I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN is director Kenneth Branagh’s attempt to redo the story as a romantic period melodrama. You still got your mad science lab, but also wigs and corsets and all that shit. Branagh himself plays Victor Frankenstein, and this is in the era when men in historical dramas had to have long Fabio hair. He cast himself as the doctor who creates his monster while shirtless, running around pulling heavy levers to show off his glistening muscles.

Branagh playing a beareded, wet-behind-the-ears college student while in his mid-thirties somehow reminds me of Chris Elliot in CABIN BOY. He’s a fancy lad who interrupts a medical lecture to argue with the professor about mixing medicine and philosophy. The teacher is outraged and the filmatism implies that he’s stickin it to the man, but personally – I don’ t know about you guys – I don’t take medical advice from Victor Frankenstein.

I also wouldn’t take his relationship advice. He’s in love with his adopted sister Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter, THE LONE RANGER). The only part of their childhood depicted is when he meets her and is told to treat her as his sister. Huge failure on that front. He wants to marry her, but keeps leaving her behind to study or do experiments or whatever comes up. It’s a movie with a histrionic style, lots of fast camera movements accompanied by frenzied music (by Patrick Doyle, CARLITO’S WAY). The creation scene especially seems like it could be inspired by DARKMAN, but if so it’s a humorless version of Sam Raimi. There are alot of scenes like Frankenstein arriving at the family mansion on horseback, Elizabeth and best friend (Tom Hulce, AMADEUS, Disney’s HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME) and dad (Ian Holm, ALIEN, THE FIFTH ELEMENT) seeing him coming and running full stop toward him, screaming his name. They must’ve been pacing back and forth waiting for him with bated breath, he says like one sentence to them and walks away.

Coming two years after BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, this was another lavish studio production marketed as a more faithful literary adaptation than other versions, but it’s got its own diversions. The script is credited to Frank Darabont (THE FLY II) and Steph Lady (associate producer, DOCTOR DOLITTLE [1998]) – I believe it was one of those times when they have two totally different scripts and they try to stitch them together (get it? But seriously). It’s one of those legends where Darabont says it was the best thing he ever wrote but not what ended up on screen. He seems to have an awful lot of those, but it’s very believable here because he says he wrote it to be subtle and doesn’t understand Branagh’s choice to go so over-the-top with it. Guillermo del Toro also backs him up, often citing a redo of Darabont’s script as one of his dream projects.

I remember thinking this was pretty good when I last saw it, in a theater 22+ years ago. Now I think it’s kinda bad, but interesting. Part of my problem is that it plays like Frankenstein is supposed to be a dashing adventure hero, but I think he’s a dick. I can’t play along with pretending he’s only a little misguided. He does this ungodly experiment because his mom dies during childbirth. He’s so upset about losing the woman who gave birth to him he’s gonna make birth obsolete, I guess.

In fact, one original addition to the creation scene is a giant bladder of amniotic fluid that pumps into the tank with the monster’s body. Victor personally shows up at a birth where he’s pre-arranged for the handmaiden to sell him a bucket. Considering the amount of fluid available to him in the lab he had to have done this alot – alot alot, because he has enough surplus to strike up the machine again at the end of the movie. You’d think that stuff would go bad.

But the creation scene is cool and so are most parts of the movie dealing with the monster, played by Robert DeNiro (MACHETE) in legitimately disturbing makeup by Oscar-nominated Daniel Parker, Paul Engelen and Carol Hemming. His ability to teach himself to speak, and later belief that being made with body parts of criminals makes him evil, are two elements of the story that don’t translate well to a modern idea of plausibility. But the concept of this strong, confused and eventually philosophical dead person wandering around angry at his “father” is kind of scary. Again, he’s like Darkman: disfigured, powerful, wearing a long coat, hiding, ashamed of his face, lonely, vengeful. And I imagine if there were any disputes about toy elephants at the carnival that would not go any better than it did for Darkman, but fortunately for everybody it doesn’t come up.

The best part of the movie is when the monster hides out in a barn, secretly helps a family, meets the blind man (Richard Briers, WATERSHIP DOWN, SPICE WORLD). You root for him. But I also like later when he jarringly turns super villain. There’s a shot that was in the trailers where his hand suddenly covers Elizabeth’s mouth. I expected him to kidnap her and, you know, bring her into a burning windmill or something for the climactic showdown. No, he (SPOILER) rips out her heart and flops her on the ground and her hair catches on fire! I’ve seen this before and I still was not expecting that!

Of course this leads to Frankenstein chopping up and stitching up his own wife/sister to other dead bodies and spontaneously resurrecting her as a hideous, pained, pathetic, miserable monster who never asked to be given life like this. In my opinion this is like pretty much the worst husband and/or brother ever. He is so in the doghouse for this one that she seems to almost choose the disfigured All-Star Dead Criminal Body Parts greatest hits collection that murdered her over him. But instead she lights herself on fire and runs through the place spreading the flames all over the building (a beautiful fire stunt). This is a truly crazy rewrite of the ending. I gotta respect that.

But in the end I think it bothers me too much that the movie seems to be asking me to accept Victor as some kind of tragic hero. Sure, he went too far but what a great man he once was, blah blah blah. No, this guy is a self-centered douche who fucked his sister and then did weird things to her body after she got murdered. There’s nothing cool about this guy. And while his medical research was innovative, it didn’t accomplish anything. We might as well lionize the guy who invented the Cabbage Patch Kid that’s supposed to chew plastic french fries but it got recalled for eating kids’ hair. That seemed pretty cool at first too. You fucked up, Frankenstein.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Monday, April 3rd, 2017 at 12:39 pm and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

60 Responses to “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein”

  1. The douchebag critic from my local newspaper spent way too many words on how much better this movie would have been, if the monster make up wouldn’t be so ugly.

    The snarky asshole columnist from a SciFi/Fantasy magazine spent way too many words on how much better this movie would have been, if Branagh wouldn’t be such a narcisisst, who spends much of the runtime shirtless and even airbrushed a sixpack onto himself.

    Harry Knowles actually spent surprisingly few words on how much better this movie would have been, if they had stuck with Frank Darabont’s original script, instead of whatever Branagh used. (Seriously, one would think that Harry would write the most about it!)

    In conclusion: Many people hated that movie for sometimes weird reasons. It’s been on my watchlist ever since.

  2. I don’t recall much about this one, which I haven’t seen since VHS, but I remember being amused by how thoroughly every frame of the film is suffused with Branagh’s inflated self-regard. You don’t swirl cameras around yourself like that unless you’re pretty certain your shit smells like lilacs.

  3. I also last saw this in 1995 when it came out, and my take on it lines up basically with Vern’s current, revised opinion. If memory serves, the monster’s brain here is that of a doctor who’s murdered early on by an anti-vaxxer (seriously!). I think he was played too by John Cleese – it’s too bad that DeNiro didn’t have any opportunity to squeeze in some silly walks.

  4. The other day I spotted a Blu-Ray in my local Rite Aid that had this and FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA’S BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA bundled together for $10. I might go back and pick it up. I haven’t seen this thing since it was in theaters, and I didn’t much like it, but maybe I’ll see something in it that I didn’t see back then. And FFC’sBS’sD is actually really good.

  5. Pretty much agree with Vern. Liked it back in ye olden days, re-watched it about 10 years back on DVD and it was not of the quality I once believed. Still don’t think it is a train wreck disaster it has a reputation as. I mean it kinda deserves that reputation.

    Everyone (rightfully) makes fun of the shirtless creation sequence but I found what happens almost immediately after far more funny: the monster escapes and John Cleese’s ghost or (memory?) starts scolding him. Like everything else in the movie, we are to take it super seriously and be bowled over by Branagh’s filmatism. Wish he would have brought that over to the shit-show known as THOR.

    This one seems to be where Branagh got a reputation as an over-rated director. Like I alluded he kinda deserves it but his adaptations of HENRY V and HAMLET are legit masterpieces (his MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is very good as well and is the movie where I learned to respect Keanu) so I can’t hate on the guy even though no other movie of his has come close to being of those quality (even his later two Shakespeare adaptations).

    Related: I really dig Coppola’s FOR REAL THIS IS BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA even though it has flaws but then when your movie is that visually inventive and Gary Oldman’s and Anthony Hopkins performances are that entertainingly weird who cares if not much else is working?

  6. Confession: I enjoy this more than Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Sure, it’s bloated and messy but that final act is on point.

  7. flyingguillotine

    April 3rd, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    I loved Coppola’s DRACULA, and it was very clear this film was trying to catch that same lightning. Hope springs eternal, so I grabbed my girlfriend and ran-ran-ran out to the theater… and slumped out of it, disappointed.

    The scene in which the monster rips out the heart is the only legitimately badass moment that stuck out for me; for one brief, shining moment, it was a cool film. If I recall correctly, I think the monster also shows the heart to Frankenstein and says something like, “I always keep my promises.”

    Otherwise, it’s a film that’s one part period romance novel paperback cover, and one part wannabe-serious snooze.

    Though come to think of it, I also liked the moment when they’re up in the Arctic, and the monster’s hand comes into frame.

  8. I saw this on opening night in tenth grade with two of my friends who vocally made fun of it the whole time (the Monster looks like Elvis, etc). Even if they were right, I kinda hated them for it. I haven’t seen it since. My memory is that INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE opened the following week, and pretty much destroyed this financially. I haven’t seen that one since it opened either.

    Yeah, Coppola’s DRACULA is one of the most aesthetically beautiful movies of its era.

  9. One of the great things about FFC’sBS’sD is that all the effects are in-camera. You know what? Fuck it; I’m going to Rite Aid to find that Blu-Ray!

  10. Didn’t Coppola purposefully make the effects in-camera to mimic silent films? At least I remember reading that somewhere. It lead me to think it would be pretty cool if Coppola released a silent movie version of Dracula–make it black and white and substitute intertitles for dialogue.

    I must have been thirteen when I watched Kenneth Branagh’s Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. At the time, it fooled me into thinking it was a more sophisticated take on the material, although judging from the rest of the world’s opinion, I was most certainly wrong. (And while he’s a mixed bag as a director, I actually liked his Thor movie).

  11. “A humorless version of Sam Raimi” sounds like a very apt description.

  12. Grimgrinningchris

    April 3rd, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    A silent version of BSD would be pretty fucking cool. Since it’s strengths (and they’re MAJOR strengths) are all visual and its weaknesses (also major) are all in awful accents and stilted line readings.

    As for MSF… the pinball machine was better than the movie.

  13. GrimgrinningChris, to be fair, the pinball machines for Addams Family and Hook were also better than those movies. The ’90s were a good time for pinball.

  14. I have fond memories of this one, mainly because it was one of the last times I went to the movies with my dad before he moved interstate. We both enjoyed it at the time. I especially thought De Niro was brilliant at portraying a creature who was equal parts sympathetic, and as terrifying and brutal as fuck. It seemed like he was acting in a much much more darker and serious film than Brannagh wrapped around him.

    I think if I watched it now the Brannagh excesses would turn me off.

    Can I also add that Francis Ford Coppola is a man who gives no fucks. Yet he deserves credit for his less-than-perfect films, of which DRACULA is one, because they are still something special. Maybe not JACK, but still…

  15. RBatty: On the Blu-ray he said he came up with the idea because he always wanted to experiment with such techniques… and also they didn’t have a lot of money to work with anyways so kill two birds with one stone. His commentary is very blunt about how he only did DRACULA for the money. He says that about three to five times during the duration.

    I too would want a silent version of the movie as well, since it is now starting to be in vogue to make Black & White versions of blockbuster movies, I don’t see why we can’t a trend to go full silent now as well.

    Fred: While the ADDAMS FAMILY pinball machine was indeed great (my favorite was the JURASSIC PARK one) few things are better than the two ADDAMS FAMILY movies.

  16. The only memory I have at all of this film is that, not only was there an absurd amount of amniotic fluid (that they like wrestled/flopped around in), but that there were also electric eels either in or adjacent to said amniotic fluid, but this seems like a weird enough detail that it would have been mentioned…Did that really happen, or was there something funky in the soda fountain that day and I just hallucinated it?

  17. I tried to watch this once and turned it off, something about it just felt off and I think you hit the nail on the head Vern, the movie tries to make Victor Frankenstein too sympathetic when in reality he’s the villain of the story, I did like the look of Robert DeNiro’s Monster though.

    I like the Coppola DRACULA quite a bit, it helps that it was pretty much the first vampire related thing I ever saw, something I never knew until many years later was how much merchandise the movie had, including video game tie ins, there’s something so perfectly early 90s about a Francis Ford Coppola artsy Dracula movie being treated as if it’s a JURASSIC PARK like blockbuster or something.

  18. Grimgrinningchris

    April 3rd, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    geoffreyjar- Both Addams Family movies are fantastic but the AF pinball machine may, in, fact, be the best table of all time… so Fred may still be technically right.

    TROY- Jack has two things going for it. Diane Lane and having a little black kid running around in an ALL tshirt for half the movie- which frankly is just awesome

  19. The T2 and Lethal Weapon 3 pinball machines were my faves.

  20. A mom & pop burger joint down the street had a T2 pinball, but I didn’t even know how popular that thing was, until they removed it. Unfortunately, since Arcades didn’t exist here in Germany, most pinball machines stood in bars and gambling places, that weren’t accessible to minors, so I missed out on lots of cool stuff and now can only play digital versions of them with PINBALL ARCADE. It’s fun, but of course not the same as a real machine.

  21. What really disturbed me about this film was the fact there was no fucking banister on that huge staircase. Madness.

  22. Well it IS still technically a horror movie…

  23. I wish that Sony had kept making these pretentious Coppola produced takes on classic movie monsters. Imagine if we had gotten Jonathan Demme’s H.G. WELLS’ THE INVISIBLE MAN or ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON’S DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE directed by Sir Richard Attenborough? Would’ve been mixed bags just like this and DRACULA but like both it would also have been interesting.

  24. We’d almost certainly be up to THAT GUY WHO DIRECTED LES MIZ WHO’S NOT TOBE HOOPER NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES I WISH WE WERE’S THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON by now.

  25. Best part of this movie was after the creation of the bride where monster and scientist have a tug o war over her and she goes “fuck you both” and commits suicide. That’s when I knew I should probably keep an eye on Helena Bonham Carter’s future work. Her work behind the prostethics and mute “dialogue” left quite an impression on my then 11 year old mind.

  26. “He cast himself as the doctor who creates his monster while shirtless, running around pulling heavy levers to show off his glistening muscles.”

    If I remember correctly, footage of him running around shirtless was the majority of the trailer at the time.

  27. It seems like every time someone tries one of these real-budget studio versions of classic horror, it doesn’t quite come together. Coppola’s DRACULA is probably closest, but this one doesn’t quite connect, despite giving itself a flop-sweat trying so hard. Argento’s DRACULA 3-D is mostly really dull, while Universal’s Dracula prequel DRACULA UNTOLD is with no hyperbole one of the most punishingly wretched anti-movies I’ve ever sat all the way through. I, FRANKENSTEIN and VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN are both potal trash. WOLFMAN got taken away from the only guy who wanted to make it and ended up a total mess. And let’s say things are not looking great for the upcoming Tom Cruise MUMMY. I guess HOLLOW MAN is sort of OK. But for such classic characters, it’s truly interesting that I cannot think of a single modern version which comes anywhere close to working.

  28. I think the problem is that, while these characters have near-total cultural immersion, they’re still pretty much niche properties. Everyone knows who Frankenstein’s monster is but how many people consider themselves actual fans? To general audience, these monsters are just some cultural detritus, more urban myth than beloved mythology. People know these characters but have no personal connection to them. They’ve never seen the classic movies that made them legends; they’ve just seen the cereal boxes, Saturday morning cartoons, and toothless parodies that made them so ubiquitous as to be functionally invisible. It’s like trying to build a mainstream franchise out of, I don’t know, Heinz Ketchup or something. Everybody is familiar with it but who really gives a shit?

    That said, I thought DRACULA UNTOLD, a.k.a. THE PROLOGUE TO BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA: THE MOTION PICTURE was kind of bland but not the trainwreck everyone else seems to think it was. What am I missing?

  29. Franchise Fred approves the condiment shared universe with the Heinz Ketchup trilogy, mustard standalone and relish prequel.

  30. Some of the best modern horror films have been made based on the *idea* of the classic Universal monsters – REANIMATOR, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, JOHN CARPENTERS VAMPIRES etc.

    Also, my Ketchup Universe would contain a sidequel of sweet-chilli sauce.

  31. Mr M — that’s an interesting point. I guess the temptation to return to an intellectual property which is A) basically universally recognized and B) In the public domain is just too strong to resist, but it sure doesn’t seem like many modern filmmakers have really thought much about these stories and characters or how best to make use of them.

    As far as UNTOLD goes, the problem is it’s not a trainwreck. It’s just endlessly, soul-crushingly bland as far as the eye can see. If it was a trainwreck, it would probably be better. As it is, it’s basically corporate mediocrity personified. It’s a movie that no one wanted to make or see, which for some reason couldn’t stop itself from being made. It’s chilling.

  32. I think Mr. M may have hit the nail on the head:

    Modern audiences: awesome classic monsters = old shit

    I foolishly saw DRACULA UNTOLD in 3D in theaters. It’s a forgettable superhero-wannabe origin story. Caught some of it on SyFy a few weeks and remains un-memorable. I found the script/story a no bigger train wreck than most big budget hopeful shared universe fare. Really interested in your thoughts Mr. M on why you not only remember it being made but why it angers you so.

    I hope we don’t have to wait for phase 2 for the BBQ movie. What about Mayo which I’m not a fan of? Another company will have to do the Bulgogi movie since that’s not in the Heinz sause universe. Only a matter of time before the greatly under-rated Korean BBQ gets it’s time to shine.

  33. grimgrinningchris

    April 4th, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Argento’s Dracula isn’t nearly as bad as his Phantom Of The Opera.

    Oh what a long long plummet…

  34. Mr. Majestyk – You’re right, but at the same time that’s why it’s an interesting thing to tackle, could you make these classic monsters who have been diluted by parody scary again?

    That’s why I’m disappointed to see Universal treating it like it’s their version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, no, it needs to be in the vein of BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA and MARY SHELLY’S FRANKENSTEIN, prestige pictures that are first and foremost horror movies, not blockbuster action spectacle.

  35. I haven’t seen too many of the Universal Monsters movies, but even back then these characters were represented as campy. There’s something goofy about seeing all of these characters together, and I’m not sure that an ultraserious take on the monsterverse will actually work. I would love to see unique takes on these characters by idiosyncratic directors, but that won’t work for a big crossover.

  36. The Universal Monsters weren’t supposed to be campy at first (1920s/30s), but a couple decades of over-saturation turned them into punchlines. Throughout the 1940s Universal were pumping out 5-10 shitty monster movies a year; that’s more than Seagal in his early 00s DTV heyday. Nobody could survive that level of cultural saturation. It was only in the late 40s/50s they started with the crossover gimmicks and ABBOT AND COSTELLO movies. During the 50s everyone moved on to giant irradiated monsters.

  37. About 10 years ago me and my brother visited the town where Shelley wrote FRANKENSTEIN – Ingolstadt in Germany. And I kid you not, at closing time in this small bar near the hotel the owner came to our table and gave us a sort of frightened “You must leave now!” like the monster was coming. We almost fell of our chairs laughing.

  38. Mayo would be a TV series. On cable or streaming, something classy.

  39. Not sure if this is an interesting point or just a snark hipster fact, but here I go; both KENNETH BRANAGH’S MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN and FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA’S BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA had tie-in novelisations based on their “original” scripts. Actually ready the MS’F novelisation, having bought it assuming it was the kosher novel. How was it? Well, 13 year old me was fine with it, mostly, and I read it before I saw the film. I remember the big love scene was hammy even on the page.

    I preferred MS’F to BS’D, although it’s not very good, nor even all that interesting, and I would like to give BS’D another go one of these days.

    MS’F was relatively successful in the UK, although critics thought it was time to take one of our boys (Branagh) down a peg or two, as we are/were wont to do. Mark Kermode, a popular and moderately entertaining critic with more than a hint of Armond White in his DNA, likes to defend this film though, and says it actually turned him around on old Ken after being unimpressed with his previous films.

  40. The best adaptation for BS’D (thanks for that abbreviation) is the Mike Mignola iluustrated Topps Comics’ adaptation. It’s legit great and even from someone who has seen the movie several of times that comic helps convince me that BS’D is much better movie than it is (in a way another thing to support the notion of them making an official silent version of the movie).

    Now if only the video game adaptations of BS’D were as good.. (I have a weakness for the DOS FPS one and I can’t help but not get a laugh at the dated-as-all-get-out Sega CD one where you play as a kung fu Jonathan Harker punching bats n’ shit (this was years before Keanu (who played Harker in the movie) became known for doing movie kung fu even).

    Back to MS’F, those video games where even worse than the BS’D ones, I remember at the Sega CD one having some good ideas at least even if they were executed poorly.

  41. THE WOLF MAN is the one 1940s Universal joint that could stand toe to toe with the ones from the 30s (THE MUMMY, THE INVISIBLE MAN, DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN) without a skip. It actually perfected what those started and stands as the greatest of them all in my eyes.

  42. grimgrinningchris

    April 5th, 2017 at 11:11 am

    What I want to know is with their commitment to excellence in Halloween entertainment, why Universal Studios does dick all with the classic monsters the rest of the year (when they even get any love during Halloween Horror Nights)?

    Scary, campy, whatever… they are still iconic and they are still flagship characters for the studio that deserve better than a (admittedly well themed) counter service restaurant with shit food and their appearance in that (thankfully finally retired) unbearably goofy Beetlejuice RocknRoll revue.

    And no, the Mummy coaster/dark ride doesn’t count. The Mummy franchise has about as much to do with the classic Universal monsters (THEIR mummy included) as Colour Me Badd has to do with The Temptations.

  43. grimgrinningchris

    April 5th, 2017 at 11:12 am

    To clarify if it it wasn’t clear I mean the theme parks, not the studio proper.

  44. Broddie: Think I still lean towards BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and INVISIBLE MAN myself but WOLF MAN would have to be my number 3 or 4 (if 4 it would be behind DRACULA (either version). Funnily I was reading Mr. S’s review just now:

    The Wolf Man

    The Wolf Man (1941) Dir George Waggner Written by Curt Sidomak Starring Claude Raines, Patrick Knowles, Evelyn Ankers, Bela Lugosi “...

    Side tangent: man the remake of WOLF MAN was one of the most disappointing movies of my life. I was following the production and knew that it was a complete cluster-fuck but I was still holding out hope that they were going to knock it out of the park and remind the masses why these characters/movies are awesome and then no one really went to go see it anyway and what more they didn’t miss a whole hell of a lot. The Director’s Cut doesn’t help it all that much. It’s really frustrating because you can see the good (maybe even great) film RIGHT under the surface and the best the movie can ever achieve is mildly okay and oh that was a fun twist on the idea, what was I watching again? So wanted it to be great.

    Chris: Yeah that Beetlejuice show was really bad. I figure the reason they don’t have much a presence is the whole ‘old shit = lame’ mindset the public or young people or whatever has.

  45. grimgrinningchris

    April 5th, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Shame too, cuz the set they perform that show on was the tits.

    And the cafe LOOKS amazing, but as is the norm for Universal, the food is the pits.

    The Harry Potter lands have made a huge leap for that resort, but til they get better food and better live shows (and a year round haunted attraction, damn it) they’re never gonna be Disney.

  46. grimgrinningchris

    April 5th, 2017 at 11:42 am

    And if old=lame, why did they let a fucking Twister attraction sit operating for 20 years? Haha!

  47. A year round Universal Haunted House which includes everything from the classic monsters to Norman/Norma Bates and PURGE psychotics could kick ass. I still really want them to put up a FAST & FURIOUS 4D experience with VR headsets. They got the franchises to give Disney a run for their dough but seem to lack the imagineers (Disney TM).

  48. in this case, the old shit=lame I’m refering to is black & white pre-’80s stuff. Though I concede most young’uns today consider anything made before 2002 or whatever is old shit=lame. I met a few who consider IRON MAN an old classic film. Somewhat related, recently at work I was assisting a new hire who has typed on a physical keyboard before (only digital phone ones) and was flabbergasted on how to properly use one(!).

    Thanks for reminding me of that TWISTER attraction, damn was that not the lamest thing (and not nit-pick if you really wanted to shove it to me you would have brought up they still have the enjoyably silly James Cameron-directed(!) T23D thing there (I think). To add insult to injury I think it’s where the old KONGFRONTATION ride was (or near it), that’s when the Universal park died to me when they got rid of KONGFRONTATION. As a giant monster loving little kid, there was no cooler thing in the world. I know they have a new KONG ride, one based off the PJ movie, but everyone I talked to said it was lame. My childhood is over and is never coming back.

    Haven’t been to an amusement park in over 10 years now and that may not change so haven’t seen the HARRY POTTER park but everyone I talked to said it’s nothing but lines and shops and like two rides.

    Of coarse I support the idea of a year-round Horror attraction. They can have Clarence THE MUMMY hang out with John Carpenter THE THING.

    Broddie: they have a Fast & Furious ride being built (I think the Hollywood location already has it). Knowing modern rides though it’s probably just sitting a vehicle and you look at screens while said vehicle shakes.

  49. I decided a while ago that a good point to consider a movie “old”, is 20 years after its release.

    It should also be noted that Germany lacks good movie themed, uhm, theme parks. We got the MOVIE PARK GERMANY, which I’ve never been to, but that’s all and from what I’ve heard, whatever they got there, pales in comparison to some of the Universal Studios stuff. Well, they get an exclusive Star Trek rollercoaster this year, but I’m not the rollercoaster type.

    Over 20 years ago, it was called the BAVARIA FILM PARK and focused heavily on classic German movies (METROPOLIS, THE NEVERENDING STORY, DAS BOOT). It was fun, but I was a kid. I still got the big plush Scooby Doo that my aunt bought me.

    In conclusion: I don’t know what I was going to say.

  50. geoffrey – I haven’t been there in over 20 yrs. But a FAST themed 4D experience will make me visit Orlando again.

    I remember being a movie loving kid I was more hype for Universal than Disney. Cause you got to “ride the movies”. Matter of fact only Disney park that caught my attention was MGM Studios cause of the movie and TV focus.

    So when I finally got there and experienced the ho-humness of ET, JAWS, EARTHQUAKE & the GHOSTBUSTERS show I was kinda bummed. Especially since I started the day with BTTF: The Ride which is one of the greatest things ever and nowhere to go but down from there.

    KONGFRONTATION despite the awesome atmosphere was also underwhelming as was Nickelodeon Studios. On the flip side BTTF, the Hanna-Barbera ride and the Hitchcock attraction were the tits. I always meant to go back after T2 3D and JURASSIC PARK: THE RIDE became a thing but I’ve been procrastinating. Hopefully now that there movie division is back in good health they could focus more attention on really bringing their parks into the 21st century. The world needs an undeniably awesome movie theme park.

  51. Regarding the novelization of “Bram Stoker’s” Dracula, I had a friend who read it and thought it was the real book at about the same time I read the real book. She was talking to me about how Dracula was really a love story and I said, “What the fuck are you talking about?” It wasn’t until I saw the movie that I figured it out. Then I was so pissed that people would think that was the real story, I couldn’t forgive the movie.

  52. To confuse matters further, I have Bram Stoker’s novel DRACULA with the Coppola movie poster as its cover.

  53. Grimgrinningchris

    April 5th, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    There IS a Fast & The Furious ride going in where Earthquake/Disaster used to be.

    Revenge Of The Mummy actually took Kongfrontation’S spot and even though I’m no fan of it’s IP, as a ride it actually IS better. 1/2 dark ride with full animatronics and half full on indoor rollercoaster. It’s a favorite. And Kong was recently resurrected next door at Islands of Adventure so at least he’s back in a different (admittedly not as good) ride.

    The HP stuff is far from a bunch of shops and restaurants and a couple rides. The two lands (spread over two parks- connected by the Hogwarts Express which is an attraction itself and not just a means of conveyance) are straight up the most immersive and detailed environments in any theme park on the planet. Not even Disney can touch them (though I’m certain Star Wars Land- or whatever they wind up calling it when it opens in 2 years) will finally surpass them.
    It’s actually two different dark rides (both rival anything at Disney), a dueling inverted coaster, a kids/family coaster, 4 different live shows and THEN a gaggle of shops (also ridiculously detailed and themed) and restaurants.
    Also, go once and you’ll have cravings for “real” butterbeer and pumpkin juice for the rest of your life.

  54. Grimgrinningchris

    April 5th, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    To get somewhat back on topic… There was a house at the Halloween Horror Nights year before last that incorporated all the classic monsters but it’s still not enough.

    They need their own version of the Haunted Mansion.

  55. Grimgrinningchris – I know exactly that Universal Monster snack stand you’re talking about but I’ve never eaten anything from it.

    It really bums me out how Universal Studios has gutted almost every single thing that was there when I was a kid, which Universal is the first theme park I can remember visiting, JAWS is gone, KONGFRONTATION (which was awesome) is gone, EARTHQUAKE is gone, BTTF is gone (which is a huge fuckup since that Simpsons ride sucks), hell I’m even sad to see TWISTER is gone.

  56. Grimgrinningchris

    April 6th, 2017 at 5:49 am

    Honestly I think the classic monsters are their best bet at retaining some connection to old (or at least pre-1990 ha) Hollywood.

    I’d be more pissed off if the rides that replaced all the ones you mentioned weren’t (on their own merits) unquestionably better rides. Simpsons, Escape From Gringotts, Disaster, Revenge Of The Mummy etc…

    I miss all the originals a lot (especially JAWS- corny though it always was- when it worked even). But The only one I’ve really gotten my panties in a bunch over was taking out the Ghostbusters live show in favor of the inferior Twister thing (which is now being turned into some sort of Jimmy Fallon ride- which boggles the mind).

  57. Are Woody and Chilly still knocking about at least?

  58. Grimgrinningchris

    April 6th, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Woody is and his family coaster is still running though it looks like that whole kid/family area of the park is next up for a major overhaul.

  59. *sigh* I’ll be the one to go there: Of coarse they’re going to ditch Fieval’s area. In Trump’s America we don’t need any of those immigrant mice mingling with our children! *sorry, not sorry*

  60. The true star of BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA died, cinematographer Michael Ballhaus.

    German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus dies at 81

    The publisher of German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, who worked with Martin Scorsese on "Gangs of New York," ''Goodfellas" and "The Departed," says Ballhaus has died. He was 81. Publishing house DVA, which cited Ballhaus' family, said in a statement Wednesday that he died overnight at...

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