy equipment, they pick up a fishing boat, that Brody recognizes as Ben Gardner’s. Hooper dives under and finds one big surprise.

The next morning Brody and Hooper try to get the Mayor to listen to them, but all the Mayor is thinking about is the graffiti on the Amity Island billboard.

Sign from Universal Studios Backstage Tour

Sign from Universal Studios Backstage Tour

Hooper has figured out that the shark that is attacking is a great white. The evidence all points to it and they need to close the beaches down. But the mayor won’t listen to him. Hooper lost the Great White Shark tooth he found and the Mayor sees it as tooo convinent. He believes that Hooper is just trying to spread a sensation as he wants to be written up in the National Geographic or something. However, that’s not the real truth. To be honest, the Mayor is just thinking about making money over saving lives.

Bad things happen when you don't listen

Bad things happen when you don’t listen

July 4th the beaches are flooded. This is not good, not good at all. Brody, Hooper, and the cops are constantly patrolling the beaches, but all are on edge as they are waiting…waiting for the shark to attack.

come on

Michael, Brody’s son, wants to go in the water, but Brody won’t let him. He tells him to go to the estuary instead as it is safer.

You never learn

You never learn

Suddenly a shark fin appears in the water

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

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!

But it turns out to be just a prank. Some stupid kids decided to dress as a shark. Seriously guys, what were you thinking?

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

While everyone is watching this and dealing with it…not too far away something happens.

da dum Jaws

A girl painting down by the estuary see’s a shark. She starts crying out the word, but most think it is a hoax. Brody starts to head over, but when he hears his son is down there he runs like crazy.

Now this is a great scene but I can’t find a good clip of it online. You’ll just have to watch the film! So Michael and his friends get capsized along with another guy. The shark devours tons of people, including the man that tried to help them.

Here I am!

Here I am!

Michael makes it out okay, but suffers severely from shock. Brody takes him to the hospital and yells at the Mayor, demanding that he pay all of Quints commands and let’s him kill the shark.

So the three set out to catch that fish, even though they face some issues. Quint wants to go it alone, but Brody insists that he and Hooper have to come along. Quints dislikes Hooper as he sees him as some rich boy having fun with daddy’s money, not a real fisherman or worker like Quint. Quint also dislikes having Brody as he knows nothing about fish or fishing, but at least he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. Hooper is tired of the all the “you don’t know nothing, kid” crap he is getting from Quint and also annoyed at Brody. Brody has a fear of the water that he is trying to overcome, managing two grown men who are acting like children, and is afraid that he might not make it home to see family. There is a lot of stuff going on.

What!

 Once at sea they start getting ready for the hunt. Baiting lines. Chumming the water. And that is when we have the most famous lines from the film uttered. (You know it wasn’t even scripted. Scheider just uttered it in the heat of the moment.)

And that is when the real hunting begins!

That night the guys get drunk and start bonding. Singing drinking songs. Comparing scars and wounds. You know, the typical guy stuff. But that’s when things get serious and Quint describes his hatred for sharks.

At this moment, its not about the money. It’s not about the fame. Quint has become Captain Ahab, and he wants his whale…or shark in this case.

In fact this is one of the most dramatic scenes in the film as you get the underlying reason why this is so important to him. Of course as it is one of the most famous scenes, it has to be parodied.

Back to the film. The next day the hunt continues. They try and take the shark but Bruce proves to more powerful than they expected. They tried to reel it on, but it nearly capsized the Orca. Hooper decides to be lowered down in a shark cage to shoot Bruce with a harpoon filled with strychnine nitrate.

Hooper manages to escape the shark. This was were he was supposed to die, but then Speilberg changed his mind. After attacking Hooper, Bruce decides to go after the ship.

Jaws Shark attack

Pic of the shark from the Universal Backstage Tour ride

He crushes it and causes it to lean toward him. Brody and Quint struggle to hold on, but Quint loses his grip and finds himself in the belly of the beast.

jaws-6

Brody takes on killing the shark all by himself. This is why Brody is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One Shark Week on Discovery channel they actually tested out everything in the film. They discovered that if you shot a tank from the 1970s you could blow up a shark. You just have to shoot it right.

Hooper finally gets his act together and meets up with Brody, the two creating a raft and swimming off in the distance.

“I used to be afraid of the water,” Brody admits.

“I can’t imagine why,” Hooper replies.

TheEnd_Title_2

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But that’s not the end of the post. Oh, no we still have a bit more to cover. 🙂

So for my 20th birthday, my parents told me we could do whatever I wanted. It was the last time they were going to throw a party for me. I really wanted to go to Disneyland as the last time I had gone was when I was 12 (I went recently and will do a post on what it was like later). I decided on Universal Studios as it was much cheaper, and they were having a special for their anniversary that you buy a pass, you get in free for the year! Sweet!

So as we entered the gates, I was asked by a worker to fill out a survey for a free gift. You know me and free.

free stuff

So I did and we got to skip the lines for the Backstage Studio Tour! Whooooooooooo!!!!!

Double double yay

So you see all kinds of cool things on that tour, but I’m not going to speak on everything. We gotta stay Jaws focused here. So at one point we drive to Amity Island.

Sign from Universal Studios Backstage Tour

Sign from Universal Studios Backstage Tour

We see the fake shark that they thought was Bruce but wasn’t.

Jaws

Then we things get intense. Bruce attacks!

Jaws Shark attack

There were actually three Bruces created for the film. The first one is passed along museums, the second is at Universal studios, and the third privately owned. After Bruce attacks, they blow him up!

Jaws

It’s so intense! The flames feel so close! It’s AWESOME!

love it

Later I got to see Brody’s actual costume in the Universal Pictures Museum (that’s where I saw the Marty McFly one from Back to the Future: Part III).

Jaws

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But that’s not the end! So the other day a friend and I were discussing Jaws and Bruce’s motives.

Anjelica: Is this a horror movie? Or is it an animal, drama/history movie about a misunderstood shark that only wants hugs from others, but his eating disorder and anger issues gets in the way?

Me: Horror film. He is purposely hunting down Brody and his family, as seen in the sequels.

Anjelica: “Hunting down” or passionately pursuing the family he always wanted to have. Jaws should just befriend, Orca: The Killer Whale. lol

Me: I have changed my view on Bruce the shark. So Quint was in a shark attack but survived. He was supposed to die in it but somehow cheated death. Bruce is a supernatural entity (that’s why he can’t really die and comes back in the 3 sequels) in the guise of a shark that has been hunting him down to right that past wrong. He finally succeeds in killing him and is supposed to take Hooper too (as he dies in the book and original draft of the script) but Brody gets in the way. In fact Brody manages to destroy his “earthly form”. Then Bruce becomes angry and falls from his post (like Davy Jones in the Pirates films) and starts hunting for Brody, along with taking down all of his family.

So there we have it. I have officially joined the dark side. I have fully become a tumblr with that last comment.

Star Wars Dark side power Darth vader

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So there we go. One of the best horror films that have affected us as people so strongly. People are afraid to swim because of this movie. Ever summer one week on the Discovery Channel is devoted to sharks. The theme is so AWESOME!!!!! I mean every time you go in water you have to hum it.

Jaws

It is one amazing film. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. If you have seen it, watch it again.

Jaws

And that’s the real end. I swear. Hope you enjoyed it!

1975jaws3

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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 Monster Movie

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For more on Jaws, go to Part X: The Movie List That Would Not Die

For more shark attacks, go to For All the Men Who Wonder What It’s Like

For more on hunting a monster, go to Let Them Fight

For more monster movies, go to Keep Clear Of the Moor. Beware the Moon

For more films based on a book, go to Murder is My Favorite Crime

For more films that spanned sequels, go to You Will Die in Seven Days

For more in Universal Studios, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon

For more quizzes, go to I’m Batman!

For more on Star Wars, go to Part IX: Adventures in Movie Lines

For more Buffy the Vampire Slayer, go to Every Time I Bring a Girl Over, You Try to Eat Her!

Keep Clear Of the Moor. Beware the Moon: An American Werewolf in London (1981)

an-american-werewolf-in-london-19811Keep clear of the moor. Beware the moon, lads.

This movie has been referenced in so many books and films that I had been dying to watch it. I wanted to see why everyone loved. So this past Friday the 13th, I decided to watch it and The Wolf Man (1941) as it was a full moon. But when I saw it, I found it was HORRIBLE!!!! One of the worst films ever!! On par with Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and The Beast of Yucca Flats

Mistake Great Gatsby

The main character, David, is so bland and hardly developed that I don’t even care if he becomes a werewolf or not. He also acts crazy all the freakin’ time. In The Wolf Man (1941), Larry thinks he’s crazy, realizes that he’s not, and then tries to stop turning into a werewolf and hurting others. David on the other hand seems to revel in the crazy, and doesn’t seem sad at all that his friend is dead as he is enjoying Nurse Price, etc. While The Wolf Man  is sad and tragic, this was just boring and…more boring.

Jerk

It took over an hour to see David turn! Over an hour! This movie is an hour and a half and I don’t want to have to sit through an hour of crazy David and naked David and have no werewolf!

I don't think so

This is like Godzilla (2014)!!!! If I’m watching a monster movie, I want to see that monster mentioned in the title! The Wolf Man (1941), has a wolf right away, as Bela is a werewolf, and then we see Larry turn at the half hour mark. That’s how its done people!!

Darcy P&P OMG Can't Even

They really should have changed the title of the film to David Naughton, My Naked Body, as that is really what this film is about. We see more nudity and sex than we do a werewolf, which is super disappointing.

I mean seriously, what were you thinking?

I mean seriously, what were you thinking?

I felt like Dracula in Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf.

scooby-doo-and-the-reluctant-werewolf-

I started a M&M eating game. For every time David was naked I would eat an M&M. My stomach started hurting barely in.

shadowofadoubt unhappy

 I have to admit I am getting ahead of myself. Lets go back to the beginning and go through some of the issues.

DeanSupernaturalLetsGetStarted

So for those of you who haven’t seen the film, Jack and David are Americans backpacking through Europe after they have just graduated from college. They are lost in the moors and come upon a pub called the Slaughtered Lamb.

I think the name is a message to steer away.

I think the name is a message to steer away.

[Side Note: the pub is based on a real one that was destroyed years ago. After the film, they opened one up in New York.]

So as the two are walking towards the pub, David tells Jack knock-knock jokes. And I kid you not, he doesn’t get them.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

Like who doesn’t understand knock-knock jokes? I mean three-year old children understand that concept. How did Jack even graduate? And more importantly, why did they even include that in the film?

MeanGirls I know right!

And why would you ever enter a place called the Slaughtered Lamb? It just doesn’t sound like there will be anything good there. I’m with Jack on that one, you should’ve passed on it David.

Bad things happen when you don't listen

Bad things happen when you don’t listen

So they go into the Slaughtered Lamb, Jack sees a pentagram and candles on the wall and he begins telling David all kinds of trivia from The Wolf Man (1941).

AmericanWerewolfinLondon

The two end up getting kicked out of the pub and start wandering the moor, when a werewolf attacks.

wolfman-strangle

It attacks Jack and David takes off running.

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

Yep he takes off. You horrible man, you let your friend die! How could you??!! He was trying to help you and when the wolf attacks him you just RUN OFF???!!!

See Hook agrees with me.

See Hook agrees with me.

So David ends up in the hospital with a “wolf” bite while Jack ends up in the morgue.

Your fault!

Your fault!

And that’s when Nurse Price enters the picture.

Ugh

Ugh. Hate her.

Nurse Price is crazy and a skank. Now I don’t like to call women that, but she plays with David’s junk to get him to eat! I’m serious!!!

Darcy P&P OMG Can't Even

She must have a thing for sick/crazy guys.

Plus she is just annoying in how she acts. Nurse Price calls Mark Twain Samuel Clemens when she is reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court I know that is his real name, but who actually goes around using it? NOBODY! Everyone calls him Mark Twain. And I know the director is trying to draw parallels between the stories, but no movie, no.

No thank you

The only similarity between the two is an American in Britain. NOTHING ELSE!

David doesn’t have the most fun in the hospital. He sees dead Jack and actually talk to him (weird scene). Jack tells David he is going to be a werewolf and he believes it. David is eventually allowed to check out as his bite is not serious. Nurse Price invites David back to her place and tells him she wants to be with him. She says “I don’t really bring strange men home…I’ve only been with seven men, of which three were one-night stands”

Girl Please

Sounds like you do bring strange men home since that is about half the men you’ve slept with, and David will make that four out of eight.

ew! Gross Yuck

All I can think is how many were people presumed to be crazy (as at this point she thinks David is just imbalanced as he says he is a werewolf)? I mean she’s like Sam Winchester over here. (She actually is as he slept with a werewolf. And a demon. Dated another demon, and was involved with some other monsters.)

Sam Winchester Werewolf

So as Nurse Price and David head back to her flat (apartment) they comment on how high the price of all food is. I’m like,

Girl Please

You paid like £5 for a bag of groceries. I wish food was that cheap.

Why? Why!

Why? Why!

Anyways so we have a second visit from Jack and to be honest, this film is more about the Leprechaun (1993)/Rumpelstiltskin from Once Upon a Time Zombie Ghost Jack, than it is about a werewolf.

scooby-doo-and-the-reluctant-werewolf-

The next day after Jack and Nurse Price had sex, she leaves for work and twin girls with a dog come upon Jack. The girls’ dog barks at him and they both laugh like crazy and walk off.

What the

What? I know they are trying to reference The Wolf Man (1941) how the dog can sense he is a wolf (Gwen’s fiance Frank, his dog does this). But what was up with the twin girls? Did they think after The Shinning (1980) that the only way to do a creepy film was to have weird twin girls?

Mal_huh

And are they honestly going to included every song that uses the word moon? We’ve already had Blue Moon and Bad Moon Rising, I am now half-expecting Moon River to be played next.

Ugh great gatsby

And we get the cliche #56,  “person pretends in the mirror to be the monster they later turn into”.

Ugh

Ugh

So we switch to the hospital and get a second round of this bratty little boy who says no all the time (he was in the first hospital scene). He’s even more annoying the second time around that I am actually hoping he does get eaten.

Die, die, die!

Die, die, die!

The transformation scene was okay.

an-american-werewolf-in-london-banner-poster

So the next day David wakes up in the zoo naked with the wolves. Now that doesn’t make much sense to me, if you are a wild werewolf, why would you go put yourself in a cage? You’re free! It would make way more sense if he woke up in the park instead.

Darcy P&P OMG Can't Even

So David tries to get arrested, “to protect others”, and that was kind of funny because the bobby (cop) won’t consider it until he starts insulting the Queen, Winston Churchill, and Shakespeare. But he is so rude to nurse Price. Telling her to shut up and leave him alone:

jerk_alert32

He then tells Nurse Price he loves her, and she’s like woah Ted Moseby, slow down. I Love You? Really after one night? Woah, you don’t even know her. Besides she’s crazy. You don’t want to date crazy.

David then runs off to call his family and tell them he cares about them before he kills himself, but can only reach his 10-year old sister as everyone else is out. All I can think is, 1) David was attacked by a werewolf  or “wolf” as the doctors are calling it and 2) his best friend has been killed! How are his parents not in London right now trying to see if he’s okay? Their son could have been killed!!

See Hook agrees with me.

See Hook agrees with me.

So David tries to kill himself but can’t go through with it. Now all I can think is, haven’t you seen The Wolf Man (1941), I mean I assume you did as you were telling the nurse about it. Well don’t you remember, a werewolf can only be killed by silver? Slitting your wrists doesn’t work.

ouch Hermione

So stupid

So after that David sees Jack outside a porno film movie house and goes in after him. All I can think is, you’re worried about killing people and you go see a porno? Really?

sort priorities Harry Potter

And don’t give me, that’s where zombie Jack was at and he needed to speak to him. Before that we saw that Jack came to David wherever he went (hospital, Nurse Price’s flat, etc); he could find himself a quiet place and Jack would totally follow him there.

Girl Please

Plus what us up with the film they are watching? A guy and girl are getting it on and a second guy comes marching in the room yelling “You promised you wouldn’t do this again!” The first guy says “No, I didn’t.” The second guy answers, “I’m talking to her.” The women replies, “I don’t know you.” The second guy gets really embarrassed, says “Oh”, and leaves.

SayWhat?

What the heck was the point of that? And immediately after, Jack says “great movie”. I know you are super horny Jack, but no, no, no, no ,no, no, no, no. That is horrible, horrible, horrible.

facepalm Star trek

After this I couldn’t stomach anymore. It wasn’t scary. There was barely an werewolf. It was pretty much a huge mess. I’ll take The Wolf Man (1941) any day.

No no no no no

No no no no no

And here I will leave with more werewolf than we see in the film.

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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 You Will Die in Seven Days

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For more on An American Werewolf in London, go to Pink Elephants

For more on werewolves, go to Unleash the Savage Instincts That Lie Within

For more on Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf, go to A Monster Race

For more modern remakes, go to Let Them Fight

For more on monsters, go to What Is This Thing?

For more on Supernatural, go to Happily Ever Aftermath

For more on How I Met Your Mother, go to I’ll Be Back

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.

wolfman

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!

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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 night 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!

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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.

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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

I Bid You Welcome: Dracula (1931)

 I am Dracula…I bid you welcome

So Dracula is one of the best horror films ever made. I know you all were wondering when he would be popping up. This version with Bela Lugosi is my favorite; as I feel the other version either have subpar acting, a distortion of the story, or just fall flat in their presentation.

Bela Lugosi was never intended for the part of Dracula. Originally Lon Chaney was going to play him, but he died the year before. As much as I love Lon Chaney, I can’t see Dracula as anyone but Bela Lugosi.

I have to say that this film probably has the most remakes of all time. There’s House of Dracula, Dracula (1958), The Return of Dracula, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, Billy the Kid vs. Dracula, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Scars of Dracula, Blood of Dracula’s Castle, Count Dracula, Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Count Dracula’s Great Love, Dracula AD 1972, The Satanic Rites of Dracula, Dracula (1979), Love at First Bite, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Dracula 2000, Dracula II: Ascension, Dracula III: Legacy, Dracula’s Curse, Dracula 3000, The Batman vs. Dracula, Dracula (2006), Dracula 3D, Hotel Transylvania, Scooby-Doo & the Ghoul School, and Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf . Not to mention all sequels or films that Drac has a part in; this guy sure gets around.

Of course even with all of these, Lugosi’s version still stands the test of time. It is the one we quote, the one that we mimic Lugosi’s voice from, and the one that we copy the cape movements from; pretending that we too are a vampire.

Dracula

It’s funny that in this film Dracula doesn’t display fangs or show vampire bite marks on the neck.

So the film starts out with Renfield, a lawyer, going to Dracula’s castle. All the villagers warn him that there are vampires there, but Renfield doesn’t listen.

“Innkeeper: Castle Dracula?
Renfield: Yes. That’s where I’m going.
Innkeeper: To the castle?
Renfield: Yes.
Innkeeper: No. You musn’t go there. We people of the mountains believe in the castle there are vampires. Dracula and his wives – they take the form of wolves and bats. They leave their coffins at night and they feed on the blood of the living.”

When Renfield enters the castle he is greeted by Dracula and those famous lines! My favorite.

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“Count Dracula: I am Dracula.
Renfield: Oh, it’s really good to see you. I don’t know what happened to the driver and my luggage and… Well, and with all this, I thought I was in the wrong place.
Count Dracula: I bid you welcome. [Dracula goes up the stairs. Renfield starts to follow him. Suddenly, Dracula hears wolves howling] Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.
[Dracula goes up the steps and waits for Renfield, who, without difficulty, cuts open a hole in a huge spider’s web using his walking stick]
Count Dracula: The spider spinning his web for the unwary fly. The blood is the life, Mr. Renfield.
Renfield: Why, er… yes.”

Renfield doesn’t make it out alive as Dracula ends up attacking him and turning him into a vampire. Renfield becomes crazed as the slave of Dracula. The two travel to England, and when the ship docks only Renfield is left on the boat. Everyone else is dead with the blood sucked out of them. Renfield is a looney, so he is taking to Dr. Seward’s sanitorium.

Martin: Aren’t you ashamed now? Aren’t you? Spiders now, is it? Flies ain’t good enough!
Renfield: Flies? Flies? Poor puny things! Who wants to eat flies?
Martin: You do, you loony!
Renfield: Not when I can get nice fat spiders!
Martin: All right, have it your own way

Later Dracula runs into Dr. Seward, his daughter Mina, Mina’s fiancé John Harker, and family friend Lucy Weston. Lucy becomes enamored of Dracula. Later that night Dracula visits her in her sleep and drinks out all her blood.

Blood!

The next day Lucy is dead as no transfusion is able to save her.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Renfield is acting crazier, and crazier and Professor Van Helsing starts speaking to him to try and help him work through his problems. He believes there is a vampire involved in this.

Renfield: He came and stood below my window in the moonlight. And he promised me things, not in words, but by doing them.
Van Helsing: Doing them?
Renfield: By making them happen. A red mist spread over the lawn, coming on like a flame of fire! And then he parted it, and I could see that there were thousands of rats, with their eyes blazing red,l ike his, only smaller. Then he held up his hand, and they all stopped, and I thought he seemed to be saying: “Rats! Rats! Rats! Thousands! Millions of them! All red-blood! All these will I give you! If you will obey me!”
Van Helsing: What did he want you to do?
Renfield: That which has already been done! [giggles sinisterly] “

Renfield doesn’t like it when Van Helsing shows him wolfsbane; something he declares is able to stop vampires.

Later that evening Dracula attacks Mina; he doesn’t fully drain all her blood, but chooses to do it a little at a time.

Van Helsing also notices that Count Dracula doesn’t have a reflection and concludes he must be a vampire.

Van Helsing puts a wreath of wolfsbane around her neck and tells her nurse not to remove it. He also gives Harker a cross and tells him to hold onto it; that it will protect him from harm of the vampires and not to give it away.

Immediately Harker tries to give it to Mina and it doesn’t work.

DID YOU JUST NOT HEAR THE MAN? HE SAID IT WILL WORK ONLY FOR YOU! YOU KEEP IT!

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I mean this is such a classic mistake made by these men in these horror films. In The Mummy, he just has to give the girl the 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!!!

Van Helsing confronts Dracula and tells him to leave Mina alone. Dracula tells him that it is too late, he has given Mina some of his blood and he belongs to her. Van Helsing tells Dracula that he will hunt down his coffin and drive a stake through his heart no matter what.

“Count Dracula: Van Helsing.
[Van Helsing turns to face Count Dracula]
Count Dracula: Now that you have learned what you have learned, it would be well for you to return to your own country.
Van Helsing: I prefer to remain and protect those whom you would destroy.
Count Dracula: You are too late. My blood now flows through her veins. She will live through the centuries to come, as I have lived.
Van Helsing: Should you escape us, Dracula. We know how to save Miss Mina’s soul if not her life.
Count Dracula: If she dies by day. But I shall see that she dies by night.
Van Helsing: And I will have Carfax Abbey torn down, stone by stone, excavated a mile around. I will find your earth-box and drive that stake through your heart.
Count Dracula: Come here.
[Dracula raises his hand to hypnotise Van Helsing]
Count Dracula: Come here.
[Van Helsing takes three hypnotised steps towards Dracula but soon steps back, resisting Dracula’s hypnotic power over him]
Count Dracula: Your will is strong, Van Helsing.
[Van Helsing reaches out for his crucifix as Dracula looms toward him]
Count Dracula: More wolfsbane?
Van Helsing: More effective than wolfsbane, Count.
Count Dracula: Indeed. [Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]”

Harker still hasn’t realized what is happening to Mina. He takes her out in the night, where she attacks him. He is saved by Van Helsing who puts Mina in her room with wolfsbane. He tells the nurse to make sure that she does not remove it.

He and Harker leave to look for the coffin. They know it must be in the area as Dracula would never travel too far from it.

While they are gone, Dracula hypnotizes the nurse and has her remove the wolfsbane.

Dracula takes off with Mina, bringing her to his lair.

 Harker and Van Helsing see him and follow him; Harker wanting to save Mina while Van Helsing wants to destroy Dracula. Renfield manages to escape from his cell and follows them as well. Dracula kills Renfield; thinking that he lead everyone to his lair. Eventually Dracula is forced to return to his coffin as the sun is rising. When he does Van Helsing drives a stake through his heart and Harker goes to get Mina.

This film is truly amazing and I think you should check it out. It has influenced countless generations and really became the face and substance of who Dracula is.

This was one of Bela Lugosi’s favorite films and when he died he was buried wearing the black silk cape he wore for this film.

So that’s today’s  fearsome tale. More on the way.

Here’s poster I made for my cover page on facebook in honor or Halloween. Hope ya love it.

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To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

To go to the previous post, go to It’s Alive, It’s ALIVE!

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For more on Dracula, go to A Monster Race

For more on vampires, go to Grimwood Ghouls’ Gyn Teacher

For more on Bela Lugosi, go to Universal’s Classic Monster Movies

For more films based on books, go to The Only Thing That Matters is the Ending

For more on Lon Chaney, go to Feast Your Eyes On My Accursed Ugliness

For more films that spanned countless sequels and remakes, go to Camp Blood