sábado, 23 de octubre de 2010

Friend Highlight #1: Moonlight Movie Show


On this new segment of Filmstrip Memories I will highlight some of the content you can find online right now, courtesy of the talents of my friends. Make sure to support them!

For the first episode, I will highlight Moonlight Movie Show!

With so many internet reviewers roaming around cyberspace it can be hard to find one that is different from them all. Moonlight Movie Show may have been inspired by several movie review shows, but what makes it different is that the reviewer is actually a wolfman!

How did this came to be? The reviewer's name is Monty Moonlight, played by Nathan Lee James. He is actually a character from a comic strip called "Moonlight Motel" where classic movie monsters come in to have a rest and just hang out, regardless of what many horror film rules dictate.

Who is Nathan Lee James exactly? Well, I'll let the man introduce himself to you...

Well, I'm just a (single and looking) deceptively starving artist in Austin, Texas still trying to break in as an illustrator and cartoonist, and anything showcasing my minimal talents onscreen if ever possible, ha. I've been squeaking by for years as a freelance illustrator in a place with no use for freelance illustrators. I've recently moved to Austin, and now I'm looking for a day job so I can continue doing the same thing outside of my parents' house, ha.

The comic strip I do is called "Moonlight Motel", and it's about Monty Moonlight, a werewolf (that never takes human form) who has been given the job of running a rundown hotel in Texas by his billionaire uncle, Morty Moonlight (another werewolf, as yet unseen, but I intend to base him very much on comedian Ron White, whom I would love to play Uncle Morty in a movie someday) to prove he has some business talent and is worthy of a huge inheritance. Of course, all this plot stuff isn't discussed much in the simple humor strip, but it is the set up and will be in the first graphic novel I'm currently working on in my spare time. Anyway, the strip is purely humor largely based on banter between Monty, his staff, neighbors, and guests of the Moonlight Motel. Most often seen characters are "Fish" Gillman and Russell Scarecrow, Monty's longtime best friends and the motel's lifeguard and groundskeeper respectively, and Seymour the Bellhop, who is a smart alleck employee that has no choice but to hang out with Monty when no one else will (Seymour also happens to be a Muppet-like creature).

While those sidekick characters are based on friends of mine (there are other characters too), Monty is undoubtedly based on myself. Hey's a permanently lonely, hopeless romantic who identifies greatly with Charlie Brown but is a HUGE Disney fan and movie fan in general.

Moonlight Motel evolved from two other strips I used to do, one that I was shopping around for a publication for that was a comic purely based on myself and best friends in human cartoon form, and another that was a single panel strip I would do for Werewolfcafe.com on occasion called Wagner (Werewolf). I don't know how the magically evolved into what I have now, but it really did all just fall into place one day, and I came up with everything for Moonlight Motel with no trouble at all, even the hotel/motel setting. I know though, that at first the idea of Monty was from my idea to do an online or local horror hosting show starring myself as a werewolf (which I initially called slave2moonlight, my LONGTIME internet handle). I envisioned getting something going like Ernest P. Worrell or Elvira, doing local commercials and such. Though, I know nothing about setting up things like local TV shows, websites, and whatever. As a result, the comic strip is what happened, and now I'm back to the film stuff, as I've finally made Monty a live-action reality doing movie reviews on the Moonlight Movie Show on YouTube, a very new project for me that I'm still learning with. I hope I can figure out, somehow, someday in the near future, how to turn a profit on one of these projects, ha.

As for my art and other stuff, I started out as a Disney fan with dreams of being a Disney animator for a living. I couldn't really afford a college with any animation program though. I went to a local branch of U.T. and got a Fine Arts degree that has been useless, ha. Most people would have anticipated that, but I really didn't know what else to do since it was my one talent, ha. At that point, Disney was firing rather than hiring though, so even applying there was out. Anyway, my love of film and Disney too is a heavily influence in my art. I'm not really a gallery or show artist, I'm more commercial, and an illustrator and cartoonist is really what suits me best in the art realm; that's what I'd like to make it doing. Like a lot of other people on Deviantart.com, I prefer to make art of film and cartoon characters, my own characters, and just really cute girls, and I prefer to do it with a combination of pencil and Photoshop. I do have another comic strip called Cloud K9, but I have yet to post any of that one online. Once I started doing Moonlight Motel, I became consumed with it, though a new installment has been held up for a while due to my recent move, job search, and experimenting with my Moonlight Movie Show. I'll be back to the strip soon though. It actually was published for 3 years or so in a South Texas magazine when I was living in my old town, but when I left, I pulled it from the magazine since it wasn't paying me anything anyway. Still looking for a true home for it, and a publisher or literary agent for the graphic novel when I'm done with it, and anyone who could one day turn the live-action stuff into something lucrative for me too, ha, though at the moment I know it's still a primitive project.

Anyway, that's been my project history in a nutshell, and sorry if this is way more info than you wanted. Let me know though if you have any other questions!


Thank you my good friend!

Despite his video show still being in the rough stages it has a lot of potential of being a great show that differs from the rest due to the high amount of character the reviewer has (seriously, what other reviewer has become a character from one of his or her works of fiction?).

You can find the Moonlight Movie Show here:

As well as Nathan's art gallery:

Remember to support the little guy as he or she may end up ruling the world ;) .



domingo, 10 de octubre de 2010

Review #48: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)



The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

Starring: Bing Crosby, Eric Blore, Basil Rathbone, Pat O'Malley,

Directed by: Jack Kinney, Clyde Geronimi, James Algar

Released by: Walt Disney Pictures

Synopsis: Two of the greatest literary characters of all time, Ichabod Crane and Mr. Toad, are the stars in this Disney animated classic. Mr. Toad, from The Wind in the Willows, is an eccentric aristocrat whose good name gets tarnished when he is accused of stealing a motor car. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow follows Ichabod Crane and he arrives in Sleepy Hollow, enjoys good food, falls in love and ultimately faces the Headless Horseman.

Review: The World War II years were the roughest the Disney studio had ever seen. Not only did their ambitious films like Fantasia and Bambi fail at the box office, the military commissioned the studios to work on training films and morale boosting propaganda, limiting the funds the studio would receive as well the potential for new animated films. In order to combat this, the studio created what fans like to call “the package film”, a full length movie composed of different shorts, each telling their own stories. Often these would place emphasis on music and visuals rather than strong narratives. Due to this the films did well enough to keep the studio afloat, but aren't considered to be the best among Disney's line of animated classics. I find this to be a shame. Regardless of their limited narrative these films are memorable and captivating in their execution, and if you look at them as rehearsals to better films like Cinderella, Peter Pan and Sleeping Beauty, you gain a whole new appreciation for them. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is one of these movies.

The film tells two stories, “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving. What you should know is that the original stories are rich in linguistics, character development and detailed narratives filled with political themes, human drama and a silly sense of reality in Wind in the Willow's case. This movie is not a faithful adaption of the books. They are condensed re-tellings that focus on a handful of events rather than the whole plot. If you come to the movie expecting a loyal adaptation of these books you will be disappointed.

That being said, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad succeeds at capturing the essence of the stories while creating over the top interpretations of its famous scenes and characters. “The Wind in the Willows” is known for its whimsical look at English life through the eyes of animals, and by this time Disney had mastered this art of whimsy. The main characters are animated and voiced perfectly with a manic charm that turns them into comedic gold. Mr. Toad, voiced by Eric Blore, is phenomenal, being charmingly mad from the minute he appears on screen until the very end. He's the kind of person you would love to hang out with... until he gets into a trouble that is. This is balanced by Angus McBadger, Ratty and Mole who serve as the emotional anchor to all of Mr. Toad's endeavors. Cyril Proudbottom is a great supporting character, while Weasly is the type of antagonist you love to hate. He is slimy throughout the whole film, with his defeat being very satisfying.

The film achieves enough success that it has become a favorite many Disney purists, even receiving a ride at the Disney theme parks, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. The attraction would become popular despite the obscurity of the film. As of now, the ride only stands at Disneyland in California. It's unfortunate that Disney never thought of adapting the rest of the book in the same style and manner as the short film version. It would have been one of the most memorable takes on the classic English story yet.

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” isn't really a happy and bright story. It is quite dark and horrific, making you wonder why Disney chose the story to adapt into an animated film. The truth is that it's actually a very different take on the classic Headless Horseman story, one that is very colorful, highly humorous and filled with satire... until the last moments of the film. Simply put, the last scene of the movie with the Headless Horseman is hailed as one of the most frightening in Disney history. This is achieved thanks to great staging and a creepy atmosphere that turns it into a delight to watch on Halloween.

But what about the other half of the story? Think of it as being the lollipop before you are given the bad news. As previously stated, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is told as a colorful folklore, with catchy music by Bing Crosby and highly caricatured characters. Ichabod Crane is a walking stick that loves to eat and is interested in women just for their money and cooking skills. Katrina is a beautiful gal that knows how to use her charms for her advantage, and is the hard headed town hero that wants all competition taken care of. Seriously, these characters may be some of the most dysfunctional ever put on an animated Disney film. And you know what? That's why the story works. It's actually kind of fun seeing these flawed people trying to achieve their goals, creating some very funny scenes in the process.

On the technical side of things, both segments in the film have their own unique art style that served as inspiration for the films that followed it (like Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland). Wind in the Willows is very bright, with captivating character design for the animals as well as some of the other protagonists. The backgrounds are very detailed and give the film a lot of warmth. But easily the best is The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. This is thanks to stunning backgrounds by Mary Blair, one of Disney's most accomplished artists. Rather than playing with the dark themes of the book, she creates a colorful take on classic, rural America, and will use dark colors when the scene demands it. The character design is both realistic and exaggerated, a style that would be seen in the films that followed it. Overall, it might not be the shining example of what Disney animation can be, but it is a visually stunning film due to its aesthetics.

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad may not be the greatest adaption of classic literature ever presented on film, but it deserves far more recognition than it gets. You get two see many facets of Disney animation at work here. Fun characters, catchy music, smooth animation and even lots of horror, the film is a classic that no film or Disney fan should miss.

Rating: 4 filmstrips out of 5



jueves, 7 de octubre de 2010

Review #47: Monsters Inc. (2001)



Monsters Inc. (2001)

Starring: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Jeniffer Tilly, Steve Buscemi, James Corburn, Bob Peterson, Mary Gibbs

Directed by: Pete Docter

Released by: Walt Disney Pictures

Synopsis: In the world of Monstropolis, the screams of children give power to its citizens. Monsters Inc. is the primary provider, recruiting top scarers in order to keep the city running. James “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman) is the top monster in the company. When he accidentally leaves a door to the human world open, a child who he named Boo, sends the city into hysterics due to the fear of human children being toxic.

Review: Let's face it, at one point in our childhoods we were afraid of the dark, of the monster in the closet, under the bed and in our dreams. Even if we eventually realized that it was all a product of our imaginations the thoughts stay with us as precious memories of our infancy. Such is the premise behind Monsters Inc., Pixar's fourth film and their second original story. Pete Docter and his team of story men expanded on the idea of the monster in the closet and created an amazing universe where the monsters are actually quite nice, and they are just doing their jobs. This is just the beginning of the a series of events that are some of the most complex ever put on film.

What do I mean? Well, the whole story is about facing your fears and realizing that not everything that looks scary means harm and that often the danger is in our minds. This is expressed through the fact that in Monstropolis the belief is that human children are toxic, and if one came into contact with a monster they treat it in the same manner as experts would deal with a bomb threat. This brings me to a more sadder note about the movie. Monsters Inc. was released in November of 2001, two months after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. At the time I didn't realize this, but the film became very relevant to everybody. Fear and paranoia was taking over the world as rumors of wars and more attacks invaded our hearts. With the film being about conquering what scares you it brought audiences a lot of laughter and relief in a time of uncertainty, and this is why it's one of my favorite Pixar films.

In addition, the film deals with the subject of limited resources. Monstropolis runs on the screams of children, which is what Monsters Inc. provides. Problem is that children are becoming desensitized to the idea of monsters, creating less screams and providing less power to the city. Despite the silly concept of screams being a power source in an alternate reality if you think about it this is a very real issue, one that can easily be replaced with clean water, fuel, food and other elements we need in our daily lives. Combine this with the idea of a whole society being controlled by fear of what might kill and Monsters Inc. becomes more than just a standard family film. Best of all, though, none of it feels forced. The script is so well written that all of these concepts are developed in the story through the actions of the characters, rather than stopping the movie in order to deliver a message to the audience. It's a very smart and sophisticated way to make what would have been a silly movie into a film that has heart and soul.

That doesn't mean that the film takes itself seriously. Monsters Inc. is first and foremost a fantasy comedy, and a great one at that. The characters are instantly likable thanks to their voice actor. John Goodman as James “Sulley “ Sullivan is fantastic. He brings his trademark fatherly warmth to the character, giving us a character we can easily relate to and cheer for during the film's greatest scenes. Billy Crystal as Mike Wazowski really hits the spot in the comedic department. He is comedic without never going overboard. He expresses fear and concern (almost to the point of paranoia) in a way that you understand him while still laughing at his misfortunes. He plays off of John Goodman's straight man charm very well, creating a nearly perfect comedic duo. Then you have Steve Buscemi as Randall Boggs, which in my honest opinion is so good that he isn't really playing a character but being himself. Buscemi has the knack of creating likable characters out of sleaze balls and while his turn as this character may border on type casting, you can tell that he is having fun.

James Corburn as Waternoose nearly steals the show with his performance, mainly because of how the story develops him. He is a gentleman above all, very calm, collected and easy to trust, the kind of boss you would love to have. But, without spoiling anything, his character evolves in such a way that you never see it coming, and the voice acting changes alongside it. It stands as one of the best moments in all the Pixar films, and once you see it you'll understand why.

Finally, you have the smallest characters whose voice actors complete the whole package. Jennifer Tilly brings a lot of air-headed charm to Celia, Mike's love interest. She doesn't do much in the whole story but her appearance will always be fondly remembered. Story man Bob Peterson is a hilarious Roz, an old, bitter woman that delivers her lines as dry as possible, much to the dismay of Mike and the delight of the audience. Last but not least is Mary Gibbs as Boo. The directors were looking for authenticity rather than an inspired performance, and even though I think Boo is supposed to be much older than the voice acting suggest she is adorable and you feel as if Boo is a real child having an adventure with these cuddly creatures (as she sees it of course).

Since the film's release Pixar has gotten much better at creating digital worlds and characters, with the recent Toy Story 3 giving the classic characters an updated look and a toy world that is remarkable. Even then, Monsters Inc. remains a masterpiece of digital design. The hair on Sulley alone still remains an achievement, with each strand reacting individually to his body movements. It's very realistic and captivating to look at. The designs of the monsters are appropriately creepy, but very fun. Best of all, despite their exaggerated proportions the Pixar animators have animated them very well. Mike in particular is incredible. Even though he only has one eye he is very expressive. They got a lot of mileage out of Mike's face, limitations and all. The locales are very pretty, but I find it kind of disappointing that they didn't make them as surreal as the characters than inhabit it. The textures and designs are realistic, but I wish they took more liberties when creating an all-monster world.

If you want something more family friendly but at the same time its very smart, Monsters Inc. is it. Since its release Pixar has done better movies in technology and storylines, but Monsters Inc. remains a fantastic humor full of heart and humor.

Rating: 4 filmstrips out of 5



martes, 5 de octubre de 2010

Review #46: The Wolf Man (1941)



The Wolf Man (1941)

Starring: Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy, Patric Knowles, Bela Lugosi

Directed by: George Waggner

Released by: Universal Pictures

Synopsis: Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.) returns to his ancestral home in Llanwelly, Wales to reconcile with his father, Sir John Talbot (Claude Rains), after learning of the death of his brother. While there, Larry becomes romantically interested in a local girl named Gwen Conliffe (Evelyn Ankers), who runs an antique shop. As a pretext, he buys something from her, a silver-headed walking stick decorated with a wolf. Gwen tells him that it represents a werewolf (which she defines as a man who changes into a wolf "at certain times of the year.")

Review: Out of the first three Universal Monsters films I have reviewed so far I would say that The Wolf Man is the most brutal of them all. While the violence is tame compared to today's horror standards, the film is a very tense and exciting thrill ride starring one of the most fascinating creatures of all of fiction.

In order to understand why the film is violent when compared to other movies let's analyze the monsters. Dracula was terrifying, but had a lot of charisma and exotic charm that you couldn't help but love. He dealt with his victims and enemies in a smooth manner and only reacted harshly if his life was in danger. Frankenstein was a victim of circumstance, created to defy the laws of life by an ambitious but misguided scientist and became feared by everyone in the process. If he attacked someone it was because someone approached him harshly or it was all an unfortunate accident. The wolf man I would say is both a victim and a villain. That's because the victim with the wolf man's curse can't control when he turns into the monster, and once he does he loses all consciousness and all he thinks of is attacking and killing, even those that are close to him.

That's why The Wolf Man delivers a lot of tension. Everyone is a victim, including the wolf man himself, and anything can happen once his raging instincts take over. The story is also rich in fantasy and mythology, making the wolf man more than just a random creature that came out of nowhere. It's because of this that the story is not only exciting but fascinating as well. There is a mystical reason for the creature's existence, rather than the hand of man guiding its creation. The creature must be disposed of in an specific manner that won't come easy. It gives the film a subtle amount of depth not seen in other movies of it kind.

If there's one thing I would talk against the film is that it's not as dramatic or even as human as other movies. What I mean is that while both Frankenstein movies dealt a lot with the subject of life and death as well as man's acceptance towards the strange and unusual. The Wolf Man is a simpler story rich in mythology and danger, but light in human drama. It doesn't help that many other movies based on the Werewolf curse had a much more expansive story where the mentality of the victim was explored and thus the consequences of his actions were far worse. In comparison, The Wolf Man feels slightly weak. This isn't really an issue as the film is still enjoyable regardless, and not everybody will see it this way, but after witnessing how Frankenstein dealt with this beautifully it's a shame that the plot in The Wolf Man didn't have more to it.

In terms of cast performance it is solid if slightly forgettable. Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot and the Wolf Man is believable, going through many emotions such as doubt, denial, desperation and anger that further complicates his situation, and as the wolf man he is scary and beastly. The rest of the cast didn't strike a chord with me. Most of them are there to provide a reaction towards the actions of the monster (friends and family) or to expose his character (the gypsies). The film, however, does have a great appearance by Bela Lugosi as one of the gypsies and the first victim of the wolf man's curse.

In terms of staging the story, The Wolf Man looks really good though it is far more simpler, creating an atmosphere that is similar to Dracula's. The film takes place most of the time on the foggy forest. This gives the creature ample opportunity to catch his victims by surprise, and shocking the audience in the process. The costume design for the wolf man is really good despite the era it was made. Transformations are subtle but indicative of the man's suffering and his sting as the creature is great to watch to say the least.

Overall, I would place The Wolf Man between Dracula and Frankenstein in terms of quality and enjoyment. It is far more exciting than Dracula thanks to a very good sense of pace and an engaging mythos that makes the monster that much terrifying. But it also lacks the human depth that made Frankenstein such a great series of films in my eyes, and the cast isn't as good as in previous movies. The Wolf Man, however, is far from a bad film and if you enjoy classic horror and the Universal Monsters franchise then this film is worth at least one viewing.

Rating: 4 filmstrips out of 5



lunes, 4 de octubre de 2010

Review #45: Bride of Frankenstein (1935)



Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, Ernest Thesiger, Elsa Lanchester, Una O' Connor

Directed by: James Whale

Released by: Universal Pictures

Synopsis: Frankenstein's monster (Boris Karloff) is still alive and roaming the country, spreading fear and chaos. During his journey he learns about human compassion and cruelty, realizing that the monster may indeed be more human than anyone living.

Rating: They say that people never learn from their mistakes. While this train of thought applies to the characters in the movie, it doesn't apply to the creators of this movie. I felt they kind of missed the mark with Dracula, Frankenstein was an enjoyable piece of horror with a complex story and dramatic characters. So you can imagine my shock when I realized that Bride of Frankenstein tops it in every way imaginable. From the opening you will see that the film is inspired in its narrative.

One of the things that stood out the most to me in the first film is how human the monster was. He was imposing, intimidating and most importantly, frightening. But, he was portrayed as a victim to a world that never understood him and the mistake that was never meant to happen. Bride of Frankenstein goes even deeper into the heart and soul of the monster, once again played wonderfully by Boris Karloff. He goes from being a growling lost creature and turns into a man of some cohesive thought. He learns what love and compassion is and that first appearances are indeed valued more than what lies in the soul of the person. This keeps evolving until Frankenstein's monster becomes the hero, one that shows mercy towards his enemies and sacrifices himself for the well being of the world.

Less striking is the titular bride, played by Elsa Lanchester (who in a rather creative twist, also plays Mary Shelley, the original writer of Frankenstein, at the beginning of the film). While her appearance in the film is memorable enough that she has become an icon of her own, she is only in the film for a few scenes, and very little is done to her except being the element that angers the monster. Colin Clive returns to play Henry Frankenstein. Like the monster he created Frankenstein is now aware of his mistakes, and any experiments he makes he was forced to. This turns him into a grounded character, not unlike the mad man we met in the first film. This makes way for the film's real villain,Doctor Septimus Pretorious. Played by Ernest Thesinger, he is what Frankenstein was in the first movie times two. He shows far less contempt towards the ideas of life and death and really wants to play God. This makes him a despicable man that is worse than the monster people are chasing after.

The look of the first movie was basic in execution but created an iconic look that is still remembered to this day, and Bride of Frankenstein proudly continues that tradition. The sets are varied, giving us detailed Victorian homes in front of thunder storms, quaint forest cabins and threatening ancient castles. The monster looks the same as before, but the Bride looks a little bit wacky. It's a look that oddly keeps her beauty but gives off the fact that she is an inhuman creation. There is even some neat special effects when the doctor shows Frankenstein some of his creations.

Bride of Frankenstein stands as one of the best sequels ever released. It takes the winning concepts that made the first film a classic and polishes it to near perfect. Frankenstein's monster is a creature you will both love and fear and his story will captivate you till the very end.

Rating: 5 filmstrips out of 5



domingo, 3 de octubre de 2010

Reviews #44: Frankenstein (1931)



Frankenstein (1931)

Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Dwight Frye

Directed by: James Whale

Released by: Universal Pictures

Synopsis: Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive), an ardent young scientist, and his devoted assistant Fritz (Dwight Frye), a hunchback, piece together a human body, the parts of which have been secretly collected from various sources. Frankenstein's consuming desire is to create human life through various electrical devices which he has perfected.

Review: If you guys read my Dracula review then you know that I was very underwhelmed by the horror classic. The performance by Bela Lugosi is fantastic and the atmosphere is chilling, but everything else falls flat and at times its boring. Afterwards, I approached every classic monster film with caution, expecting something bad instead of classic. This was a big mistake as Frankenstein is not only a great horror film ,it fixes all of the mistakes done by Dracula.

Based on the classic horror book by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein greatly succeeds in suspense and pace. Every event in the story flows smoothly, nary a scene feeling superfluous to the narrative. Also differently from Dracula is the amount of drama the plot has. There are some scenes that deal deeply with some human concepts, such as the frailty of life and the acceptance of those different from us. There is even a death that while unintentional leaves a very deep impression in the viewer. The reaction afterwards is nothing short of heartbreaking. It creates an unique type of horror film where there is a lot of horror to experience but also you get to see inside the psyche of the characters, a rarity in this kind of film.

This is greatly aided by some great performances from the actors. Colin Clive as Victor Frankenstein is magnificent, evoking both the ambition and madness that made the doctor one of the most amazing characters in fiction yet. He is both a hero and a villain, and ultimately becomes the victim of his own desires.

Frankenstein the monster, played by Boris Karloff, is an interesting enigma. Unlike Dracula where he possessed the smarts and charisma to create a well rounded character, Frankenstein is a juggernaut of a monster, moving left and right without any clear direction and knowledge of his existence. And yet, for such a one dimensional character you can't help but feel bad towards him when he creates dangers by mistakes. Like the doctor he too is a victim of circumstance. He wasn't asked to be an experiment nor defy the laws of life. He was set loose on a world that is terrified by him. It's rare for a monster to be this sympathetic, but Frankenstein does it.

One fascinating piece of trivia is that when the film was first released, Boris Karloff was not credited as the monster. Instead in the opening credits when the cast was shown, the monster always had an interrogation mark. Eventually, everyone learned who was the actor behind the make-up, but it's interesting that they wanted to create a monster so fascinating that they would hide the identity of its performer for years just to make sure that the effect was convincing and thus more haunting.

The technical merits are impressive for its time. It deals away with the haunting imagery of Dracula to scenes that are intense and filled with danger. Everything from the scenes in which Fritz is looking for human parts to when the villagers rally against the monster is filled with tension that adds greatly to the drama. The special effects in particular are great, giving us grand thunder storms that resonate with the madness brewing inside the character's heart.

The make-up effects are also worth noting. While the art of make-up effects has evolved in a way that monsters and otherworldly creatures can easily be made a reality, Frankenstein does really well with in this department. Boris Karloff evokes both fear and presence thanks to how he looks, and even if it looks a little primitive it all works to great results.

Overall, Frankenstein washes away the sour taste left by Dracula's slow narrative. The story is deep but never forgets to be thrilling and chilling. The movie monster is terrifying but we the audience learn to accept him as a victim of his master's misguided ambitions, and best of all it all flows very well, creating an enjoyable escapist evening at the movies. Best of all, the sequel is much, much better.

Rating: 4 filmstrips out of 5



Welcome to Halloween Month!




Throughout the month of October I will be reviewing classic horror movies as well as post Halloween related entries and more! Hope you guys enjoy this new event.

In the meantime, enjoy this neat video!