Archive for November 9th, 2012

by M. Roca

The stories of both Frankenstein and Dracula, becoming huge hits during the early talkie era, have long been certified as Hollywood box office legend for taking a secondary genre and minting it as a dependable moneymaker. Soon, the rush was on at all the studio systems to try and replicate the fortunes Universal had unwittingly ushered in during 1931. Many rivals tried their hand at horror with varying degrees of success, but only Carl Laemmle’s company, who followed up these two titans of fright with many other worthy productions, kept at it with vigor and consistency throughout the decade. Things started slowing down after The Wolfman struttedhis yak fur in 1941, but the studio still kept cranking out a slew of B programmers well into the 50s when science fiction gradually took over. While the popularity of these pictures has never wavered with movie buffs (Universal just recently repackaged their Monster collection on Blu-Ray for the first time and umpteenth on DVD/VHS), those first two features are the ones both modern viewers and those from the 70s remember best.

Dracula, for all intents and purposes, has dated rather badly. It’s still recognized as a pivotal film that kicked off the horror craze (while also simultaneously launching the career of Bela Lugosi), but cinematically it’s basically a museum piece. It also never developed a succession of true sequels over a period of time that added to the legend. Dracula’s Daughter, for one, was only loosely tied to the original, while Son Of Dracula came much later and was also only arbitrarily connected to Tod Browning’s initial effort. Frankenstein, on the other hand, has basically collected the award for most substantial Universal property and series. Its enduring popularity is not only tied to the Boris Karloff/James Whale debut, but the two subsequent additions to the franchise that came after (Bride and Son). It’s no wonder that when Mel Brooks came up with the idea to spoof a Universal horror film, that Frankenstein would be his logical choice. With so many sequels having been made by the original studio, he could not claim a shortage of material to parody when the time came. A wealth of parts were spread over the cinematic table for Brooks to corral and attach to his own project… a little bit of Ghost Of Frankenstein, a small piece of House Of Frankenstein, and the total embodiment of the first three superior films into a wicked assembly of humor and farce. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(UK 1976 42m) DVD2

Hello, below there

p  Rosemary Hill  d  Lawrence Gordon Clark  w  Andrew Davies  story  Charles Dickens  ph  David Whitson  ed  Peter Evans  m  Stephen Deutsch

Denholm Elliott (the signalman), Bernard Lloyd (the traveller), Reginald Jessup (engine driver), Carina Wyeth,

It was in Cardiffin 1869, if memory serves, when Christopher Eccleston’s 9th Timelord hailed a coach only to find that its passenger was one Charles Dickens, esq.  Amid the usual pleasantries, The Doctor admits to being a huge fan, that he’s read ‘em all, paying special attention when observing “what was that ghost one?”  “’A Christmas Carol’” nodded Simon Callow’s Dickens, only to be told “no, the one with the trains…’The Signalman’.  The best short story ever written.”  Sadly I remember from my eager reading of Dickens’ works in the old Penguin classics series that only his Christmas Ghost Tales were included; a pity, for when I eventually did get to read it, I found myself concurring with the Timelord. (more…)

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