With Hallowe'en not that far away, I'm in the mood to watch some horror flicks.  Since I have the six Universal Legacy collections for Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, the Wolf Man and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, I decided to have a look at them all again. However, instead of just plowing through each one individually, I'm going to watch them all in the order in which they were released, at least as best as I can determine they were.

 

I'll begin with:  Dracula!

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I actually saw THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON on a theatrical reissue in 3D, decades back.  Unfortunately, it was the red-and-blue kind, not the "polarized".  Those glasses can really make you dizzy.  I swear, you spend half the movie trying to relax your eyes so they can actually focus on what they're supposed to see, instead of simply seeing it. I suspect this is why red-and-blue 3D is not that popular.

3)Lori Nelson certainly is easy on the eyes, which seems to be the only requirement to be the female lead of one of these pictures.

That's the nature of swamp monsters.  Creatures are only after looks.

Zombies, however, are after brains.

The Creature Walks Among Us (1956):

Released April 26th, 1956

Directed by John Sherwood

Starring Jeff morrow as Dr. William Barton, Rex Reason as Dr. Thomas Morgan, Leigh Snowden as Marcia Barton, and Gregg Palmer as Jed Grant.

1)The human characters in this are all pretty unsympathetic. I expect that's deliberate - "the Creature is the only one that isn't monstrous", that sort of thing. But it would be nice if there'd been one likable character,

2)The protagonists are all pretty quick to go diving in with this thing that has bene known to break people in half.

3)Poor Creature - not only do they destroy his natural good looks, they dress him funny, too!

Overall:

Not much to say about this - to my mind, it's the weakest of the three "Creature" pictures.  This is the last of the "Legacy" collections, but we're not quite done here, yet...

Next:  Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein!

Incredibly, THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US was the first of the 3 that I saw on TV, way back when.  I think I then saw the 1st, then the 2nd (I don't think I saw all 3 in reverse order).  But to this day, I have only ever seen the 2nd & 3rd once apiece, while the 1st has become a real "perrennial" for me.  (I seem ot be able to watch it over and over without getting bored.  Just saw HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL again last night... must be the 10th or 12th time by now.)

I have a higher opinion of Walks Among Us, although I should add it's many years since I saw it. It seemed to me a movie based around a thoughtful idea, with an interesting downbeat ending.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948):

Directed by Charles T. Barton

Starring Bud Abbott as Chick Young, Lou Costello as Wilbur Grey, Lon Chaney as Lawrence "The Wolf Man" Talbot, Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Glenn Strange as the Monster, Lenore Aubert as Sandra Mornay, Jane Randolph as Joan Raymond, Frank Ferguson as McDougal and Charles Bradstreet as Stevens.

 

1)The animated opening credits sequence is amusing.

 

2)I made an interesting discovery about myself while watching this picture again: I find Lou Costello to be profoundly unfunny. His whole act is irritating.

 

3)That said, there were some amusing bits, like the Monster's reaction shot to seeing Wilbur.

 

4)Bela's OK in this, but he's definitely not what he was.  I notice that Dracula reflects in the mirror when he vamps Sandra.

 

5)Chaney's still pretty good in this. Despite having been a werewolf for awhile now, Talbot doesn't seem to take any precautions, instead relying on Wilbur to keep him locked up. Talbot recognizes Dracula when he sees him, which would seem to indicate that this does flow on from House of Dracula, despite Dracula being played by a different actor.

 

6)Another funny line: "You and twenty million other guys."

 

7)We finally get the Dracula/Wolf Man fight I'd hoped for in the last picture, although it mostly involves Dracula backing away alot.

 

8)I also liked the "He thinks I'm Dracula" bit.  Costello is occasionally funny, usually when he's not trying so hard to be "Lou Costello".

 

9)And I do believe that's Vincent Price voicing the Invisible Man at the end.

 

Overall:

A surprisingly good horror movie during the parts when Lou Costello is trying to be funny, Moe Howard said in his autobiography that Costello used to watch the Stooges film sometimes in the old days, and that he (Moe) felt that Costello derived alot of his persona from Curly. Looking at this, I can sort of see that. The problem is that Lou wasn't a good as Curly - but then, who was?

 

Next: Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man!

Lugosi also played a vampire in The Return of the Vampire (1944), which I haven't seen. And Dracula in this instalment of Hollywood on Parade.

Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951):

Directed by Charles Lamont

Starring Bud Abbott as Bud Alexander, Lou Costello as Louis Francis, Nancy Guild as Helen Gray, Arthur Franz as Tommy Nelson, Adele Jergens as Boots Marsden, Sheldon Leonard as Morgan, William Frawley as Lieutenant Roberts and Gavin Muir as Dr. Philip Gray.

 

1)Dr. Gray claims that John Grififn willed his notebooks to him, which is how he was able to synthesize an invisibility drug, here called something like "pripitaine" or "tripitaine", I can't quite make it out.

 

2)The FX are quite well done, they seem to have kept up the quality on that end.

 

3)This picture at least takes note of the blood type issue, by having Lou have the same blood type as Tommy.

 

4)Much of the last part of the pictrue is taken up with a boxing match between Lou and and a crooked fighter, with Lou helped by the invisible. which to my mind seemed to go on forever.

 

Overall:

A so-so picture, not helped much by Lou's persistent unfunniness.

 

Next: Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde!

Supposedly none of the parties involved really wanted to make A & C Meet Frankenstein but Universal pushed for the project since both the Abbott and Costello and the monster franchises had run out of steam at the box office. When the film became a major hit in 1948,  it was a surprise to them all.

I loved this movie as a kid and still find it entertaining as an adult. And the animated intro is quite good - I especially like the cartoon version of Wolfman. Maybe Universal should have pursued animated adventures for the prize monsters.

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953):

Directed by Charles Lamont

Starring Bud Abbott as Slim, Lou Costello as Tubby, Boris Karloff as Jekyll/Hyde, Craig Stevens as Bruce Adams, Helen Westcott as Vicky Edwards, Reginaly Denny as the Inspector and John Dierkes as Batley.

 

1)Here the set-up is that they are American cops in Britain to learn British police techniques. I note they don't even bother with character names.

 

2)Not much to say about this - Karloff is OK, and there are a few amusing bits, liek the "Moselle" scene, and the scene with the four characters stalking one another at the end.

 

Overall: another OK picture. Costello is at his least irritating here, or perhaps I'm just getitng use dto him.

 

Next: Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy!

It continues to amaze me that A&CMF is a better horror movie than most of the "serious" sequels.

Abbott and Costello had some hits with a horror theme before like Hold That Ghost! and A&C Meet the Killer Boris Karloff.
 
doc photo said:

Supposedly none of the parties involved really wanted to make A & C Meet Frankenstein but Universal pushed for the project since both the Abbott and Costello and the monster franchises had run out of steam at the box office. When the film became a major hit in 1948,  it was a surprise to them all.

I loved this movie as a kid and still find it entertaining as an adult. And the animated intro is quite good - I especially like the cartoon version of Wolfman. Maybe Universal should have pursued animated adventures for the prize monsters.

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