Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Klaus, Sep 27, 2011.
Also, it was a 1984 film, released for Godzilla's 30th anniversary. It came out in America a year later.
I remember watching the American cut of Godzilla 1985 when I was a boy, it was on a normal channel. I saw the Japanese version on youtube a few years ago but can't find it anywhere else, like on DVD.
Funny how some ideas from recent monster movies like Cloverfield used ideas from Godzilla 1985, like how the giant monster would have giant parasites that would fall off and attack people afterwards.
Bride of Frankenstein: I saw Frankenstein last year and the sequel last night. I liked that it picked up right where the first one left off. I also liked the openning narration with Mary Shelly (they even used her maiden name) but I never liked her message about "playing god". There's a good point in there about not tampering with what you don't fully understand, but the message often sounds like an argument against power and knowledge. Kudos to Elsa Lanchester for playing both Mary Shelly and The Bride by the way. Speaking of the bride, her being another monster intended for the original makes the title seem a bit forced, but it's understandable for marketing purposes.
Creature from the Black Lagoon: I couldn't help but notice a certain actress's legs as she walked in short shorts, so I had to look her up. Sure enough, I found a name… Julie Adams, and the IMDb had this to say…
So I'm not the only one.
Never heard of her before last night either. She's still alive and it turns out I've seen her on a number of shows like Sliders, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Lost.
As for the movie itself, the underwater scenes were well shot and the creature, while not menacing enough by today's standards, was still a little scary. Felt sorry for him at the end though. It was a good reminder of how we can often judge by appearance and misunderstand. The creature also reminded me of the Antedeans from TNG.
There's something like that in the first giant-monster movie (and the inspiration for Godzilla), 1953's The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, in which the defrosted (and Harryhausen-animated) rhedosaur's blood contained a prehistoric disease that humans had no immunity to.
I don't believe that was Shelley's message, just the film's misreading of it. She had Frankenstein curse his creation as evil, but I don't think she intended the reader to see Frankenstein as being in the right. The creature was highly intelligent and sympathetic, wanting only to be loved, but its rejection by its own creator, and everyone else, based solely on its physical appearance made it bitter and vengeful. I think the book was a statement against bigotry, not against "playing God." And it can be read as an allegory for how abused and neglected children can end up becoming violent and abusive themselves, so I think it's a statement about taking responsibility for your offspring.
And really, even the films don't quite buy into the characters' belief that the Monster is fundamentally evil. Whale and Karloff's Monster may not have the intellect of Shelley's, but it has the same basic benevolence, only lashing out when provoked or inadvertently doing harm because of his great strength and clumsiness. When he finally found someone who accepted him rather than attacking him -- the blind hermit -- he was able to live in peace with him for weeks, learn to speak, even temper his fear of fire. It was only when he was again attacked by xenophobes that he retaliated.
So maybe it wasn't the film's misreading of Shelley's message. Now that I think about it, I got the impression during that opening scene that maybe Lanchester's Mary was only pretending that the book condemned the creation of life in order to stave off protests or censorship, so she could slip its subversive message under the radar.
I hadn't realized she also played Mary. Nor had I realized how pretty she was out of the fright wig and monster makeup.
Perhaps. It's been 20 years since I read the book. The movie's religious undertones were really in your face though. However...
This is a good assessment. Makes me consider that the real lesson here is about being disconnected which is the basis for the bigotry you mentioned as well as the misuse of power and knowledge.
On second thought, I remember now that what I really thought when I saw that opening scene with Mary giving pious homilies about the evils of playing God was not that the character was putting up that pretense to slip past the censors' radar, but that the filmmakers were putting those words in her mouth in order to quell protests that the film was blasphemous. Maybe the original film stirred controversy in some quarters and the studio insisted on the opening disclaimer of the sequel. Framing it with the Shelleys and Byron and declaring the entire film (and its predecessor) fictional may also have been a way of sanitizing it, making it less likely to offend the religious. (Much like the way Jack Benny's The Horn Blows at Midnight, an irreverent comedy about angels, was explicitly framed as a dream sequence.)
^ I figured that the religious stuff was a product of the times. And it wasn't just in what Shelly had to say, it was in the mob mentality as well, which came off more like a crusade. Those scenes felt like they were there to appeal to the movie-going public.
Frankenstein's abandoning his creature can be read as directly paralleling God abandoning humanity. Of course it is possible to somehow miss this, as it is pretty much like saying God is evil for leaving us without guidance yet condemning us to hell if we subsequently do wrong.
The framing story of Walton the explorer is more susceptible to a "things man is not meant to know interpretation." But is it a ploy for deniability or a mask for the author? Given the close parallels between Frankenstein and God, even this can be read as denying the value in theology, not science. Especially as this was written when scientist was hardly a word. Frankenstein's vain pursuits in alchemy=inquiry into God's plan of creation?
Wow, I never realized that Elsa Lanchester played Mary Shelley, either.
It's available. This is the set that I have, but it appears to be available only from resellers. But it looks like it's on this set, too.
6:30 PM: Zero Hour! (1957): Not SF, but of interest anyway, since it's the film that Airplane! was a spoof/semi-remake of.
5:39 AM: 2010: The Odyssey Continues ('84): 20-minute making-of short about 2010.
7:30 AM: Hercules, Samson & Ulysses ('63): Italian sword-and-sandal movie -- part of the same series as the Steve Reeves Hercules, but with Kirk Morris in the role this time.
9:00 AM: Terror of Rome Against the Son of Hercules ('64): Actually part of the Italian Maciste series, with the hero's name changed in translation.
1:30 PM: The Blob ('58)
3:00 PM: Clash of the Titans ('81): Harryhausen's last film!
3:45 AM: Children of the Damned ('64): Indirect "thematic" sequel to Village of the Damned, about alien children with weird powers
8:00 PM: The Incredible Shrinking Man ('57)
9:30 PM: The Devil Doll ('36): Mad scientist Lionel Barrymore shrinks people to do his bidding.
11:00 PM: A Night at the Movies: The Horrors of Stephen King (2011): Documentary
12:00 AM: The Thief of Bagdad ('24): Silent Douglas Fairbanks take on Arabian Nights.
4:15 AM: X the Unknown ('56): Hammer horror about radioactive mud monster. Originally intended as a Professor Quatermass film, so in much the same vein.
THU 7/11-FRI 7/12: Ray Harryhausen memorial marathon:
8:00 PM: Jason and the Argonauts ('63)
10:00 PM: The Golden Voyage of Sinbad ('73)
12:00 AM: Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger ('77)
2:00 AM: Earth vs. the Flying Saucers ('56)
3:30 AM: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms ('53): The film that launched both Harryhausen's career as a solo animator and the entire giant-monster genre.
2:00 AM: The House of Seven Corpses ('74): Haunted-house horror.
3:30 AM: The Haunting ('63): Ditto.
10:15 PM: Siren of Bagdad ('53): "Arabian" fantasy-comedy with Paul Henreid & Hans Conreid.
2:45 AM: Thief of Damascus ('52): An earlier Arabian Nights pastiche/mashup/comedy from same producer.
8:00 PM: 7 Faces of Dr. Lao ('64): George Pal film with Tony Randall.
12:00 PM: The Mummy ('59): Start of Hammer's Mummy series, w/ Cushing & Lee.
2:00 AM: The Thing that Couldn't Die ('58): Severed-head horror.
3:15 AM: The Brain that Wouldn't Die ('62): Ditto. Seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
10:00 PM: Between Two Worlds ('44): Cruise ship to the afterlife.
2:00 AM: Young Frankenstein ('74): Mel Brooks classic.
11:15 AM: Dead Men Walk ('43): Vampire movie.
12:00 PM: The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb ('64): Hammer horror, but no Cushing or Lee in sight.
2:00 AM: Ugetsu Monogatari ('53): Japanese period ghost story based on a literary classic.
3:30 AM: Fail-Safe ('64) Alt-history nuclear-war drama.
10:00 AM: The Thief of Bagdad ('40): Famous remake of the silent version from earlier in the month.
Some good stuff this month!
Thanks for posting that!
A few comments:
Given the recent passing of Richard Matheson, I would be remiss if I didn't point out The Incredible Shrinking Man, for which Richard wrote both the screenplay and the original book.
(You know, TCM should really schedule a Matheson marathon in honor of his death. You've got the movies based on his books, the movies he scripted himself, the Poe movies with Vincent Price, THE DEVIL'S BRIDE from Hammer, etc., etc.)
Also, the nitpicker in me has to point out the Hammer's "Mummy" movies are not a "series" in the sense that their Frankenstein or Dracula movies were. They were all standalone movies, with no continuing characters. It's a different mummy menacing different characters every time.
And I strongly recommend The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao. Just because.
^Well, Harryhausen died in early May and the tribute night to him is in early July. Since they schedule things in advance, it takes a while. Hopefully we'll get a slew of Matheson movies by the end of August.
I'm glad you spotlighted Zero Hour, I want to check that out. I've seen a couple of the Arabian Nights parodies and they're pretty fun if you're in the right mood.
^I'm disappointed TCM isn't showing Zero Hour! and Airplane! back-to-back. It'd be fun to compare them against each other.
^There's a youtube video showing the similarities side by side. It's pretty funny.
another comparison on vimeo:
Those comparisons are terrific. Zero Hour! looks like a real turkey.
That's a pretty good lineup. There's a few things on the list that I haven't seen for a change. I hope I can find time to watch them all.
And with good timing with the Airplane! references, does anyone enjoy those Italian gladiator movies? I personally find them rather tedious and don't think I've ever watched an entire one and have never met anyone who was a fan. Anyone here?
Two of the Maciste movies were spoofed on Mystery Science Theater 3000, under the titles Hercules Against the Moon Men and Colossus and the Headhunters. The latter actually kept the character's name as Maciste, which Mike and the bots interpreted as "My Cheesesteak."
Separate names with a comma.