Well, things have been slow and awkward this month. Northern Ireland has been swamped with heavy rain and ferocious winds that’s kinda kept me indoors until yesterday, and life as a whole has been very meandering and sluggish. I get by, but it ain’t the most enjoyable of predicaments.
Progress report! Yes, I’m still working on the ever-perpetual site revamp. No, it’s not very easy to exactly describe how much progress is made. All the directories have been rearranged and overhauled that’ll make my life a real blessing should I ever dedicate time to the site again. Some sections have been given serious makeovers with both new looks and new content, while some parts are just straight copies of their current HTM files. It’s not going to be the most consistent lookin’ site in the world, but it’s not like I’d ever prided myself on my continuity. Besides, it’s given me a whole bunch of opportunities to make needlessly-graphical page designs, and that’s the best part of web design for me.
I was hoping to have it ready for the start of June, but, well, that seems unlikely. Mid-June might be possible, though as much as I was hyped about it, I haven’t made any work on the Bomberman shrine outside of some rough notes and page designs, so even if the site-wide revamp is online by then, that section will have to wait.
Let’s cue some old stuff I wrote.
Bride of Frankenstein: Apparently Henry Frankenstein didn’t die by being thrown from the top of a windmill, nor did the monster get either torched to death or crushed beneath debris during its burning. Just when Henry plans to leave this unfortunate event behind him, Dr. Pretorius enters the scene and recruits Franky into helping him create a woman from dead tissue. Meanwhile, the monster is taught the ways of life by a friendly blind man, and learns that having friends is good, but after finding out that the woman made especially for him doesn’t like him either, he blows himself up. The end.
It’s a strange sequel, to put it simply.
The original Frankenstein was a horror film, plain and simple. The monster is freaky-lookin’ and he kills a couple of people (if a bit misguided in doing so), and the atmosphere is very stark and bleak. Bride of Frankenstein seems to take a while to really settle in. It begins with a very strange, almost comedic vibe where an old crone takes the spotlight in speaking out against the monster, trying to warn people of its return and then getting uppity when no one listens, followed by a very… peculiar visit to Pretorius’s lab, where he displays some tiny home-grown people in jars for Frankenstein. No, seriously. They otherwise have no plot significance. It is admittedly a really stupendous special effects sequence, with the little characters climbing out of jars and running across his desks, even Pretorius picking one of them up with a pair of tongs, but it’s quite irrelevant. It felt like something from Jack The Giant Killer instead, though without horrible Irish accents.
And then after that, we focus on the monster, who after some gratuitous scenes of scaring the townsfolk and accidentally drowning another woman, stumbles into the home of a blind man who takes care of him and treats him like a friend. It’s actually a very touching scene, and shows that when people aren’t instinctively reacting to his monstrous appearance, the monster isn’t actually that bad a guy. He does accidentally burn down the guy’s house when two hunters start rampaging after him, but if people still hadn’t been trying to murder him, it’s almost possible that the creature and the blind man could’ve lived happily together for some time.
From there, the movie gets a bit wibbly-wobbly and drawn-out. Frankenstein backs out of Pretorius’s plan, and then rejoins him after the monster (recruited by Pretorius) kidnaps Henry’s wife, so he has no choice but to make a mate for the monster. After a rather gruellingly long creation sequence (there’s some great cinematography, yes, but it feels much like a reshoot of the original creation sequence, except with two hunchbacks to order around this time), the bride is made, and doesn’t really do much beside cock her head like a pigeon and shriek any time the monster does anything. Then the monster hits a self-destruct switch. It just seemed to trail off and drag on for so long that my interest waned, and the conclusion just came across as a bit, well, sudden. A dynamic and emotional send-off for the monster, I’ll give it that, but… eh, didn’t make the greatest impact on me. Mind you, I’m sure the creation sequence would’ve been a real treat to have seen in a theatre back in the day. All the loud noises and dramatic low-angles seem custom-made just to make a real electrifying sequence.
Don’t make me acknowledge that pun.
Pretorius is a real intriguing character. While Frankenstein almost embraced his madness during the creation of the beast in the first film, he eventually regretted invading on God’s territory, and struggled between his desire for scientific progress and desire to, y’know, not have his creations run about murdering people. Pretorius, meanwhile, has no such qualms is quite keen to take Frankenstein’s ideas and take them even further. He embraces the idea of introducing “monsters” to the world, and doesn’t seem at all surprised to find the monster sneaking up on him while he’s having a picnic in a crypt; he even strikes up some idle banter with the monster. He comes across as a real cartoon villain, though, and if it weren’t for having such an intriguing actor (that guy was custom-made for darkly-lit low shots!) it’d probably be hard to take him seriously.
It’s an odd film. I’m glad I saw it, but it’s a very uneven watch; the sequence with the blind man was very much worth it, but the rest was kinda hit and miss. Not sure if I’ll bother watching Son of Frankenstein, but the Hammer Horror films might be worth checking out.
Mad Max: Not bad, but not quite as rip-roaring as I was expecting; I didn’t know the whole post-apocalyptic angle didn’t show up until the second one. It’s a very, very straightforward revenge story that just so happens to have some post-infrastructure themes going on, and it creates a very lonely, almost gothic vibe to the film; you wouldn’t have to go far before you’re out of the reach of civilisation. Some great sequences, though the opening chase scene with the Night Rider steals the show. It’s got a quaintness going on, but it wasn’t as totally superb as I was hoping, sadly.
The Midwich Cuckoos: Day of the Triffids made me a fan of John Wyndham, so I knew I had to read this (RQ87 and I caught one of the newer film adaptations for it on TV a couple of years ago, I think). A very intriguing story and premise, but as seems customary for his work, it’s very plodding and a lot of it is just characters talking about things. There’s a lot of talk about the things that could potentially happen, and less… well, things happening. It works in Triffids because, let’s face it, the world’s in a bit of a state. A majority of the population is blinded, killer plants make easy travelling a thing of the past, and the world will have to rebuild itself knowing that they fucked themselves over with satellite weaponry (spoilers!). There’s a lot of pondering to do. In Cuckoos, a lot of the greater threat is only implied, not seen. We hear of the Children in the likes of Russia and so on, but we never see it in-depth or anything. It’s the kind of threat an average joe could live their life totally oblivious to, whereas in Triffids… well, shit, you’re either permanently blinded or being whipped to death by killer plants. Not the kind of thing you can just ignore.
Today’s strained attempt at getting some comment discussion going on: If you had a Frankenstein’s monster (don’t get pedantic on me about the structure of that sentence >:U ), what would you call it? I’d probably call it Toby. Or maybe Corky. Just depends on how nice it was.