Sunday, November 29, 2009

Boris Karloff Blogathon

Did you enjoy the Boris Karloff Blogathon? I hope you went to Frankensteinia: The Frankenstein Blog to check out the list of bloggers and read the entries.

As I said recently, horror movies and their classic icons are a huge part of my childhood - and Boris Karloff is one of those people that I don't remember a time when I didn't know who he was. There have been so many great contributions and fantastic essays from some wonderful bloggers out there -that I don't know that I have much that's new or interesting to add to the conversation.

But since Mr. Karloff is such a big part of my childhood memories - I thought I'd focus on that and talk about my favorite memories of him and his movies in my life.

1. Frankenstein
Yes- pretty obvious. Besides just how wonderful the film is, Boris Karloff and his portrayal of the monster are associated with one of my absolute favorite monster memories of very early childhood. I've mentioned several times how my mom and I used to spend our Saturday afternoons watching Sir Graves Ghastly host classic horror movies. I don't know how old I was when this started, but I do know by the age of four, I was as familiar with the stories of Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, and The Mummy as I was with the characters on Sesame Street.

One of my absolute favorite memories of those times was when I was watching Frankenstein with my mom, and the famous scene with the little girl and the flowers came on. My mom explained to me that the monster didn't intend to hurt her, that the monster wasn't actually mean - and that everything he did in the film had to do with how people treated him like a monster based on how he looked. This must have really affected me because for one) I still remember the conversation, and two) I wasn't really ever afraid of the monster. (Remember the list of scary things under my bed? Notice that Dr. Frankenstein's creation wasn't listed...)

In fact, my mother's explanation had the opposite affect on me - and to this day I feel all warm and fuzzy when I see that big old guy with the bolts in his head. It's probably why I used to collect 'Frankensteinia' and also why a really good way to make me cry is to make me watch the scene in The Monster Squad when Phoebe and the Monster join hands. Makes my little black heart go squee every time.

I'm sure it also made me aware for the first time that things are going on in films that we don't always notice at first glance. I'm not sure why my mom felt the need to explain this to a four year old, but I'm very glad that she did. Not only did it give me a great memory that I still cherish, but I'm sure that it also led me to start looking for more under the surface in films - espcecially horror films - and I'm sure it's a big part of why I'm writing this blog today.

Karloff's voice alone is the reason for at least two more of my favorites from childhood:

2. Mad Monster Party:

3. The Grinch That Stole Christmas:

4. The Boogie Man Will Get You:

Once upon a time I was a very poor college student earning my first degree. Those were the days of bologna sandwiches and ramen noodles for dinner, and also the days of a very ancient VHS player that loved to act up on me right when I needed it the most. Take, for instance, the night that some cable station was running a marathon of Peter Lorre movies, so I put a new tape in the player and left it to go all night long. The next day, I had a great time watching the Lorre-athon, but especially I really got into the last film that they played, which starred Lorre and Karloff. Until - the tape suddenly stopped and I realized that I'd been foiled again by my electronic piece of crap.
I searched for this movie for years - and somewhere along the way even forgot the name of it. All I had to go by was that Lorre and Karloff were in it, and that Lorre kept a kitten in his pocket that he seemed to have put there absentmindedly. Finally (God Bless IMDB) I was able to rent it, but only after it being on my most wanted list for a decade. Not too many unfinished films have plagued me in this way and for so long.

5. Black Sabbath:

This was a Christmas present about five years ago (from my mom, of course!). I ended up being alone on Christmas night and I decided to watch this. It went perfectly with a winter's night. I thougth it was deliciously creepy and the segment with Karloff was the scariest.

Please check out the fabulous list of bloggers and their posts on Boris Karloff on Frankensteinia: The Frankenstein Blog.

1 comment:

Fee Fie Foe... Fiorilla said...

Portrait of Boris Karloff art prints
Art prints: 2010 Portrait of Boris Karloff illustration,
Size: paper 12" x 18" image 11 3/4" x 14 1/2" each print hand signed by the artist.
Price: $40.00 each. (includes shipping)

Denizens of the Darkness