The Shelf-life of Monsters


The Shelf-life of Monsters. A continuing motif “moment” from The Mike Malloy Show – November 1, 2010. Listen to Mike exclusively on the non-profit Progressive Voices Radio network LIVE at 9PM ET here:

Below is an excerpt. To read the rest of the words go here:

Universal Studio’s reign of terror began with the release of Dracula and Frankenstein in 1931. The following year Boris Karloff lurched from his ancient sarcophagus in The Mummy. Soon The Invisible Man and The Werewolf of London joined Universal’s pantheon of monsters.

Monsters were big box office. Horror films enabled the studio to stay afloat during the depression years and Universal cranked out sequel after sequel to keep moviegoers coming back for more. After three more Frankenstein films, Bride of, Son of, and Ghost of Frankenstein, some bright boy at Universal noticed a drop in ticket sales. If one monster wasn’t pulling in the audience then maybe teaming up two monsters might revive the franchise. Hence … Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man. And if two monsters tearing up the screen doesn’t do the trick, then how about three monsters? House of Frankenstein added Dracula to the monster mix and a year later the terror trio of Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster were reunited in The House of Dracula.

For over 14 years Universal Studios milked the horror genre for all it was worth. The Monsters that terrified filmgoers during the depression had by the end of World War II lost their scary movie mojo. What could the studio do to get the last penny out of their resident evils? If they couldn’t use The Monsters to scare the audience … then they’d play them for laughs in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. The horror cycle was officially over … but there was still one more way to cash in on The Monsters … Television.

… At the time I was told by my parents and the nuns at school that watching “That Junk” would turn my brain to mush and it wasn’t healthy to be fascinated with the macabre. Well … anyone who spent as much time as I did glued to the screen watching “That Junk” knows more about how to deal with Republicans than the all the reporters and pundits of MainStream Media and the entire leadership of the Democratic party combined.


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