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AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Frazetta’s Dracula Meets The Wolfman

Posted in comic books, Dracula, monsters, werewolves, Wolf Man with tags , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2010 by Paxton

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In 2007 Image Comics started releasing several limited edition comic books based on the paintings of sci-fi/fantasy legend Frank Frazetta. Their first comic was based on one of Frazetta’s most well known pieces, The Death Dealer. The Death Dealer was the subject of several of Frazetta’s most famous paintings.  The comic book told the origin of the famous character and fleshed out some of his adventures.  When that comic proved successful they decided to continue the series by telling the story behind other famous Frazetta paintings.


Frazetta's DMW painting
(Via FrankFrazetta.org)

In 2008, Image released a one-shot comic book based on Frazetta’s painting, Dracula Meets The Wolfman (see above).  The one-shot comic was released with three limited edition covers.  Cover A was the original Frazetta painting.  Cover B was done by the book’s artist Francesco Francavilla.  The third cover was a limited edition sketch by Nat Jones (see covers below).

Dracula Meets Wolf Man Cover A Dracula Meets Wolfman Cover B Dracula Meets Wolfman Cover C

I recently read this one shot comic and, as for the story, it’s a little thin. It feels like only part of a larger story. Nicolae, who is apparently a werewolf, is in love with a peasant girl. The peasant girl is taken to Dracula who intends to feast on her blood. Nicolae shows up all wolfed out and battles Dracula for the life of the peasant girl. That’s essentially it. The peasant girl is killed and we get an epilogue that fast forwards years later where the Wolf Man ambushes Dracula on the tarmac of a private airport. It’s really disjointed and feels like the middle part of a three part story.  I was hoping there were other issues to flesh out the rest of the story but there isn’t.  That’s it.

Needless to say, for me, the idea is far better than the actual execution of that idea.  I love Frazetta, I love the painting, but I do not love this comic book.

Stay tuned, all week I am looking at werewolves in comic books.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: 6 Crazy-ass werewolf movies and their posters

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, werewolf, werewolves, Wolf Man with tags , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2010 by Paxton

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Welcome to Day 1 of AWESOME-tober-fest. A month long celebration of all things scary, weird and AWESOME. This month’s theme is werewolves. So today, to kick off AWESOME-tober-fest 2010, I’m going to look at a bunch of crazy-ass and randomly weird werewolf movies and their posters.

Let’s kick this party off with…

Legend of the Werewolf
Legend of the Werewolf (1975) – This is a pretty spectacular poster.  The white werewolf looks great.  Almost like a Polar Werewolf (they live in the Arctic Circle, you know).  The red eyes and teeth are striking.  I like the font on the title too.  What’s up with the hanging corpse on the left?  What does a hanging have to do with the werewolf?  I don’t remember hanging being one of the traditional ways to kill a werewolf.  Does the werewolf actually hang someone?  And what’s with the little Jack the Ripper silhouette below the hanging?  Is this a werewolf vs Jack the Ripper movie?  If so, that’s pretty awesome.  Check out Grand Moff Tarkin in the lower right corner.

Werewolf Woman
Werewolf Woman (1976) – This is the plot synopsis from IMDB:

A woman has dreams that she is a werewolf so she goes out and finds men. She proceeds to have sex with them and then rip their throats out with her teeth. She eventually falls in love but then she is raped and her lover is murdered so she goes out for revenge.

I’m not sure what I can really add to that, except that might be the single greatest movie synopsis I’ve ever seen.  Simple, to the point, AWESOME.

Werewolves on Wheels
Werewolves on Wheels (1971) – This movie looks so ridiculous.  A biker gang encounters black robed, Satan worshiping monks who secretly turn one of the female gang members into a werewolf after the bikers trash their monastery. And the hilarity ensues. The other tagline for this movie was “If you’re hairy, you belong on a motorbike!” And I’m seriously not joking.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2009: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Posted in Dracula, Frankenstein, Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, Universal Studios, Wolf Man with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by Paxton

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Yesterday, I watched the first three Boris Karloff Frankenstein movies, the last one being Son of Frankenstein in 1939.  Today, I’m going to jump ahead almost 10 years to talk about my next movie, 1948’s Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein.

Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein

This movie was a horror comedy (Horr-edy?!) staring the comedy team of Abbott & Costello. It is notable because it features three of the Universal monsters, two of which are played by their original actor. Lon Chaney reprises his role of The Wolf Man and Bela Lugosi returns as Dracula (this is the only time Lugosi played Dracula apart from the original 1931 classic). Karloff, however, had stopped playing “The Monster” after Son of Frankenstein in 1939, so Glenn Strange played the titular monster in this movie (as he had for The Ghost of Frankenstein a few years earlier). Karloff would actually appear with Abbott and Costello in another movie, Abbot and Costello Meet The Killer, Boris Karloff, one year later. This movie is considered the “swan song” of the original Universal Monsters as the popularity of the Universal Horror movies had waned towards the end of the ’40s. As a matter of fact, Bud Abbott did not even want to do the movie, but Universal offered him so much money he couldn’t turn it down.  Also, Universal was set to cast another actor as Dracula because it believed that Bela Lugosi had died!  However, Lugosi’s agent had informed Universal otherwise (his movie career was almost non-existent at this point) and convinced the executives that they owe Lugosi the role he originated.  As for the Wolf Man, it is the only character to be portrayed by the same actor (Lon Chaney) throughout the original Universal monster movies (including this one).  Despite the pedigree, this movie was a cash grab for Universal.  And it kinda shows.

Abbott and Costello 2

I can see why Abbott didn’t want to do the movie. It’s dumb. Apart from the novelty of having the original Universal Monsters all together, this movie is silly and hard to watch (even boring at times). Having Dracula try to reanimate The Monster and being opposed by Abbot, Costello and Larry Talbot (The Wolf Man) is a good idea on paper, but the execution is lacking. I’ve watched this movie twice and I barely made it through each time.  The idea is definitely better than the result.  Abbott and Costello are funny, but I prefer the Universal Monsters in a horror setting where they are taken seriously, not in this comedy setting where they seem more ludicrous and out of place than scary.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2009: Watching the Boris Karloff Frankenstein movies

Posted in Dracula, Frankenstein, monsters, movies, Universal Studios, Wolf Man with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2009 by Paxton

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Welcome to Day 2 of Frankenstein movie week.  Yesterday we discussed the 1910 Edison Frankenstein movie.  Today, I look at the Universal Frankenstein movies, which have shaped much of what we know about the Frankenstein myths.

Universal would make several Frankenstein movies, but the first three would be the most iconic.  Let’s look at the first three movies staring the legendary Boris Karloff as The Monster.

Frankenstein

Frankenstein (1931) –Since I read all those books last week about Frankenstein, I had to go back and watch Universal’s original 1931 Frankenstein movie directed by James Whale and staring Boris Karloff. I vaguely remember the movie, and while reading the book I was constantly surprised about how different the novel and the movie are. Several of the main characters are pretty much all the two have in common. While watching this movie I realized the events in this movie encompass most of what people associate with the tale of the creation of the Frankenstein monster. The movie character of Dr Frankenstein (Victor in the novel but renamed Henry for the movie) is more a “mad scientist” than the “curious genius” portrayed in the book.
My thoughts after watching are that this movie is pretty good.  I was surprised that a movie in the ’30s began with two guys digging for corpses in a graveyard.  It was a nice, macabre beginning to the movie. The monster looks good and so do a lot of the sets. The story drags a bit here and there but when it gets going the action is surprisingly good. And, obviously, the end leaves you hanging (as there are, not surprisingly, like 6 sequels to this movie). It’s exactly what one thinks of when you remember Frankenstein and his monster. I see why this is a classic monster movie.  The Frankenstein makeup in this movie (by Jack Pierce) is iconic.  I didn’t remember how emaciated the monster looked.  Apparently Karloff took out some temporary bridge work to give the monster this sunken cheek look.  That along with the lighting created a very dramatic effect.  I was very much looking forward to Bride of Frankenstein when this movie was over.

Bride of Frankenstein
Bride of Frankenstein (1935) — Like I said, I was looking forward to this first sequel to Frankenstein because it was made using the same actors as well as the same director, James Whale. It was a serious sequel that many believe is as good (if not better) than the original.  I’m torn, I like both…A LOT.  Overall, this movie’s script seems a bit tighter.  Karloff’s Frankenstein is wonderful as always.  The sunken cheeks are gone because Karloff was asked not to remove the bridge work this time out.  The sets are even grander this time around.  It’s definitely more of the same, but in a really good way.  My only beef, and I didn’t know this going in, the title monster, The Bride, only appears in the final 5-8 minutes of the movie.  I kept waiting for her to show up, but she doesn’t until the end.  Very disappointing, which is probably why I can’t put this movie above the original Frankenstein, even though it’s a fantastic horror movie.
Oh, another thing, the character of Minnie, the housekeeper, was BEYOND annoying. Every little thing, scary or not, would cause her to scream this Banshee-like wail throughout the scene. I wanted to tear her vocal cords out and stomp them into the ground. SO. F’N. IRRITATING. I believe this is where Cloris Leachman’s character came from in Young Frankenstein.

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