Friday, September 17, 2010

Oh, the Horror: Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein

Recently I watched an old favorite of mine, the 1948 classic Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein, pairing the famous, funny duo up with horror legends Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney, Jr. as Dracula and the Wolfman. Also along for the ride is Glenn Strange as Frankenstein’s Monster. Oh man, was it great to see that movie again.

It had been more years than I care to admit since I had seen an Abbot and Costello movie and also quite a while since I had seen any of the classic Universal movie monsters. This experience made me want to go back and watch some of the old comedies like A&C, Laurel & Hardy and The Little Rascals. It also got me thinking about those old horror movies.

I grew up watching Chiller Theatre, Creature Feature and Monster Week on the 4:30 Movie. Those old Hammer horror films in particular, thrilled me and kept me awake many a night. But it occurred to me that although I was very familiar with the classic Universal Movie monsters, I really had discovered them more from the Abbott and Costello movie rather than the original films. They hardly ever showed Dracula, Frankenstein or the Wolf Man on TV, but Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein was on several times a year, usually on a Sunday on channel 5 in New York. And when they did finally show them, as a kid, they were often too slow paced for me. I preferred things like Kolchak: The Night Stalker and the 1977 BBC version of Dracula with Louis Jourdan. And I knew more about Frankenstein from Mel Brooks than I did Boris Karloff.

I also realized that since they did not show many of the old, black & white horror movies when I was a kid, I often knew them more from the piles of monster books and magazines I constantly poured over. Eventually, I saw the classics, but a there are plenty I have not seen. (Like Bride of Frankenstein. Never seen it.)

As we head into the Halloween season, I have decided to start watching more horror movies… I’ll watch some of the oldies I may have missed and re-watch some others. I’m also going to run the gamut and watch whatever tickles my fancy. I’ll keep you posted as I make progress.

First up: Drag Me to Hell. I recorded it on DVR and it’s just waiting for me to watch it. I know it’s not an old movie or a classic, but as I said, I’m going to watch a wide variety of horror flicks between now and Halloween.

(And yes, I consider September the start of Halloween season. As soon as there is the slightest chill in the air, it’s time.)

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