STACK's Ultimate Monster Guide
They’re Alive... Alive! STACK looks at eight famous fiends from the Universal vaults.
Director James Whale and star Boris Karloff give us one of the greatest movie monsters of all time, and a definitive treatment of Mary
Originally a vehicle for Lon Chaney (who up and died), Universal turned to the relatively unknown Bela Lugosi, who was very familiar
Shelley’s sympathetic tale. Whale’s film amplifies the torment of a man struggling with his feverish dreams of creating life and the agonising existence of his creation – a monster. Brought to life by the obsessed Henry Frankenstein, the gentle giant is tormented and
with the role following a two-year stint in the stage production. This opportunity for the Hungarian actor would not only change his life, but would forever associate Lugosi with Dracula (and later Ed Wood). Although nowhere near as chilling as 1921’s Nosferatu (an unparalleled masterpiece), the 1931 version introduced the voice and the look that has since become iconic. A frenzied Renfield (old sharp tooth’s slave) and some wonderful camerawork from Carl Freund also deserve kudos. Fangs for the memories.
ill treated, not only by the scientist’s offsider, Fritz, but by his all too immediate role in society. Portrayed as the villain, Karloff brings humanity and empathy to the monster. In one of the most controversial scenes, we see the giant play like a bewildered child, throwing flowers into a lake with a young girl, only to misunderstand and inevitably cause the child’s death. Misunderstood and all too often misjudged by the society that created him, he is hunted as the savage killer he has become.
It may not be as entertaining and as lavish as Stephen Sommers’ 1999 remake, but the 1932 effort with monster maestro Boris Karloff certainly deserves a place alongside Dracula and Frankenstein in the Universal pantheon of timeless horror
Hats off to a film that boasts a leading role that you can’t see! James Whale’s 1933 version of the H.G. Wells classic remains the most iconic, blending sci-fi, the supernatural, and rudimentary (but effective) special effects with sly black comedy and suspense. It
should not be forgotten, however, that Claude Rains’s, er, transparent protagonist is pure evil – a man consumed by the desire to have the world grovelling at his feet; a contemptuous being who wreaks havoc and thrives on mass destruction. The only glimmer of humanity emerges in his love for Flora, but this isn’t enough to prevent his inevitable self destruction. He’s mad, he’s bad and he’s invisible!
icons. Karloff again brings an air of mesmerising eeriness to the role of the unwrapped mummy Imhotep, who is searching for his reincarnated princess. Universal’s The Mummy was the trailblazer and inspiration for the numerous mummy movies
that followed, and Jack Pierce’s incredible makeup and Karloff’s indomitable presence justifies its position as a horror classic.
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