Movies

SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939) marks the point at which the Universal films became a series, as Frankenstein’s son Wolf (Basil Rathbone) returns to the ancestral castle only to discover the local villagers are horrified that he’ll follow his father’s traditions of mad science. And sure enough, the sinister, broken-necked Ygor (Bela Lugosi)—has this monstrous friend he hopes Wolf can revive … Noteworthy for introducing Ygor (the lab assistant in Frankenstein was Fritz) plus Lionel Atwill as a one-armed inspector and Karloff’s last turn in the monster makeup. Entertaining, and visually striking (the sets seem more stylized than the earlier films, IMHO), but Karloff gets little opportunity to be more than a generic monster (other than his grieving after Ygor’s death).“Eight men say Ygor must hang—now eight mean dead!’
RAISING ARIZONA (1987) is the Coen Brothers’ black-comic second film in which petty hood Nicolas Cage and cop wife Holly Hunter make up for their infertility by stealing one of the “Arizona Quintuplets.” Unfortunately, the dream of family life gets shattered by jailbreaking John Goodman and William Forsythe and demonic bounty hunter Randall Cobb. Funny, though the Coens strain to give this a happy ending; reminiscent of My Name Is Earl in that Cage looks and sounds a lot like Jason Lee in the TV show. “If you won’t meet my price for a baby, I’ll sell him for what the market will bear.”
THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS (1958) was a big influence on Brain From Outer Space—as you can probably tell from the title—so I finally got around to rewatching the story of how a malevolent, disembodied ET brain-creature takes over John Agar’s body, attempts to rape his fiancée (“There are aspects of the life of an Earth savage that I find exciting.”) and demands Earth build him a spacefleet for his goal of interplanetary conquest. Agar is, always, mind-blowingly wooden in the lead, and the ending is not only nutty but leaves several elements unresolved (how the heck will Agar convince the world he’s not an evil conqueror?); it is unusual to have a good alien brain hunting the evil Gor, implying that his civilization is actually law-abiding rather than all-evil. ”What you see me do to that one small area I can do to a city, a state—or a continent.”

I finally caught the third season of The Guild, Felicia Day’s Internet series about a World of Warcraft guild that runs into serious problems when it meets in the flesh. The third season is the equivalent of an Avengers Break Up comic book story as the various Guild members all walk out for one reason or another only to discover when they come up against Will Wheaton’s Guild of Doom that they’re better together than apart. Extremely fun. “One person told me that rather than talk with me, he’d sooner, and I quote, shave his privates with a rusty razor blade.”

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  1. Pingback: Story Behind the Story: The Mind That Wanted the World | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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