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Published:October 10th, 2014 14:02 EST
For Halloween Season This Year, I Return to Universal Classic Horror, Like Dracula!

For Halloween Season This Year, I Return to Universal Classic Horror, Like Dracula!

By John G. Kays


After experiencing quite a few Halloween Seasons where all I`d do is indulge in the Bad B Flick oeuvre, I decided to realign my approach this time, turning my back on the traditional rich array of entertainment items, we`re accustomed to, for this exciting time a year, (which I`ll just call The Pumpkin Period). I`m sick of all those low grade clunkers that populate a myriad of movie cable channels; you know what I mean, the Friday the 13th Series, The Scream releases, the Chucky stuff, that awful Rob Zombie junk, and I`m even tired of the John Carpenter staples. 


Okay, so what I`m going for this year is a return to the Classics, just like we do when we seek out Greek or Roman literature, art, and architecture, no different. One thing that influences what I`ll be able to find is availability of titles. I`ve found Barnes and Nobles (don`t have a membership yet) to be reliable, and affordable, if the titles are on sale; anyway, I noticed they have two really terrific Universal DVD Four Packs called Classic Monsters, for just $15 each (less than $ 4 per film).


Let me just say, to get this out of the way, I know these Classic Horror Films are repeated on cable beaucoup times and can be readily viewed on Netflix, but I want and need to own them, for some reason, that`s not exactly clear to me. I`m the same way with music records; like the other day when Paul Revere died, I had to buy the Best of the Raiders (had to queue up Kicks just now!), just like Quentin Tarantino did when he had to have the vinyl edition, which he picked up at Waterloo Records (it has a killer vinyl section these days). I better tell you what`s included in these four packs, `cuz you`re not going to believe it! 


One has Dracula, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, and Creature From the Black Lagoon, while the other has The Mummy, The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man, and Phantom of the Opera. I didn`t just rent these, I own these slivers of horror now! I peaked out a little early, I`ve already seen all of them; I`ll repeat them again before the 31st, naturally. moreover, got Vincent Price`s House of Wax, so my collection of Horror Classics is morphing towards respectability!


A good deal of responsibility will be required, over and above just accumulating these jewels by way of platters. It takes knowing a lot about the history of Universal Studios (got a bit of a lesson this morning), then it also requires learning the fascinating biographies of a Gallery of Horror Stars, such as Lon Chaney, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Elsa Lanchester, and Claude Rains


Well, don`t forget to study, practically my favorite director, Tod Browning of Freaks and Dracula fame; also, one will need to be familiar with Universal boy wonder, Carl Laemmle, Jr. and his dad, CL, Sr. Bride has good extras, cluing you in on make-up artists, soundtrack scores, screenplays, and even set design. The sets of Dracula and Bride are to die for! To my surprise, Creature, which was released in 1954 (a year after I was born) ,was actually in black and white, which freaks me out, since the poster is in vivid, living color! Creature is one of the first 3-D movies too; there`s so much to know, which should keep me pretty busy and away from the piles and piles of B trash celluloid for several years. 


One final THING, I`ll need to pick up the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), cuz it looks like enough time has lapsed now to file it in with these Horror Classics; something I`ve just learned is, Chainsaw`s actually a metaphor for Austin Hippies wanting to stay away from RedNecks residing in the scary hinterlands (the suburbs of Austin like Round Rock), which makes much more sense to me now, forty years after the film was released!


http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=950DE7D61F3AEE32A25750C1A9649C946094D6CF