Monday, February 15, 2010

Of Werewolves, Mummies, and Vampires

The latest classic monster film to be remade for audiences used to state of the art special effects is "The Wolfman," the Benedicio del Toro version of the classic 1941 Lon Chaney film. Reviews have been predictably poor (monster movies don't get no respect, as Rodney Dangerfield might have said), but it looks like a pretty scary movie nevertheless.

I'm glad we've finally got something to get our minds off vampires. Stephanie Meyers' Twilight series and the movies based on the books have reinvigorated interest in vampires, turning them from the savage, bloodthirsty creatures of legend into troubled teens. Sort of like turning Cheney Republicans into "compassionate conservatives."

Before the vampire craze, movie makers dug up the Mummy (so to speak), turning the moody and atmospheric Boris Karloff classic into a special effects extravaganza that relied on shock rather than the spooky dread of the original. The 1932 Karloff film contains one of the most frightening scenes ever filmed, in which a clueless archaeologist sits in his tent, reading from the scroll that brings the mummy propped up in the corner slowly, agonizingly to life. That scene still gives me the willies.

Why do we need monsters? Some psychologists say that we need artificial horrors that we know are confined to the silver screen to help us escape from the real horrors that surround us every day, like workplace shootings, radical Islamic terrorists, and Sarah Palin. We like being scared when we know that, in the end, the horror isn't actually real.

Yes, I admit it. I like horror movies. I like the classics (the original Mummy, Wolfman, Dracula, and Frankenstein) and I like the schlockies (like Wrestling Women vs the Aztec Mummy). I plan to see The Wolfman while Agnes is in Germany (since she doesn't like these movies like I do).

And then, I may watch Bela Lugosi in the original Dracula again. After all, as I grit my teeth to face the real bloodsuckers on April 15th, it helps to find a vampire I can turn off with a wave of the remote.

Have a good day. Sink your teeth into a good monster movie.

More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

7 comments:

Bandit said...

I remember watching those movies on TV. when i was a child they would show them on Sat. afternoons. I also liked the movies with Abbott and Costello meeting up with some of them.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Vampires Mummies and the Holy Ghost..these are the things that terrify me the most...no alien, psychopath or Mtv host scares me like vampires mummies and the holy ghost :)

KKTSews said...

You'll need some good movies to watch during the next snow storm. It's already started here in Ohio and coming down like mad....again.

Mike said...

"Agnes is in Germany"

That's not all that far from Transylvania is it?

Melissa B. said...

I've sorta felt as if I were in the middle of some kind of perverted horror film this past week. Yikes!

Claudia said...

See "Shutter Island," too. One of my geriatric psych patients saw the commercials for it the other day and dead seriously said to me, "Do you know about that place? That's where I live!!!"

Jean-Luc Picard said...

The black and white ones have an atmospheric creepiness about them