Here it is, the great granddaddy of 'em all (if by "all" you mean monster movies), James Whale's 1931 creature feature Frankenstein. Based on Mary Shelley's iconic, Gothic horror novel from 1818, the film was quickly green lit by execs at Universal after the wild success of Dracula. Whale promptly recast the lead; Universal originally wanted Bela Lugosi to play the part, choosing Boris Karloff as his murderous and (in Whale's sympathetic hands) misunderstood monster.
Let me just say, this is one handsome movie. Many of the shots are firmly under the spell of German Expressionism and the look of the thing capably resonates a creeping terror throughout. And though they might seem a little dated, the performances are great across the board. Karloff is a mountain of decaying flesh here and it's the role for which he'll always be remembered. Many folks champion Whale's sequel, Bride of Frankenstein, and I can certainly follow (and might even agree with) that argument, but the original film still retains a power that can't be denied.
For two afternoons only, the Hollywood Theatre has a 35mm print of this classic horror film available for Portland film fans to enjoy. Don't hesitate, 'cause it'll be gone before you know it. 'Tis the season, after all.
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