Fantasy triple feature

This post was written by Friday blogger Annie Reid.

First in a limited (one?) series. An excellent triple feature should, like a good story, have movement, pace, suspense, humor and moments of sublimity. Plus, it should keep you awake through all the Bushmill’s and popcorn.

Today’s theme: Monstrosity!

  • Bride of Frankenstein

    James Whale’s masterpiece. Better than the original film, a flourish of camp and genuine emotion. More true to Mary Shelley’s book, plus homosexual subtext galore, royal homunculi under glass, and the best hairdo in the movies. Period. Not to mention that Elsa makes monstrosity HAWT!

    (The British Film Institute’s has two excellent series of short books on classic and modern cinema. Alberto Manguel’s excellent book on Bride is sadly out of print, but you can find it if you look.)

  • Young Frankenstein

    Built on the same sets as Universal’s Frankenstein movies, with a union of grandeur and high camp scarce seen since…well, since Bride of Frankenstein! Gene Wilder wears eyeshadow, and Madeline Kahn wears the stylish grey highlights in this one. “Yes! Yes! He vas… boyfriend!”

  • Spirit of the Beehive

    For the late night diehards, after the hilarity, when the wine bottle is empty. Melancholic and magical Spanish film, set just after the Spanish civil war (when Franco had won, but was still hunting down dissenters) , about a little girl who sees monsters all around after a touring print of James Whale’s original “Frankenstein” goes through her small town.

    “Spirit of the Beehive” (incredibly, not on DVD yet) is a movie that figures in a number of my perfect double or triple features. It would go beautifully with Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Devil’s Backbone“, for example — both are about children struggling with tyranny during the Spanish civil war.

    Derek Malcom’s excellent homage to “Spirit” in the Guardian (as part of his fascinating “Century of Films“) appears here.

Reader suggestions for a fantasy triple feature are welcome, or if you’ve ever had an erotic dream about Elsa Lanchester as the Bride of Frankenstein, it is safe to confess to me. Drop me a line at annie at maudnewton dot com.


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