Musings from my life...
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Sunday, October 30, 2005
I want my Mummy!
Well I have spent the last week viewing old fashioned Monster movies. Each of Universal's Legacy Collection sets contains the main movie and most of the franchises sequels. The case in point is The Mummy set. In addition to the original "The Mummy", the set also includes four sequels. The interesting thing is that all of the sequels are inter-connected to each other and not the original. The sequels revolve around the mummy Kharis and his Egyptian Princess Ananka.
The first sequel is "The Mummy's Hand." It mirrors the original in terms of several plot devices and cliches. In fact a lot of the flash back scenes were actually taken from the original. The story is set in Egypt and it tells the story of an ancient cult whose mission is to ensure that Princess Ananka's tomb remains undisturbed. Of course the hero's of the movie do just that. The mummy of Kharis arises and seeks revenge. The high priest is mortally shot (at least that's what we are meant to believe) and the two main heroes escape with the beautiful heroine.
In the second movie "The Mummy's Tomb" genre legend Lon Chaney Jr. takes over the role of the mummy Kharis (he will remain in the role for a total of three sequels). This time the story is set in the U.S. approximately 30 years after the events in the first film. The two heroes return to their original roles but now as old men. The high priest returns as well and sends an agent to the U.S. with the mummy Kharis to take revenge on the families of our heroes.
The next movie is "The Mummy's Ghost". In this film Kharis is still in the U.S and the high priest sends another flunky over to recover Kharis and to revive the Princess Ananka. John Carradine plays the priest sent to do the job. It's interesting to see a man I knew in film only when he was later in life, on screen as such a young man. He ends up betraying the mummy and ends up paying for it in the end. A modern day Egyptian student is channeling the spirit of Princess Ananka and ends up in the bottom of a swamp with Kharis in a bittersweet love story.
The final movie is "The Mummy's Curse" The swamp where Kharis and Ananka are buried is drained and hell hath no fury like a Mummy scorned. This movie has a few comedic moments in it. One memorable scenes is when a restored Ananka is found lying by the side of the road by two people driving by. Kharis emerges from the woods and is stalking up to the vehicle as the unconscious Princess is loaded into the back seat. Just as he gets to the car and reaches for her the car speeds off with out any of the cars occupants seeing him. It's classic.
Are these all great movies? No Are they worth watching? Hell yes!! The story of the Mummy is one of the best known and loved of all monster movie franchises. I remember seeing these movies as a kid. Although I did not know they were all connected till now. The great thing about these movies, is the fact that blood and gore are never seen. The mummy kills by strangulation, mostly using one hand or forearm. Death is quick and not drawn out. The monster and the suspense is the scary part. Seeing the whole series the week before Halloween is a fantastic way to get ready for the holiday. I just love the movies. I take the corny parts along with the suspense. I can't wait till next year to view them again.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
I'm a loner. I like my alone time. It gives me a chance to relax, de-stress and find my happy place. I'm very jealous of this time and I relish every minute of it.
One of my favorite things to do when alone is to watch movies. In my current house I have a Media Room. This is the ideal place to watch movies in peace. It is set up with a projector and electric reclining leather theatre seating with Buttkickers in every chair. With the Buttkickers you actually feel the movie. In Master and Commander - you are on the H.M.S. Surprise, fighting the evil French privateer. In Star Wars you feel the Imperial Battlecruisers fly by. It's an awesome technology.
As cool as all of that is, I still like the Old Fashioned movies. Special effects were minimal and they focused on the story-line to carry the movie. Black and white movies that I never got to see in a theatre come to life on my 122 inch screen. The seats don't shake and but the movies are just as real and exciting.
Every year about this time I pull out my collection of the old Universal Classic Monster movies. Last year Universal released new DVD sets of it's most popular Monster franchises. The releases included The Wolf Man, Dracula & Frankenstein, The Creature From The Black Lagoon & The Mummy. Each set includes the original movie and subsequent sequels. For example The Wolf Man set includes The Wolf Man, Frankenstein meets the Wolfman, She Wolf Of London, and Werewolf of London. They are packaged great in cool looking collectors cases. I've bought every one.
I remember as a child, watching these movies late at night when friends slept over. We'd all be on the floor in front of the TV watching the Mummy emerge from the sarcophagus, the Wolf Man amble across the foggy glen, Frankenstein receiving the flower from the little girl, and Dracula entering the maidens window. We huddled on the floor in sleeping bags watching these movies, loving every minute of them. There is just something about the old fashioned Monster movies that brings me back to my childhood. The kid who was scared and fascinated by every one of these classic monsters. I miss the Lon Chaney Jr 's, the Bela Lugosi's, and the Boris Karloffs. The world is a sadder place without them. Modern horror movies are all blood and gore. The old fashioned movies scared you without having to resort to Jason & Freddy tactics.
Probably my all time favorite of these old movies is the Creature From The Black Lagoon. To my young eyes the actor in the suit looked so real. The original film was shot in 3-D Black & White but I never knew this until recently. The underwater scenes still hold up today. This movie had it all. A terrifying monster, a beautiful heroine, good scientist vs evil rich man, great locations and stunning underwater scenes. I remember being fascinated by every aspect of this film. They just don't make them like this anymore. I remember the sequels being frightening as well.
The Wolf Man is also a yearly must see. Lon Chaney Jr.'s performance as Larry Talbot is amazing. As almost every character in the movie says "Even a man who's pure at heart, and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright." Again this film has it all. A beautiful heroine, a hero that becomes a monster you actually don't want to see killed, villagers chasing the monster, a weird little gypsy woman and Claude Rains as the hero's father. Who could ask for more.
So far this year I have been able to watch The Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Wolf Man. My goal is to watch all of the main movies and as many of the sequels as possible before Halloween. The Mummy is next on my list to watch.
If you haven't seen these old movies before or if you want to relive a bit of your childhood - run to your local electronics superstore and pick up a few of the Universal Movie Monster Legacy Collection. You'll be glad you did. Excuse me, I gotta run. I hear the Mummy calling my name.