Boris Karloff and Frankenstein. Bela Lugosi and Dracula. Claude Raines is the Invisible Man (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
A beautiful sight, isn’t it, when the actor is paired with the role, and the two shall reign as classics evermore. Go ahead, wipe that tear.
(I know, I know. Frankenstein is the doctor, not the monster. I call him Frankenstein anyway, okay? Okay.)
I think it’s going to be far into the future, if ever, before Karloff has a peer as Frankenstein. The sheer depth Karloff gives to the monster with his expressions and body language, well, words are failing me, so I’ll go for the cheap-out: Awesome.
(And, God rest his soul, I love his narration in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”)
For me, Dracula will always be shrouded in a black cape, a widow’s peak over those piercing eyes. Bela Lugosi is Count Dracula. Poor man died early on during the filming of “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” in which he appears as Dracula before other actors took over the role. A darn shame, or fitting. Maybe both.
I hardly remember “The Wolf Man,” but whenever the subject of werewolves comes up, it’s Lon Chaney Jr. crouching in a misty graveyard in my mind. (And Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London.”) I’ll take that old black-and-white image over any CGIs or fancified film tricks.
“The Wolf Man” is getting a remake, by the way, with Hugh Jackman (figures) in the title role.
It’s been years and years since I’ve seen “The Phantom of the Opera,” but I remember when I watched it as a wee Scream Princess, Lon Chaney creeped me out. When the phantom’s face was revealed, it scared the hell out of me.
If it’s been years and years — if ever — since you’ve seen some of these kings of screams, you can watch them in their glory at Dark Nights, the Seattle International Film Festival’s series of classic horror films. Thirteen movies will shown from Oct. 24 to Nov. 6, and some dates are double features.
Movies on the playlist include: “Frankenstein” (1931), “Dracula” (1931), “I Walked with a Zombie” (1943), “Freaks” (1932), and “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968).
Visit SIFF’s Web site for more information.