Monday, October 3, 2011

MONSTER MASH MONDAYS on TCM: Countdown to Halloween (Day 3)

Monday, October 3rd begins TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES’ month long parade of horror films building up to that finale of finales, Halloween. As usual, TCM does not disappoint, starting off with a focus on the work of Stephen King, a quick jaunt into the realm of Frankensten, Freaks, Jekyll & Hyde. And then taking things past the witching hour with would-be vampires, Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu and even that romantic fellow, the Phantom.

Here’s the line-up:

8:00 pm – A Night At The Movies: The Horrors Of Stephen King
9:00 pm – Frankenstein (1931)
10:15 pm – Freaks
11:30 pm – A Night At The Movies: The Horrors Of Stephen King
12:30 am – Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1932)
2:15 am – Mark Of The Vampire
3:30 am – The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari
4:45 am – Nosferatu
6:15 am – The Phantom Of The Opera (1925)

Of these films, it is FRANKENSTEIN that resonates best with your humble blogger. It is the story, a much deformed and mutated take on the source novel of Mary Shelly, but it is mostly the moving performance by Boris Karloff as the abandoned newborn monstrosity that makes the film stand out. He is innocent as the newborn babe he is and in his powerful body as dangerous as any wild animal. It is no wonder this version of the monster is the definitive one. It haunts us to this very day.

Fredric March shows great range as Jekyll/Hyde (and boy must Hyde have been a charming bastard to have even a lady of the night join him for cash).

Freaks is as compelling a revenge picture as you can find, with a more colorful cast than you'll usually see.

Mark of the Vampire is as close as we’ll come to a fully realized version of London After Midnight as that film was destroyed years ago

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is probably the most innovative film of the silent era.

Say what you will about Lugosi’s Dracula, but Nosferatu is probably the vampire I’d least like to run into in a dark alley.

Lon Chaney was so far ahead of his time when it came to creating a look for his characters, that, in and of itself, is scary! The Phantom’s reveal is probably one of the most memorable creepy of all time.

So you really can’t go wrong tonight on TCM, unless you stay up all night and have to miss work tomorrow...

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