With that in mind -- and Halloween arriving this weekend -- let's go back, like way back to some of the original movie monsters that scared audiences-for the first time. They may seem quaint and kind of cute now, but they scared the dickens out of audiences in their day. 'Twilight,' 'Vampire Diaries,' 'True Blood,' 'Cirque du Freak.' We're drowning in blood! If we have to see another iteration of the vampire saga, we're going to scream. No, not like a good, horrified scream. But an I'm-sick-of-this kind of scream.
With that in mind -- and Halloween arriving this weekend -- let's go back, like way back to some of the original movie monsters that scared audiences-for the first time. They may seem quaint and kind of cute now, but they scared the dickens out of audiences in their day.
'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' (1920)
It's a challenging role, playing a man split between his good and evil sides. But in this silent film, John Barrymore was up to the task. So was Fredric March, who won the Oscar for his portrayal of the English doctor-scientist in a 1931 adaptation. And so, it only makes sense that Keanu Reeves is set to reprise the role, in a film that has yet to go into production, directed by Danish hot shot Nicholas Winding Refn.
OK, technically, the first legit Dracula on film was Bela Lugosi's in 1931, but 'Nosferatu' director F.W. Murnau didn't have the rights to Bram Stoker's 1897 novel, so he switched around some of the details, most notably making the king of all vampires (Max Schreck) butt ugly. The concept that evil could look so nasty seems to have been lost on the hundreds of adaptations that have followed; just take note of the pretty young things on the CW's 'The Vampire Diaries.' To think they came from this.
'The Phantom of the Opera' (1925)
This silent film stars Lon Chaney as the eponymous character who lurks under the Paris Opera House. Chaney's makeup job-those nostrils!-did the trick, horrifying audiences like Jigsaw could only wish. Andrew Lloyd Webber's 2004 adaptation, directed by Joel Schumacher, went a different route, putting a hunkier spin on the character, played by Gerard Butler. As in most of the early horror films, this monster is actually just a misunderstood romantic, this one in love with a singer whom he wants to make a star.
Dr. Frankenstein's monster is quite a stretch from the original creature found in Mary Shelley's novel. For one thing, he can't speak fluently; instead he's reduced to grunts and groans that make him more, well, movie monsterish. With James Whale directing and Boris Karloff playing the monster, the film is a classic that spawned many sequels and spin-offs, the best of which is Mel Brooks' 1974 comedy, 'Young Frankenstein.'
'The Mummy' (1932)
Boris Karloff strikes again in this monster mash, playing Imhotep, an ancient Egyptian priest who comes back from the dead. Unlike Dracula and most of the other moster films of the era, 'The Mummy' didn't have a literary precedent, having been concocted by producer Carl Laemmle, Jr. who was inspired by the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922. Seventy years later, 'The Mummy' also managed to bring Brendan Fraser's career back to life as well.
'Werewolf of London' (1935)
Although 1941's 'Wolfman' was far more popular (and stars Lon Chaney Jr., following in his father's horrifying footsteps), actor Henry Hull wears the whiskers to great effect in this tale of an English wolfman. It took another forty years, in 1981, for an equally fearsome (and awfully funny) werewolf to return to the Brits, with John Landis' 'An American Werewolf in London.' Of course, Benicio Del Toro will no doubt give us something to scream about when he stars in 'The Wolfman,' coming this February.
'The Blob' (1958)
What? You don't think the Blob deserves to be held in as high regard as the other movie monsters listed here? Of course, it does: if it's worthy enough to be an opponent of a youngish Steve McQueen, then it's good enough for us. (Entourage's Kevin Dillon also did battle with the blob in the 1988 remake.) And this classic communist-spreading-movie-metaphor will live again: Rob Zombie is working on a remake.