As a young horror fan, Boris Karloff was the first of my horror heroes, and all of these years later, remains my all-time favorite. He was the first one that I knew the name of the person who was behind the monsters that he played. That came from probably his most famous role as the creature in James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931), or possibly because he narrated the Grinch, but I would later learn and appreciate more and more of his roles.
One reason for this was due to Richard Bojarski’s book The Films of Boris Karloff, which I checked out so often from my middle school library that I was told I couldn’t check it out any longer, to apparently give others a chance to check it out. I would page through there, looking at all the different roles that he appeared in, especially the horror ones, and dream of the day when I might be able to stumble across it on TV some Saturday afternoon. Oh, how naïve we were back then, huh?
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Cinema history changed 90 years ago on this day, with the release of James Whale’s Frankenstein. Sure, Dracula had been released in February and was a big hit, but some thought it was a fluke. But once Frankenstein hit the screens, the wheels started turning for what would become the Universal Horror Classics. Can you imagine being in that audience 9 decades ago, having no idea what you were going to be seeing onscreen?
Of course, one of the reasons the picture was a success does fall on the shoulders of Boris Karloff and his incredible performance. He not only sparked a multitude of nightmares to adults with this character, but children from around the world saw through the makeup and saw the “monster” for what he really was, an innocent outsider. Growing up as a horror fan, like a lot of us, knew what it was like to be different and looked upon as strange or weird. So the creature has always had a special place with me.
This film has always been a personate favorite of mine, and would be in my top ten films of all time. It still is as impactful and powerful today as it was 90 years ago, thanks to everyone from the mad genius James Whale, the anxiety-ridden character of Henry brought to life by Colin Clive, the set designers to created this world they lived in. And of course, had it not been for makeup man Jack Pierce, we might not be celebrating this anniversary.
Here’s to another 90 years to our deeply misunderstood creature. May people continue to learn not to judge people from the way they look, but what is inside them.
What better way to spend your Halloween than at the drive-in, watching 3 of the classic Universal Monsters! The McHenry Drive-In will be screening Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolf Man this Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30th and 31st. Continue reading →
In a little less than 2 weeks, the Skyline Drive-In will be hosting their annual Super Monster Movie Fest. This year’s theme is Man Made Monsters and they have posted the final and complete list of titles that are scheduled to play. As always, they have one hell of a great lineup! Here’s is what will be playing: Continue reading →