Friday, April 24, 2009

It's Alive!

"It's Alive!" - Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931)

One of the classic scenes in all of movie monster history:

The line "In the name of God, now I know what it feels like to be God" was struck from the original release of the film, deemed too blasphemous by the censors.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Thing from Another World (1951)

Um, thinking vegetable? Doesn't sound all that scary, but in The Thing from Another World (1951), that is exactly what a small group of scientists and airmen are up against at an isolated North Pole base.

James Arness, who found later fame as Marshall Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke, is the monster, a thinking vegetable man from another planet. The eponymous Thing feeds on human blood, creepy, sure. Realistic, heck no. But it does echo back to H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds.(Remember what the Martians used human blood for in that book?)

The Thing might be a 'B' movie, but it is about as tense and fast paced as it comes for 1950s sci fi/horror. Fans of vintage Frankenstein films will recognize a bit of Karloff's make-up influence in Arness's costume. The Thing from Another World was remade in 1982 by John Carpenter (simple titled The Thing), a frightening film in its own right. Both movies were based on a short story by John W. Campbell, Jr., although the 1982 version is more faithful to the source material.

The movie ends with the famous last line, "Keep Watching the Skies", a nod to cold war tensions and the fear of the unknown.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Little Something for Frankenstein Fans

If you have yet to discover the tremendous Frankensteinia: The Frankenstein Blog, waste no more time and cruise over there immediately.

Mary Shelley's "hideous progeny" is one of the archetypal monsters, arguably the great-grandaddy of modern zombies and various biologically created aberrations of humankind. I could say more, but Frankensteinia does it better.