The Wolf Man (1941) Review

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The Wolf Man is quite a peculiar production as for an older film it doesn’t throw the possibility of a monster into your face, it is entirely possible that Larry Talbot didn’t actually get turned into a werewolf and it may just be the trauma of him killing a wolf and the old folk tales that have driven him into madness and turned him into a serial killer who doesn’t know that he is a murderer.

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The Title role is played by Lon Chaney Jr who is the second son of Lon Chaney aka the man of a thousand faces, the Wolf Man is a very sympathetic monster and I would argue that he is the most sympathetic of the Universal Monsters even more so than the Frankenstein Monster because even though the Monster didn’t understand his actions and didn’t realise he was causing harm Larry Talbot had no control over his actions at all when he transformed into the Wolf Man and once he transformed back into a man he couldn’t even remember what he had done just a few hours before.

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The make up for the Wolf Man was once again created by Jack Pierce who did work in some of the previous movies we have taken a look at this month, during the production process it is a well known fact that Lon Chaney Jr and Jack Pierce didn’t get along at all, the photograph above is very famous as it looks like Chaney is about to punch Jack Pierce in the face and while many believe it to be genuine I personally believe that Chaney is just messing around and having a laugh.

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A few famous face made their way into the Wolf Man including big stars Claude Rains and Bela Legosi, other well known actors include the likes of Maria Ouspenskaya and Evelyn Ankers.

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The sets and prop design for the Wolf Man are absolutely beautiful, from Talbot castle to the design of the silver cane and the most amazing set design has got to go to the forest where the Wolf Man makes most of his kills, the designers added a mystifying fog for a more spooky effect but I like to think that the fog is to symbolize getting lost in the forest while trying to hide from the wolf in a similar manner to Red Riding Hood or broadway productions such as Into the Woods.

the_wolf_man_1941_poster_2_by_smalltownhero The Wolf Man is a really fun movie to watch, unlike the Invisible Man which used a lot of comedy to entertain its audience the Wolf Man is fun due to its fast pace, it has a good build up to the monster but unlike some films it doesn’t wait too long for its reveal, the movie is quite action packed for a horror and I am sure it would have scared the pants off people back in the day, a cool fact is that the Wolf Man created the legacy that were wolves can only be killed by silver and also that if they bite another person they too will transform into a were wolf.

With his hairy make up and terrifying growl the Wolf Man is a horror movie to watch every year.

The Wolf Man is generous with its Bonus Features it includes four documentaries, original trailers and a commentary track

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

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The Invisible Man (1933) Review

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The Invisible Man is a bit of a cheat this month, it is part of the Universal Classic Horror collections but most people would say its belongs more in the Science Fiction Genre as it doesn’t do to much for it to be considered a Horror movie.

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Claude Rains plays the scientist Jack Griffin who is the Invisible Man, for most of the picture Jack Griffin’s face is covered completely in bandages but I find he is more fun when you cant see him, this is due to Claude Rains past work as a theater actor, he had only worked in silent movies before he was hired by James Whale for the titular role of the Invisible Man, a fun fact of the casting process for the movie is that everyone thought that Claude Rains audition for the film was over the top and generally quite terrible however James Whale couldn’t stop laughing at how funny Claude Rain was and it convinced him to hire Rains for the leading role of the film.

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Two of my favorite performances are by E.E Clive who plays the innocent and witty constable Jaffers and Una O Connor who plays the emotional bar owner Jenny Hall, she gives a very over the top performance filled with screaming and crying, a lot of people would likely find this annoying but in a weird way I find it charming.

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The effects in the Invisible Man were ground breaking back in 1933, this was before green screens and CGI so getting an invisibility effect to work was extremely difficult, when the Invisible Man had no clothes on the effect of him being in the room was done using cleverly placed wires which can be pulled to drag furniture and other objects, but when a shirt of trousers were to float in mid air and move as if they were being worn by an invisible person the effect was done by placing Claude Rains in a black velvet suit against a black background and it was very tediously pulled off using multiple shots in a matte process.

The Invisible Man is not a very scary film but it is a very impressive piece of cinema history, the effects are amazing, the acting is very over the top but also very funny and the wonderful cast really helps to make the film a beloved classic.

The Blu-Ray is unfortunately lacking in special features it does have one documentary and one commentary track however compared to the last three movies we have taken a look at this is rather disappointing.

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

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

The Mummy (1932) Review

We have finally reached Halloween 2017 and this month we will be taking a look at eight classic monster movies from Universal Studios, the reason I have chosen to talk about some of the older horror flicks compared to the newer releases is because of the importance these films have to the film industry a lot of these old horror movies have been the inspiration for a lot of new horror films and they helped shape the genre and style that the modern horror brings to the big screen.

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The first movie we will be taking a look at is the Mummy, a lot of people associate the Mummy with the 1999 film starring Brendan Fraser and many believe it to be the original film when in actual fact it is a remake of the 1932 classic which stars Boris Karloff as the titular character.

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The film starts in 1921 where we are introduced to Sir Joseph Whemple and his assistant Ralph who discover the mummified corpse of a man named Imhotep, clutched in his hand is a sealed box which clearly states that it should never be opened, of course it wouldn’t be a horror movie if someone didn’t open the box, upon opening the box the scroll of thoth is discovered which if read has the power to resurrect the dead, needless to say Imhotep is resurrected and escapes from the archaeology site

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We skip to ten years later and Imhotep has a new look and a new identity, the Mummy is now referred to as Ardeth Bay who reveals the location of an ancient princess’s tomb which the new archaeologist team quickly discovers and the body is sold to the Cairo museum, its here that we discover that the Mummy is just as much of a love story as it a Horror, Imhotep begins to stalk a young woman called Helen Grosvener who he believes to be the reincarnation of his long lost love but unfortunately for him Helen has fallen for someone else and this only makes Imhotep want to Mummify Helen so he can keep her all to himself and its up to Helen’s true love to save her from the clutches of the Mummy.

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The production of the Mummy was quite intense, Boris Karloffs make-up was done by the late Jack Pierce who was famous for doing most of the makeup for the old monster movies back in the day, Karloffs make-up took a very long time to put on and real bandages were used as part of the make up but unfortunately the bandages got stuck to Karloffs body and removing them each day after shooting was apparently agonizing for the actor and to make things worst it was a full body job and Jack Pierce forgot to give Karloff a way to pee so poor Boris had to hold it in for very long shoots, the actress Zita Johann who played Helen Grosvener in the film didn’t get along with the director Karl Freund, Karl had never directed a movie before as his expertise was being a cameraman and Zita who at the time was a very famous actress would speak her opinions very clearly to Karl who didn’t  enjoy the criticism, this led to the two of them always snapping at each other and Karl treating Zita with less respect than the other actors, he wouldn’t even give her a chair with her name on it when every other actor got one.

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The Mummy is a great film, the cast is fantastic and the movie always keeps an entertaining and consistent pace which helps to set the atmosphere for the movie, unlike most of the other Universal Monster films the Mummy never got any sequels but it did get a few remakes most noticeably being the 1999 film and the 2017 film starring Tom Cruise, the Blu-ray of the Mummy has some brilliant special features including three documentaries and even a commentary track which makes me very happy, the Mummy 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

Metroid 2:Return of Samus (GB) Review

Metroid_II_US_boxartReleased in 1991 for the Nintendo Gameboy and recently remade for the Nintendo 3DS Metroid 2: Return of Samus is the second game in the Metroid franchise and it was the first game to introduce players to the complicated order of the series as this game is not a direct sequel to the original Metroid but it infact takes place after Metroid Prime Federation Force and before Super Metroid.

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Metroid 2 follows Samus on a mission to destroy all of the remaining metroids on the planet SR388 after many other bounty hunters had failed in their missions and had not returned from the planet and thats about it for the plot its simple but its not like a huge, crazy storyline is needed for a metroid game so I was satisfied with how straight to the point the story was in metroid 2.

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The visuals are fantastic and a lot better than the first game, the designers have still stuck to the darker backgrounds and mostly empty environments which gives and eerie feeling while your playing but at the same time the labyrinth style game play here is much more complicated than it was in the first game, I found a lot of the environments here all looked very similar and it made it difficult for me to navigate my way throughout the planet especially considering the game yet again does not provide an in-game map, getting lost in metroid 2 happened far too often for me and it became frustrating very quickly, the graphics are very smooth and the animations are great but the ugly grey colour the game boy puts out was a little off putting I wanted more colors in this world and I think this would have made the navigation easier as well.

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With the game play mostly focusing on Samus killing metroids players would hope that a large variety of challenging and unique types of metroids would be in the game and for the most part I can say this is true, there are a lot of metroids in this game and most of them are sub bosses the only issue I have with this is that you need missiles and a lot of health and even though this game finally includes areas which refill both of these there are so few of them that it makes fighting all of these massive sub bosses extremely frustrating especially when you have to back track so far just to get a refill, apart from this the game controls fluently and there are plenty of powerups for you to seek out and collect.

The soundtrack here has definitely taken a step down in quality compared to that of the first game,there is more variety in music in Metroid 2 but apart from a few tracks the limitations of the gameboy’s sound capabilities really took away a lot of the atmosphere from the music, the end credits theme and final boss music are both awesome and full of energy but most other tracks are short and repeat on a loop, it gets annoying and to be honest I spent most of the game listening to podcasts due to me not enjoying the sound track.

And that was Metroid 2 Return of Samus, this is a fantastic game boy game and a pretty good edition to the Metroid series, I had more issues with this game than I did the original but its still holds enough ground on its own to be considered a good title, the graphics are fantastic and the game controls perfectly however the annoying navigation and lack of a stellar soundtrack really knocks down my opinion of this title therefore Metroid 2: Return of Samus gets a not so high but still impressive 7.3/10

I hope you enjoyed my review of Metroid 2: Return of Samus for the Nintendo Game Boy

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

Metroid (NES) Review

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Metroid was released in 1986 by Nintendo it follows intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran as she searches throughout the planet Zebes in a mission to hunt down the wanted space pirates Ridley, Kraid and Mother Brain

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The concept of the gameplay is simple but most players find it very difficult once they take control over Samus, what made Metroid unique when it came out was the freedom to go where ever you want from the very beginning however there are a lot of areas to explore and many paths you can follow which is what makes the game so challenging also the lack of any in game map means that getting lost is likely to happen more often than you may expect.

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Samus is first only equipped with her trusty arm cannon but by exploring the game players will find many different upgrades for her cannon and her suit, a good example which doesn’t give away to many hints is that if you go left from the very start of the game you can find an upgrade which allows Samus to morph into a ball and drop bombs, you can also find upgrades for Samus’s health bar and early on in the game you can find missiles which allow you to break into more securely locked areas, be wary that the game doesn’t allow you explore free from danger as many enemies will try and destroy Samus  and don’t be surprised if you are dead only 10 minutes into the game because it honestly really is that difficult.

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Metroids visuals were outstanding for the time, the art designers managed to use a great blend of dark backgrounds and areas with bright and outstanding colors for the important parts of the game, the dark backgrounds make the game more scarier as it allows the atmosphere to feel empty but dangerous, it helps to keep the gamer on edge while they are dealing with the threats within the darkness, the labyrinth design of the world makes it clear that if anything was to happen too Samus she may never be found, in my opinion this is Nintendo’s first video game for adults compared to lighter hearted titles such as Mario and Kirby.

The soundtrack isn’t anything to get excited about, its not terrible but like many of these early Nintendo games it lacks in variety, there are few tracks that last longer than 20 seconds before looping which quickly becomes redundant but I will say that some of the quiet and shorter tracks help make the atmosphere feel more empty and far away from society and the Brinstar theme really packs a lot of energy into the game and makes the player feel like a real bad-ass also its one of my favorite video game tunes so I have to give some credit for that.

Upon it’s release Metroid quickly went on to become a classic Nintendo game which soon became a much beloved series for video game fans alike, its a product of the time and many younger gamer’s will definitely struggle to survive without using a cheat code but don’t let the difficulty put you off buying this on the virtual console as its well worth your time, there was a remake for the GBA called Metroid: Zero Mission which was much easier and a lot more story driven so it may be more worth your time to pick up that one instead either way Metroid is awesome enough to earn itself an impressive 8.8/10

I hope you enjoyed my review of Metroid for the Nintendo Entertainment System

By Padawan

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