Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Scariest Movie I Ever Saw

Charles Laughton's bride

That my friends would be "Frankenstein."  I first time I saw the movie "Frankenstein" was when I was ten years old (1951) at the Roosevelt Theater in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  


My last date Frankenstein's Monster

It cost me 20 cents and I think I was with my younger brothers John and Isaac.  I knew we were going to see a "monster" picture but I had no idea just how scary "Frankenstein" was.  But I soon found out.


Frankie "come hither look" - a sure grabber

When Dr. Frankenstein raised The Monster (who is commonly erroneously referred to as "Frankenstein" but is really The Monster) on that raised platform to opening at the top of the decrepit castle to the lightening bolts of the thunderstorm which was to give life to Frankenstein, I thought "Oh, what did I get myself into?"  


Be still my heart

Then when he lowered that platform and Dr. Frankenstein looked for a sign of life and he saw the monster's fingers move, I thought "Oh, I want to get out of here."  I was scared to death.

I sat glued to my seat, fearing to make a move in the darkened movie theater.  For the first time in my life I was SCARED.  Seriously, I can never remember a time before that I was so petrified.


My house guest last month - I told him to take off his shoes
As the movie progressed I was transfixed.  One scene that especially got to me was the one where Dr. Frankenstein's bride was waiting for him in their luxurious living room and Frankenstein was tromping around outside. I saw him go past the glass paneled French doors, then stop when he saw Dr. Frankenstein's bride seated in her pure white virginal glory waiting for her crazy assed Dr. Frankenstein.  I wanted to shout "GET OUT OF THERE!"  



There were many scary moments in this film that had me transfixed but perhaps the most memorable was the ending and the windmill scene.  The one scene where the monster and Dr. Frankenstein made eye contact through the spokes of the windmill wheel.  I don't know why, but that few seconds of "I know what you did" has stayed with me my whole life.  




Just like the shower scene in "Psycho" (not near as scary but still pretty good), that eye contact scene has never left my memory.  

Someday I may be old and in some care facilities, with little of my brain function left but I'm sure I'll remember that eye contact scene.  

But then I'm sure many of you will remember the "Daisy" scene.  



For some reason that didn't have as much resonance with me although it probably should have because the monster comes out of nowhere on a bright and sunny day, plucking petals from a daisy with a delightful little girl.



Somehow I identify more with the flung body of Dr. Frankenstein on the windmill fan, and his body dropping to the ground.


This picture reminds me the the present day Republican Party (left, Dr. Frankenstein) and the Tea Party (right, The Monster)  
The Republican Party Dr. Frankenstein ends up destroyed on the windmill blade - attention Ted Cruz!  Lesson here.

I'm sure there is a logical psychological explanation somewhere there but I haven't been able to figure it out after all these years since I saw my first and scariest horror film ever, "Frankenstein." By the way, I always thought Dr. Frankenstein (God no, not the Monster) was sort of cute.  

20 comments:

  1. A scary movie, for sure. Karloff was quite a genius actually. And like you, the windmill scene with the raging villagers was great.

    Another great one: the original dracula, which was a far scarier novel than Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

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    1. The Geezers,

      I find it amazing that the makeup for the Frankenstein monster has not been equaled since almost a century ago. Even the subsequent Frankenstein monsters weren't as scary as Boris Karloff's monster. I loved the original Dracula movie but wasn't scared by it. Even the werewolf movies didn't scare me but "Frankenstein" did. I was afraid to leave the movie theater after seeing this film.

      Ron

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  2. Ron,

    "For some reason that didn't have as much resonance with me although it probably should have because the monster comes out of nowhere on a bright and sunny day, plucking petals from a daisy with a delightful little girl." Probably this scene didn't resonate with you as much when you originally saw the film as a boy is because most of it wasn't there. Universal was force to cut the scene of the Monster tossing the girl in the lake in 1937 and the full scene wasn't restored to prints of the film until 1985. Seeing the movie in the 1950s and in the 1980s has a totally different impact concerning this portion. In the cut version I think you may see the Monster meet the girl, then later you see her father carrying her dead body. In the 1980s version you see the whole scene including him throwing her in the water.

    Lar

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    1. Larry,

      You're right, I forgot that the original version of the movie had the scene taken out with the little girl tossed in the water. I saw that scene later. I remember after seeing that movie, that I had to walk home down Boot Road. A dark Boot Road. I was sure Frankenstein's monster was roaming those cornfield that bordered Boot Road. Walking home that night was one of the scariest ever for me.

      Ron

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  3. It was a classic scary movie, no doubt! I think Psycho was scarier, but that's just me. The scariest I've ever seen, I think, was Carrie, the original.

    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Jay,

      "Carrie" was good! I had forgotten about that movie. However, it didn't scare me as much as "Frankenstein" but it did have an impact on me in another way. But it was an excellent movie, well acted and directed.

      Ron

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  4. It is a classic, yes!

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    1. Dr. Spo,

      They don't make movies like this anymore. Today's movies have too much dependency on blood and gore. Not scary, just disgusting.

      Ron

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  5. "the haunting" is my scariest; in second place is "hush hush sweet charlotte". I cannot watch either of those without having nightmares afterward.

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    1. Anne Marie,

      "The Haunting" was my second scariest movie. I loved that movie. "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte" was fun. Great acting but I wasn't scared. The severed head bouncing down the stairs was pretty shocking though.

      Ron

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  6. Ron

    The wolfman and werewolves do me in. So ferocious and powerful. I had to shut my eyes when I first saw the transformation with Lon Chaney with Abbot and Costello. In Psycho the shower scene, which was very hyped at the time, was not as hair raising for me as was the scene of the investigator climbing the stairs in the house in silence when suddenly all broke loose with the blasts of shrill notes and an extended arm with hand holding a knife making stabbing motions toward the doomed detective.

    Pat

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    1. Pat,

      Yes, the investigator (the actor Martin Balsam) climbing the stairs and getting attacked almost made me jump out of my seat. Hitchcock's shrill music certainly added to the tone. After that scene we never knew when a knife would come out of no where to stab the flesh. "Psycho" was a great movie. I always enjoyed the wolf man and werewolf movies but I wasn't as afraid. I've seen several small movies that didn't get widespread distribution that I have found scarier. I can't even remember the names of them but I do remember the scary scenes.

      Ron

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  7. "The House of Wax" in 3D starring Vincent Price was my scariest movie. I did not sleep a wink that night after that film.

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    1. David,

      I never saw "The House of Wax" to my regret. I've always heard it was a really good movie. The first 3-D movie that I saw was "Avatar". Talk about being behind the times.

      Ron

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  8. Pretty sure I haven't seen the complete film. Brief clips on TV, yes, but there just hasn't been the opportunity to see it in full, certainly not on an accessible cinema screen in my lifetime, and I don't think it's been on telly at a reasonable (i.e. pre-9 p.m.) hour. But from what you say it deserves to be on one's 'To do' list.

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    1. Oh Ray. You missed a classic. "Frankenstein" should definitely be on your "to do" list.

      Ron

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  9. I saw a good one last night, "The Fog" with Janet Leigh, a young Jamie Lee Curtis, the bountifully buxom Adrianne Barbeau, Hal Holbrooke...

    Not a classic, but pretty gripping anyway.

    :-)

    -Andy

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    1. Thanks Andy, I'll check it out.

      Ron

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  10. Off-topic, but I love your header picture today!

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