Creature double feature creeps into theaters

Published 7:00 am Friday, October 1, 2021

by Rick Baldwin

I bid you welcome my fellow cinephiles of the night!

The air is getting cool, the leaves are falling to the ground, and the change of seasons is a time to reflect on the year up until this point. With this change, autumn and its cold hearted relative, winter, are reminders of our own mortality, loss, and the aging process while spring and summer days are metaphors of our own youth, nostalgia, and endless possibilities. We all most face ups and downs, and the change of seasons is a good reminder that though the colder months can be harsh, we must take the time to understand the importance of this change to the cold to truly appreciate the good or warm days of our lives. To appreciate the good, you must deal with the bad. Today’s films, “Dracula” (1931) and “Frankenstein” (1931) lurk in the realms of the darkness on the surface, but convey subtle messages of faith, rebirth, and the dangers of our own duality when we corrupt the scientific progress of life.

Count Dracula (Bela “White Zombie” Lugosi), a mysterious and dapper vampire, is tired of hanging around his drafty castle in Transylvania deep in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania and enlists the help of Renfield (Dwight “The Vampire Bat” Fry) before turning the young visitor into his mindless slave. Dracula ready to spreads his wings, has his casket loaded onto a ship and before you know it, the debonair bloodsucker set up shop in another old castle outside of London. It doesn’t take long before his wanton ways of sucking the blood of young women draw the attention of prominent vampire hunter, Dr. Van Helsing (Edward “The Mummy” Van Sloan) when his own daughter Mina (Helen “Outward Bound” Chandler) becomes a target for the nocturnal newbie and his fanged philandering pursuits.

We are warned at the beginning of “Frankenstein” with a prologue that we are entering a story of great horror as we travel to a castle in the Bavarian Mountains where Dr. Frankenstein (Colin “Bride of Frankenstein” Clive) and his hunchbacked sidekick Fritz (Dwight Fry again), not Eyegore, succeed in resurrecting a human body from some odds and ends stolen from various corpses and electricity during a storm. Frankenstein is a man on a mission to resurrect the dead and is hellbent on playing God against the advice of his loved ones to scrap playing with scraps in this experiment. If this experiment wasn’t already a bad idea, simple minded, but dutiful Fritz unknowingly stole a criminal brain for their patch quilt of a human and things go south quick upon the creature’s animation. Before you know it, Frankenstein’s animated corpse, masterfully portrayed by Boris “The Raven” Karloff, goes on a violent rampage killing those who view him as a monster rather than a human being as the real monsters, the villagers, show there true colors towards Frankenstein’s creation.

“Dracula” and “Frankenstein” are essential films for all to see at least once and share with your younglings or novice cinema goer. These two titles are cinematic treats that thrill, excite, and pass on valuable lessons that we are all human and yearn for the need to belong and connect with the rest of mankind. We all have different personalities, but we all share the common bond of tackling life’s up and downs, summer and winters that can make us weary if we fail to recognize that we need to be patient, thankful, and open minded to our coexistence in order to strive this sometimes dark world of ours.

Fathom Events will be screening a special double feature of “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” to celebrate Universal Monsters 90th Anniversary at the Regal in Hamburg on 10/02 with showtime at 1 p.m.

Enjoy, kiddies, and have a film-tastic day!