Sunday, October 14, 2012

Horror Movies For The Halloween Season

A thought struck me the other day.  Not anything earth shattering nor a profound realization, but a thought none-the-less.  Perhaps I'm watching the wrong stations, but I haven't seen much in the way of promo for the October theatrical horror movie releases typical of the Halloween season.  Did Hollywood run out of ideas for this year's tribute to the spooky, macabre, and gruesome?  But that's impossible.  No new ideas?  No problem.  Just do yet another remake of an old one.

What happened to the scary horror movies from the past that traded on the atmosphere of fear rather than the visual of spurting blood and flying body parts?  The tingling sensation that made the hair stand on the back of our necks and goose bumps on our arms as our imaginations ran amuck.  The spooky ground fog that slithered over and around the tombstones, cloaking the cemetery in an eerie silence.

I'm talking about the traditional horror classics like Frankenstein from 1931 with Boris Karloff's brilliant performance as the monster.  Also from 1931, Dracula with Bela Lugosi's portrayal of the vampire as both elegant and mesmerizing which left the horror to the imagination of the viewer.  The next year gave us 1932's The Mummy with Boris Karloff once again turning in a stellar performance as the two thousand year old mummy in search of the reincarnation of his mate.  Then came 1941's The Wolf Man with Lon Chaney, Jr., as the stricken and cursed Larry Talbot.

True to Hollywood tradition, these classic horror movies spawned numerous sequels—Bride of Frankenstein, House of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein, Dracula's Daughter.  And as long as Hollywood was on a roll, they added to the profit factor by capitalizing on the popularity of the characters by having them co-star in such movies as Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man.  Then there were the myriad remakes that came over the ensuing years, some serious attempts and others totally ludicrous.  Each one pushed the envelope in its own way in order to hopefully make it better (as in more box office dollars) than its predecessor.

And the award for the most remakes over the years goes to Dracula.  Some were serious films and others were more on the ridiculous side with titles such as Dracula's Dog and Dracula's Widow.

With all four of the original movies, the remakes never really captured the essence of the originals…in my humble opinion.

And these certainly aren't the only horror movies that fall into the classic category.  This month Turner Classic Movies cable channel is doing their October retrospective of horror movies.  This year it's Classic Horror Wednesday in honor of Halloween's October 31st falling on Wednesday.  Each Wednesday starting at 8pm and continuing overnight, TCM is showing classic horror movies starting on October 3rd with the 1933 release of Mystery Of The Wax Museum and culminating in the wee hours of Thursday morning November 1st with 1933's The Invisible Man.

And that should be enough to satisfy any classic horror movie buff's needs…until October 2013 when it's classic horror movie time again.


Jolie said...

I prefer more modern horror movies, but agree about the blood and gore. I don't watch slasher movies. There's no depth, no character development. How can you care about what happens to one dimensional characters? I want to root for the heroine or hero to survive. I also live for a good twist. 99 times out of 100 I see the end coming. Overall I want to be scared, not grossed out. Excellent blog.

Shawna Delacorte said...

Jolie: 'how can you care about what happens to one dimensional characters?' So true. Without character development you don't have any way of caring what happens to the characters.

Thanks for your comment.