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Random tricks/random treats

October 31, 2008
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Some random thoughts on cultural horrors.

 --Boris Karloff may be Hollywood's most underrated golden-era star. Watch him in "Son of Frankenstein" if you get a chance (although the film itself isn't as good as the perversely fun "Bride of Frankenstein").

--When we complain about Hollywood remakes (there's a new "Friday the 13th" reboot on the way), we forget that this isn't anything new. For instance, the studios cranked out version of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" in 1920 (John Barrymore), 1931 (Frederic March), and again in 1941 (Spencer Tracy). Of course, there's a difference between these actors and the hockey-mask-sporting gents in the "Friday the 13th" films.

--I pride myself on not seeing any of the "Saw" movies. Life's too short and I prefer supernatural scares to serial killers.

--The first place I ever saw on Broadway was "Dracula." When I finally went to New York--my first trip there--I was disappointed to learn that the original star, Frank Langella, had just left the show. His replacement, though, was stunning. That guy? An unknown named Raul Julia. Best vampire ever? In my biased book, yes.

--At some point, some creative artist will figure out a way to merge quality theater with one of the local haunted house attractions and come up with something must-see for Halloween. A haunted house "Macbeth," anyone? Anyone?

--While I've been a long-time fan of classic horror films, I was very disappointed in both the "Bram Stoker's Dracula" and the Kenneth Branagh sweat-and-slime "Frankenstein" remakes. The first didn't come close to Christopher Lee's "Horror of Dracula," the later didn't even reach the level of my guilty-pleasure favorite, the TV movie "Frankenstein: The True Story" with Michael Sarrazin and Jane Seymour.

--Abbott and Costello did not meet Frankenstein, as the title of their movie suggests. They met Frankenstein's monster.

--The loudest prolonged screams I ever heard in a theater were at a screening of "Evil Dead." Those screams came from my college friend Hans Kellner.

--The crew from Theatre on the Square's "Evil Dead: The Musical" did a terrific job on Fox 59's morning show yesterday. It's tough to make theater look compelling on TV news cameras---let alone at 7:30 in the morning, but TOTS pulled it off.

--When my wife was pregnat with our first child, we watched "Child's Play" thinking it might help enduce labor.

Your thoughts on favorite stage and screen horrors?
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