Huey Lewis & The News were at the height of their popularity when the single “Doing It All For My Baby” was released in 1987. Being the decade of Mtv, there had to be an accompanying music video. With the Halloween season starting, what better video to kick things off than this one featuring characters from Universal’s classic horror movies. The set design, effects, and costumes are fantastic and will get you into the Halloween mood.
Beginning back in 1923, it can be said a Universal monster legacy was born by the studio. Starring Lon Chaney, the legendary “Man of a Thousand Faces” in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While his appearance as the misshapen and tortured Quasimodo brought shock and fright to audiences. I say it was a mere two years later when Chaney would portray The Phantom of the Opera that a true Universal monster legacy was birthed!
It was in fact, Gaston Leroux, the author of the novel we have to thank for this film. As well as then Universal Pictures President Carl Laemmle who was vacationing in Paris in 1922. The two men met and Laemmle admitted to Leroux he was enamored with the Paris Opera House. Leroux was of course happy to give Laemmle a copy of his 1910 novel.
However I have to also add that the Universal monster legacy that we know best. All came about in 1931. With Tod Browning’s film adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in February. Then capturing lightning in a bottle again…so to speak…when Frankenstein was released that November.
Consequently Universal Pictures became known as the house that horror built. While of course many films by the studio could be considered thriller or macabre. The Universal monster legacy continued in 1932 with The Mummy. The titular role offering Boris Karloff another chance to show off the make-up effects of Jack Pierce!
From there it certainly seemed like Universal Pictures was on a roll. In 1933 you had The Invisible Man starring Claude Rains. April of 1935 saw the release of The Bride of Frankenstein. And while I have related my experiences with Frankenstein at three-years-old it is in fact James Whale’s 1935 sequel I hold as the better film.
1935 was also the year that the Werewolf of London stunned audiences. Followed by 1936’s Dracula’s Daughter and then 1939’s Son of Frankenstein. The Invisible Man Returns hit theaters in 1940 as well as The Mummy’s Hand and The Invisible Woman.
It was on December 12, 1941 however when Universal added a new icon to their Universal monster legacy. The Wolf Man starring the son of the actor who helped Universal Pictures begin said legacy. Lon Chaney, Jr.!
Perhaps when you have the time you might care to listen to episode 53 of the Saturday Frights Podcast – featuring The Wolf Man?
Together with more sequels as well as remakes like 1943’s The Phantom of the Opera. Universal Pictures sort of closed the curtain on that legacy with 1954’s The Creature from the Black Lagoon and its following two sequels.
I of course find that most of the creatures from the Universal monster legacy are sympathetic. I would stress that is what in fact makes them such memorable film icons. However with the likes of Dracula, Ihmotep (The Mummy), as well as the Invisible Man. There is some real terror, fear of the insane or the unstoppable. I will certainly admit that I have always possessed a fondness for these films as I think my shelves will attest.
On Friday, Universal Pictures is releasing the latest reboot of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella as the titular character, Anabelle Wallis, and Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll. This is step one in Universal’s new Dark Universe, an attempt to revive these franchises in a shared cinematic universe. I will be quite honest as always. I’m kind of looking forward to this and I most certainly hope they can pull it off. However as the video below shows, the studio has NOT forgotten their…
Welcome back friends to the Saturday Frights Podcast! Each podcast my co-host, the Projectionist and I will discuss a particular horror movie or horror themed TV episode from the Retroist Vault. This week we briefly discuss the 1933 classic film “The Invisible Man” and the Projectionist has brought along some vintage Drive-In ads for your listening pleasure.
The NEW ending music for the show is entitled “Twisted Toys”…suitable for working with the Projectionist and was provided by Tony Longworth, you can visit his site by clicking that link provided or hopping over to his Soundcloud Page!
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As a fan of Frankenstein I remember being excited for “Struck by Lightning.” It sounded like a fun take on the character. It’s kind of like “Newhart” with George played by Frankenstein’s monster. It starred Jack Elam as the monster and Jeffrey Kramer as Ted Stein, a descendent of the original Dr. Frankenstein. Ted inherits an old New England inn that comes with the monster who coincidentally needs a serum recreated to keep him alive.
Unfortunately, it didn’t make it past three episodes even though 11 were filmed. Jack Elam was perfect casting to play Frankenstein’s monster. And similar to “Young Frankenstein,” I like the idea of a descendent of the doctor having to deal with the monster.
Debuting in September 1979, “Struck by Lightning” was slotted on Wednesday nights at 8:30 p.m. EST following “The Last Resort” and up against “Eight is Enough” on ABC and Real People on NBC. The latter two programs were ranked in the top 20 for that TV season. Wednesday night wasn’t CBS’s night.
Sitcoms with a fantasy element seem to be a hard sell. For the time only “Mork & Mindy” was successful. The TV sitcom ratings were dominated by M*A*S*H, Happy Days, Three’s Company, The Jeffersons and others. Still, it would be nice to see if the showed established itself with a style during those 11 episodes.
Thanks to The Retroist Vault being buried under 4,694 tons of snow; attendance is a little slim around here this week. But fret not oh fiendish ones, while Vic Sage, Doug McCoy, Claymation Werewolf and Phisbon3s are all outside fending off our air dropped shipment of nacho “cheese” from a horde of salivating yetis, I have selflessly volunteered to stay locked tightly inside and make sure that the projector is threaded properly…I know, it’s a burden but what can I say; I’m just that kind of ghoul!
So, what creature feature am I going to watch while my erstwhile co-workers are goofing off outside? Why none other than Toei’s 1981 anime flick “Kyoufu Densetsu Kaiki! Frankenstein”; an adaptation equal parts Mary Shelly’s iconic novel and Marvel’s comic series from the early 70’s (which is no surprise as Toei also adapted Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula a year earlier).
If you can’t join us in the Vault all is not lost! The entire opus is available in 10 (un)convenient installments on YouTube (the first of which I have posted below). So, turn down the lights, wrap up in a warm blanket, and let the depressing tale of violence and doomed monsters magically teleport you back to the 80’s; when visiting trauma upon your children via uninformed VHS rental habits was a weekly occurrence! Now if only my inconsiderate co-workers would knock off the blood curdling screams out there, I could enjoy my movie in peace!