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Monday, March 15, 2010

Random Ramblings from the Vault...

  • In this day and age, there really is no excuse for referring to the monster created in Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory as "Frankenstein". I'm officially declaring a zero-tolerance policy on that. What are you, five?
  • Turner Classic Movies has been breaking out some horror gems as of late, so I would definitely keep that channel on the radar. The other night, I checked out It Came from Beneath the Sea, The Monster that Challenged the World, and Them! all in one sitting. Glorious.
  • And the one thing I learned from watching The Monster that Challenged the World? There is probably no more disturbing visual in all of nature than a close-up of a snail eating. "Yuck" does not begin to do it justice.
  • I love introducing my little kids to horror, but the problem I face is that they totally love zombies--yet most of the zombie flicks fall into the "not cool for little kids" category. What to do?
  • On the kids and zombies front, I did happen to show them Michael Jackson's Thriller video for the first time. Forgot what a damn entertaining 15 minutes that was! Did John Landis and Rick Baker really pull out all the stops, or what? After all these years, it truly does deserve its reputation as the greatest music video of all time.
  • Just watched Hammer's The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, a sorely underrated take on the classic tale. Very different from previous versions, it portrays Hyde not as a hideous brute, but rather a more suave and beguiling version of the doctor. Wonder if this inspired Jerry Lewis' The Nutty Professor three years later?
  • A heads-up to those whose interest was piqued by my review of the last Kevin Geeks Out event at the 92Y Tribeca in NYC. There's a new one coming up this Friday--Kevin Geeks About Sharks! I'll most likely be on hand, and I hope some of you will come out, as well. Fair warning, though: If I see you out front, sitting on the sidewalk and reading a copy of Catcher in the Rye, I'm going back to my car.
  • Speaking of, one of the special guests at that event will be Ritch Duncan, author of The Werewolf's Guide to Life, a very amusing little tome I happen to be currently reading. Highly recommended--expect a review as soon as I'm done. Basically, it's what The Zombie Survival Guide wishes it could be.
  • If you haven't checked out the Cyber Horror Awards site recently, I got an amazing response from the legendary Christopher Young, winner of the Bernard Herrmann Award for Best Score:
    “I cannot successfully find the words that can express how truly honored I am that you decided to select my score for Drag Me To Hell for the Bernard Hermann Best Score Award. Especially since it is because of my love of Bernard Hermann's film music that I decided to become a film composer. God, this is a dream come true. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart!"

16 comments:

Proud Maisie said...

Seconded regarding Frankenstein.

Emily said...

I watched The Monster That Challenged the
World (world's worst monster title?) and was a little disappointed as I was expecting more of a caterpillar feel than I got. Where are my killer caterpillar movies?! Those are the most horrifying creatures in existence and yet no one's made a good movie to point that out! I did, however, love the old fashioned '50s sexism there. Good times.

And sadly I probably won't be able to make it out to the shark show, and I swear it's not because I'm halfway through Catcher In the Rye. I'm actually expecting to pick up my laundry load of hip neck scarves.

The Mike said...

While I agree to an extent re: the monster, what surname should we give him? Considering he was conceived (to an extent) by Dr. F, it makes sense that he would pick up the name. And as an equal rights kind of thing, I think it's fair to give him a name instead of just calling him "The Monster".

B-Sol said...

Emily, probably the closest we've got is Mothra. But I always think the larval version is just too cute to be afraid of.

Mike, I usually go with "the Frankenstein Monster". Either that or Irving.

Theron said...

I'm a TCM junkie. It keeps me from getting done what needs to be done. But I can't turn it off. I too saw the creature features that night. Love to love to love...

Andre said...

Ahhhh you had to post a scary picture of a shark didn't you? You sir are mean!

cinderelly said...

i usually go forward in the schedule at night before i go to sleep, looking for what is on in the middle of the ,and dvr anything good...there is usually something awesome on tcm! i always wonder why they put really good stuff on in the middle of the night!

Pierre Fournier said...

On the use of “Frankenstein”, as someone who runs a blog entirely devoted to the subject (and you’ll note that I always refer to the scientist as Frankenstein and his creation as The Monster), with respect, I’d like to come down firmly on the side of “Get Over It”.

Both Frankenstein and his creation have been referred to as “Frankenstein” ever since Mary Shelley’s book was published 191 years ago. The name almost instantly became shorthand alternately and equally used for anyone who created something they couldn’t control, or someone or something that was dangerous and uncontrollable. For instance, a politician might be called a Frankenstein for creating a financial mess, and the financial crisis itself would be referred to as the Frankenstein that haunts its creator. Slave owners were referred to as Frankensteins creating the monsters that would destroy them, and slaves in revolt were Frankensteins striking back at their creator.

Words and meaning evolve. Persistent, repeated and widespread popular use creates new meanings. You mention Michael Jackson in your post. Note that he used the word “bad” to mean “good”, “great” or “terrific”. We don’t tut-tut the transformation operated here because we understand that a word can have two and sometimes simultaneously opposite meanings. Frankenstein has two meanings, and the language is richer for it.

And by the way, if you have to play hall monitor for the literary origins of Frankenstein, note that you are in error when you mention the monster being “created in a laboratory by Dr. Frankenstein”. In Mary’s book, the Monster was sparked to life in a small garret, hardly a laboratory, and — more to the point — Frankenstein is never referred to as a doctor. Frankenstein was a student of chemistry, natural philosophy and alchemy. Call him an experimenter, but his doctorate was apparently earned a century on, after Universal started making movies about him. If the Monster as Frankenstein irritates, then certainly Frankenstein as Doctor should too.

Cheers!

B-Sol said...

Andre, you must face your fears, woman!! I'm hereby ordering you to come down to NYC Friday night for Kevin Geeks Out About Sharks. Especially since Kate and Emily bailed on me!

B-Sol said...

And Pierre, thanks so much for your great insight here. I was kind of hoping the expert on all things Frankenstein-related would be able to weigh in!

Your considered response really gives me a lot to think about. Maybe I need to embrace the name thing! I think what really pushed me over the edge was watching Frankenstein Conquers the World, in which they continually refer to the monster that way.

Emily said...

Now you've gone and cast me as a deadbeat date!

B-Sol said...

LOL Had a feeling you'd chime in, E.I. :-) You jilted me, woman! Now I have to take in all that sharky goodness all by lonesome.

Emily said...

You're getting dangerously close to guilting me back into attending. Plus sharks. And geekiness. Hm. Still must think on it.

B-Sol said...

Nice! That's my Jewish half in action :-)
"No it's fine, I'll be ok. I just be by myself. You go, do what you want...."

Theron said...

Oy vey...

Emily said...

Oh bubbolah-no, boobala-damnit, bubala, GAH! How the Hebrew does one spell these Jewish pet names?

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