The Wolfman (1941) - [The Undertaker]
The film that set the standard for lycanthropy even to the now. Make-up was far ahead of its time (still far ahead of many that try to make a werewolf today). Great atmosphere and great support for Lon Chaney jr.'s character. Remember when movies actually tried to have atmosphere and be scary by having weird people cast in them? Prime examples here are Bela Lugosi's character and the old gypsy hag. Lon Chaney Jr brings out the sympathy for a man turned monster thru no fault of his own. I personally don't think a truly great werewolf film has ever come close to being made; this one though might still be the closest to my ideal. & please don't try to tell me Wolf was some kinda remake cause it was just to damn pretty. Pretty cast, pretty little lighting, & pretty boring. I prefer The Howling, A. W.I. L. & The Wolfman hands down as the best moon made mad monsters mulling about ever. Thanks you old school fuckers that started it all!!
Dracula (1931) - [The Undertaker]
Too say Bela Lugosi made this entire film is an understatement! His performance set the vampire standard in motion pictures. He became Dracula forever after this role. The film itself aside from Lugosi is slow and only a few good atmospheric scenes occur without him. But when he is on screen, the movie shines. Still kinda creepy even now, the black & white film enhances the whole thing. Many have played the role of Dracula since (Christopher Lee the most successfully), but noone has equaled Bela's take yet to me. His moments on screen all too brief, wish he could have been in the to "House." films. Don't think anyone will put a stake through this films heart anytime soon.
Frankenstein (1931) - [The Undertaker]
Just as Lugosi became Dracula for all eternity, Boris Karloff was destined to do the same as Frankenstein's Monster! Under heavy make-up, Karloff gave the monster a brooding life that is still probably the most recognized monster of all. Amazing how a character with no lines had such an impact huh? This might be Universal's best monster movie when all is said and done. Not my personal fave, but still probably the best movie in terms of craftsmanship. This one has it all! The lab scenes alone are grade A creepy. The whole cast does a great job and the FX are incredible for the time. Remember when people used their hands for something besides making damn digital paste on a blue screen FX? Of course it all comes down to the creature, and Karloff lumbers and glares his way into the Horrorwood hall of fame. Wouldn't it be great to see all these old movies released instead of half-baked remakes that come out every few years?
House of Frankenstein (1944) - [The Undertaker]
Ah Hell!! The 1st Universal monster package deal! You get 'em all (well all the most loved anyway)! Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula, the Wolfman, a hunchback lab tech, & a mad DR. Great idea & a good movie, but there was one fatal flaw. This movie would have been heaven if it had had the original monsters cast in place, as we would have it. Karloff as the monster, Lugosi as Dracula, & Chaney jr. did howl as the wolfman. Despite this problem, the movie still works wonders. Karloff is now the one creating monsters. John Carradine does his best but is no Dracula. Lon Chaney jr. is reliable as always as the howler. Strange thing is that the best character is the hunchback played by J. Carrol Naish. He isn't a monster but it becomes interesting to see his painful life caused by his deformity and how he struggles to be normal. All in all a good movie that good have been the greatest.
House of Dracula (1945) - [The Undertaker]
Another package deal, not as good as it's predecessor though .In this one the story is ok, but Karloff is gone, leaving only Chaney jr. as an original. This film marked the downfall of the serious monster pics at universal. What a shame! In a twist, we get a hunchbacked nurse this time around. The movie just didn't seem to have quite as much magic to me as House of Frankenstein. Still it's ok. Again, it could have been great, you know how!
The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954) - [The Undertaker]
Finally, I get to my favorite Universal monster and monster pic from the past! This did it all for me. The best title, the best creature design & FX make-up (maybe ever), 3d (yes it was originally 3d), cool underwater filming, and a pretty good story! Not quite as atmospheric as Frankenstein, The Wolfman, or The Mummy, but not far behind. It's the monster and the originality that does it for me. This one didn't have a novel or a ton of legends to be created from and so stands as Universal's original monster. Just look at those claws and feet!! The 2 sequels weren't as good, but this one is awesome. Great music too. Water is just scary anyway or I should say what might be under the water, hehe. If I could pick one movie to direct, write, and produce as a revamp of one of the classics, this is it! Hands (claws) down on that my fiends.
The Mummy (1942) - [The Undertaker]
My 2nd fave! Long before there were pc's, digital effects, and pro wrastlers gettin' ready to star in a subpart sequel to the same, there was Karloff in the nastiest looking shit you ever saw! This movie might best stand the test of time than any of the others. Lets face it; mummies are scary, Egyptians are scary, & the whole mummification thing is gross! Roll it all up and you get a winner. Karloff's best role to me. That mummy walk is creepy and so is the movie. Good story as well. This may have the oldest monster of all time in it as well. After 4 sequels (not the new ones) & many more close calls, this is still the best. Karloff proves to be the king by bringing to life two of the world's best undead. Like the pyramids, it stands through the sands & winds of time.
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