Wednesday, August 26, 2009

#68 - The Raven

The Raven (1935)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Lew Landers. Written by: David Boehm.

Plot: A surgeon (Bela Lugosi), who is totally obsessed with the writings of Edgar Allen Poe and more than a little weird, saves the life of a beautiful young woman (Irene Ware) who is involved in a horrible car accident. He falls in love with her and decides the best way to win her heart is to torture and kill her fiance (Lester Matthews). In the meantime, he recruits the help of a wanted murderer (Boris Karloff) and mutilates his face going on the principle that ‘ugly people do ugly things’ or something.

Review: Quick autobiographical note (wouldn't bring it up except that I am writhing with irritation): I'm in the middle of watching The Fifth Element, which is probably the greatest science fiction film ever made, on some streaming website and this message pops up, reading "you have watched 72 minutes of video today. Wait 54 minutes or upgrade your account". Fuck that shit. I can't even illegally obtain movies right. I mean, honest to God. I know, I know, I'm getting it for free but... I'm 72 fucking minutes into the movie and I have to wait another damn hour to get more Bruce Willis. Fuck.

Aaaaaaanyway, this movie is sort of like The Black Cat (in that it’s named after a work of Poe, has very little to do with it’s namesake, stars Lugosi and Karloff and is totally whacked out) only way more crazy-licious. The two movies get compared a lot I think but I liked this one way more for some reason.

Probably because it’s a lot more zany. The Black Cat was comparatively very sober. Not a lot of laughs there. I mean, the dude keeps his dead wife in a vat of formaldehyde (I am really, really bothered by that). That's horrible. This movie was much more fun. Yes, Boris Karloff does get disfigured and some obnoxious gits come very close to getting killed in nasty ways, but it’s funny. Who doesn’t like to see gits getting tortured? Or Karloff wearing lots of make-up? I like him better when he’s in a more sympathetic role, too (as opposed to the creepazoid in Black Cat).

Also, a lot of the dialogue and it’s delivery (particularly Bela’s) is hilarious. Pretty fun times. Mind you, Lugosi's delivery of anything is hilarious, but this movie is so much more so. Everything is friggin crazy.

And yet another movie which could not be done in colour. I’m a huge advocate for black and white horror flicks and have spent a lot of time preaching their merits to my friends (who aren’t really that involved with the whole thing and just think I’m a loser).

Anyway, this movie is sort of like the archetypal crazed-guy-with-deformed-henchman-lusts-after-attractive-young-woman-who-thinks-he’s-weird-and-is-engaged-to-attractive-young-man-who-has-to-rescue-her-at-some-point movie of the 30s. I like those movies. They make me feel happy.

Favourite Part: Like I said, the dialogue in this movie is solid gold. Example
Dude - What’s that?
Bela - It’s a knife.
Dude - What’s it doing?
Bela - It’s descending.
Dude - What are you trying to do to me?
Bela - Torture you…
Fuckin a.

Other versions: Not really.

Sequels: None.

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