This past Saturday I had a few friends over ordered pizza, and we enjoyed an afternoon of classic horror films from Universal Studios.
This is actually the second Monster Marathon we’ve done in this fashion. Marathon I we watched Frankenstein, The Mummy, and Creature from the Black Lagoon.
For Monster Marathon II the selection, based upon votes from the participants, were: The Invisible Man, The Wolf-Man, and The Phantom of the Opera (1943).
The Invisible Man is of course based up the novel by H.G. Wells. Wells had been unhappy with another studio’s adaptation of his novel The Island of Dr. Moreau into the film The Island of Lost Souls and Universal tried to stay closer to the source material the make the author happy. In the film, it is the invisibility serum that drives Jack Griffith mad, turning him into a megalomaniac and a murderer. Wells’ original concept revolved around the idea that power corrupts and that an invisible man, freed from the consequences of his action because he cannot be brought to justice, will surrender to his base drives and rages that are only kept in check by the iron rule of society. It is really a rather cynical theme. The 1933 film is well made and wastes no time in getting to the action and the character. James Whale knew to not bore the audience with dready set-up and exposition, something following horror filmmakers too often forget.
The Wolf-Man I have written on in another essay, but it bears repeating the central thing to know about this movie; nearly everything you think you know about werewolves can be traced to this script, this production. It is not as deftly made as The Invisible Man, concepts are repeated needlessly and there is too much set-up before we get into the meat of the plot. because there is too much set-up the plot resolves too quickly leaving the movie feeling rushed and unfinished.
Phantom of the Opera is the only movie of the marathon filme in color, and it was glorious technicolor. taking liberties with the source material, as Hollywood often does, this film also spends an elaborate about of screentime setting up Erique Claudin as the tragic violinist who when dismissed from hos post in the orchestra and murders a man he believes has stolen his composition (May I state that lawyers are a much better course of action in suspected I.P. theft cases than murder.) flees to the Opera house and becomes the phantom. This film is better made than The Wolf-Man, but the comedic aspect between Christine’s two suitors, and the missing mystery resolution as to why Erique is so invested in Christine’s future, damage the over-all movie.
All in all it proved to be an enjoybale Saturday afternoon followed by an evening of board and ard games. I hope everyone had a weekend as pleasant.