Of course I’d seen it on TV a number of times before, but it was cool to see it at the theater. Granted, when the monsters finally fought each other it amounted mostly to the Wolf Man climbing up on stuff and then jumping on the Monster (props to my friend Kyle Duval for pointing this out), but still, it was pretty cool. I think that back then it was amazing enough just to SEE the monsters. They didn’t have to really do very much. Lon Chaney Jr’s Lawrence “the Wolf Man” Talbot is such a tortured soul, and he is not going to ever let you forget it. He JUST.WANTS.TO.DIE. OK? Can’t anyone just understand that?
Strangely, in this film Bela Lugosi dons the makeup of Frankenstein’s Monster. It’s a bit weird. He still has those squinty Dracula eyes. I think he stomped around a little to stompily. Chewed the scenery a bit much (which is hard to do when playing the Monster, but he rose to the occasion.) But I’m sure by this point he was getting pretty cynical. At any rate, he was a pretty good Monster.
And yes, in that link to Frankenstein’s Monster, I linked to the literary version of the monster, just so’s I could educate anyone without much book-learning as to the original, more articulate and thoughtful nature of the monster. I mean, he still kills people in Mary Shelley’s novel, but he can say real words and think thoughty thoughts and stuff. He’s the original goth, the goth that all modern goths aspire to (so all you vampyres — you’re just posers.)
By the way, you MUST READ the production notes in the Wikipedia entry for this film. As I’ve learned from listening to the Dana Gould podcast, the stories behind these films are often more interesting that the films themselves. In particular, the history of Bela Lugosi’s involvement in this franchise, and their decision not to allow him to speak in this film, are quite funny. You will laugh. I wish they’d left all the cut material in the film. It would have made a lot more sense.
Speaking of laughing, or scaring the shit out of little kids, there is a musical performance of the folk song Faro-la Faro-Li. It is truly the most disturbing thing in the film, and owes its disturbing quality to the as-yet-unidentified man singing it …this guy. Luckily for the children of the town, Frankenstein’s Monster shows up to disrupt the party and save them from additional emotional trauma.
I’m going the spoil the end of the film for you. An angry villager blows up the dam right behind Frankenstein’s castle with classic sticks of dynamite. I guess there was a lot of dynamite around back then. People probably just kept it around the house. The ensuing flood destroys the castle, our heroes (really?) escape, and yep – we really don’t know if the monsters are destroyed.
As a last note: Deadpool was showing too. I saw this instead. I would see it again before seeing Deadpool.