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!

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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DID YOU NOT HEAR THE MAN EARLIER?

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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.

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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)

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Happy-New-Year

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope you all had a fun new years eve and safely enjoyed yourself. I went to two parties; both of which bored me :(, oh well there’s always next year. 🙂

Anyways, I thought it might be fun to do a year in review type thing as I start out with the great things that happened this year and what I hope to bring in the future! 😀

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How could any guy hate this color?

1) The Views

So according to WordPress I received 2000 views on my blog this year. Wow, that is more than I thought I would get and I would like to thank all of you for being a part of this. It really makes me feel as if I am doing something special to see that.

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2) #1 Post

Also according to WordPress, my most popular day was October 31st . Surprisingly; instead of the number one post being Everyone’s Entitled to One Good Scare: Halloween (1978), which I posted that day; I Bid You Welcome: Dracula (1931) took the lead. It still remains the number one viewed post. #2 was A Fright on Halloween Night: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949), #3 Grimwood Ghouls’ Gym Teacher: Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School (1988), #4 A Monster Race: Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf (1988), #5 Quite A Horror Story: Agatha Christie’s Poirot Hallowe’en Party (2011), and #6 being By George He’s Perfect.

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3) The Followers

I just found out that I know have fourteen followers! That’s amazing! I want to thank each of you that chooses to come back and check out my blog. It really puts a smile on my face to know that my thoughts and views interest others.

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Now that we have reviewed some stats lets move on to reviewing the highlights of the past posts!

The many handsome men who have played Mr. Darcy

The many handsome men who have played Mr. Darcy

4) Mr. Darcy

I also started the first of Mr. Darcy filled posts. There will be many, many more to come as there is just so much to say about him. My favorite Darcy filled posts were Darcy’s Dream Date and The Beauty of Darcy. I recommend reading both, but especially the second!

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4) The Verne Saga

In September, a guy named Verne tried to hit on me, but I brushed him off never thinking I would see him again. That was proved wrong as he kept popping up. To read the whole story check out Flirting With Disaster, Bowled Over, Bad Penny, and Return of the Verne.

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5) Character Sketches

I did two posts of literary/film characters I really like and admire. Forney Hull from Where the Heart Is, and George Knightly from Emma. I hope to do more later on, as it is something I enjoy doing.

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images-26)Embarrassing Moments

I always have embarrassing moments, and I did post a few. If you want a good laugh; check out Doors of Death, Walkin’ Round, Color Me Red, etc.

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7) Horrorfest

For the month of October, I posted a blog everyday that reviewed/had to do with a monster/horror/suspense movie. It was an enormous feat and took a lot of time to do. There were many days when I almost gave up, but I ended up completing my goal and posting all 31. This is something I plan to do again next October, along with possibly doing something in February for Valentine’s Day. The films I reviewed were The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949), The Bad Seed (1956), The Giant Behemoth (1959), Carnival of Souls (1962), Night of the Living Dead (1968), Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978), Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), Poltergeist (1982), Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), The Black Cauldron (1985), Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School (1988), Scooby-Doo and the Reluntant Werewolf (1988),  Arachnophobia (1990), The Addam’s Family Values (1993), The Cable Guy (1996), Phantom of the Megaplex (2000), The Secret Window (2004), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005), Perfect Stranger (2007), Aliens in the Attic (2009), and Agatha Christe’s Poirot: Halloween Party (2011).

The days I didn’t review a film I talked about Universal’s classic monster films, the internet movie Butterfinger the 13th, the Even Stevens Halloween Special, Archie’s Weird Mysteries: Attack of the Killer Spuds, and the Austen men in Halloween costumes.

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8) Christmas Failure

I tried to do 12 posts of Christmas reviewing Christmas films, but I just became too sick to continue it. I was only able to do five posts about Christmas films-The 12 Men of Christmas, The Santa Clause, Borrowed Hearts, Holiday in Handcuffs, and The Bishop’s Wife. I did one Jane Austen birthday post that I tied into Christmas, a post I know you Austenites would love. And I did a final post listing off six of my favorite songs of Christmas to “equal” 12 “posts”. I’m sorry I had to disappoint you.

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Well I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts of this past year, I loved writing them. Here’s to a new year full of new surprises, ideas, and adventures. I wish you all the very best in the upcoming year; may it satisfy you all and me a memorable time. Happy New Year!

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I think it will be one lucky year, no matter what the superstitious say!

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For another holiday post go to It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Doc’s Bright Idea

Today is a very important day in Back to the Future history.

It has been 27 years since Doc Brown thought up the flux capacitor.

Without him slipping on the toilet and getting knocked out, he never would have dreamed of the flux capacitor or created the time machine. And one of the most amazing stories could never have been told.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

And I know time travel has been around long before, but let’s face it. A Delorean it is the best way to travel through time:

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After all:

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For more on Back to the Future, go to The Clock is Ticking!

For more on time travel, go to It’s Time

For more ’80s films, go to I’m No Warrior, I’m an Assistant Pig-Keeper

Horrorfest Hangover


Horrorfest has ended. 😦 I am actually very sad that it is over. I thought I’d be a bit relieved to have the pressure of posting everyday be over, but I actually kind of miss it. I toyed with the idea of doing a Thank-o-Rama: the 4 Thursdays of Thanksgiving and posting a fav TV episode or movie that revolves/has Thanksgiving in it (I had to include TV Shows as I can only think of three movies with Thanksgiving; Holiday Inn, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and Miracle on 34th Street. Holiday Inn and Miracle on 34th Street don’t even really count since they are Christmas movies.) Then I thought of doing War Writings: 11 Days to Honor Armed Forces for Veteran’s Day, but I thought it would be far too soon to commit myself to another everyday project. I need to take a momentary breather.

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I am considering doing something like The 12 Posts of Christmas and something like Lovetales: 14 Fun-filled Romances for Valentines Day. Also Viva Mexico: Cinco dias de los Chicanos for Cinco de Mayo. I’m still working on the actual titles for these. I thought about doing Pot o’ Gold: Seven Irish Tales for St. Patrick’s Day because I don’t think I can think of 17. The only films I could think of that I have seen that revolve around Irish people/Irish flavor are Rudy (Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish), Luck of the Irish, Gangs of New York, Far and Away, A Leprechaun’s Christmas (doesn’t really count as it is a Christmas movie), The Fighter, and Under the Waterfall. That’s exactly seven.

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Doing this whole project was completely different than I expected. I planned to do posts for all the Universal Monster Movies ; like The Mummy, The Wolf Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein and Phantom of the Opera; along with all their remakes, to you know compare and contrast, but I just ran out of posts to finish them all. I also really wanted to do posts on Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, like The Birds, Psycho, Rebecca, and Strangers on a Train; but also wasn’t able to get to them. I really, really, really wanted to do Vincent Price films; like House on Haunted Hill, The Tomb of Ligeia, The Pit and the Pendulem, etc.

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I noticed that a lot of posts I chose to do really depended on how much time I was able to devote a day to a post; along with what I was in the mood for to write about. Sometimes I started a post, but never finished it as I wasn’t in the right mood.

I also wrote posts on films I just happened to watch at the time like Perfect Stranger, Aliens in the Attic, Hallowe’en Party, The Black Cauldronand The Cabinet of Dr. Caligarithose were not films I had seen before or planned to write a post on. They just kind of happened along the way. Well I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did making them.

I’d like to know which were your faves are so vote, vote, vote! If you are unsure which to pick then why don’t you pop over and start at the beginning. Also I’d like to know what you wish I had posted on. Just leave a comment at the bottom of the page! 😀

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

For more on Horrorfest, go to Horrorfest II: The Oddities of October

Or check out my leatest Horrorfest postings, Horrorfest III: The Revenge

Feast Your Eyes On My Accursed Ugliness: The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Feast your eyes! Glut your soul on my accursed ugliness

I love this movie so much that words fail to express how I feel. This movie was the one that not only was my gateway into horror films, but also caused a life-long love affair with classic cinema.

It all started one day at the library. I was about six years old and complaining to my mother that I couldn’t find any books to read. Nothing just felt right. You know what I mean, when a book synopsis just connects to you, and you know you need to take it home to read?

So my mother eager to get home, pulls a book off the shelf and suggests that I read it. Instead of paying attention to whatever novel she had in her hand, I saw the one behind it. It was The Phantom of the Opera; a slender, abriged, children’s version.

It became my new favorite book and I would check it out all the time, completely annoying my mother.

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Later on I read the original, whole  version; which I also love. It is written so well, if you haven’t read it yet I highly recommend it.

I just connected with this poor man. He was bullied and betrayed because he was disfigured. No one paid attention to his genius in building and composing. He was living a life alone in isolation. I wanted to go underground with him.

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I would have gone off with him and loved him unlike Christine Daaé, she’s a total jerk and loser.

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Anyways, not long after I was flipping the channels and stopped on TCM. I love TCM (Turner Classic Movies) with a passion. I wish I could watch it 24/7 as they show the most amazing films ever.

Anyways, so that day they were doing a biography on Lon Chaney, and mentioned that he played the Phantom. I was now sucked in and had to watch. The film was the biopic Man of a Thousand FacesLon Chaney quickly became my favorite actor as I just fell in love with what a genius he was. He used to wait outside the movie studio, using his make-up to change his apperance to better fit roles. His most famous one being of course, the Phantom.

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Afterwards, they held a marathon of his films, but I stopped watching as they didn’t show the one I wanted to see. I now had to watch the 1925 film! I did more research and found out that it is one of the first films to use color, only being able to for the Masque of Red Death scene. It was supposesed to be one of the most dramatic scenes in the film.

I now absolutely HAD to see that film. I went and rented it, hoping that it would be as good as it sounded. It was better than that! The film was not only horrtastic, but simply, and honestly amazing! It also stayed very close to the book, making only a few changes, and doing a much better job than some other versions (the 1943 one, so bad 😦 ).

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Now I know that silent film isn’t for everyone, but I suggest that you check it out.

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So we start off the film with someone lurking in the catacombs of the opera house. We don’t know who he is or what he is after. Then we switch to the opera house, and the creme de la creme of the elite milling about. Everyone is settling down as the show is about to start.

We see the ballerinas on stage dancing away.

Reminds me of Degas

Meanwhile in an office upstairs, the opera house is being turned over to new owners. Owners who know nothing of what lurks in the belly of the building.

For there lies the Phantom and a friend. A Persian man that had traveled with him since the Phantom has been abroad, but no one knows more than that.

So the new opera owners have gained a lot of problems with their purchase. Besides having to pay the phantom money, give him box 5, and a few other amenities; he is also demanding that they replace Carlotta with Christine, the girl he has been coaching. Needless to say, this is very upsetting for Carlotta.

I refuse to be treated in such a manner

In fact the Phantom has threatened Carlotta if she does not stay away. Carlotta is most unhappy; and leaves declaring she will not sing that night.

Instead Christine Daaé sings beautifully. She is also noticed by the stupid Vicomte de Chagny. I really dislike Raoul, Team Phantom all the way!

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In the book Raoul struck me as a real annoying guy. Like one who is always trying to do different things; but only does them halfheartedly, always expecting someone to bail them out of a jam. Then again I could be biased.

Anyways Stupid Raoul notices Christine and tries to get with her. But she is not as receptive, in fact telling him kindly to get lost as she has her career to think about.

Stupid Raoul goes to leave, but actually, is secretly waiting outside her door to spy on her.

Now for anyone out there; if you tell a person you want a relationship to end and they don’t listen and spy on you, you need to call the police and get rid of them. I can’t believe him. Raoul just went from stupid to stalker. I mean who listens outside their ex’s door like that? Who does that?

How rude

So Carlotta decides to sing anyway, even though she has been warned that bad things will happen. The Phantom makes sure that she will never want to sing again.

“Erik: Behold! She is singing to bring down the chandelier!”

So Christine goes to her room and Raoul being the creep he is  follows her. Erik, the Phantom, calls to her and tells her to go through her mirror; which is really a trapdoor. The Phantom built the Opera House, so built himself a home underneath the Opera House along with tons of secret passage ways and hideouts.

The Phantom takes her to his subterranean home, across a hidden lake.

Christine is amazed and kind of freaked out being there with him. All she can focus on is the fact that he is wearing a mask. Erik starts telling Christine his life story, and the sadness it has brought him. She ends up fainting, and he carries her to his guest room; beautiful and full of things she will love. It has a whole wall of shoes!

The next day everyone is in an uproar as Christine is missing! She wakes up to hearing the organ being played by the Phantom. He has been working on an opera for a long time.

Erik: Since I first saw your face, this music has been singing to me  of you and of –love triumphant!”

While he is romantically sharing his feelings, Christine is determined to rip off his mask.

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Lon Chaney is truly amazing! I mean look at him! He is so awesome looking! So creepy! He is such a genius, devising his own make-up. The Phantom’s makeup was designed to resemble a skull. Lon Chaney attached a strip of fish skin (a thin, translucent material) to his nostrils with spirit gum, pulled it back until he got the tilt he wanted, then attached the other end of the fish skin under his bald cap. For some shots, a wire-and-rubber device was used, and it cut into Chaney’s nose and caused a good deal of bleeding. Cheeks were built up using a combination of cotton and collodion. Ears were glued back and the rest was greasepaint shaded in the proper areas of the face. The sight was said to have caused some patrons at the premiere to faint.

Christine is completely shocked at his apperance. Mary Philbin, the actress who played Christine, reaction to the unmasked Phantom was real – she had no idea what he would look like until that exact moment.

Phantom of the Opera

So the Phantom is upset, but Christine has to stay with him. He is not about to let her go. Now I know that is not appropriate behavior, but I feel so bad for him. She loved him until she saw his face, Now he has nobody. 😦

Then they have the most amazing scene ever! This was one of the first films to have color! They do this huge masquerade scene in color and he comes as the Red Death! It is too fantastic for words. I cannot describe it, you will have to watch it. His entrance, his outfit, etc.

Erik: Beneath your dancing feet are the tombs of tortured men! Thus does The Red Death rebuke your merriment!

Christine escapes from the Phantom and sneaks off with Raoul. They make plans to run away together, but little do they know that the Phantom has overheard everything.

Christine prepares to do her last performance, and as she is doing so, the Phantom comes and spirits her away. His only friend, a Persian courtier who has been with him through everything, goes to Raoul to lead him to Christine.

They go through the secret passage, but end up accidentally in the Phantom’s torture chamber.

The Phantom gives Christine two choices; she can choose to hit this ceramic scorpion,which means that she has chosen to marry the Phantom and be his forever, or the grasshopper which means death to Raoul and the opera house. The grasshopper if pressed will light a fuse of the gunpowder that is packed throughout the opera house and interconnected. Everything will blow! The scorpion is connected to a switch that will pump water into the bottom of the opera house and soak all the gunpowder and keep the opera house from blowing up.

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She chooses the scorpion, but as the water starts to come up and drown Raoul. Christine asks the Phantom to save his life, that she will do anything for him if he does. He pulls Raoul out and then takes off with Christine, as the Parisians are hunting him down.

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

The villagers follow in pursuit. As they are running, Christine throws herself out of the carriage. The Phantom goes to her, but the villagers are too close and he takes off. Raoul goes to Christine, and the Phantom is “killed” by the people.

I’ve never been a fan of that idea, you can’t kill the phantom, he’s unbeatable!

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I love him! Is that sad and pathetic?

That’s the post for today. More to come! 4 days ’till Halloween!

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

For the previous post, go to They’re Coming to Get You Barbara 

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For more on The Phantom of the Opera, go to My Favorite Movie Lines

For more on classic horror films, go to I Want Friend Like Me

For more films based on books, go to Quite a Horror Story

For more films that spanned countless remakes, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more of my favorite quotes, go to I’m No Warrior, I’m an Assistant Pig-Keeper

I Want Friend Like Me: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

“You, make man… like me? No. Woman… friend for you.  Woman… Friend… Wife.”

So this is the sequel to Frankenstein  and I think a much better film.

Yes Mickey you were right

Yes Mickey you were right

I know I say I don’t like sequels as much as the original, but there are always a few that I think are better.

So this movie almost wasn’t created as director James Whale originally did not want to do a sequel to Frankenstein. Universal considered producing a sequel without Whale’s involvement, but after 4 years of constant badgering, Whale agreed to do the film. And I’m so happy he did, or else we would be without this wonderful masterpiece.

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To be honest, this isn’t a true “sequel.” It actually is the second half of the the book Frankenstein, instead of an individual and separate story.

The reason I like this better than the first one is that Frankenstein is creepier, as he is demanding and using his strength and stature to frighten others.

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You also have a creepier Henry, as he is fighting with himself on whether or not to create more monsters. We see that he doesn’t wish to populate the world with these creatures-but at the same time he is lured by the thrill of creating more, and showing off his genius.

Victor Moritz: You're crazy!  Henry Frankenstein: Crazy, am I? We'll see whether I'm crazy or not.

Henry Frankenstein: Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So the film starts off  a little different from the other one. Here we have Elsa Lanchester portraying Mary Shelley and telling the next chapter of the story at a party.

Let me tell you a story

Let me tell you a story

The next chapter picks up exactly where the other film ended.

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

The villagers had driven the monster to the windmill and believed they killed him. They take Henry back home where he is nursed to health by his fiancé Elizabeth.

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However, we see that the creature has not been killed. He escaped the fire by getting into the water under the mill. He kills some people as he escapes into the wilderness.

Meanwhile, Henry’s old mentor,  Doctor Septimus Pretorius, comes to visit him. He brings along his creations to show Henry. Dr. Pretorius had created miniature people: a miniature queen, king, archbishop, devil, ballerina and mermaid. While Henry had vowed to never create another monster again, seeing these creatures spikes his interest.

Meanwhile, the monster has run off into the woods and has tried to find a place to belong. He attempts to befriend a shepherdess and a group of gypsies, but both reject him.

He finally runs into a hermit and has a tender scene with the two becoming “fast friends”.

I love this scene and sometimes say things like “Friend good, such and such bad”, etc in my daily life! 😀 It’s a pretty touching scene. After all:

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But even this does not last forever as searchers looking for the monster, come upon the two and chase the creature away. He eventually comes upon Dr. Pretorius who promises him “friendship” and that he will create a mate for him.

“The Monster: You, make man… like me?
Dr. Pretorius: No. Woman… friend for you
The Monster: Woman… Friend… Wife…”

Dr. Pretorius approaches the newly married Frankensteins and tries to get Henry to help him create a mate for the monster. Henry, having once again realized the horror of his past creation, in no way will ever create another creature. That’s all fine and good, but Dr. Pretorius doesn’t agree. He wants a mate and is determined to force Henry to create one. He gets the creature to kidnap Elizabeth, her being the exact leverage to force Henry to create another monster.

The Monster: I *love* dead… hate living.

Henry seeing that he has no alternative, prepares to create a women from the dead. We see as Henry struggles with his morals, creating a better tension than in the first film. As I stated earlier, he doesn’t want to create another creature as he knows the horrors the other committed along with the fact that the two might mate and reproduce, populating the world with living dead.

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But Henry is excited at the same time. Once again he can use his theories and science to create. He will be able to say he “created” life, not once but twice! This is hard for him to turn away from.

Of course nothing goes perfectly according to plan. Henry creates the woman, but can he control it?

Elsa Lanchaster is amazing! I love the way she turns about, almost birdlike. She actually based her performance on swans; saying that, “they’re really very nasty creatures”. She was only 5’4″ but for the role they placed her on stilts so she was  7′ tall. The bandages were placed so tightly on her that she was unable to move and had to be carried about the studio, much like Olivia Newton-John in Grease. Her hair and outfit are amazing, and now such a classic figure in horror film history, just like her predecessor the Monster. Her amazing ‘do was held in place by a wired horsehair cage.

They introduce her to her “mate”, but when has any woman liked it when people pick out their mates?

The monster is furious at this rejection and destroys the lab killing all who are in it. The only people who escape are Elizabeth and Henry. Frankenstein realized what they had and allowed them to leave unharmed.

“The Monster: [Speaking to Frankenstein and Elizabeth] Go you live… [turning to Dr.Pretorius] You stay we belong dead.”

It’s a great movie. I highly recommend it to anyone into the classic horror films.

That’s todays fearsome post! More to come! Only 7 days left ’till Halloween! Who’s excited?

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

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

For the previous post, go to Someone Very Special

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For more on the Bride of Frankenstein, go to A Monster Race

For more on Frankenstein, go to It’s Alive, It’s ALIVE!

For more classic horror films, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more monster movies, go to Grimwood Ghouls’ Gym Teacher

For more films based on books, go to Quite a Horror Story

For more sequels, go to Just Follow the Screams

For more on Frank Peretti, go to Part IX: Adventures in Movie Lines

For more of my fav quotes, go to I’m No Warrior, I’m an Assistant Pig-Keeper