Well, as you all know, I bought all of the new „Universal Classics“ in the UK last week. I am slowly making my way through them. I watched The Mummy (several times, actually) Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Invisible Man. The first thing that hits me is how similar these films are. We often criticize new horror films for following a formula, and it is interesting to note that it has always been this way – even as far back as 1931! For instance, Frankenstein and Invisible Man have many similarities. As I watched it I was struck by the mad scientist, the fiancée, the older wiser mentor figure. Most of these observations were borne out by the critics and historians in the documentary that comes with these. As far as Invisible Man goes, it is a very strange film. On the one hand it is very dark (characters who would not typically get killed off, do, and often in horrible ways.) At the same time we have James Whale’s humor thrown in. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that Whales campness and take on humor is a big turn-off for me. While most people seem to think Bride of Frankenstein is a classic that surpasses the original film, I simply don’t see it. The conclusion of Bride is brilliant, but most of what it takes to get there – the ridiculous wife at the start of the movie, who pulls the exact same antics in Invisible Man as the Inn keepers wife - and the obviously gay evil scientist in Bride are just huge negatives to a horror film IMHO. This air of the ridiculous is more prevalent in Invisible Man, where we have people running around tables after a shirt, as an example. Utterly stupid and distracting. If Whale had wanted a comedy, then why burn the man who loves the heroine to death? Weird. I guess it is just not for me. Having said that – overall the film has its moments. The FX are amazing for the time – and there are some truly nasty moments (given the time this thing was made.) This is why the humor does not work – the contrast here between the dark and light is too pronounced. Creature and Mummy follow similar plots. Add a scientist and a beautiful girl, and it won’t be long before they fall in love – the monster grabs the girl – and the guy has to rush in at the end to save the day. It’s the King Kong story over and over again – Beauty and the Beast. Still, this film has its moments too. I prefer it to Invisible Man, since it takes itself a bit more seriously. The monster effects are good – despite overbearing music and a couple of scenes that are unnecessary (having seen the hand coming out of the water at the start of the film, I don’t need to see the very same thing two more times.) The thing that struck me in this film is that the humans are basically bastards. Even the “good guys” are rather warped IMHO. I have watched the Mummy three times so far. Like this one – there are some hilariously bad cuts, and library footage. Some geography makes no sense at all – and the “Mummy” only wears bandages for about five minutes (I like my Mummy’s wrapped up playing Frankenstein.) We also have the climatic scene occur off camera with a clatter of bones, a bit disappointing. Still – I like it. The opening sequence is great fun. Anyway – that’s where I’m at. Will keep you informed as I go through them Ps: The UK releases have no inserts, and the plastic used on the cases (outer case) is very thin. They are even curling up! Disappointing considering how much these things cost list. I got them for half price, so I can live with it. At full price, I’d have been annoyed. Pps: I announced a sale of these at Virgin in the UK. I posted that on Thursday of last week. By Saturday it was getting very hard to find them. Frankenstein, Invisible Man, Bride, Wolfman were all sold out. Amazing!