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We're talking about the likes of Count Dracula, Bram Stoker's scary and seductive bloodsucker so memorably portrayed on film by Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee and many other fine actors.
Then there's Frankenstein and his monster. British-born director James Whale pushed the boundaries of horror cinema with his 1931 adaptation of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's book, and in The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) he came up with a sequel that many say topped the original.
Boris Karloff's soulful portrayal of the Monster made him an overnight success, and Britain's Hammer Films also enjoyed remarkable popularity with their Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee adaptation, The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), the first Frankenstein film in color.
Many of the truly classic monsters under discussion here are as tragic as they are frightening. Like The Phantom of the Opera, starring Lon Chaney in the title role of the deformed Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House, causing murder and mayhem in an attempt to make the woman he loves a star. He was just Simon Cowell gone wrong, basically.
The Wolf Man was of course the victim of a curse who turned into a wolf every full moon. "You and 20 million other guys" said Lou Costello in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).
The Invisible Man was driven mad by his scientific breakthrough and having to walk around with no clothes on, while the Creature from the Black Lagoon was only trying to live in peace down the Amazon until those pesky scientists and fishermen turned up looking for the Missing Link. Marilyn Monroe certainly felt sorry for him in The Seven Year Itch.
As for The Mummy, well he was a bit of a bad lad no doubt. This walking band-aid was out for revenge on those who dared desecrate Egyptian tombs, and he generally only departed from his single-minded mission when a gal turned up who was the spitting image of his lost love. That happened a lot, come to think of it.
Anyway, all of these classic monsters and more are resurrected here, with informed and entertaining chapters on their best and worst screen incarnations. From Universal to Hammer, to American International and even the Spanish monsters of Paul Naschy, this typically definitive Dark Side volume covers even the most obscure of classic monster productions in lavishly illustrated chapters. Packed with never-before-seen posters and stills and entertainingly written by some of the most respected genre scribes around, we are sure you will agree that this is monstrously good value for all fans of classic horror!
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