Friday, October 31, 2014

Doll-A-Day 279: Happy Halloween! It's The Bride of Frankenstein

  Happy Halloween! This is the first Halloween in 22 years that I haven't taken kids out Trick or Treating. Ivy will be 15 next week, and actually debated going one more time this year, since she has friends a year younger who are going this year. In the end she decided not to, partially because she was so unsure if she was going to Trick or Treat or just hand out candy, and has been so busy with play practice, (In ordinary places they would refer to it as 'rehearsal'.), for Les Miserables, that we didn't get a costume made. It also didn't encourage her to go, with rain falling and the temperature a cold 41 degrees.So I've got a droopy almost 15 year old who won't come out from under a blanket to even talk.
  Today's doll is a character from a great movie to snuggle down and watch tonight,The Bride of Frankenstein.

She's a soft doll that was sold a few years ago by CVS.She's an official Universal Studios Bride of Frankenstein, made by Stuffins.

She's ok, but she doesn't look a thing like Elsa Lanchester, who played The Bride in the 1935 movie.

They always make The Bride with black hair with white streaks, when actually, I'm pretty sure that was Elsa Lanchester's own hair with an applied white streak. Her hair was red.

Donald Crisp and Elsa Lanchester as the original 'Lassie' parents,in the first Lassie film, "Lassie Come Home", in 1943. Later in her career Elsa specialized in playing somebody's mom, or wacky old ladies, sometimes at the same time,as in "Willard" in 1971. Her son,(In the movie, that is!), secretly owned a basement full of rats he ended up using to kill his boss. Now there's another movie that would be good on Halloween...
 Actually, 'Frankenstein' was the name of the doctor who created The Monster, so technically,she is The Bride of Frankenstein's Monster. I guess even Universal got tired of the length of The Monster's name, because even they started just calling him 'Frankenstein'.
  The novel "Frankenstein" was written by Mary Shelley, at the time mistress, and later wife, of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, It was published when she was only 21 years old, in 1818.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
The book came about when the Shelleys were house guests of poet Lord Byron at his house in Switzerland in 1816. After reading from Fantasmagoria, a French collection of German horror stories, Lord Byron proposed that they should all attempt to write horror stories of their own. Mary's creation was "Frankenstein: or A Modern Prometheus". Another guest that night who published his own story of horror was Lord Byron's doctor,John Polidori, who penned the short story The Vampyre, considered the first modern vampire story.Rumours were that the story was actually written by Lord Byron because it used a character from an abandoned story that was Byron's attempt at the challenge from that night, and Byron wrote the introduction to Polidori's book. Both Byron and Polidori claimed the book was Polidori's own work. 
  There have been many intellectual articles written on the subject of 'Why Do We Enjoy Being Scared?' I think the answer is simple really. The fun of being scared derives from the thrill, the adrenaline rush that accompanies fear. It's fun to be scared, especially from the comfort of our own homes or a familiar movie theatre, where we know it's all pretend. As kids, my sister and I would watch scary movies on tv, old classics like the Bela Lugosi version of "Dracula" or "The Wolfman", with Lon Chaney Jr.'s tippy toed werewolf. We watched the even more scary Hammer "Dracula" movies, starring Christopher Lee, and got a daily fix of fright from the Gothic soap opera "Dark Shadows", where 'Chris Jennings' transformation into a werewolf as he sat handcuffed to a radiator sent me hiding behind the recliner. I always found vampires the most frightening of monsters, and spent many sweltering summer nights with the covers pulled up to my chin so my neck wasn't readily available.And yet, I did it all over again the next time a 'scary movie' was on. (We watched "Shock Theatre", hosted by Doctor Creep, every Friday night!)
   I do think recent movies have gone beyond 'scary' to truly disgusting. There's a difference between tantalizingly scary and the actually possible, horrifying situations presented in modern 'horror' movies. What can't be seen can be far more terrifying than watching somebody be chain sawed. I also think movies with such realistic violence desensitize people to real violence.And that's really scary.

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