Sunday, October 21, 2012

Welcome to the monster cluuub!

Title inspired by the chorus to the title song to the film "The Monster Club", which, I can't get out of my head now.
I finally realized it wanted to be the title to one of these.
So, now, maybe it'll shut up.

So, the past 20 days, I covered Dracula, Frankenstein, and Wolfman. The big triad.
The kings of Halloween, and thus, the ones with the most goddamned spinoff movies to chew through.
Holy hell.

Now, finally, for all the rest of their buddies.

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1923)

The film-

Now....I personally don't consider Hunchback to be a monster.
He's a handicapped person that a mob of assholes pick on.

Buuut....our culture does, he's even in "Mad Monster Party".

So, I'll give in on this one, and, counting it, it's Universal's first monster, and the film that made Lon Chaney Sr. a star.

This is pretty much the launch point to their monster series.

The history-

Saw it in Film History class, I think....

Hunchback remakes 
(1939, 1956, 1996, 1997)

The films-

Yeah, so, none of these were by Universal, but, as we saw from the Drac/Frank/Wolfie big three, once you're a Universal, you're a Universal for life, even absorbing the legacy of the other spinoff films from other studios.

So, given that's the pattern, I'm going with it.

As for these, the live-action ones are all good, but...Disney, WTF were you thinking???

The film-

I think I've seen all of these, except the Salma Hayek one...

TCM plays the '23, '39, and '56, and you can't escape the Disney versions of anything, but....can't remember Hayek...and I usually make a point of remembering everything I see her in.

The Phantom Of The Opera (1925)

The film-

Okay, I did this for Dracula/Frankenstein, I feel compelled.

The novel!


There, those guys are the big three horror-literature wise...

Now, the film.

Excellent, the definitive, the one Lon Chaney Sr. is always remembered for these days, so, I guess you could easily call it his masterpiece.

Pretty much the Phantom film everyone still thinks of.

The history-

Good ol' TCM at Halloween-time.

Phantom Of The Opera remakes 
(1943, 1962, 1986, 1989)

The films-

The '43 adaptation was also a Universal, and had Claude Rains.

The '62 was a Hammer.

The '89 was Robert Englund, and was covered here.

And, of course, '86 is the Andrew Lloyd Webber one, which is still fucking running.
Once the Phantom hit broadway, he's never really come back.

Which, one can understand, he was never really respected by the other monsters.
He didn't get invited to "Mad monster Party", or "Hotel Transylvania".

In fact, first and last time I saw him hang with the other guys, was the action figures.

The history-

While I'm on the figures, yeah, I never knew what to use him for.

Wolfman had claws, Creature had claws, Frankenstein Monster could strangle, Mummy could strangle, and was bulletproof, Dracula could bite, Phantom...I just had him go "oh solo miiooo!!", and then shrug, and wander off.

Ope, can't forget my favorite Phantom adaptation....

Phantom Of The Paradise (1974)

The film/history-

See here.

See, this is the stuff I would forget, if I didn't make notes...

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 
(1931, 1941, 1960, 1971)

The films-

Interesting, in that, none of these are by Universal, but, Jekyll/Hyde gets lumped in with the classic monsters, and considered a Universal monster as a result.

Y'know what loopholes it in?

"Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"

Yep, Universal snagged him/them for that one, and that backtracks it into a Universal character for most people.
So, Universal not only absorbs its spinoffs/remakes, it retroactively gobbles up other studio's monsters!
That's a helluva thing!

Anyhoo, did it for Dracula/Frankenstein, and now, Phantom, so, here's Jekyll/Hyde's novel....


There, that's the big four of the 19th century.

Anyhoo, back to the films...

The '31 is the silent one with Fred March.

The '41 is the talkie one with Spencer Tracy, that's the one everyone remembers, and imitates (especially Abbott and Costello)

And, the '60, and '71 are Hammers.

And, as you can see,  '71 was "Dr. Jekyll, and Sister Hyde", and it's just as kinky as you imagine.

The history-

Seen all of these, except, I think, the '60 one.

Jekyll/Hyde modern remakes 
(1982, 1995, 1996, 1997)

The films-

Mary Reilly has John Malkovich, and John Malkovich is an acting god.

That's the one to watch, you have your assignment.

Oh..all right...

The '82 is a parody, and stupid.

The '95 is another parody, this time, a screwball remake of "Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde".

And, the '97 is the broadway musical with David Hasselhoff.

Yes, those existed.
Now, go watch Mary Reilly.

The history-

Seen 'em all but the Hasselhoff.

So, after silent Jekyll/Hyde, came Universal's Frankenstein, and Dracula, followed by....

The Mummy (1932)

The film-

So, if the top-tier monsters are like the rat-pack, and Dracula, Frankenstein, and Wolfman, are Frankie, Deano, and Sammy, then...that makes Mummy Joey Bishop.

Yeah, that's about right....

So, all these other fellas so far, were based on novels.
This guy?
Scrolls, and wall paintings!

Anyway, everyone always thinks of Mummy as the dried up mummy-wrapped guy, but um' in the actual flick, he turns back into human form in pretty short order.

Once he crawls out of the casket at the start, you never really see him again in that form. that picture.

The history-


Oh, and here is as good a place as any to inject the last of the monster breakfast cereals, "Yummy Mummy".

The Mummy sequels 
(1940, 1942, 1944, 1944)

The films-

Still from Universal.

Okay, "The Mummy's Hand", is actually a remake of "The Mummy", with a different Mummy, who stays a Mummy, then "Tomb", "Ghost", and "Curse", are sequels.

Lon Chaney Jr. plays The Mummy from "Tomb", to "Curse".

The history-

Probably saw 'em as a kid, memories are too faint.

The Hammer Mummys 
(1959, 1964, 1967, 1971)

The films-

The '59 "Mummy", is actually a remake/mashup of the plots/characters of "Mummy's Hand", and "Mummy's Tomb", with the ending of "Mummy's Ghost".

Peter Cushing is the guy who fights The Mummy, and Christopher Lee is The Mummy.

Man, Hammer ran those guys ragged.

"Curse Of The Mummy's Tomb", and "The Mummy's Shroud", are downright schlock, and don't have Cushing, or Lee.

"Blood From The Mummy's Tomb", however, is adapted from Bram Stoker's "The Jewel Of The Seven Stars", and is well regarded.

"The Jewel Of The Seven Stars", was remade a few other times under different titles, but...they all look like crap, so, don't bear mentioning.

The history-

I remember them less than the Universals, so...might as well be a N/A.

The Modern Mummy Remake, and sequels
(1999, 2001, 2002, 2008, 2008, 2012)

The films-

The first one is ostensibly a remake of the '32 Karloff one, cuz the Mummy is Imhotep.
Except, these were more like Indiana Jones flicks.
And, they were trying to be.
Eh, it's okay...

Second one was a rehash of the first one, with prettier effects, like it was a level-up in a game.
Didn't really bring anything new.

I've heard really good things about "Curse Of The Dragon Emperor".
Haven't been in a rush to see it.

The Scorpion

Covered the first one here.

You can keep the other two.

The history-

The above covers it.

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

The film/history-

See here.

In fact, screw the rest, they existed to inspire this one.

The Invisible Man (1933)

The film-

Ah, the first H.G. Wells monster!

Directed by James Whale, who directed "Frankenstein", and "Bride Of Frankenstein", and who's biography was told in "Gods And Monsters".

It's a good flick.
Still holds up.

While I'm at it, let's have the novella of this too...


The history-

Seen it since I was a kid, TCM still plays it.

The Invisible Man sequels 
(1940, 1940, 1942, 1944)

The films-

Still from Universal.

"Invisible Man Returns", has Vincent Price as a good-guy Invisible Man.

"The Invisible Woman", is a screwball comedy.

"The Invisible Agent", is a piece of WWII propaganda with Invisible Man fighting Nazis.

"The Invisible Man Returns", has Jon Hall from "Invisible Agent", but as a different bad-guy character.

The history-

I remember seeing the Price one...the others don't ring a bell....

Oh, reminds me, got to remind myself here for a future review, Price did a voice cameo as The Invisible Man at the end of "Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein".

The Invisible Man remakes
(1954, 1992, 2000, 2006)

The films-

1956's "Tomei Ningen", is a Toho film, and no, their Invisible Man doesn't grow huge, and fight a lizard.
It's an anthology of two unconnected stories with invisible characters, but, it was inspired by the Wells story.

1992's "Memoirs Of An Invisible Man", starred Chevy Chase, and Daryl Hanna....and was directed by John Carpenter???
...and was intended as a horror???
Man, it wasn't marketed that way....
No wonder it flopped.

"Hollow Man", updated the story so that invisibility was accomplished with quantum mumbo-jumbo.
Kevin Bacon plays a rapey Invisible Man, actually in keeping with the novella.

And..."Hollow Man 2", can go fuck itself.

The history-

Seen "Hollow Man", wished I hadn't.

"Memoirs", has a loyal cult, haven't brought myself to see it.
Oh of it are coming back to me... was...watchable.

 Only recently heard of "Tomei Ningen".

Dracula sequels
(1936, 1943)

The films-

Yeah, I referenced, but skipped these, in "Dracula-thon (Part 2)", but, here they are anyway.

"Dracula's Daughter", picks right up from the ending of "Dracula", and, many consider it superior to the original, and Anne Rice cites it as an inspiration for her works, and it's also the inspiration for the film Nadja.

So, shit, I'll have to check that out.

"Son Of Dracula", has Lon Chaney Jr. as "Alucard", which of course, is Dracula spelled backwards, and, it's revealed he is indeed Dracula traveling incognito, but...the continuity doesn't quite jibe with the rest of the series if it is....

Anyway, the theme of either sons of Dracula, or a disguised Dracula, being called Alucard re-occurs constantly after this.
The Castlevanias, and "Dracula: The Series", off the top of my head.

And, as mentioned before, counting this, then, that means Lon Chaney Jr. played all the key Universal monsters.
Mummy, Frankenstein Monster, Dracula, Wolfman.

The history-

Shit, I really gotta see these now...

Okay, then, after Dracula's Daughter, came Universal's Wolfman, then....

Creature From The Black Lagoon trilogy.
(1954, 1955, 1956)

The films-

A.K.A The Creature, or Gill-Man.

Ah, now here finally marks a turning point!

The first brand new monster!

Yes, all the others were based on novels, or legends, or novels based on legends.

They finally ran out of those guys, so Universal had to get creative!

So, they were like "you got Wolfman, you got Dracula, who's a Bat-guy, all the other monsters are land based, except Dracula, who also has the about a...water guy? Yeah! Fish-man!".

Boom, The Creature was born.

And, just in time for the 50's generation of kids to scare.

They're not uh...not too heavy on plot...

Whole trilogy boils down to this, Creature likes white women, marine biologists are all assholes, and Creature has somehow evolved an immunity to bullets.
Oh, they go into his flesh...but he shrugs them off like a case of the sniffles after.
A long, deep, 12 hour Nyquil nap, and he's good to go for the next one.

The history-

Seen 'em as a kid, and remember them well.

And y'know, it's a damned shame he never really got a "Creature From The Black Macaroons", cereal.
I would have eaten that.

Psycho (1960)

The film-

Started at Paramount, Universal bought it.

So, Norman a monster?

Yeah, why not?

Nothing supernatural about Hunchback, or The Phantom.
Plus, you count him, it's the start of the slashers.

And, counting Norman, it's the start of slasher-killers being called their given birth name, instead of a moniker, title, alias, etc.

That's how you get your Freddys, and Jasons, and Michaels.

The history-

If you haven't seen this, where have you been?

Psycho sequels, and remake
(1983, 1986, 1990, 1998)

The films-

Quickie capsule reviews...
Schlock, schlockier-schlock, drek, and, abomination.

Poor Anthony Perkins.
Damn you, Hollywood.
You're a cold, cold, mean business.

As for Gus Van Sant...*finger*

Jaws series
(1975, 1978, 1983, 1987)

The film-

Yep, they're Universal.

The shark as a monster?
Yeah, why the hell not?

The Creature is a water monster, and sure, sharks are real, but so are humans, and we included Norman Bates.

So, Jaws 1, Speilberg re-invents the blockbuster, an American classic.

Jaws 2, it's got all the characters we like, the formula we like, just enough new things to make it different, not bad...

Jaws 3-D. Utter shit.

Jaws: The Revenge. *Facepalm* Oh...Michael Caine....why?

The history-

Says it all right there.

Jurassic Park trilogy
(1993, 1997, 2001)

The films-

Universal again.

Dinosaurs used to be real, and we let in Jaws....

Another one you had to be under a rock to miss, but just in case, Weird Al recaps the story better than I could.

The sequels?
More of the same.
3 is better than 2.

The history-

Theater, Theater, TBS.

Child's Play series 
(1988, 1990, 1991, 1998, 2004)

The films/history-

See here.

Yep, Universal, so, that makes Chucky the newest Universal Monster.
Didn't know that, didja?
Now ya do.

And now, a rerun of the team-ups....

Mad Monster Party (1967)

The film/history-

See here, here, and here. (again)

Has Mummy, Creature, Hunchback, Jekyll/Hyde, and Invisible Man...

Monster Squad (1987)

The film/history-

See here, here, here, and here.

Has Mummy, and The Creature.

"Creature stole my Twinkie!".

Waxwork duology (1988, 1992)

The film/history-

See here, and here.

Together, they've got....everybody.

The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

The film/history-

See here, and here.

Has Invisible Man, and Jekyll/Hyde.

Van Helsing (2004)

The film/history-

See here, here, and here. (Again)

Has Jekyll/Hyde at the beginning.

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

The film/history-

See here, and here. (again)

Has Mummy, Invisible Man, Hunchback, Mr. Hyde, and several male and female Creatures.

And...that's it, that's every goddamned classic monster, and monster mashup.

Up next, to finish off Universal once and for all, Abbot and Costello.


Diacanu said...

Here's the "Monster Club", song.

Skip to 3:05.

There, now it'll be stuck in your head too.


Diacanu said...


Been reminded that Clint Eastwood's first appearance was in "Revenge Of The Creature".

Thanks, Billdude.

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