The spooky season is here and this Halloween I'm going retro. If, like me, you are appalled by the violence and lack of imagination of most of the scary movies of today, might I recommend a return to where it all began: the Universal Pictures monster films of the 1930's and 40's.
When Bela Lugosi, starring as Dracula in the self-titled 1931 Universal studios hit, noticed wolves howling outside of Castle Dracula and said, "Listen to them, the children of the night - what music they make" he ushered in an unforgettable era of film-making that still resonates today. Universal would pump out 23 films over the next 17 years featuring Dracula, the Mummy, Frankenstein's monster, the Invisible Man, and the Wolf Man. Using new camera techniques, cutting-edge special effects for the time, and innovative costuming and make-up ideas (masterminded by Jack Pierce, pictured above) these films leapt into the imagination of the general public.
Recently, Universal has put together DVD editions known as the Legacy series for each of these monsters. They all include the character's original movie, the sequels that followed, and a documentary on how the movies were made, plus special features that include commentary during the film (a must-watch for anyone interested in film history). Here at Des Plaines Public we have the following Legacy editions: Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, and The Wolf Man.
Have some fun experiencing the thrills of yesteryear.