The Strand Theatre in Shelbyville, IN, has announced this year’s Friday Night Frights schedule and once again, makes me wish I lived closer to the theater! We all know and love the Universal Classic Monsters (or at least we should!) but few fans have had the opportunity to see them in a movie theater on the big screen. Well, if you live near the Indianapolis area, now you have your chance.Continue reading
Tag Archives: Universal Horrors
Jack Pierce: Hollywood Makeup Master Book
I came across this title recently on Amazon, which looks like it was published a couple of months ago, but felt it needs some attention. I have not read it (yet!) but will be ordering it soon and at some point, will have my review posted. But since it is on one of the greatest makeup artists in history, I think it is important to mention here. I mean, this is the guy that created most of the faces on what we consider the Classic Universal Monsters, right?
This 332 page book by author Christopher Lock, that features over 350 photos and graphics, is the only “personal and professional memoire on Jack Pierce available anyway”, which gives fans a “comprehensive and unique insight into the background, psyche, and motivations of Jack P. Pierce; from his childhood in Greece to his immigration to America, his career rationales, his psychological instincts, his rise to fame and recognition, and his eternal legacy”, according to the listing on Amazon.Continue reading
Frankenstein . . . Ninety Years & Counting
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.
Opinions, Opinions, and More Opinions
There is a new book that just came out called 40s Universal Monsters: A Critical Commentary, covering all of the monster films that Universal put out during that decade. Author John T. Soister had published a similar book back in 2001 covering the Universal films of the 30s, entitled Of Gods and Monsters: A Critical Guide to Universal’s Science Fiction, Horror and Mystery Films, 1929-1939. Now, along with contributors Henry Nicolella, Harry H. Long, & Dario Lavia, they take on the ’40s, covering 66 titles from The Invisible Man Returns to Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.
But what does have to do with opinions? Hear me out. Looking through my own library, I have several books that deal with the early days of cinema. If we’re talking about the silent era, we have Silent Screams by Steve Haberman, or Wayne Kinsey’s entry in his incredible Fantastic Films of the Decades series, as well as Troy Howarth’s own series, Tome of Terror, who has covered the decade of the ’30s as well. Kinsey is already up to halfway through the ’40s with his ongoing series. But then I also have Universal Horrors by Tom Weaver, Michael and John Brunas, Soister’s aforementioned Of Gods and Monsters, Mank’s Hollywood Cauldron, Senn’s Golden Horrors, and even a few others titles. Then we move into the ’50s and beyond with multiple titles in each of those as well.Continue reading
Universal Horrors at the Music Box Theatre
Because our September and October wasn’t filling up already, the Music Box has decided to screen some of the Universal classics in their Universal Horror: A Matinee Series, starting at 11:30am on each weekend listed below. Plus the fact that these are all being screened from 35mm prints! Now is your chance to see some of these essential titles from our horror history but on the big screen like they were meant to be seen! Here’s the schedule for this series: