#FrankensteinFriday: Frankenstein (1910)

Ho-wdy, Mad Monsters!

We’re going WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYY back in time here! I’m talkin’ B.K. (Before Karloff) here! Yessir, this one’s before Caligari had a cabinet and before Chaney’s Phantom haunted the opera. From Edison (Yes, THAT Edison) Studios, it’s Frankenstein!
Now, this short film has been described  as a “liberal” adaptation and, boy, is that true! Instead of stitching corpses together, the bad doctor throws a bunch o’ chemicals into a vat,  resulting in his own Pet Monster. It ain’t the Frankenstein we’re used to, but it’s certainly fascinating! With its strange optical effects, it’s like freaky-deaky magic show! It’s Strange! It’s weird! It’s one of the original horror shows! I highly recommend it to a you cool ghouls and groovy ghoulies out there! 🙂

Check out the OG Frank below:

#TerrorTrailerTuesday: Peter Cushing’s Hammer Frankenstein Films

Ho-wdy, Franken-Freaks! Welcome to #TerrorTrailerTuesday, a new feature on the site on which we eXXXhume the spook-tacular trailers for a cl-ass-sick fright film series, the flicks of a ho-rror icon, or monster movies featuring a certain kind of creature. Today we’re stealing fire from the Gods, desecrating graves, and going to pieces for Peter Cushing’s Dr. Frankenstein!
Is there any mad scientist madder than Peter Cushing’s Frankenstein? This quack dives head-first into depravity and never comes up air! While he has been portrayed in a somewhat heroic light (Evil of Frankenstein, ironically enough), he’s usually the biggest creep in the tomb. Cushing’s brilliant portrayal is both endlessly chilling and weirdly charming, the latter makes his ghastly deeds all the more ho-rrible.

It was a stroke of mad genius on Hammer’s part to make Cushing’s mad doctor the focus of their Frankenstein films, for no ghoul can compare to the great fiend who makes them. And there is no greater fiend than Cushing’s Frankenstein. With Cushing, the doctor was always in… sane. 🙂

Without any further a-boo, here are the trailers for the Cushing Frankenstein films!

#MonsterMovieMonday: “It Came from the Malt Shop” Double Feature in Shock-o-Rama!


“Today we are concerned with juvenile delinquency – its causes – and its effects. We are especially concerned when this delinquency boils over into our schools.The scenes and incidents depicted here are fictional. However, we believe that public awareness is a first step towards a remedy for any problem.”

The previous quote comes from the opening text of 1955’s The Blackboard Jungle. That film features very little in the way of fangs and gore, but it does highlight one of the primary fears of the 1950s: teenagers.

Ho-rrible, ain’t they? The adults of the time thought so.  There was a widespread fear of juvenile delinquency, with “experts” claiming that post-WWII children were lazy, spoiled, reckless, disrespectful, violent, and just plain rude. Because of this, teenagers and youth culture were demonized and maligned to an extreme. Horror, being the genre that deals the most with society’s fear and anxiety, took this growing issue to the logical next step and made literal monsters of teenagers.


With the success of I Was a Teenage Werewolf in the summer of 1957, a horde of adolescent abominations invaded cinemas for the next few years. The next two teen terror tales to take the theaters were I Was a Teenage Frankenstein and Blood of Dracula, both films being part of a double feature in the November of 1957. While we couldn’t possibly top the drive-in eXXXperience, we are presenting the gruesome twosome here in this very post!
The monsters in both features are among the very best of ’50s schlock. I Was a Teenage Frankenstein‘s tit-ular ghoul looks very much like an apple sculpture shrunken head, and the teen vampire in Blood of Dracula looks like a creation from Dick Smith’s Do It Yourself Monster Make-Up. Both are utterly fantastic.

While Teenage Frankenstein is the clear winner here, both deliver on the teen thrills and chills.  My only complaint with Blood of Dracula is the title. How does the same studio behind the other two I Was a Teenage… miss out on the opportunity to call their vampire film I Was a Teenage Dracula?! Perhaps if they had done that, we’d be listening to Cramps song with that title…

For all you Hepcats and Kittens out there, here’s the double feature:

 

Thank You, Bernie Wrightson.

The curtain always rings down on the stage at some point. Nothing lasts forever, but art comes close. Art can be a persistent force, if rendered properly. Beauty, no matter how unconventional, can linger on for a good many centuries and remain as it is. An artist’s voice stays loud and strong, even if the artist has left us. Bernie Wrightson has died, but he still exists in the works he gave us. Mr. Wrightson brought beauty to horror comics and gave humanity to monsters. Creatures have their own poetry, and Wrightson’s art made it known. He made his beasts majestically terrifying and brought out the soul behind every ghoul. We lost one of the greats.

The following obituary on the artist’s official website:

“It is with great sorrow that I must announce the passing of my beloved husband, Bernie. We thank you for all the years of love and support. His obituary is below:

After a long battle with brain cancer, legendary artist Bernie Wrightson has passed away.

Bernie “Berni” Wrightson (born October 27, 1948, Baltimore, Maryland, USA) was an American artist known for his horror illustrations and comic books. He received training in art from reading comics, particularly those of EC, as well as through a correspondence course from the Famous Artists School. In 1966, Wrightson began working for The Baltimore Sun newspaper as an illustrator. The following year, after meeting artist Frank Frazetta at a comic-book convention in New York City, he was inspired to produce his own stories. In 1968, he showed copies of his sequential art to DC Comics editor Dick Giordano and was given a freelance assignment. Wrightson began spelling his name “Berni” in his professional work to distinguish himself from an Olympic diver named Bernie Wrightson, but later restored the final E to his name.

His first professional comic work appeared in House of Mystery #179 in 1968. He continued to work on a variety of mystery and anthology titles for both DC and its principal rival, Marvel Comics. In 1971, with writer Len Wein, Wrightson co-created the muck creature Swamp Thing for DC. He also co-created Destiny, later to become famous in the work of Neil Gaiman. By 1974 he had left DC to work at Warren Publishing who were publishing black-and-white horror-comics magazines. There he produced a series of original work as well as adaptations of stories by H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. In 1975, Wrightson joined with fellow artists Jeff Jones, Michael Kaluta, and Barry Windsor-Smith to form “The Studio,” a shared loft in Manhattan where the group would pursue creative products outside the constraints of comic book commercialism. Though he continued to produce sequential art, Wrightson at this time began producing artwork for numerous posters, prints, calendars, and coloring books.

Wrightson spent seven years drawing approximately 50 detailed pen-and-ink illustrations to accompany an edition of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, which the artist considers among his most personal work. Wrightson drew the poster for the Stephen King-penned horror film Creepshow, as well as illustrating the comic book adaptation of the film. This led to several other collaborations with King, including illustrations for the novella “Cycle of the Werewolf,” the restored edition of King’s apocalyptic horror epic, “The Stand,” and art for the hardcover editions of “From a Buick 8” and “Dark Tower V.” Wrightson has contributed album covers for a number of bands, including Meat Loaf. The “Captain Sternn” segment of the animated film Heavy Metal is based on the character created by Wrightson for his award-winning short comic series of the same name.

Characters he worked on included Spiderman, Batman and The Punisher, and he provided painted covers for the DC comics Nevermore and Toe Tags, among many others. Recent works include Frankenstein Alive Alive, Dead She Said, the Ghoul and Doc Macabre (IDW Publishing), all co-created with esteemed horror author Steve Niles, and several print/poster/sketchbooks series produced by Nakatomi.

As a conceptual artist, Bernie worked on many movies, particularly in the horror genre: well-known films include Ghostbusters, The Faculty, Galaxy Quest, Spiderman, and George Romero’s Land of the Dead, and Frank Darabont’s Stephen King film The Mist.

Bernie lived in Austin, Texas with his wife Liz and two corgis – Mortimer and Maximillian. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, John and Jeffrey, one stepson, Thomas Adamson, and countless friends and fans. A celebration of his life is planned for later this year.”   

R.I.P. Mr. Wrightson

Happy Birthday to Dwight Frye, The Man with the Thousand-Watt Stare!

In remembrance of Mr. Dwight Iliff Frye (February 22, 1899 – November 7, 1943), on what would’ve been his 118th birthday (plus one day ;)).

Behind every great monster stands a great madman and few are madder than the Dwight Frye of the screen.  Blessed (or perhaps cursed) with a galvanizing stare and psychotic intensity, Mr. Frye was cinema’s perfect henchmaniac. After gaining recognition as fly-eating lunatic Renfield in 1931’s Dracula, Mr. Frye spent most of his career in an endless parade of, in his words, “idiots, half-wits and lunatics.”  His portrayal of the half-mad Fritz in James Whale’s Frankenstein forever burnt the image of the hunchbacked lab assistant into our collective consciousness.

Mr. Frye was never happy about his typecasting in Hollywood and dreamt of doing bigger roles, like he did on the stage. Despite this, Frye always gave 200% to every role he took, regardless of its size or the amount of flies his character had to eat. He never achieved the success of a Boris Karloff and his parts were often cut from films. A remarkable resemblance to Secretary of War Newton Baker had him signed to a substantial role in a biopic President Woodrow Wilson for 20th Century Fox. Frye had hoped this role would give him the mainstream approval he had wanted. Unfortunately, after seeing a double feature of A Lady Takes a Chance and Sherlock Holmes Faces Death with his son, Frye and his boy boarded a Los Angeles bus, where he succumbed to heart attack, dying just a few days after being cast.

Dwight Frye may not have had the career he wanted, but he certainly left his fang-shaped mark on film fans. Two years after his death, he received his first fan letter. Film historians and horror publications like Famous Monsters of Filmland have been singing his praises for decades. Today, he has taken his place alongside Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in the pantheon of classic horror stars and continues to scare the daylights out of children, adults, and flies to this very day. I think it’s fair to say that Mr. Frye has left behind a remarkable legacy, After all, how many horror icons have a 6 1/2 minute Alice Cooper song written about them?

Happy Birthday, Mr. Frye. You’ll always be a big, bright, shining star to us here at Kinky Horror. xoxo

#News Bleed: The “Pop Goes the Slasher” Edition

The Freaks shall inherit the Earth in Maleficent director Robert Stromberg’s Carnival. JoBlo

Ted “Buffalo Bill” Levine dances into Jurassic World 2 (and the world rejoices :)). Variety

Crank it up! Mezco brings us some Horror Jack-in-the-Boxes with Burst-a-BoXXX! (Oh yes…They will be mine!! <3333) Bloody Disgusting

SHE’S ALIVE!!! Here’s your first look at Elle Fanning as Mary Shelley. 🙂 /FILM

The Strangers stalk again in The Strangers 2 (and it’s about dang time!! :)) Entertainment Weekly

Danny McBride says his Halloween is no laughing matter. 😉 A.V. Club

Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein: Prodigal Son Vol. 1

(Submitted by our Superhero Scifi buddy, Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Kinky Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

In the 19th century, Dr. Victor Frankenstein brought his first creation to life, but a horrible turn of events forced him to abandon his creation and fall away from the public eye. Now, two centuries later, a serial killer is on the loose in New Orleans, and he’s salvaging body parts from each of his victims, as if he’s trying to create the perfect person. But the two detectives assigned to the case are about to discover that something far more sinister is going on… (Dynamite)
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I first saw this book on Comixology when searching for Helsing. I mean it had the Frankenstein name and art by Brett Booth, so I was in. For the first little bit of this story, it felt like an episode of CSI. We had detectives investigating a series of murders that were rather gruesome. As I continued reading, I thought the only connection to Frankenstein lore, would be that the killer cut off and seemingly took body parts from his victims.  If that was the case, I would’ve felt a little ripped off. However, the book gets interesting when it reveals that the Frankenstein myth is very real. Frankenstein’s monster, who goes by the name Deucalion, is living in a monastery in the mountains of Rombuk seeking enlightenment. That enlightenment is interrupted when Deucalion gets word that Victor Frankenstein is still alive. He now goes by the name of Victor Helios, one of New Orleans wealthiest citizens, a philanthropist with a beautiful wife and hundreds of loyal employs. It would be fair to assume that Victor is the murderer and back to his old ways. That is partially inaccurate, as the killer is revealed to be Roy Pribeaux, He intended to make the world a better place by eliminating the ugly people. He then takes that idea even further by murdering people who would eventually be corrupt by human emotions, and saving their most beautiful exterior body parts. Victor Frankenstein is up to his own mad scientist schemes. In an abandoned run down hospital laboratory, Victor Frankenstein has created hundreds of “people”. In this iteration, he seems to have upgraded his technique by harvesting and growing body parts and internal organs, as well as being able to download and sync a human mind to his creations. With all his wealth and hundreds of years of technological improvements, it’s logical and believable that Victor would be able to advance and improve upon his technology. His plans have gotten bigger as well. He has slowly been integrating his creations into society, with the eventual intent of replacing humans with his superior species.  I can suspend my disbelief for all of this, yet I am severely disappointed that writer Chuck Dixon didn’t provide any reason as to why Victor has lived this long and maintains a youthful appearance.
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In the outside world, the murder plotline thickens. When another murderer begins to kill, he similarly removes body parts, but instead of external, he goes for internal organs.  This second killer is revealed to be one of Frankenstein’s experiments, fascinated with what makes humanity tick and death itself. The book ends with one of Frankenstein’s newest monster killing  the human “copycat” killer and threatens Frankenstein, that he will kill not only humans, but his creators other creations, until he finds the secret to the goodness and light humans are capable of possessing. Deucalion resurfaces in New Orleans and tells the detectives on the case the true nature of the murders occurring in New Orleans, and offers to help them. In addition to liking the new twists to Victor’s technology and master plan, I enjoyed Chuck Dixon’s nod’s to classic iterations of this story. Specifically, the idea that the monster, in this case, Deucalion lives in a theater and was once a carnival act. We saw hints of this most recently in Penny Dreadful. I also liked the idea that Frankenstein created more then one monster, they had rebelled against him, and would face off against him. That battle was only hinted at here mind you, but still.  One of the drawbacks to this book for me, was that there was way too much being crammed into five issues. Having to establish Deucalion, the murders cases in New Orleans, the new status quo of Victor Frankenstein and his goals, it felt like the story was giving us little teases of each, rather then giving us time to process and explore the different aspects of the story.  The two Frankenstein monsters that are positioned and teased as the central figures in the conflict of this story, are merely bookends to a story that predominantly amounts to an episode of a would be CSI: New Orleans show, with brief snippets of sci-fi and horror sprinkled in.
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I’m familiar with Brett Booth’s artwork. He’s had runs on The Flash and Supergirl and is currently working on Titans as part of DC Rebirth.   The imagery I loved most here, were was the flashback scene featuring Victor Frankenstein creating Deucalion. On the table, full of stitching and cuts, with lightening raining down from the sky. It was classic horror magic on display. The picture of Victor Frankenstein in his modern day lab surrounded  by computers and containers with body part and organs being harvested and grown, was also a favorite of mine because it highlights the changing times and advanced technology he’s working with.  It’s also an example of the principle that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Also, Frankenstein in that setting, complete with lab coat and sinister facial expression, makes for quintessential mad scientist imagery.  The image of Deucalion looking out standing atop a mountain at the Rombuk Monastery  was spectacular. Firstly, because Brett Booth took his cues from the real life Rongbuk Monastery. Secondly, the scenery is beautiful and peaceful, which contrasts with the scars and external pain we can see and sense in Deucalion.  My problems with the art are twofold. First, Brett Booth’s faces and their expressions all look the same, The only thing that differentiates characters, aside from their gender are hair and skin color.  The murders and horror, when described, sounded brutal and disgusting, however, when shown, it’s as if this book went out of it’s way to be as tame and PG as possible.  I’m not saying it has to be overtly gory but I certainly expected much more then we got.
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For three quarters of this book it was a generic crime drama that you can find any night of the week on CBS and NBC. When the book dealt with Frankenstein mythology, it was fantastic. Unfortunately, those moments were few and far between. I’ll come back for one more volume, to find the answers to questions left without any, and to see the fight between Frankenstein’s creations. However, if this book doesn’t improve drastically, it’s off of my rotation!

Boris Karloff: History’s Greatest (Movie) Monster

So, I posted this pic on Instagram the other day:

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Much to my surprise (and dismay), I discovered that there are actually people of Earth who don’t know who BORIS KARLOFF is!!!

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That is unacceptable, so I figured I’d break it on down and lay out some basic (though he was anything but ;)) Boris knowledge for ya’ll. (Especially dedicated to Mr. @itsfunnguy…You are so getting quizzed on this later!! 😉 xoxo)

He was billed only as “?” in the opening credits to Frankenstein, the film that made him a legend amongst both men and monsters. To a figure most unconventional, he gave both monstrosity and humanity. With an uncommon grace and dignity, he expressed simple, childish emotions in a manner that made us care for and understand the lonliness of an actual monster.  When the picture concludes and the ending credits roll, the man behind the creature is given a name: Boris Karloff.

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Boris Karloff is the gold standard by which all subsequent horror actors are judged.  Following his success in the 1931 with Frankenstein, the British Karloff become Hollywood’s resident ghoul, starring in what would become a roster of classic horror films. His Rogues Gallery of performances would include the terrifying mute butler in James Whale’s The Old Dark House (1932), the diabolical titular menace in The Mask of Fu Manchu, the Satanic fiend in The Black Cat (1934), the original Imhotep in Karl Freund’s The Mummy (1932), and enough monsters and madmen to haunt the nightmares of generations to come. Outside of Frankenstein, he is perhaps best-known as the narrator in 1966’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, infusing it with the same devilish charm we’ve come to expect from the King of Monsters. While he clearly had a plethora of timeless creeps to his name, he will forever be associated with the three Frankenstein films he did. Of the part, he once said. “The Monster was the best friend I ever had.”

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Beloved both on and off screen, Karloff was as perfect a gentleman as he was a monster. Karloff was a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild in 1933 and often donated to charities. Every Christmas since 1940, he dressed up as Santa Claus and gave gifts to handicapped children at a hospital in Baltimore, a stark departure from The Grinch. He adored gardening, cricket, and all things English. For the last decade of his life, Karloff moved back to England, where he had a flat in London and a cottage he called “Roundabout” in the countryside.

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Karloff will forever be a giant in the genre and in our pop culture. Whenever Frankenstein is mentioned, you can be sure that images of Karloff will be stirred up. He is perhaps the only figure (save for Jack Skellington) who rightfully dominates both Christmas and Halloween. As long as there are folks that love monsters, Karloff will remain an icon. Impressive for a man who started his career as a question mark.

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Karloff as the voice of Baron Boris von Frankenstein in Mad Monster Party?.

Karloff as the voice of Baron Boris von Frankenstein in Mad Monster Party?.

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Long Live King Karloff!