The Phantom of the Opera (1943) Review

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The Phantom of the Opera is the final review of the month and unfortunately its the worst film in the Universal Classic Monsters Collection.

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Claude Rains who was well known for playing the Invisible Man takes on the role of Erique Claudin a violinist who is fired by the Paris Opera house after 20 years of service due to sudden arthritis in his left hand.

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Of  course anyone who knows the story of the book or stage play will know that Erique eventually becomes the Phantom and Claude Rains does an excellent job at playing both roles, in this production Christine is played by Susanna Foster, Susanna has quite an interesting past she went to a singing and acting school with the likes of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney she was only 17 when she took on the lead female role in Phantom of the Opera, two other big names in the film were Nelson Eddy who played Antone Garron and Edgar Barrier who played police officer Raoul Daubert.

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In my personal opinion the best part of the movie was the sets, the Paris Opera House used in this adaption of the book was the same set that was built for the 1925 film of the same name starring Lon Chaney, if the Paris Opera House set wasn’t impressive enough another great set is the Phantoms home hidden underneath the Opera, the set is very gothic which helps to set the mood before the love interest rips off the Phantoms mask revealing his disfigurement.

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The 1943 adaptation of the Phantom of the Opera is ok and that’s unfortunately the best I can say for the movie, I really enjoyed the cast they were campy and fun, the movie used comedy in a way that it didn’t ruin the dark romantic atmosphere of the movie, Claude Rains did a fantastic job at playing the Phantom and the sets were all extremely memorable, the film was even filmed in Technicolour but even with all this going for it something was missing and that was the the monster movie I was promised, this is not a monster movie and I’m not even sure if I could class it as a horror, the Phantom of the Opera is more of a romantic drama with a dark coat of paint, even twilight has a vampires and werewolves but would you cast that a horror? At least Twilight had monsters which is something I cant say about this so why on earth was it included in a classic monster collection? To most it’s the Phantom of the Opera but to me its more like the Phantom of the Mediocre.

The Bluray for Phantom of the Opera wasn’t very generous with its bonus features it does have a documentary and a commentary track   but that’s about all that’s worth looking at.

you can purchase the Universal Classics Monsters Collection on Blu-ray here

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Universal-Classic-Monsters-Essential-Collection/dp/B008H45YSO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506697249&sr=8-1&keywords=universal+monster+collection

A DVD version can be bought here

https://www.amazon.co.uk/THE-CLASSIC-MONSTER-COLLECTION/dp/B001GQWT24/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1506697249&sr=8-2&keywords=universal+monster+collection

Thank you for joining me for all of these reviews, all of these movies had a great effect on horror movies today and even though they are old, most of them are not in colour and the effects aren’t great compared to CGI but they are still great films that need to be seen if only to help you appreciate how far film has come over the years.

Happy Halloween

You can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

 

 

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Frankenstein (1931) Review

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Frankenstein is not the first ever movie about Frankensteins Monster that achievement goes to director  Eugenio Testa with his 1921 short film Il monstro di Frankenstein, however the 1931 film starring Boris Karloff is the adaptation which helped to shape and develop the monster into the horror icon he has become.

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The movie is filled to the brim with Iconic peformances such as Colin Clive who plays the mad doctor, it was he that first screamed the lines “HES ALIVE, HES ALIVE”, both Dwight Frye and Edward Van Sloan make a return from Dracula this time with Frye playing Fritz the doctors hideous assistant and Van Sloan playing Doctor Waldman, Dr Frankensteins previous teacher at the university but even with all of these wonderful performances the best performance is given by none other than Boris Karloff who plays the title role of the monster.

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Karloff played the monster as a lost puppy type of character, the monster was dangerous but his bursts of anger and destruction came from his confusion and the way people reacted to seeing him more than it was his own decision, the monster wasn’t cruel it had just never had the chance to experience kindness, there is a very powerful scene in the movie where a young girl gives the monster a flower and unfortunately she is killed by the monster when he accidentally drowns her in a river while they were playing.

maxresdefaultAn interesting piece of trivia about Frankenstein for those who haven’t seen it is that the film first begins with a warning from Edward Van Sloan its a chilling warning that im sure would have set many people into a fit of fear back in the day, the opening dialogue is as such” How do you do? Mr. Carl Laemmle feels it would be a little unkind to present this picture without just a word of friendly warning. We’re about to unfold the story of Frankenstein, a man of science who sought to create a man after his own image without reckoning upon God. It is one of the strangest tales ever told. It deals with the two great mysteries of creation: life and death. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even horrify you. So if any of you feel that you do not care to subject your nerves to such a strain, now is your chance to, uh… Well, we’ve warned you”.

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Frankenstein is an amazing piece of history that still stands the test of time, it is one of the most enjoyable of the older Universal classic horrors and its performances went on to inspire multiple books, stage adaptrations and newer Frankenstein films, its a monster of a movie which has enough heart and fright for any movie fan, the Blu-Ray has many features including three documentaries and two commentary tracks.

you can purchase the Universal Classics Monsters Collection on Blu-ray here

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Universal-Classic-Monsters-Essential-Collection/dp/B008H45YSO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506697249&sr=8-1&keywords=universal+monster+collection

A DVD version can be bought here

https://www.amazon.co.uk/THE-CLASSIC-MONSTER-COLLECTION/dp/B001GQWT24/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1506697249&sr=8-2&keywords=universal+monster+collection

You can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

Dracula (1931) Review

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Dracula is one of the most influential horror movies ever made and it was Bela Lugosi’s performance as the sexy and manipulative Count Dracula that really made the film as successful as it was and it was, the way that Lugosi acted out his role with his Hungarian accent and struggles with the English language that allowed him to give such a unique performance and it is Lugosi’s accent that most people copy when trying to imitate the famous vampire.

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Dracula is a classic tale of a malicious vampire from Transylvania who moves to England to seek some unsuspecting women so he can drink their blood and take control over their minds and bodies.

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Many people love the peformance of Dracula given by Bela Lugosi however my favorite performance in the picture is that of Dwight Frye who plays Renfield, Renfield is the real estate agent who meets with the Count to sell his castle before moving to England Renfield is bitten by the count and becomes and insane maniac, its Renfields laugh in the movie that sends chills down my spine.

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The rest of the cast each give fantastic peformances but no one stands out more than Edward Van Sloan who plays the Monster Hunter Van Helsing, Van Helsing is also a professor of science in this interpretation of Bram Stokers classic tale.

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As I have previously stated Dracula is an excellent movie which really helped inspire many of the popular horror directors of today, the performances are chilling and the atmosphere is dark and eerie, you can really appreciate how far movie effects have evolved by watching this film, there is a scene where Dracula transforms into a bat and how they pulled this off was a rubber bat attached to a fishing rod and it still looks good, I love Dracula its one of my favorite older horror films and its the perfect flick for this Halloween, the Blu-Ray of Dracula is filled with special features including an alternative score, two documentaries a commentary track and the original Spanish version of the movie.

Dracula is a classic horror which needs to be seen its part of a Blu-ray box set which can be bought on Amazon and its this box set which I am using for my reviews this month

you can purchase the Universal Classics Monsters Collection on Blu-ray here

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Universal-Classic-Monsters-Essential-Collection/dp/B008H45YSO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506697249&sr=8-1&keywords=universal+monster+collection

A DVD version can be bought here

https://www.amazon.co.uk/THE-CLASSIC-MONSTER-COLLECTION/dp/B001GQWT24/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1506697249&sr=8-2&keywords=universal+monster+collection

You can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

Book Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events 1-3 by Lemony Snicket

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It’s finally Halloween and I  think this would be a good time to start a series of reviews of one your most requested book series, I  have decided to tackle these books in five separate reviews, four of the reviews will each cover three books in the series and the fifth review will be of the final book in the series, each review will have a brief summary of each book and small section discussing my final thoughts.

*Minor Spoilers*

The Bad Beginning (Book 1)

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The Bad Beginning was the first book in the series and it was also the introduction to the Baudelaire orphans and the infamous Count Olaf , the Baudelaire children Violet (The Inventor) ,Klaus (The Bookworm) and Sunny (She likes to bite things) are stood on the beach when they receive terrible news from Mr Poe a banker who is charge of taking care of the Baudelaire family fortune and he becomes their legal guardian after a terrible fire burns down the family home and kills their parents, since Mr Poe doesn’t want to care for the children himself it is his responsibility to find them a new guardian to live with until the eldest child (Violet) turns 18, unfortunately they are placed with their third cousin four times removed Count Olaf, Count Olaf is a horrid man who only wants to look after the children until he can gain access to their fortune and once he has it he plans to have the children killed, while living in his home Olaf forces the children to do all of the chores while he and his theatre group relax and drink wine, he bullies them and even causes child abuse by causing physical harm to the children and by making them all share one bed, thankfully next door lives Justice Strauss a local Judge who is very kind and allows the children to come over and borrow books from her private library whenever they please, the children use this opportunity to borrow law books as well as any other books they can find to help them defeat Count Olaf and not allow him to go through with his master plan that is revealed later on the novel.

The Reptile Room (Book 2)

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The Reptile Room is the second book in series, the children live with Mr Poe for a few days while he is seeking out a new guardian for them, he eventually sends them to live with Montgomery Montgomery (Uncle Monty) who is their fathers cousins, wife’s, brother, Dr Montgomery is a herpetologist (study of amphibians) but his biggest fascination is snakes,every year he travels all over the world and collects rare breeds which he brings home to study in his lab,  Uncle Monty plans to take the children to Peru to help look for more snakes but his associate Gustav resigned the day before the trip and he is replaced by another member of the Herpetological Society called Stephano but the children are convinced that Stephano is Count Olaf in disguise.

The Wide Window (Book 3)

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In the third book the Baudelaire orphans are sent to Lake Lachrymose to live with Josephine Anwhistle (Aunt Josephine)  who is the the sister of their second cousins wife, Aunt Josephine is a mess, after her husband was eaten by leeches in the lake she has been terrified of everything including the cooker and the house phone, a mysterious stranger called Captain Sham appears in the town, he tells Josephine that he owns his own sail boat company but the children know that hes really Count Olaf in disguise, they try to tell their new guardian that Captain Sham cannot be trusted but Aunt Josephine is more concerned about the grammatical mistakes on his business card, can the children prove that they are right before its too late?

I really enjoyed all of these books, for me they were not scary but they were definitely intense enough for younger readers, Lemony Snicket is really good at writing  suspense and making people afraid of some of the more real horrors that go on in the world, Kidnapping, Murder, Child Abuse, Depression, Anxiety, Suicide, you would think that something like this would be too dark for children but the books have been written in a way so that these aspects while still there are not too scary, out of the three books my favourite was The Reptile Room as I found that it had the most interesting characters and the entire story kept me engaged and wanting more, my least favourite was the Wide Window I found it a little bit boring but it still had its moments that got me hooked, my biggest and only complaint is that too often Lemony Snicket kept having to explain the meaning of some of the words he used in his book and honestly while I’m sure this was useful for really young readers I don’t think the target audience needs so much guidance in the English language.

All in all these are great books for children and adults, some parents may be put off by the nature of the books but I don’t think they are too dark for anyone over the age of seven, I cant wait to review the rest of the series.

Thank you for reading this review of A series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Happy Halloween 2016

Have a great Halloween and stay safe, I have seen all of this killer clown nonsense and nothing would upset me more than if one of those idiots hurt any of my readers.

Lets Take a Look at the Nintendo Switch Preview Trailer

Not a Halloween review, there will be another spooky review but regardless of the fact that its October I feel a need to discuss this, Its important for all nerd kind

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This is it, It’s finally happened Codename NX has been revealed and I am so excited I can hardly contain myself,

Link  to the Reveal Trailer

We still don’t know everything about Nintendo’s newest system but we have just been given a lot of important information, first of all the name is not going to be the Nintendo NX but it is instead called the Nintendo Switch.

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The reason for this name is because you are going to be able to play the system at home and on the go, sort of like a handheld/home console hybrid, included in the reveal trailer were a few unseen clips of the upcoming Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and from what I have seen so far the game looks amazing.

cartridgeThe screen shot here confirms the use of cartridges over the more modern Blu-Ray Disks we use for most consoles today, for old school gamers like me who grew up playing cartridges this is very exciting news but for more modern gamer’s it may be a little bit too unusual but have no fear because not only can cartridges hold much more data than a Blu-Ray Disk but they are also incredibly cheap to make which may mean that Nintendo Switch games may be sold for a lot less than games were for the Wii U, however cartridges are no where near as fast to load up as a Blu-Ray Disk so speed may be an issue for the new system lets just hope that the Nintendo Switch has a good processor and a lot of Ram to make up for this, the use of cartridges does make it extremely unlikely for backwards compatibility with the Wii U but it is possible that maybe we will able to play our 3DS games on the Televisioncontroller-on-the-go

From this picture we can see that we will be able to detach the sides of the gamepad to use them as controllers when we are playing on the go, to me it looks as if it is going to be a similar set up to a Wiimote and Nunchuck but the entire thing will be wireless and of course the button layout will likely be different, also it is shown here that the Nintendo Switch gamepad will have a feature on the back which can help stand it up right so we can relax on the train/bus while we are playing.

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As you can see he is now playing on his TV and he is able to switch from TV to on the go mode whenever he wants, just so you are aware he is currently playing an Elder Scrolls game, I am not sure whether it is Skyrim Remastered or an upcoming game in the series but that is not important, what is important however is that this is a very good sign that we will see a lot of third party support.

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A new Mario Kart or a port of Mario Kart 8? who knows but still very exciting none the less

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Possibly a reveal that the more popular sports games are coming to the system? not my thing but I am aware that there is definitely a massive market for these titles.

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Is this a teaser for Super Mario run that is to be released on the smart phone market soon or is it a teaser for an upcoming Mario adventure? the Amiibos on the counter seem to indicate that Amiibo compatibility with the system will be available in the future.

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This is a screen shot taken of what I am assuming is to be the new Pro Controller, I personally do not like the design here, to me its looks ugly and boring so I am hoping that it will be more colourful and appealing to myself in the future.

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I’m not sure if this is the original Splatoon or not but it definitely looks cleaner and graphically improved so it could possibly be a sequel.

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The weirdest part of the Splatoon reveal was that it seems like it was played in a stadium and I don’t recall hearing anything about an event like this so I am certain that this part of the reveal was made using CGI but I could be wrong.

With a release date of March 2017 that is everything we know about the Nintendo Switch so far, it looks very promising but I do wish that Nintendo at least gave us an idea on the price since the system is only 5-6 months away from release it just seem like now would be a great time for this information to be released, to be honest we should able to pre-order the system by now but that is the only thing that’s really bugging me about the trailer.

I hope you enjoyed my look at the Nintendo Switch Reveal Trailer

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

You can find me on Miiverse by searching for draskafer

 

 

The Munsters (1964-1966) Review

Does anyone recognize the goofiest and spookiest family of the mid 1960’s

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Created By Allan Burns (The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and Chris Hayward (The Dick Tracy Show) and both previously known for creating the popular sitcom Leave it to Beaver.

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The Munsters is an American sitcom about the life of an all American family of Monsters who live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane, The show is a parody of the classic monster horror films that came out in the 1930’s, they have a lot of famous faces of the day playing each of the family members but the most famous have to be Fred Gwynne who plays the Frankenstein father Herman Munster and Al Lewis who plays the vampire grandfather, other monsters in the house include Butch Patrick who plays Eddie the werewolf son, Yvonne De Carlo who Plays Herman’s vampire wife and Beverly Owen who plays Marilyn who is the only Munster who happens to be a regular human being, Beverly Owen was replaced by Pat Priest after the first 13 episodes of the show.markymunster247

The best thing about the show in my opinion is that its very similar to a lot of other sitcoms from back in the day, of course it does have a monster spin to it but that’s about the only difference, most of the comedy revolves around the Munster’s getting on with their everyday lives and everyone else freaking out when they see them, the shows longest running joke is that the Munster’s believe that they are the normal ones and they cant get their heads around why everyone else is terrified of them.

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The Munster’s ran for two seasons and it did very well financially until the live action television show Batman starring Adam West was put on air, Batman managed to attract a massive fan-base and unfortunately its popularity managed to allow it to take the Munster’s spot on CBS.

The Munster’s may have only lasted for two seasons but it was very popular when it was on TV, a lot re-runs were played after it was cancelled and sometimes around this time of year you may catch an episode or two being played on your local television network but until then the Munster’s will remain very important to its many fans including myself.

I hope you enjoyed this Review of the Munster’s

you can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

 

Book Review: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

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Peter Pan was originally written by Scottish Author J.M Barrie and it was published in 1911.

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(BTW he had a fabulous mustache)

The story follows the adventures of the Darling children including the eldest Wendy, John who was the middle child and Micheal the youngest, Wendy would always read stories to her younger brothers about fairy tales and adventures, the most popular of these stories being the adventures of a young boy who never grows up called Peter Pan.

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One cold and starry night a young boy breaks into the nursery looking for his shadow and when Wendy helps him find it, he teaches the children how to fly and he takes them all away to a magical world beyond the stars called Neverland.

(There will be a few spoilers beyond this point, but not enough to ruin the book)

The General plot summary you have just read may sound very familiar but let me assure you that the original novel of Peter Pan is very different to a lot of the modern stage plays and movies, for one thing the book is rather dark and at times gruesome, a fair few children get murdered in the book and there are a few adult themes discussed including faeries having group sex and Peter Pan himself being more “Sinister” than more modern audiences may know him to be, so please keep this in mind if you are planning to read the original unabridged version of the book to young children.

I own the unabridged version and it is filled with loads of old fashioned English words and spellings which some people may find hard to understand and if this is the case I recommenced a more modern re-print of the book but please keep in mind that modified versions will be modified for new younger audiences so some of the adult stuff I mentioned above will most likely be removed, even with all of the old fashioned English the book is still described well enough for the reader to understand fairly well what is going on and it is still very simple to read the text and visualize the story the book is telling.

The book is 230 pages long and it may take only 2-3 days to read for most people, for me this is great because just like my video games I prefer my books to be short as it means that I can read them over and over again many times throughout the year, but I can understand why some people wouldn’t want to pay a bookstore price for such a short story.

Peter Pan is an amazing story about Pirates, Mermaids, Faeries, and lost children who dress in animal skins and hunt Native Indians, honestly there is something here for everyone, its one of most iconic stories ever written and it has inspired so many people to begin a journey into the world of art including myself, Peter Pan is nothing more than a masterpiece of British Literature and it will always stand the test of time.

I hope you enjoyed this Book Review of Peter Pan by J.M Barrie

If you respect my opinion, I will respect yours

you can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

Sorry for the gap in reviews guys, I have been super busy working on another project but I promise I will try to get more reviews out soon, anyway I will see you in October for a month of spooky reviews.

Also I am taking requests this month so if there are any games, books or films you would like reviewed for Halloween please email me and I will place all requests in a random generator and I will be reviewing what ever gets selected so please send me any requests you can think of.