Monday, October 26, 2009

Of Monsters and Other Scary Things

Time was I loved the old monster movies. Frankenstein. Dracula. Even Creature from the Black Lagoon. Those black-and-white classics used to terrify me when I was a kid, but I loved watching them. Chiller Theater with its creepy, six-fingered hand creeped me out to no end. Even later on I'd watch Kolchak chase ghosts and The Twilight Zone (Rod Serling's, not that current crap) would hold my attention.

I'd like to say that it was this early fascination with monsters that ripened into my current obsession with all things Halloween, but that would be rewriting history. I didn't really get into the holiday until I got remarried and my wife wanted to decorate for it. She was the one into it. I kind of just tagged along, but now I'm off running with it.

Yet the monsters were a cherished part of my youth. I remember building a plastic Frankenstein model with my dad and displaying it in my room. I think I even did a Wolfman too. But those days faded and were largely forgotten until I saw that they're making a remake of The Wolfman.

There looks to be a lot to like in the trailer -- and the second one, too -- but I'm worried about some of the CG effects I see. I dislike a lot of CG in my movies, and in something like this you're going to have to have it during the transformation. But I see signs of it cropping up elsewhere and too often that turns a movie into a cartoon.

Unlike some, though, I like remakes of original movies. I like the more lavish sets, the greater attention to detail and effects (even as I hate CG). A good retelling can be just that. Yes, a lot of times they fall short, but even in their failings they can look better than the original. I've watched a lot of movies I had remembered liking as a child and thinking, "WTF? This was good?" Yeah, I'm not a movie purist; I don't care about the devotion to the craft that was achieved back then. I want a good looking movie, but it's gotta have a story too.

I think that's my problem these days with the old movies. They had the story, but no "look." Today, too many movies have "the look" but no story. It's the rare film that does have both.

I'm not expecting The Wolfman to be one of those films (I thought Trick 'R Treat did, however) but it looks like it will be entertaining, and sadly, that's about as high as my expectations get these days.



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