Halloween 2016

Among the finest Golden Age films are the very first horror films of the sound screen. Later films were more gory, and had more shock and slasher violence, but in terms of sheer romantic Gothic style these first films have never been equaled. Your blogmeister has been busy making color transfers and searching his files for photos to demonstrate the lyricism of DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN (both 1931), and the most impossible sequel that was better than the classic original, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935). Let’s begin!

Two scenes from DRACULA say it all in terms of pictorial composition. The later British Hammer horror films of the 1950s and 60s have many admirers but the sets were small and lacked this type of poetic grandeur:


FRANKENSTEIN continued in this vein and, if anything, improved on it. This is a half-sheet poster, that is, 22×28 inches:

Original color lobby card that captured the Gothic tone:

Many credited the influence of the German expresssionist movement of the 1920s for the artwork in these films. The fact that Universal Pictures at the time was owned by German immigrant Carl Laemmle suggests that this influence was no coincidence:

We don’t think of sadism being in these films but the evidence proves otherwise:

Original color title lobby card:

But FRANKENSTEIN’s director, James Whale, achieved the impossible when four years later he created even even better sequel. Here is another half-sheet poster:

This is a two-page exhibitor trade advertisement. I added color:

These are a series of posed shots that are not scenes from the film itself. Lovely Valerie Hobson plays Elizabeth, Baroness Frankenstein, and Ernest Thesiger is the unforgettable Doctor Pretorius. I added color:

But of course nobody but Boris Karloff as the Monster could really menace a damsel in distress:

Let’s conclude our homage to Gothic horror with a 3-D finale:

and of course the most iconic image of all:


Published in: on October 29, 2016 at 11:55 PM  Comments (3)  
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