Tag Archive for universal

Serial Thriller: House of Frankenstein

"Then Madge told I was soaking in Palmolive dishwashing liquid..."

A bizarre revenge tale mixed with elements of horror tragedy. Universal went all out to bill this as an extreme monster mash-up, deliberately creating the archetypes that have become so familiar, reaching as far back as The Hunchback of Notre Dame to label the simpering Daniel (J. Carrol Naish) as the Quasimodo-ish assistant.

Serial Thriller: The Wolf Man

Caption

This is a more direct monster movie than Frankenstein. What it lacks in complexity, however, it makes up for in performances, especially Claude Rains, Ralph Bellamy, Maria Ouspenskaya, and no less than Dracula himself, chameleon Bela Lugosi as Bela, the cursed gypsy fortune teller who passes his burden onto Lon Chaney, Jr.’s Lawrence Talbot.

Serial Thriller: Son of Frankenstein

'Son of Frankenstein'

After Bride of Frankenstein, the series delved into equally campy territory, with a slightly straighter face, for this second sequel. Basil Rathbone is perfect as the disdainful Wolf von Frankenstein, unwelcome heir of the now completely redesigned Castle Frankenstein.

Serial Thriller: Bride of Frankenstein

'Bride of Frankenstein'

Nowhere near as good as its reputation and certainly nothing to compete with its predecessor. James Whale, returning to the director’s chair four years after the brilliant original, made the sophomore mistake of trying to turn his film into a comedy… and not a very good one at that.

Serial Thriller: Frankenstein

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By no means the first horror movie ever made (nor, in fact, the first Frankenstein movie ever made) but James Whale’s eternal classic is the fountainhead from which has sprung the modern horror movie. Though he would later go on to make the deliberately silly Bride of Frankenstein, here Whale constructs an elegantly tragic frightener that taps into the timeless theme of man playing god.

Ghostbusters

'Ghostbusters'

A little levity never hurt anyone. A lot of levity, however, can make you die laughing. I’m not sure anyone watching this movie in its initial release would have predicted its longevity. Born of the improvisational era of the early 1980s, an era that includes Meatballs, Caddyshack and Stripes, Ghostbusters took the loose format of those former films and gave it a solid structure.